Mark Tompkins

à ma mère

Mark Tompkins © Per Morten Abrahamsen
Mark Tompkins © Per Morten Abrahamsen

20 > 22.03.18

CN D Pantin

STAYIN ALIVE: the title of Mark Tompkins’s new work incorporates some of the paradoxes that he has been continually grappling with throughout his career: creating confusion, mixing the spectacular and the intimate, interweaving the resources of the voice and the body and disguises of every kind, introducing to the contemporary stage a web of influences from song to cabaret in order to explore the ambiguous relationship between fiction and embodiment. STAYIN ALIVE is thus a disco hit – one whose title immediately triggers the first notes in people’s minds – and a meaning, staying alive, which evokes a meditation on passing time, aging, death and the future for the dancer’s body. This work was inspired by the feeling of what it is like to now be categorised as ‘old’, with your career behind you: too old to dance, to move, to create. Faced with this silent injunction to disappear and become a name in history, Mark Tompkins asserts the persistence of the body as a force in the present: a body at the boundary between what he is and all his futures, all the states he has dreamt about. A danse macabre, STAYIN ALIVE goes back and forth, frolics, sings, sings again, repeats; lists real and imagined lives, states passed through and those that remain to be invented. The stage becomes a big fiction – the locus for the reality of bodies and at the same time for a scrap of eternity wrenched from time. In this show in which you never know what to take at face value, what to see as biting irony or a celebration of transformation, the passion for embodying persists.

A multi-faceted choreographer, singer and dancer, Mark Tompkins masters different genres and mixes forms in a tireless quest to break down barriers. With the company I.D.A., founded in 1983, he creates unique performances combining music, song, text and video. Created in collaboration with stage designer Jean-Louis Badet, his works veer between concerts, performances, solos and group pieces, such as the musical trilogy BLACK’N’BLUES (2010), OPENING NIGHT (2012) and SHOWTIME (2013). In 2017, he created BAMBI un drame familial, then HOLY ROLLER with and for James Carlès and RESURRECTION in collaboration with Mariana Tengner Barros.