The pedagogic project of Boris Charmatz

As part of a three-year research and creation residency at the Centre national de la danse, Boris Charmatz developed, starting in 2002, the project BOCAL, a temporary nomadic school. Between July 2003 and July 2004, this group brought together the collectif g.u.i (Nicolas Couturier) and fifteen students from different walks of life, who wanted to rethink the modalities of training in dance by placing the question of art at its core.
In the following words Boris Charmatz evoked the experiment carried out by the group from Vienne to Pantin, as well as in Annecy, Brest, Chambéry, and Dubrovnik:

“Can we be content with schools that train for the corpus of auditions of a handful of “touring” companies, or should we also demand that a school be the crucible of art for tomorrow? If that’s the case, then the modalities of learning must be urgently reconsidered in France.
A modern school must be able to form an aesthetic project, it must address the question of culture, the question of art, the question of artistic vitality in a rapidly developing world. … Modernity is a territory of critique, positioning, and re-evaluation. It is not enough to multiply the disciplines in the curriculum in order to slavishly follow the latest fragmented state of knowledge … or to wonder what bodily techniques are beneficial to the student, but rather what the mindset should be.

The space of contemporary education is thus necessarily the space of an aesthetic project that allows artists to examine their own culture of the body. The most active artists, similar to the great figures of modern art, must have a place at the very heart of teaching; their works must be regularly debated in ways that bridge the artificial gap existing nowadays between students and art. Training a dancer means above all training an artist: one must build an artistic itinerary, forge one’s own aesthetic choices, know what one wants to do or not do if one doesn’t want toss around from audition to audition.”