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"La douceur perméable de la rosée"
Interview of june 4 2015 (Italian version)

Paco Dècina
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Antonello Zitelli intervista il coreografo Paco Dècina
Interview du 24 sept. 2014 (Italian version)

Paco Dècina
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"Chevaliers sans armure"
Interview of October 10, 2008 (French version)

Paco Dècina
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"Napoli Teatro Festival Italia" June 14 - 15, 2008 (Italian version)

INDIGO by Paco Dècina
Production Compagnia Post-Retroguardia Paco Dècina
Co - Production

supported by Ville de Paris
June 14 - 15 AUDITORIUM Domenico Scarlatti of RAI
First National, duration 90'

Paco Dècina
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Romaeuropa Promotion Dance - 2003"
Interview by Giulia Salvagni + (video in Italian)

Paco Dècina
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"Soffio, Paco Decina or the subtle light of the heart"
Luce Cathala, Les Nouvelles Musicales et Chorégraphiques du Limousin n°74, Avril-Mai-Juin 2003

Paco Dècina, an Italian-born choreographer born in Naples, has been living in France for 18 years. He founded the company Post-Retroguardia in 1986 and in 1987 won the prize for choreography of the Menagerie de Verre with Tempi Morti. Since then he has created more than twenty works, many of which have been presented to Aubusson or Limoges (Ciro Esposito fu Vicenzo, Mare Rubato, Five Passages in the Shadows, Fessure, Neti-Neti, Letter to Silence) . It is therefore as a regular of the scenes of our region that we met him following the presentation of his new creation Soffio (the breath), at the Grand Théâtre de Limoges.

The musical and choreographic news of the limousin: This is not the first time you have presented a piece in the Limousin region. What do you think of this loyalty?
Paco Dècina
: Soffio is the 5 or 6th piece I present in Limoges. This city always welcomes my work with warmth, thanks to the faithful and generous support of the programming managers. The habit of appointments creates a complicity with the public that is there, always numerous, always attentive and receptive. It's very nice.

NMCL: What was your starting point for this creation?
: I wrote a little text that still appears on the presentation file. It is about an empty plateau, a place of experiences and desolation. In this unknown, as the only marker and line of support, a thread, subtle as silk, which seems to connect every moment of our existence...

NMCL: You have long been guided in your creations by visions or intuitions "plastic" or mythological. What are you looking for right now?
: Little by little, dance itself has influenced my research and I ask myself the following questions: what is movement, what is the body? I wanted to drop the dramaturgical and narrative side. Approaching techniques other than dance (medicines or oriental philosophies), I realized that one can go in search of this body without sinking into the psychological and the emotional.

NMCL: How to free this body from its desires, its fears, its memory?
: I'm looking for a blank space, a field where something new can happen, without first. My work would like to be based on a certain counting, and a total acceptance of what "happens". To do this, you have to open up, make your body available, look at what is happening, let the unconscious emerge without "limiting" the body.

NMCL: Exactly, how do you choose your interpreters?
: I look at a dancer and see if he has anything that resonates with my work. The dancer must be able to question himself: dance must be a tool to learn the world, to be "beautiful". I ask my interpreters for a quality of presence, and to know why they dance.

NMCL: To talk about the human, is the high technicality of your dancers necessarily necessary?
: If I work with average dancers technically, I am obliged to accumulate references and psychoaffective explanations to achieve my goals.
The real technique is what allows you to distance yourself from yourself, to detach yourself from problems due to your body. I don't think I'm moving away from the human by choosing "performing" dancers. I don't stage people "ordinary" .
To talk about the minds of ordinary people, I need people 'extraordinary' . The show should allow us to see everyday life in a different way. I am looking for a new attitude of life, both acceptance of suffering, but also detachment. We must move away from narcissism and perversity in order to be able to offer new spaces to the human being.

NMCL: It makes us a transition back to Soffio. Can you give us some elements to understand how you worked on this "wire" with your 6 interpreters?
: The common thread was to make the bodies available, to let the unconscious appear through the movements, without any prohibition.
I propose very simple situations (space, time, colors and quality of movement). Dancers must be in a body attitude of "let go" .
The bodies start to talk, and I let my intuition: that's right, it's not. The whole creative team knows what we're looking for. The initial idea, a thread of light that we pull little by little, as we untangle a sweater: we undo a space, but the thread is always there, so that the movement caresses the whole space of the theater until the last spectator.

NMCL: What happened to the very strong connection you had with the visual arts?
: This link continues to exist in an abstract way, even if this show does not need a décor in the true sense of the word, but it still has a setting of lights! I asked Laurent Schneegans to work on colors and moods, there are no areas too "cut out" or graphics. It still seems to me that it is much less dark than in my previous creations.
It is true that it is difficult to be alone in front of space, but I want to continue in this direction, and have less and less need for crutches.
Similarly I no longer write the dance on my own body, I write directly on the body of the dancers. I simply give them impulses, qualities of movement, 'materials' , as in plastic arts, precisely!

NMCL: And the breath, Soffio? Is he very present in the soundtrack?
: I proposed to Olivier Renouf music (flute, Indian flute, voice), he "knitted" them with various soundscapes and the electroacoustic compositions of Christian Calon.
Soffio is this thread, it's the breath of life... This breath that gives us just one direction, but not a predetermined course, and certainly not the point of arrival!
It still seems to me that this show is more soothed than the previous ones, at least less anxious!

The NMCL: Always this search for serenity!

Luce Cathala
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"The Quintessence of Bodies"
Val d'Oise and Companies, February 2003

Interview with Paco Dècina, sensitive artist in search of universal. The residence of his company Post-Retroguardia ends in June in Bezons.

How did you come to dance?

I've always worked with the body. When I was a child, I was attracted to painting, drawing, theatre, cinema, sports. When I discovered dance, it was a no-brainer. I realized there was something for me there.

