Yann Lheureux


The artistic work of the Yann Lheureux Company

The artistic work of the Yann Lheureux Company is based upon and fed by one constant preoccupation: the complex and sometimes inextricable links between place and identity.

Since its creation in 1994, the Company has established itself on the national and international dance scene, and its work has toured widely. In June 2003 the Company took up residence at the Atelier in the centre of Montpellier. This has become a place of artistic creation and performance, and a centre for teaching and research open to both artists and the wider public. Moving into the Atelier meant that the Company became more structured and facilitated the enhancement of Yann Lheureux’s creative work; his artistic research pursues the links between identity and place using techniques combining different media, and improvised and composed writing.

In 1972, the philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari conceived the notion of “de-territorialisation”: a political, social and artistic process describing a movement of de-contextualisation – of liberalisation –  of a whole range of relations and their conventional usage, allowing their re-invention in other contexts and other lives.

Using these reflections as a starting point, Yann Lheureux envisages “the occupation of place” not as a confinement, but on the contrary as a liberation, rendering territory permeable by  enabling the free circulation of people. Whether in short-format pieces or in more ambitious works, whether working in theatres or in situ, Yann Lheureux constantly develops his choreographic “writing” in combination with other forms and other cultural elements. He creates a shared space that questions the world in which we live, a creative space where dance is at the heart of an artistic, political and collective vision. His work takes a critical look at the “other”, at humanity and at the world, linking questions which are both intimate and belonging to our collective world.

The Company calls into question notions of territory and identity, the cross-over of languages and the frictions inherent in vocabulary…it questions even its own rehearsal and performance spaces. Using new forms of sense stimulation and poetry, this art in urban environments is illustrative of a creative movement towards a re-appropriation of territory, of “re-territorialisation”. The Yann Lheureux Company has performed in a wide variety of stages and theatres, street theatre festivals and unusual, improbable spaces. From  “La légende des lieux “(1998), to ”J’embrasse pas” (2007 – presented in the Chalon street theatre festival in 2010), Instinct (2012), FLAG (2012-2014), The Rare Birds (2015-2017) and most recently Gravity.0 (premiered in 2016), we take physical possession of urban spaces.

Each of the Company’s creations attempts to open links and encourage porosity between conventional performance spaces and public space in general, between practice, the media, the spectators and the artists…

The questioning of art, the role of the spectator, the body’s status…the aim of the company is to give artistic expression to these fundamental issues in each artistic creation.

Yann Lheureux

After imposing himself on the street hip-hop dance scene in the 80’s, Yann Lheureux received the “1st international solo prize” (Turin and Béthune) in 1987 and 1988 during the “Rencontres Chorégraphiques” organised by the Fédération française de danse.  From 1990, he worked with companies directed by Didier Théron, Philippe Saire and Hervé Diasnas… until 1994, when he created his own company.

His nomadic childhood existence, between sub-Saharan Africa, Germany and France led him to intuitively develop his artistic research into the links between identity and place. These questionings intensified from 2003, when the Company took up residence in the Atelier, in the centre of Montpellier. The issues of rootedness, of belonging, of fleeing, and of integration in a place, became the cornerstones of his artistic researches.  Yann Lheureux experimented, in show after show, with questions about ‘here’ and ‘elsewhere’. He made numerous pieces, performed in France as well as abroad, in theatres and urban spaces, where dance meets other forms of writing, other media, and other approaches (video, multi-media, urban arts…).

Starting with Flagrant délit (created in 2012) and in projects through till 2017, Yann Lheureux is depicting the intimacy of the human being through a series of portraits. This work was initiated by FLAG (created in 2012-2014), and will continue using women (The Rare Birds, created in 2015-2017). The project consists of choreographic sequences based on notions of force, achievement and fragility. It explores how to reveal and show these facets of identity on stage and in the public arena.

The two projects in development, Gravity.0 (2016) and Red Circle (2017), mark a transition from the intimate human figure to that of the group. They demand new forms of dramaturgy wherein Yann Lheureux will explore innovative relationships between the artists and the audience.

Yann Lheureux  has a diploma in Body Mind Centering (Amberst / USA), and has led a diversity of pedagogical projects: workshops subsidised by AFDAS, dancer training for various national centres of choreography, international teaching programmes (United States, Tunisia, South Korea…).

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