© WLDN 2020





Taking hands, raising a clenched fist, holding each other, a kiss…

For more than ten years, choreographer Joanne Leighton has meticulously collected photographs of people gathering together. From celebration to protest to ritual, from one side of the world to another, nearly a thousand images make up this corpus. This atlas of images is the starting point for a new dance work entitled People United, which, after 9000 Steps and Songlines, completes a trilogy of work dedicated to universal, shared movements.

Nine stunning dancers melt into these photos and bring them to flesh in scenes of jubilation, demonstration, carneval, and dance. Joanne Leighton’s movement vocabulary is authentic and raw. The dancers bring to life different people from diverse origins, men, women and children, without ever imitating them. They are inhabited by the memories of sites of the images and framed by the scenography, a perpetual wind, which seems to come from another time.

A layered soundscape composed by Peter Crosbie intertwines the work, featuring brass bands, percussion, celebratory songs and speeches from Martin Luther King to Greta Thunberg.

Through the repetition of images, juxtaposition and layering, the piece is like a moving cartography of visual knowledge, the group seem to bring back ancestral gestures. These movements unite us all and form the basis of our humanity. Tender or provocative, sheltered or exposed, between chaos and immobility, their bodies give rise to a powerful physical language, both familiar and shared.


Choreographer & scenography Joanne Leighton | This work has been made with dancers Lauren Bolze, Marion Carriau, Alexandre Da Silva, Marie Fonte, Yannick Hugron, Philippe Lebhar, Maureen Nass, Thalia Provost, Bi-Jia Yang | Music and sound design : Peter Crosbie | Costumes : Alexandra Bertaut | Lighting design : Sylvie Mélis | Technician : François Blet | Duration : 1'15 |

Production WLDN | Coproduction Collectif Essonne Danse ; Espace 1789 de Saint Ouen, Scène conventionnée d'intérêt national - art & création for dance ; Les Quinconces-L’espal, Scène nationale du Mans ; CCN de Rillieux-la-Pape, direction Yuval Pick ; Chorège | CDCN Falaise Normandie ; Atelier de Paris / CDCN ; L’Onde Théâtre Centre d’Art, Vélizy - Villacoublay | Supported by Carreau du Temple, Paris ; la Briqueterie / CDCN du Val-de-Marne ; L’Essieu du Batut ; Chaillot, Théâtre national de la Danse |

Photos © Patrick Berger