How does the idea of a creation come about?

Each creation is part of a journey. It is a state of being. Depending on the historical, personal and social moment, the artistic problem takes shape behind a statement. It's not a dramaturgical idea, it's something much deeper. For me, if you come up with a specific idea, it's an exercise in style, it's no longer a creation. You have to know how to take risks, go beyond agreed limits, open new spaces.

What is the place of music in your work?

I don't talk much when I'm working. I put music, in a loop, to create another space-time, to let the bodies express themselves. The music of the show is something thoughtful, which gives me rhythmic support, but which I withdraw if it proves pleonastic. I sometimes work on a silence. The music has a very strong dramaturgy. In my shows, I try to create a new dramaturgy to serve dance.

Lettre au Silence and Neti-Neti tend towards purity, why this turning point?

It is the consequence of a lifetime, of a journey. Little by little, we refine. We live in a time full of scenery. Before, I needed crutches. Today, I try to get to the bottom of it. It is a work of investigation on oneself. That's all life is, art is even more.

What role can contemporary dance play in today's society?

For me, classical or contemporary, dance — like art in general — is a given time to oneself, a privileged moment. I'm looking for simplicity, a stripping, a space of silence away from the rumor of the world. It's a moment of breathing.

How do you compare to the major dance trends?

You are influenced by everything, what you like and what you don't. What interests me is why and how we inhabit our bodies in the face of something. After that, it's all about fashion and talent... There are artists who have touched me deeply and who have been caught by the system, others whose dance touches me less but whose path I find Dazzling. Names don't matter. What matters is what is behind it, the bottom. As an artist, you have to work on yourself.

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"Creators, how do you put together your shows?
- File directed by Sandrine Tournigand

Here are Paco Dècina's answers

The place to think

Everywhere because, before I think, I need to listen to what is going on around me.

How does the idea of a creation come about?

Each creation is part of a journey. It is a state of being. Depending on the historical, personal and social moment, the artistic problem takes shape behind a statement. It's not a dramaturgical idea, it's something much deeper. For me, if you come up with a specific idea, it's an exercise in style, it's no longer a creation. You have to know how to take risks, go beyond agreed limits, open new spaces.

The choice of topics

The themes covered in my shows always come from an internal and philosophical research on the existential questions that human beings can ask themselves. There is like a very physical inner bubbling that takes shape little by little. The subject finally imposes itself. My job as a choreographer is more to undo than to build.

The title of creation

There comes a time when I want to bring order to some inner chaos. But a title is above all time and space. It is a rhythm that opens an imaginary space and gives an indication but no more. Then I move on to writing the text.

The choice of interpreters

I like to work with the same dancers for a while. In general, a coffee meeting is enough for me to know whether or not I want to work with this person. I'm always looking for "the" meeting. Second, what is important is the questioning for me as well as for them.


The first repetitions allow me to create different scores that I then put end to end. At first, it is rare that I work with all the dancers at the same time. Because I write a lot about the memory of the body, I need this more intimate relationship. I usually spend three to four months on rehearsals.

The scenic space

A new space brings a new discovery of the room because we no longer see it in the same way. In my first creations, I used a lot of sets. I needed a material presence because the space inside the body was very small. Now I don't use it at all and I prefer to let a room breathe.

The lights

Light is one of the most subtle weapons to bring the viewer to the room. It allows you to create a multitude of spaces and atmospheres.

The technical team

I always work with the same people for costumes, sound and lights. I am waiting for them to come up with ideas and make proposals to me. These questions often arise when the choreography already exists.

Relationship with production

There is very rarely an artistic dialogue with them, except if it is commissions. I try to bring as many producers as possible to my shows but they often choose you.

The first

At the first, we don't know anything. It is at the end of the tenth performance that I begin to see and understand the piece truly. My only concern with a first is to find out if you are ready or not.

The favorite moment

In work and relationship with others. Otherwise I really appreciate this moment when we go from the rehearsal studio to the stage, where the piece then takes on a whole new dimension.

The painful moment

There is a certain fear of creation because you are faced with something you don't know. Either you take the mechanism and you redo what you already know, or you try to break this mechanic.

Sandrine Tournigand
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"Philosophical body-to-body."
Interview by Philippe de la Croix. Le Monde - Aden, Semaine du 7 au 13 novembre 2001

In search of a "white space", steeped in oriental thought, choreographer Paco Dècina presents Neti-Neti

Aden : Neti-Neti ("Ni ceci, ni cela "),your new creation is a duet that borrows its title from the Indian tradition. He refers, you say, to the denial of all name and form of which the world is made, in order to stand in the direction of the One." A little hard to follow, isn't it?

Paco Dècina : One always needs to be reassured by a possible understanding to fill a deep void. A duet is something that doesn't fall from the sky, it's a journey. I'm not smart, I'm intuitive. A title is important because, for me, it is the first step, the first organization in time and in the space of any work that is drafted. Something is bubbling in me, with a lot of energy. With the title, I don't know where I'm going yet, so I'm groping. I write texts, this is the beginning of dramaturgy. I write as the words come; then I have to get this in shape. I also choose some music on favorites; only then does the work with the interpreters begin. In any case, I remain convinced that I do not make the pieces. How it comes, I still don't know... I also realized that I had arrived at a point in my work when I was asked to justify myself, to enlighten, to give certainty. However, in my research, there is no answer.

We are very close to Eastern thinking!.

Yes, because Eastern philosophy is more interested in the body. I try to create a width and a white space, unexplored in relation to our doubts. It is a postulate that is not only valid for dance, but for my whole life.

What is this "white space"?

It's the void, a space where anything is possible.

So what is the body?

Probably not just a set of tendons, muscles and organs. It is part of the form of our organization, of our relationship to the world. Thought is a body, so are affects. There is no difference between physical and psychic.

