Flora Détraz

Sound as Organized Time


French dancer and choreographer Flora Détraz is creating a live performance for percussion and voice centered on the act of screaming.

Portrait of Flora Detraz

Flora Détraz

The project’s new title HURLULA is a portmanteau combining the French verbs “hurler” (in English, “hurl”) and “hululer,” which refers to the howls and shrieks of nocturnal animals. As an exploration of a sound that emerges from a primal instinct, HURLULA is the expression of an emotional journey into the depths of the human body. Developed under the mentorship of Sofia Jernberg, the piece is conceived as an intimate encounter, yet characterized by its ecstatic and lunar mood. “It will be a liberating moment from the shackles of beauty and feminine decorum,” says Détraz.

In its initial phase, titled C-R-I, the project examined how screams are used in different cultures. Especially women, Détraz argues, are taught to position their bodies and voices in harmonious, unobtrusive ways. In its further development, the choreographic and musical investigation of the voice and the body will dig deeper into the tensions between what’s visible and what remains concealed when articulating and communicating one’s inner thoughts.

A scream can express a broad range of emotions: One can scream in rage, horror, fear, or pleasure. A scream seems to surpass articulate language. Where does the scream come from? What is its sonic range ? How does the body distort itself while screaming? “The scream fascinates me as it appears to be the sound that is most immediately related to our interiority, to our deepest and buried qualms,” Détraz explains. “It is intimate and visceral but also excessively expressive, appearing almost indecent, the mouth wide open.”

Détraz and Jernberg planned a two-part work-stay in Paris and Marseille, during which they will rehearse with musicians and percussionists to first experiment, and then fine-tune the performance.

Watch a recap of Détraz‘s contribution at the Forecast Festival 6: