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The 2021 archive

Mylène Benoit

Kyoto – Taipei / Created in 2021

With this choral show which magnifies the strength of women, Mylène Benoit reminds us that the history of humanity hasn’t always been written by men.

Archée, Mylène Benoit, 2021 © Christophe Raynaud de Lage / Festival d'Avignon


Kyoto, Japan. A starry night. Leaving a concert, Mylène Benoit comes across a group of women practicing an ancient martial art: Kyudo, or traditional archery. She is struck by the strength of their movements, both on a spiritual level and as a fighting style. The ancestral power of their taut bodies aiming at the target reminds the choreographer that those feminine movements—and through them, an idea of their place in the construction of history—have disappeared from the official memory of humanity with the advent of patriarchy. With Archée, Mylène Benoit creates a show in which women’s bodies are “a weapon of knowledge, a tool of perpetual relation to the world.” Built in a constant dialogue with nine women, performers and musicians from vastly different horizons (Israel, Chile, Sweden, Taiwan, France…), Archée formulates new “hypotheses of historical reality” to create a fairer memory to allow us to heal and to rearm together the future of both men and women.

Archaea are one of the three earliest forms of life on Earth. In Greek philosophy, ἀρχή means the origin, the foundation, the beginning. Referring to the oldest meaning of ἀρχή, “matriarchy” would therefore mean “mothers since the beginning.” It refers both to the biological fact that, as those who give birth, mothers are the origin of life, and to the idea that mothers are also those who create the beginnings of culture. In French, “archée” is also the principle of life in alchemy, as well as the range of a bow.


With Célia Gondol, Hanna Hedman, Sophie Lebre, Agnès Potié, Marcela Santander Corvalán, Tamar Shelef, Wan-Lun Yu
And the musicians Pénélope Michel, Annabelle Playe

Conception, direction Mylène Benoit
Choreorgraphy Mylène Benoit with Célia Gondol, Hanna Hedman, Sophie Lebre, Agnès Potié, Marcela Santander Corvalán, Tamar Shelef, Wan-Lun Yu
Music and voices Pénélope Michel and Annabelle Playe, Anne-Laure Poulain
Dramaturgy Céline Cartillier
Sound dramaturgy Manuel Coursin
Stage design Rachel Garcia assisted by Angèle Guilly
Lights Rima Ben Brahim
Costumes Frederick Denis, assisted by Louise Dael
Accessories Maeva Cunci
Sharing voice and body practices Émilie Domergue (screaming and saturated voices), Marie-Pascale Dubé (throat sing), Magda Kachouche, Laurence Oriou (kyudo), Anne-Laure Poulain (vocal coach), Nina Santes, Corine Sombrun / TranceScience Research Institute (transe) 

Technical direction Grégory Leteneur


Production Contour Progressif
Co-production Festival d'Avignon, le Phénix Scène nationale de Valenciennes, National Theater & Concert Hall (Taipei), Théâtre du Beauvaisis Scène nationale de Beauvais, Les Quinconces L’Espal Scène nationale du Mans, Viadanse Centre chorégraphique national de Bourgogne Franche-Comté (Belfort), L'Échangeur CDCN Hauts-de-France, La Manufacture CDCN Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Maison de la Culture d'Amiens Scène nationale, L'Empreinte Scène nationale de Brive-Tulle, Chaillot Théâtre national de la Danse, Centre Chorégraphique National Roubaix Hauts-de-France, Théâtre des 13 Vents CDN de Montpellier, Abbaye de Maubuisson avec la Villa Kujoyama, Festival NEXT, Le Gymnase CDCN Roubaix – Hauts-de-France
With the support of Région Hauts-de-France, DRAC Hauts-de-France, Institut Français, European Metropolis of Lille, City of Lille, Art Zoyd, and for the 75th edition of the Festival d'Avignon : Spedidam
Thanks to Claire Bisman midwife, Catherine Boucher and the practitioners of the Kyudo club of Le Mans, Charlotte Fouchet-Ishii director of Villa Kujoyama, Carole Fritz scientific director of the grotte Chauvet, Florence Gravas philosopher, Claire Harsany advisor, Ministry of Culture of Taiwan, Tokiko Ihara musician of Sho, Gaëtane Jonnequin midwife, Cho-Pei Kao - National Theater & Concert Hall Taiwan Masako Kotera cultural officer, Villa Kujoyama, Anne Leroy midwife, Pierrette Le Berre history-geography teacher retired, Meryem Le Saget, Elaine Liu - National Theater & Concert Hall Taiwan, Pi-Chen Liu ethnologist, specialist in matrilineal aboriginal societies of Taiwan, Sumiko Oe-Gottini artistic advisor for Villa Kujoyama, Laurent Pirard communication officer CNKyudo, Cyril Seassau
In partnership with France Médias Monde

Archée was initiated during a residency by Mylène Benoit at Villa Kujoyama in 2017, with the support of the ondation Bettencourt Schueller and the Institut français.

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