Moving words in space is an artistic and teaching practice developed by Agnès Benoit and focusing on a dialogue between dance improvisation and language acquisition. In what way can an unknown or unfamiliar language start making sense while we’re moving? How can it resonate within the body and initiate a dance?
This practice offers an ongoing dialogue between movement and words as they’re starting to find their shape within the body and throughout space.
MOVING WORDS IN SPACE includes:
Jump’n Turn, a children’s workshop taught by Agnès within school settings.
To see the short film One Two, Through!: HERE
A training program which will start in the Fall 2024, for people wishing to teach a language through movement and learn about Agnès’ practice. Registration starts early 2024, if you would like to be added to the mailing list, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
A research project which took place between 2021 et 2023. It was organised around several areas: interviews, residencies, a workshop-laboratory for adults, Jump’n turn workshops, a symposium, documentation. This project initiated by Agnès and developed in collaboration with Books on the Move, received the support of French institutions Espaces Pluriels, La Manufacture CDCN, Centre national de la danse (Aide à la recherche et au patrimoine en danse 2021) and DRAC Nouvelle Aquitaine.
What took place during this research: Project’s outline:HERE Calendar (in French): HERE
Video recording (in French) of the final research presentation at the Centre national de la danse, Pantin. February 2, 2023: HERE
Project’s summary report (in French): HERE Language & Movement Symposium – September 16 & 17, 2022 – La Manufacture CDCN, Bordeaux. A two-day encounters around language & movement. To download the program – HERE Polylangues – A sound creation by Charlotte Imbault
During the symposium Language & Movement, Charlotte Imbault, artist, curator and co-founder of the magazine watt, captured moments, exchanges, whispers, laughters of these two days of encounters. A delicate montage taking us deep into our bodies and far into our imagination. Production: September 2022, with the participants and guest artists’ voices. And with the support of OARA
Interviews, Residencies, Research – USA – November 2021
Agnès was in residency at Bennington College, VT, and went on to do a series of interviews which were filmed in New York City, Los Angeles and Santa Maria in California, with Susan Sgorbati, Isabelle Kaplan, Peggy Florin, Cori Olinghouse, Simone Forti, David Zambrano & Aadika Singh.
The videos are being edited.
Learning English… while moving ! Conceived by Agnès Benoit, the Jump’n Turn workshop offers children, as early as 4 years old, a playful way to learn English. Exploration of language and movement take place simultaneously. It is while turning that one understands the word « turn » and not by translating it !
By following physical instructions the child breaks free from any foreign language learning apprehension. The experience becomes playful, unobstructed from any tension in the body.
This workshop is taught exclusively in English.
Within a school setting Agnès Benoit provides pedagogical tools for the teachers to facilitate the follow up of the children’s acquired vocabulary during the workshops.
Target audience : children from 4 years old and up Taught by Agnès Benoit
Jump’n Turn is taught in the frame of EAC educational programs in collaboration with la Manufacture CDCN, Bordeaux, since 2016; and Espaces Pluriels, Pau, since 2020. This workshop can also be taught in French for non French native participants.
A day in a library
What is a dance book ? Who is it aimed at ? Who writes it ? Who publishes it ? Does it make us move ? What does it do the body ? To the mind ? To the imagination ? Where do we find it ? Where do we not find it ? What is a dance books collection? …
Books on the Move attempts to answer these questions during a whole day conceived especially for libraries.
A program of workshops, readings, storytelling and a mini educational training, spark the curiosity of the public at large but also of the librarians, showing the diversity and multiplicity of dance books.
Duration : one day All audiences, from 15 years old and up.
An audio collection from excerpts from dance books
Each playlist, with a specific focus, presents texts read by different artists. Sitting comfortably on a bean bag, headphone on, you may take the time to immerse yourself in and around dance words, in and around stories of artists’ lives.
Four playlists are available (in French only) :
« Devant soi, derrière soi – dehors, la danse »
« Des vies des danse – paroles d’artistes » (épisode 1)
« Des vies des danse – paroles d’artistes » (épisode 2)
« A hauteur d’enfants, corps en mouvements »
Duration : 15 to 25 minutes. These playlists can travel with the bookstore (or without!) in dance and theater festivals, in librairies… Books on the Move brings beanbags, headphones, mp3s, small table to set up books, headphone and mp3. Soon, we will have playlists in different languages.
A reader, or several… listeners resting… On reclining chairs or lying on the floor, letting the body sink in, closing the eyes, tasting the words. Dozing off… or not.
Listening to one or more voices, one book or several excerpts, the listeners listen to the texts in a half asleep state, enabling a free flow of words throughout the body.
This can be a one-time or regular appointment (a daily meeting during a festival).
Duration: from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Everyone is welcome, 40 people maximum. Indoors or outdoors.
What happens when dance books enter a dance studio? When reading goes into moving, when steps guide voices, when books inspire the writing?
Dance books spread onto the floor are being examined, weighted up, read, put into movement during this laboratory-workshop which we teach as a two-person team. Starting first as a sensorial and mobile approach, it goes on with periods of reading, writing and discussion.
