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Marie-Claude Poulin

(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Marie-Claude Poulin, Le corpuscule mécanicien, 1999 (video)
Marie-Claude Poulin, Le corpuscule mécanicien, 1999 (video)
Born in Quebec in 1967, Marie-Claude Poulin entered the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1991 to study dance performance and choreography. Since 1998, she has been working on a master's degree in kinanthropology (1) to understand movement in relation to the nervous system. She is professionally trained in modern dance and interested in the Penchenat fitness table method (2), which she has studied under Thérèse Cadrin-Petit in Montreal. Her background also includes workshops in contemporary dance, butoh (with Jocelyne Montpetit), ballet, improvisation, clowning, ethnic dancing, and more.

Poulin taught the fitness table method at Thérèse Cadrin-Petit's school and at the École de danse supérieure du Québec from 1990 to 1999. Since 1990, she has also taught dance at various institutions, such as the National Theatre School of Canada (from 1994 to 1996) and the Université du Québec à Montréal (in 1997 and 1998). In addition to performing on both local and international stages (she has worked with Meg Stuart, Manon Oligny, Benoît Lachambre and Jean-Pierre Perreault), Poulin has produced several choreographies, including Les Trois Gorgones (1996-1997), The Stranger on Display (1994), Abrazar (1994) and La nuit de Saturne (1991-1992), presented mainly in Quebec, as well as in Vienna, Austria, and Paris, France, in recent years.

Her latest projects reveal a heightened sensitivity to merging different disciplines. This merge is the intent behind Le corpuscule mécanicien (1999-2000), a choreography incorporating video. In this work, Poulin dances with two other performers, Line Nault and Alexandra L'Heureux, on a stage that is bare except for a simple coffee table used as a projection screen on the floor. The back wall also serves as a screen, and indeed the entire performance space, including the dancers' bodies, becomes a projection surface. This marriage of dance and new technologies creates sensual encounters between the body and translucent images, in addition to more traditional encounters between the body and music.

Le corpuscule mécanicien was produced through artistic collaborations coordinated by La compagnie de fortune, which Poulin founded in 1998. She describes the company's creative process as follows:

"The dance developed by La compagnie de fortune implies that the body is not a sole locomotion system. It is interested in the expressive and metaphoric potential of its internal functioning. It aims at questioning the conception of the body's unique centre of gravity by using all points of the body as sources of experience and movement." (3)

With this company, Poulin delves further into the exploration of body, language and senses in relation to technology. To find the primitive-or even the paranormal-in technological culture, she focuses on the physiological and psychological nature of movement.

Martin Kusch and Marie-Claude Poulin, visual artist and dancer respectively, met at the workshop Körper.technik/, which brought together 24 artists from the worlds of dance, performance, the sound arts and the visual arts to discuss creation and collaboration. Organized by London's Shinkansen and the ITI Theater der Welt de Berlin and presented in June 1999 in Berlin, the month-long workshop set out to examine the links between live performance and digital technologies while encouraging the contribution of several creators to the same work. In the spirit of investigating possible exchanges between the different forms of artistic experience, Kusch and Poulin then started to work together in their own company, kondition pluriel.

Martin Kusch and Marie-Claude Poulin, artists whose conceptual concerns have a natural affinity, are both keenly interested in seeing the body interact with light and confront images that are revealed or concealed as the work unfolds. Together, the two have examined the potential of such interplay through their production schème.

Catherine Mussely © 2001 FDL

(1) Kinanthropology is a new term coined by combining the Greek words kinesis(movement), anthropos (man) and logos (study). This scientific discipline studies human motor function. Consult the web site of the Département de kinanthropologie de l'Université du Québec à Montréal:

(2) Penchenat fitness table method :

(3) Excerpt from the press kit of La compagnie de fortune.