It must not be easy to find dancers in tune with such assumptions!

I work with people who, like me, question their lives and are getting closer to this family of thought. I work on the memory of the body, that is to say on the whole organization of the person and not just the body, conscious and individual. In my encounter with the performer, I intuitively feel whether body matter can resonate with me. I choose the dancers as a love story.

Philippe de la Croix
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"Paco Decina. The intuition of the essential"
Interview by Pascale Orellana urbuz.com, jeudi 24 mai 2001

The choreographer gives birth to a poetic movement where the movement unfolds here and then restarts there, in an infinite volatile vibration.

Urbuz : Dance manifests itself in a form of neutrality, before the stage of expressiveness, to what is due?

Paco Dècina : All this corresponds to Dance. Dance and muscle movement should not be confused. It is the triggered sensation that is crucial and for me it is worked in oblivion. Indeed, the creative work, the way to bring the encounter with the audience is special and each choreographer has a personal process of setting up this relationship in order to bring the performer and the audience into another space-time. Dance is of this order, completely inexplicable, it escapes everything. It is a movement of life. In reality, it is a question of seeing and above all of giving more space to the gaze. It is true that often the viewer (and I am one too) always seeks to recognize a movement. This relieves him of the profound reversal that the sensations associated with dance cause in him, because they are of the order of what knots, whether by watching or practicing dance. Agreeing not to understand where it's going seems difficult, but allows access to unique sensations. to want to understand too much, we end up closing the feeling to what is already known. It's the same when I work with the interpreters. The more I talk to them, the more I guide them by disrupting their practice, so I intervene as little as possible. So they have to let go of something of them to go beyond that. This requires total mutual trust.

Urbuz : In Neti-Neti, the presence of the performers never surpasses the dance, the spectators themselves are in the same instance, even if it is a work based on a form of essence of movement?

Paco Dècina : I am a choreographer, I try to work on emotions that emanate from the deepest of the performers. In my work, I follow my intuition, I open up the possibilities around a subject and I try to draw deep into the truth of each interpreter. I like to convey the essence of movement rather than form. It is a universal quality that allows the performing body to be directly connected to its own history. I always try to access the movement by its essence and never from the outside. Thus, everything is in the same flow and gradually the viewer also finds himself in the same state...

Urbuz : How did you work on the relationship to music in different forms?

Paco Dècina : Sometimes the music used in the show is used from rehearsals, so the dance is born at the same time, because it is worked with the music of the show constantly. This is the case for Tibetan songs. Sometimes the music comes after. There are also moments in rehearsals when I take the music off, when the whole thing becomes heavy and the dance can no longer develop. In reality, it is not me who creates, it is my interpreters, it is society at that time. I'm just a catalyst and even though the color of the look is mine, I don't know what it's from.

Pascale Orellana
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Pre-Premiere Special Dance - Yvonne Taquet, Rosita Boisseau France Culture, Mercredi September 17 1997, 1,40pm

Rosita Boisseau : Paco Dècina, what motivated this collaboration with photographer Lee Yanor?

Paco Dècina : I had arrived at a time in my career when I wanted to change the support, the décor for my shows. For the last 5 or 6 years, I have always worked on canvases, with very thick materials, colors and a plastic artist called Christophe Desforges with whom I started working in 89.
So the symbolic, physical, scenic places, I will say the space of each creation are very important to me. When I start working, alone in my head, one of the first questions I ask myself is: "What space do we find ourselves in?" I have always used canvases because it allowed me to have a more abstract and mobile space, which could at times meet external requirements and, at other times, requirements of interior space. With the thickness of the material and the help of the lights, one could easily pass from one universe to another. The problem is that over the years this instrument got a little exhausted and I felt that I might come across something I already knew and that, at the end of the day, my concern remained only in the color I was going to use. I'm exaggerating a bit... In addition, in my artistic evolution, began to present a requirement of lightness and transparency. When I met and spoke with Lee Yanor, I presented him with this requirement to have a décor closer to the invisible, a décor that was not really made of lights. I am still in a period where I need the trace of the flesh, the trace of gravity, but a gravity that is beginning to become lighter. As soon as we had this intuition, Pompeii, Herculaneum, the cities of Vesuvio arose in my mind, all this volcanic universe in which I was born.

R.B. : So, suddenly, you took Lee Yanor to Naples and that's where you made a load of images and films.

P.D.: We're on our way. We knew we were attracted to these places. What for? We didn't really know it. So we began to look, to walk in the city, in the ruins, and all of a sudden the magic was made: we completely abandoned this intellectual and rational work, forgotten what we were doing there and why; we were seized by the emotion of this memory which resurfaced after so many years of silence.

R.B. : So both photo images that are projected, films that are projected also I believe, on the bodies of the dancers. It is not only the whole scene that is invested as a medium of images but also the dancers' own body. Everything is mobile, everything moves.
The title of the show is Five Passages in the Shadows or Transparenze. The transparent aspect. I think you insist a lot on that transparency through the shadows.

P.D.: Yes, I just didn't want to give the term "shadow" a dark, infernal or deadly characteristic. I wanted to give the meaning of the impalpable, the sense of light, of something mysterious. So you can see the shadow in that sense. I wanted it to become brighter and more transparent when it resurfaced. Transparent in the sense that we have the opportunity to pierce these veils of memory and make them tell stories, our history ...

R.B. : It is true that your shows are at first very carrier of images, paintings and therefore, they are often suspended in a kind of weightlessness. There are moments that float. So here, through the creation of Lee Yanor, do you get to a little more lightness, what you seem to be looking for, and how?