Duration: 3 hours, taught by Agnès Benoit and Stéphanie Pichon All audiences, from 15 years old and up – 20 people maximum We’ve already worked with high-school students with a minor in Dance, library users, dancers following a professional training program, and audience members.
Books wide open are on view on the wall just as paintings, a landscape of pages on which photos, texts and images enter into a dialogue…
Books on the Move draws from its collection to conceive books exhibits which can be theme driven or in conversation with the festival program and its artists.
Books on the Move can initiate these exhibits everywhere it travels to, thanks to the brilliant invention of the Portom, a device to hang books on the walls created by Image Verticale, also on sale with us.
How to create a space for spectators to speak freely and in a rigorous manner? How to put words onto dance? Stéphanie Pichon creates set ups to enable a free flow of speech after a performance but also to gather, to write texts, to imagine short recordings or to share some readings.
Duration 2 hours – For all audiences This workshop was led with groups of audience members (La Manufacture CDCN) and also with students (festival À Corps, Poitiers).
Stéphanie Pichon hosts round tables and discussions in relation to contemporary dance and more broadly the art world and education, during festivals, study days, training sessions, conferences or book fairs.
She has been collaborating with A corps festival, Poitiers University, Trente Trente festival , PREAC danse, Eclats in la Rochelle, Carnet de Voyage book fair in Bordeaux or le TAP in Poitiers.
Since two years, Books on the Move invites artists, dancers, authors, scholars, publishers, people they meet all year around on the road, in festivals and theaters. Books on the Move invites them at home, in Bordeaux.
These evenings organised around specific themes, take multiple shapes – dialogues, readings, presentations, discussions – and give time and space to the guests. In an intimate and warm atmosphere, ideas and thoughts are let to travel within the contemporary artistic community and be shared among each other.
Past encounters : 10.15.2021 Véronique Lamare & Laurence Leyrolles, At the crossroad of different practices 10.05.2021 Roaming, books, body , collective creation within Jeanne Simone company– with Laure Terrier Céline Kerrec and Anne-Laure Pigache 02.27.2021 Listening to dances with Claude Sorin 11.25.2020 Talking about dance : dancers’ words and spectators’ voices with Charlotte Imbault (via zoom) 10.29.2020 Dance, draw, dançer ! Dance and children’s books Marie Chebbah and Patricia Ferrara 10.07.2020 Discussion with Volmir Cordeiro, artist & scholar, around his book Ex-corpo
You can find some recorded discussions in the video section of our facebook
Agnès Benoit and Stéphanie Pichon offer training sessions to professionals working around books, dance and future professional dancers.
– Daring a dance book ! CNFPT Catalogue (2020-21)
A three day training program for territorial government employees (librarians, teachers in the arts, cultural mediators), around the theme of dance books and publishing. The approach is theory and practice based.
– CoMedia, university Master for cultural mediation, Bordeaux Montaigne University.
Since 2018, a 15 hour course on contemporary dance is taught by Stéphanie Pichon and Agnès Benoit, which gives the students the opportunity to approach dance through practice, but also through reading, writing and theoretical work.
– Moving the reading – professional dance training (since 2014)
Two to three days workshop with professional dance training students for an approach of dance books through movement, arousing their curiosity for dance writings. The training leads the students through different exercises in improvisation, composition, reading, writing and exhibition curatorial projets. This training has already been taught with students from Cie Rêvolution, hip-hop professional dance training center, and students from Adage professional dance training center, both in Bordeaux.
Agnès Benoit and Stéphanie Pichon may give conferences on specific themes around dance books and, more extensively, around choreography and dance studies.
La Manufacture CDCN, Bordeaux – dance and orality – 12.06.19 CND, Lyon – Dance that speaks for itself – 10.22 & 23.19 University of Arts of Philadelphia – Cité internationale de Paris – Dancing Politics, Moving Performance – 06.1219 Atelier des Doctorants, CND Pantin – Lire, écrire, danser – June 2018 Cuvier de Feydeau, Artigues – evenings tastings – dialogue between dance and wine – seasons 2013-2015
Agnès Benoit and Stéphanie Pichon met in 2008, in Berlin, the year Books on the Move was created. Agnès is a dancer and teacher, Stéphanie is a spectator and journalist.
This narrative performed as a dialogue and inspired by personal anecdotes is not only the story of Books on the Move but a way to navigate through bits and pieces of 20 century contemporary dance history via storytelling, reading and dancing. At the crossroad of their respective practices, they highlight all the diversity and very often ignored potential of dance books.
In the Spring 2017, Stéphanie Pichon and Agnès Benoit strolled trough the Bergonié Institute (Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region), with patients, medical staffs, night watchman, health managers… They collected their stories which convey as many personal cartographies of the hospital.
One year later, they turned the recordings into an audio walk within the Bergonié Institute and invited the audience to a sensorial adventure with headphone, experienced in the body, in sounds and objects, where all users’ experiences came together.
With artists Laetitia Andrieu, Véronique Lamare, Karina Ketz. Online version: here
Conceived in the frame of Bergonié Institute’s Culture and Health project, within the Collectif art bergonié 2017-19. The Arpenteurs project can be developed in other living spaces where the general public, users and workers come in contact with each other on a daily basis.
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