François Chaignaud and Marie-Caroline Hominal

In Duchesses, two choreographers—naked and armed with hula hoops—shake up the New York at the Invisible Dog.

Time Out New York: Were you a teenager?
Marie-Caroline Hominal:
Yes, when I was in London I was 15. I had the possibility to go to the Alvin Ailey school when I was 15, but it was too far away. My uncle lives in New York, in fact, but for my mom it was a bit complicated to go to New York, so I chose to go to London. Now Rambert is a bit old-fashioned, but at that time, it was great. It was a good time for me.

Time Out New York: And depending on where you’re coming from, it must have felt experimental.  
Marie-Caroline Hominal:
Completely. Yes.

Time Out New York: How did you start creating work in a more experimental realm?
Marie-Caroline Hominal:
My first work was video work, which I’m still doing, in fact. I also wanted to work on things that would last. I was tired of movements that don’t last. It’s ephemeral and these are things that we can’t capture so I wanted to do my first work with video. In 2007, I started to make pieces—mostly solos. Now I’m working on a project because I went to Haiti for one month, and I was interested in the work of Maya Deren. Anyway, I’m doing a piece that involves more people. That piece will be shown in Europe—it will premiere in Geneva and then it goes to Spain.

Time Out New York: Will your video work be shown in conjunction with Duchesses?
Marie-Caroline Hominal:
I don’t know. Now I just did a performance, which is happening in a hotel. It’s called In Bed with MadMoiselle, and it’s a one-to-one performance, so one person joins me at a time in a hotel room, and there is a video and it is in English. I was thinking that maybe I could do that performance while I am in the States. But we perform for only two days in New York and then we go to San Francisco and we perform in L.A. and Chicago. It’s the first meeting with the States.

Time Out New York: In Duchesses, do you perform with François or do you think of yourself performing alone? What is the task?
Marie-Caroline Hominal:
We have a dramaturgy. I would say we have a musical score that we carry and that we have in our mind; we both go in our own direction, but the score is very concrete and so even though we are apart we feel very much together.

Time Out New York: Do you look at other?
Marie-Caroline Hominal:
We feel each other. We are very near to each other. There are two moments when we look at each other. At the end, we really watch each other, we communicate with each other, but before that, no. We just feel each other. I can feel his breathing. There is no sound. We had music, we had sound and then we decided that the problem with sound is that it is just like putting a frame on a painting so we decided to keep it completely open so that each person can really enter the way he likes. Some people can hear the slap of the hoop on the body. And we can see their heads moving. I don’t see so much the people, but they talk about it. They also talk about how they see the hoops going in one direction, but if you look at it for a long time, then you see it going in the other direction: It changes the vision. That is quite strange and it happens to a lot of people, in fact.

Time Out New York: What goes through your mind if the hoop drops?
Marie-Caroline Hominal: Oh, it’s a horrible moment. I hate it. Usually what happens next is horrible too, because if it happens to François—let’s say—for sure, one minute later, it happens to me. We are connected in that sense. But it’s okay. It’s life. People who have seen it dropping say, “It’s so magical—those hoops are continuously moving and we forget that they can drop.” It can have an end. It puts things into reality when it drops. That’s part of life, and we just have to accept it.

Time Out New York: How do you use transformation in this piece?
Marie-Caroline Hominal:
It’s like the image appearing to the body, but it’s not like we provoke the image. People say that they see a lot of historical paintings and images when we are hooping. They appear by the fact that we have to change position. The body is alive. We are not hooping and standing. The body stays alive; it has to move. It’s like when you put a stamp on something. You become that image without having purposely provoked it, and this is what is beautiful. With nothing, no affect, no glitter, nothing, those images appear. We are a woman and a man. We are naked. It’s like going back in time.

Duchesses is at the Invisible Dog Apr 24, 25.

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