P.D.: I think there is a little more levity, I will say, perhaps, that there is more life. Life inevitably leads you to a movement, a sweetness. Life is something flexible, it's like water. Yes, I will say that there is something water in this show so necessarily sensuality, freedom. Of course, we always carry with us the memory of difficulty, suffering, weight, body weight. But I will say that little by little this body weight is starting to lighten. Even the joints: if they speak to us at a time of suffering, there is a distance, there is much more distance, they tell us about this gravity but they are light. They're starting to break free.

Choreographer Paco Dècina and photographer Lee Yanor in Five Passage in the Shadows at the White-Mesnil Cultural Forum on October 10 and 11 and solo on the tribute to Christian Ferry at the Contemporary Dance Theatre from November 3 to 7 p.m.

Rosita Boisseau
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Paco Dècina, Herve Robbe,
Little Conversation Around the Image" - Interview by Irena Filiberti and Jean-Marc Adolphe
Mouvement n° 10, Mai - Juin - Juillet 1995

Both have an "aesthetic project." Both, in their last shows, question representation and perception. Because dance is (also) an art of vision, Paco Dècina and Hervé Robbe discuss the role of the image.

Originally from Naples, Paco Dècina made his name in France with Tempi Morti in 1987. Very written composition, geographical forms, falls, movements on the ground establish a sentimental landscape with poses and faces open to the music of the South. Paco Dècina strives to take weight off human figures, the rumor of cities, the archetypes he uses. All gravity gradually fades away. According to the mental image that provokes each creation, Ombre in rosso antico (1989) subtracts from the stone its immobility. It is a question of updating the traces or the memory of the bodies engraved in him. The dance is that of a dream, the gestures are due to the fresco, sometimes broken under the rustling movement of buried desires.
From the visible to the invisible, the desire for accuracy, which points to the hard and as the pieces, leads to Vestigia di a corpo (1991). A place of remembrance with gestures torn apart, fragmented at the irruption of a collective unconscious marked by the history of barbarism.
Since this art of visibility successively developed, Paco Dècina draws the thought of a world made of the very fabric of the body. Ciro Esposito fu Vicenzo (1992) is imagination that emerges, responds to images that flood everyday space, to the acceleration of ordinary time that obstructs fantasy. Ciro Esposito evokes by carnal and poetic paintings, a time rediscovered thanks to the sensations offered by time lost, singular accents or moments created by these concentrations of being.
In the interweaving of vision and movement, Paco Dècina's choreography makes the original image a thought that strictly deciphers the signs given in the body. His most recent piece, Fessure, premiered on February 18 in Chartres (in co-production with the Isadora-Danse at the Centre), develops and amplifies a singular work in the dark, which operates in the fault of vision, the updating of buried gestures. Paco Dècina describes Fessure de: "small wounds of the invisible that reveal, in an empty space, which seems to contain nothing perceptible, the continuous flow of our feelings. Small cracks, suspended time, that take us into these small rooms where the void seems to take the place of the bodies, these distant bodies, whose history is lost behind the cracks" . (...)

It was tempting, in the light of their recent creations, to gather around a "conversation about the image", Paco Dècina and Hervé Robbe, two very distinct choreographers for whom, however, dance opens to an "iconography of the possible".

Jean-Marc Adolphe

Following fromIrena Filiberti

You both took the side of an image review. Hervé Robbe with Id, Paco Dècina in Ciro Esposito fu Vincenzo. The first is that the images distance man from community practices, the second refers to the need to take the time to think about death.

Paco : We don't have time in life anymore. We can't find any more. Thinking about death is a way of saying that we can act, reflect on other data than material or daily, that it is necessary to find a time for ourselves. But I never talked about the image. And I would like to go back on that word, clarify it because it is often used with a negative meaning that I do not share.

Hervé: I understand Paco's reluctance. We need images. Recreating them, working on symbolic heritage are necessary gestures. But what I mention in Id concerns a current situation of consumption, the lack of community practice induced by television, for example. Paradoxically, while the image should make sense, serve to create a critical look at the world and the subjects that concern us, such as death, communication tools ultimately tend to abolish important issues. For lack of confrontation, of direct debate, one creates an illusion. The real problems are no longer addressed. But I live in the picture. It's even what keeps me moving, allows me to act.

How does it interfere in your respective work?

Paco : It is the consequence of a background, a dynamic, a statement. I work first on these elements, then comes the shaping, the image. It is like a closed moment long in space, a maximum summary at every moment of what with the dancers, we want to convey: Energy, sensations, emotions.

Hervé : In the creative process, we do not have a clear idea of what the image is going to be. It comes from projections of different levels of colors, materials, body states, etc. that will at some point materialize a form that itself becomes an image. In any case, it is treated as such. But we are also dependent on the subterranean work of the unconscious in the sense that we are the heirs of a history, of a cultural context that we convey. These factors are decisive in our view of the world, in the way we question ourselves, how we work on a particular subject. They contribute to how an image is needed. The one who looks at it also plays a role. How a person appropriates the image or not, all this data is involved in the reading. In Id, I wanted to suggest that the screen is like a mirror that kills for lack of debate and therefore community practice. This makes it easy to move towards image manipulation. It is fascinating to analyze what circulates in it, its positive intention, what one does with it, its manipulation. There are no good and bad images. Every form created calls for a particular aesthetic and, for the subject of a sensitive approach that provokes or not its adhesion, which raises questions.

Among the negative aspects you talk about television, the screen, how do you see advertising?

Hervé : His interest lies in the way he treats the body. The way advertising composes an image is one-sided. And the stereotype she proposes eventually settles down, being operating on a group of people. His speech plays on the need for identification, for belonging to a community. It comes back to the power of the image and the paradox of the multiplication of communication tools, the logic of which would lead to open, tolerant approaches that ultimately lead to confinement in a single function and a single reading.

Paco : That is the purpose of advertising. Rather, the problem is the shift of meaning around this phenomenon. There is now confusion in all para-artistic disciplines. Illustrators, photographers and models who work in these environments are celebrated as divas. Fashion and advertising remain tools for consumption and profits. Even in dance, it is easier to land by meeting the demand. Entertainment, as well as the areas we have just mentioned, are reassuring, but have little to do with artistic work.

Hervé : Why are they so influential?

Paco : to make this distinction is an individual interest and work. Between the fear of difference and the need to belong to a community, it is easy for the power to impose a model. It comes back to what I was talking about in Ciro about the lack of time to think about yourself. The pressure generated by the organization of society is stronger than the individual. It's hard not to be overwhelmed. With the development of communication, information as well as travel, everyone finds themselves in the same space, which makes it possible to impose more strongly a system, a way of thinking.

Hervé : There are few privileged spaces to ask essential questions. But we can very well question the power of the image in a global way and define in a personal way how each approaches the thing. From what you just said, for example, there would be some kind of resistance to see.

Paco : But it goes beyond the image. This one is a tool, a means. What we are talking about is a position in life. By mentioning the cause, we deviate from the subject. What drives us to make images? Perhaps my mental form is to go behind the picture. I am only concerned about the ones I create, whether they are the result of some work.

Hervé : But whoever looks can only see on the other side.

Paco : He sees and feels through her. I did not talk about this but about what creates the image, which itself exists for what it is. She does not need an explanation. That's what I think is beautiful. When she is fair, perfect, in harmony, she speaks for herself. In language, a film is not an image. Is image, a painting or a photo. Or we're talking about the image. It's much more abstract.

Hervé : For me, there is no dissociation between a physical object called an image, like a photo, and the idea of the image. The physical object of the photo is part of the image.

Paco : My own definition distinguishes between static and movement. It can be something physically frozen but has a life, a dynamic, a space, a time and that is what is magical. Dance and cinema are a continuous series of shots of images.

Hervé : If the viewer is suggested to an action of the gaze, a listening, it will intervene on a succession of images...

Paco :...We've been talking for an hour. This hour is not an image. I can then say that I keep a picture of this hour. But all development, space and time are not an image.

Hervé : The context is different. Here, there is a relationship of gaze and communication through language. It's different to summon the viewer to watch. In Id, to question relativity, I put dancers and dance images into situations. If you overlay, compare or associate them, you get a multiplicity of reading, and a difficulty in writing what is right, what harmonizes, what is true.

Paco : The reading also depends on the emptiness, the space left to the viewer. We can create images that leave no room for him. Something hyper-narrative, fulfilled or even objective. It may be interesting, but it seems to me essential that an image gives everyone the opportunity to find their story. Extremely descriptive work directs the reading. It can even give tracks completely closed.

Hervé : It's still a work on the image. Choosing, using a story, a particular context allows the interpretation of symbols and therefore images conveyed in a global form.

Paco : If as soon as you have your eyes open, you are in front of an image, you are necessarily there all the time. For me, it's not that, an image!

Hervé : It can also involve other senses than sight: touch, smell, ear. Don't you think that the development of the power of the image takes place at the expense of an apprehension of the sensitive world more generally?

Paco : Not. It depends on the kind of images you give. The problem is not the image itself but what it conveys by its essence.

Hervé : We at least agree that it is useful and meaningful.

Paco : How could I say otherwise since I treat the writing with the image. But I disagree with the idea that it can be dangerous. It is not the image that is dangerous but what we make of it, the way it is contextualized.

What is his role in your work?

Paco : Working in the contemporary art circuit is already a choice. Secondly, I attach particular importance to theatre, which is one of the last rites still existing in this society which pushes us ever more to get lost through all the images. I consider my work to be first and foremost a social duty, a relationship with man, an act of love. The fact that an artist may have time to devote himself to this makes him a privileged person because the social organization that punctuates the lives of most people interferes with this privileged time. In the past, there were times, days for rituals. It is important to preserve these special moments that allow us to address other concerns and find ourselves.

Hervé : As with all artists, our role as choreographers is to suggest a number of questions, poetically, through images or with actions that are more than just an image.

Paco : You raise an interesting point about the choreographer who suggests something through images that are not images.

Hervé : The use of images in society, their speed produce a reduction of meaning, for lack of time to look and deepen this meaning. It's all about profitability. Instead of communicating we're decommunicating. The performing arts are visual but not exclusively. Id takes this critique of the image into account by placing the audience in the theatrical space with proposals: you can touch the dancers, see you. You are also an image. Using the machinery of the theatre that plays on the illusion and the multiplication of the image, the question that remains is: what do I see? The form chosen is not conceptual but sensitive. To do this, I worked on the myth of Narcissus.
On the other hand, if I share your opinion on the ritual function of theatre, I notice that today they are no longer built by considering their symbolic meaning. They are no more than the representation of a certain power in the city.

Paco : The image you have to see. Yes, but in art, the image is not seen solely from the point of view of what one sees. It is not just a representation and what we see is not just about what is physically inscribed. This is between the power of suggestion in the work and the ability to perceive.

Hervé : It reminds me of the question that we ask ourselves the first time we see ourselves in a mirror. Me looking, my reflection and "something else." What makes me think about: what do I see, how I see, what is it? Etc. Beyond the physical reality of the mirror and me exposing myself to the mirror, there is a third person who does not exist but who is in action, in a relationship questioning these two images.
I wonder if the viewer is not also in this relationship. We offer him a living object, he arrives with his story, he receives a number of material information that are not only physical images but also bodies in motion, people who speak. I stress a lot about the work of the viewer. We can, of course, orient the perception of the object we want to give, hence the importance of being critical in relation to a consumption of images, but we cannot hide the action of the spectator who will confront symbolic elements that often exceed our consciousness when we put them on stage. A richer and unseaded reading has finally prevailed.

Paco : It is impossible to project yourself into an image where the artist's intention is not inscribed.

Hervé : I am not sure. Some people work very elaborately and consciously. Others, more instinctive, make the same journey but in a less calculated way.

Paco : Just because someone works on instinct doesn't mean they don't know what it is.

Hervé : Obviously. In Id, I wondered why one thing is more visible than another, if the way one creates the relationship, the contact was not decisive for the reading of the body, how to awaken the senses of the viewer, put in situations the sensitive. That's what brought me to this question about the image. What constitutes the object is important but also where you are sitting, how you look, from near or far... These very specific experiences confirm that the same object can be read completely contradictoryly depending on the situation.

Paco : I don't think being alone in front of a screen produces the effects you report on. Rather, it is the quality of what is given to be seen.

Hervé : But it's also the fact that we can be satisfied with that. There is a state of loss, of all that body practice can involve, of the ritual of the theatre, of the decision to go there, of meeting the people who participate in this experience. Working in a theatre and as a choreographer, I really feel like I'm in one of the last places of resistance.

Paco : A final point about the image concerns the fact that it is completely bathed in cultural sources. A real image, with a deep meaning, with a complete synthesis, finds a universal communication.

Hervé : The universal dimension is closer to human values. From the moment a form exists, it has a definition in space, it looks at itself, it is an image. All choreographers work on the image.

Irena Filiberti
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""Paco Dècina: a catalyst" - Interview by Isabelle Launay
Programme du Théâtre Contemporain de la Danse, Mai 1995

Dancing can annoy me! As a child, I didn't like dancing at all, when I went to the Opera House with my grandmother, every time there was a ballet, I found it terribly boring. Seeing on a stage a dance that I can find in a studio does not interest me, it's a bit like going to the concert to Listen to scales. Since the age of four, I practiced intensively competitive sports and I actually started dancing very late during my scientific studies at university, after also making music (but I was not gifted), painting, writing, theater (but I did not like the text). By chance, one day in Rome, I took an Afro-Cuban dance class, and all of a sudden I felt that it summed up all my past artistic experiences. I was lucky enough to get back into a professional environment quickly. If I may have been frustrated to have started late, I realized that it was an advantage, I had a broader and more precise vision of why I was dancing.

On stage

We are like split, both on the outside, in itself, out of oneself. I'm not the same, you never stay yourself; when I see the same person on stage and in his dressing room, there is something wrong. It remains mysterious, what you feel does not always correspond to what passes or does not pass the ramp. But I can experience the same kind of emotion when I look in my studio.

The catalyst's work

This work doesn't start the moment I enter the studio. It is a constant search, a choice of life, a mission, a work on oneself, encounters with people who have the same vision of life and who come together to share a state and bring out a material to offer it to the viewer.
It is a work on intuition, an effort to escape the daily mechanisms and to make appear something that falls under the invisible to give it a visible form. To work is to try to let go of what reassures us, our protections, to work, is to dive. I often say that it is not me who creates, that I am only a catalyst. I get through not something and the form arrives, we try to make visible something that exists and that does not yet have a shape. To work is to sniff, to open up to become perceptible to what is happening in the city, in the crowd, in the present. The dancer's work only makes sense if it touches the unconscious, only if it brings out a secret body memory. So I don't want to keep my dances, I struggle to do something else all the time. The notation notes only the form of the movement, not the dance of a man.

A social duty

The contemporary is the present day, it is 1995. And dance has a social duty; Theatre is one of the last places where someone takes the time to meet himself through a show. It is a moment of privileged reflection on how to be in the present. Hervé Guilbert said very well that "the choreographer is someone that society seems to pay to redeem the death of his gestures." Thus society needs the artist to be able to see himself. Because the artist has the chance to think and create twenty-four hours a day, he has a duty to respond to this social need, to have this awareness of the contemporary. The viewer must be able to find a part of his own story in what he sees. Otherwise it is a dance that offends the Man in the spectator.

A catalyst

Dancer, this word can refer to different universes: I have the impression that in Italy it often evokes the commercial world of television where dancing means to show a show of an external appearance. It can also provoke a form of admiration for the sacrifice, effort and way of life that this job would entail. When I say I'm a "contemporary dancer," I get the feeling that people don't really understand what that means.


For a few years now, I no longer say that I am a "dancer" but "choreographer", even if I dance in my choreography. This is necessary for me: when I didn't, I felt like a voyeur who couldn't share the energy of the show. Reduced to being just an outside eye, I locked myself more and more into a role of master that did not suit me. When I know I'm going to dance, I can easily go from the outside to the inside even though I've spent two months out of three watching.


As I mature, I perceive this profession in a more global and less self-centered way: indeed, a young dancer still has a lot to prove to himself, he then realizes that the job of a performer is to be at the service of a show. When I was younger, I was interested in the virtuoso challenge and I enjoyed a dance by projecting myself first on the dancer, now it doesn't matter to me. The movement itself has no meaning, only the source of its emergence interests me, its profound meaning.
Dance evolves according to the why and how of the work, it is the consequence of what we were yesterday; what we dance today, we become tomorrow.

France and Italy

I never decided to move to France, it happened by chance, according to work proposals. As an Italian, I didn't have any particular difficulties, but in saying that, I realize that almost all the members of my company are Italian! This is not voluntary and I can of course work with French, Spanish or Americans. I work on the unconscious and collective memory, each body carries a cultural baggage, it is loaded differently. Because my work is a collective creation from a human matter, it simply turns out that it is easier for me to communicate with Italians because we share the same references or the same treasure of images or sensations. I am trying to touch this invisible thing, this unspoken that goes beyond borders. That is the whole task of the interpreter.

Isabelle Launay
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Paco Dècina: "Capturing energy and shaping it"
- Interview by Joelle Acoulon - Le Courrier Picard, 24 janvier 1995

Paco Dècina : « Capturing energy and shaping it »

On Friday, January 27, the House of Culture of Amiens presents a creation by the choreographer Paco Dècina: Ciro Esposito fu Vincenzo. Meet the creator.

Courrier Picard : Did you come to choreography at the end of a "classic" journey?

Paco Dècina : As a child, I was fascinated by drawing and painting, but my parents vetoed it and I went to classical, normal studies: high school, university.
Until I was 16, I tried to paint as a self-taught artist, but it was too difficult. So in college, I did theatre, I played, I wrote. Somehow, I was looking to replace the visual arts.
At the same time, I've always done a lot of sports. But by the time I was 20, I had stopped. Later, I wanted to get back into physical activity and a friend gave me the idea to take a dance class. It was Afro-Cuban dance and, from the first class, I had a kind of flash. As if all my experiences, my artistic research crystallized. I found everything there: painting, theatre, music, poetry...

C.P. You've never thought about dancing before?

P.D. No, I knew classical dance, the opera ballets where I had gone with my grandmother but this form of dance had never attracted me.

C.P. Is it a handicap or an advantage to come late to dance?

P.D. Au début, j'ai ressenti une petite frustration mais en fait, découvrir la danse à l'âge adulte m'en a donné une vision plus large. J'y ai trouvé un moyen d'expression qui me convenait, j'y ai retrouvé quelque chose qui m'attirait dans la peinture. Une expression très directe, qui échappe au filtre de la parole, du texte.

C.P. How and why did you come to France?

P.D. I came here to do an internship with friends. I had the opportunity to come to Paris, to stay there for several months... which have turned into years. It is easier to become a choreographer in France. Italy and France experienced the same boom in the 1980s but, in my country, it stopped immediately. It is a question of theatrical structures, there are no grants for dance, but only for prose. There is no ministry of culture but a ministry of sports, entertainment and tourism.

C.P. When did you start your company?

P.D. I arrived in Paris in 1984 and formed my company in 1987. In 1990, as my work changed, so did the dancers. But right now, I'm working with someone who was in the first group.

C.P. How do you work on a choreography?

P.D. My work finds its footing in the human, the collective unconscious, time, death, everything I call "the intimate invisible." The choice of interpreters is therefore paramount. My dancers have the same vision of art as I do, the same philosophy of life.
In the beginning, I always worked with a strong structure. I needed to protect myself. But as I move forward, I try to evacuate him. I try to start from a blank page. When I start a job, I try to create between me and the dancers a state that can bring out from our unconscious the story that will become the show. The work allows us to discover in the depths of each one, in the memory of the body, elements that we possess but which are not immediately accessible.
Create a show, it is to capture the energy that is around me and shape this shapeless mass, to make the invisible visible.
Having a structure at the beginning is certainly more reassuring about the construction of the show. You feel more confident, you know where you're going, but it quickly becomes a construction game marked by know-how.

C.P. Are your choreographies marked by your first passion, painting?

P.D. A lot of people tell me that my work is very pictorial. I think it's because it induces, evokes, stimulates something that allows the viewer to move forward in his own story. In my choreography, I want to leave the viewer a space where he can slip.
An artist, even if he also works for a living, is privileged. He has more time to devote to the "invisible." The secret of art, painting, dance, theatre..., this magical secret is that it brings us back to us. A theatre or painting are special places that provoke moments of reflection and recollection of one's own history. These are special moments in this time when we run everywhere, where we must always be effective, where we lose more and more the opportunity to communicate with the most intimate part of ourselves.

Joëlle Acoulon
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"Paco dances with Eduardo" - Interview with Luana Bombardi

The Neapolitan choreographer signs his fifth creation Vestigia di un corpo. He previewed it in Quimper at the end of a two-month residency offered by the city and the Development Association.

Panorama du Médecin : Does the title of your play refer to the meaning of the choreography?

Paco Dècina : Yes. Right from the start, I wanted to work on the memory of the body. I have read a lot about this subject, drawing on psychoanalysis, philosophy or scientific texts. from what I was reading, I tried to understand the process of evolution, it is an expansion movement that is at times sclerotic, blocked by fear.
These blockages persist and eventually cause a rupture, a shock, a liberating cataclysm. We are living in a period of gridlock: today, the vital energy is atrophied, undermined, the dimension of the soul and the sacred no longer exists. This show is an attempt to say: look where we are! Vestigia di un corpo tries to explore, through trial and error, what remains of our lost intimacy.

There is a pictorial sensibility in all your rooms, a particularly neat taste for the image.

This relationship to the image is part of me, and comes out almost involuntarily. During my childhood, I was immersed in an environment where aesthetics were important. Before I approach dance, I wanted to be a painter, it's certainly not innocent! In any case, we live in a very visual time, which permeates us to varying degrees.

How do you shape your characters? Do your performers have a share in the writing of the choreography?

I ask the dancers to improvise, and then I use and transform the material they offer me. I compose according to my interpreters, but I want to remain the prime contractor.

Vestigia di un corpo leaves little room for large dance sequences. The movement takes a form that is either tortured, convulsive, or very clean, angelic. Is that a choice on your part?.

Any movement at first sight can be dance, including stillness. The dance I am looking for is nourished from within, flows as evidence from the suggested universe. Starting from an overly codified writing is risking falling into a system, into a know-how, to the detriment of the necessity of movement.

Do you intend to stay in France?

Yes, I can't imagine living anywhere else. Despite the difficulties, Paris offers a very stimulating cultural mix!

Luana Bombardi
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"In Search of Lost Intimacy"
- Interview by Véronique Favarel Panorama du Médecin, 16 octobre 1991

The French say of him, he is a Dancing De Filippo; today, Paco Dècina explains his technique and auditions for a show.

Emerging choreographer, Neapolitan but French by adoption, Paco Dècina has been performing for years in Paris with his own company; he is in Bologna for an internship (started on Sunday and extended until Saturday). His way of doing dance is not like a current or a pre-existing technique. On this subject, his confirmation is polite, but firm and resolute. Paco Dècina is a captivating character defined by French critics as "a young Eduardo De Filippo in a dance version".

Do you recognize yourself in this definition?

"My shows are related to my Parthenopean (Neapolitan) origins, to collective memory, to social, even if compared to the popular theatre of the great Eduardo the aesthetic form I get by dancing is obviously different."

Why did you choose Paris as your field of action?

"It was a coincidence. In 1983, I decided to move there to study. After school, work commitments arrived and I stayed. Everyone knows that France advocates an extremely elastic cultural policy. It is an ideal field of action for artists who are supported in all respects and above all, respected."

How did you get to the dance?

"I have always had a great passion for painting, for set design, for theatre in general. Then came the love of dance, which in a way summed up and encompassed my previous experiences. The interest in choreography comes from the powerful desire to compose that has always animated me."

You once said that "the architecture of the body is something very clear and understandable to all. It is in the artistic field that everything is complicated" ...

"This means that for a dancer the most difficult obstacle to overcome is to understand what he wants to express and how to express it. After understanding, begins the work of translation on the body through dance. In other words, everything is complicated in the artistic-creative process because through technology, which I consider to be the means of expression, the common vocabulary of dance, the work of assembling the different individual and inner universes begins."

Do you prefer to work with Italian dancers or with foreign dancers?

"Italians, especially today. The motive is simple: there is an understanding related to the earth, to the Mediterranean. It is history within us, the same heritage of traditions that connects us and brings us closer."

Future plans?

"The next step for my company will be Belgium with the show recently presented at Rovereto's "East-West" festival: Vestigia di corpo. In addition, in anticipation of the staging of a new show whose title will be Ciro Esposito o un'iconografia del possibile, I will organize an audition in Paris and one also here in Bologna, at the end of the course, precisely Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Solaris Center."

Véronique Favarel
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"Paco Dècina or the Art of Nuance" - Interview by Véronique Favarel Panorama du Médecin, 26 avril 1988

Panorama du Médecin : If I look at your choreographic career, I have five pieces in four years, two of them in the space of nine months. That's a lot!

Paco Dècina : My first pieces do not exceed twenty minutes, they are rather nuances. I consider Tempi Morti as my first consequential piece. Circumvesuviana is the second.

Spaced a short interval, these two pieces nevertheless seem very different.

Tempi Morti is a rather smooth, rather light piece, with very typical characters. In Circumvesuviana, I tried to dig further behind appearances. It's a harder room to access. I was interested in looking for violence, trouble, ambiguity hidden under a polished varnish. Find the fragile point of balance, the in-between.

What was your starting point?

Last summer, I started by saying my point, the most important step. I wanted to talk about southern Italy and Vesuvius. Circumvesuviana is a commuter train that serves all the villages at the foot of Vesuvio. through this name was the possibility of turning around an image, a mirage. For many Neapolitans, Vesuvius still smokes. I also wanted to talk about the sacred-profane mix, very perennial in Italy. I immersed myself in the naïve imagery of my old catechism books, I wanted to evoke the Madonnas, the ex-votos who populate our Churches, this climate of heightened devotion... But I do not pretend to tell the story of Naples, the Circumvesuviana is an excuse to talk about men and women.

Your remarks are directed at the human in general and not geographically.

Yes, through the imaginations, a slowness, an image of the sacred and the profane specific to the people of the South, I want to talk about all that is more impalpable and that has no geographical coordinate.

The room is nevertheless imbued with an all-Italian warmth!

Yes, through the imaginations, a slowness, an image of the sacred and the profane specific to the people of the South, I want to talk about all that is more impalpable and that has no geographical coordinate.

Your interpreters also reflect these qualities.

Yes, it's like the moment of the play when we strip the theater, I expect the dancers to be as close to themselves as possible, without a mask, to try to live their story and transmit it without parasitic interference. This requires a certain maturity. Let's take a silly example. If I poke myself to a rose and grimace to express the pain, there is hardly any surprise! But if I internalize the sensation and let it pass through the skin without added anything, it becomes interesting! I think it is important to keep a certain distance from things, a form of lucidity. Live intensely but know where you are. I want to say that I am very happy with the company! They all consciously chose to work with me, despite the economic difficulties, and have an adult relationship to work.

You seem to have a predilection for objects! I think of hoops, ladders...

The hoops are an unusual element of the piece that I love as such. And then the image of three mature women playing the hoop pleases me. There is a sensuality that contrasts with the ethereal attitude of the Madonnas. The three women oscillate between profane and sacred. As for the stepladders, they first act as pedestals, drawing differences in level. But don't see any particular metaphysical meaning!

Did your initial project include the singer?'

Absolutely! He embodies a voice, a more abstract presence.

The woman seems to me more important than the three men...

The three women are more typical. I trained couples from them. The three men remain more indistinct, it is true. This refers to the image of the woman in Italy, highly respected under macho appearances. That's my point of view!

You've been working in France for four years. Is that a choice on your part?

Yes, everything is much easier: financial means, reception facilities, informed public. Italy is still far behind! France is a crossroads both European and Latin, I feel good about it.

Does your experience as a dancer help you?

To build your path, you have to have a solid foundation, and to be able to erase the technique, you must first know and master it. It's like painting: you don't improvise as an abstract painter!

Isn't it a bit heavy to assume the dual role of choreographer-performer?

I would like to dance somewhere else and devote myself exclusively to my choreography. At the moment, I don't have much of a choice because of lack of money.

You seem pretty sure of your job.

I did what I felt and I believe in it. I'm sure of the piece, but there are small nuances to change. It's all about a very fragile balance. The play will find its true color in contact with the public.

Véronique Favarel
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