Mathilde Monnier

Unlimited Gestures

“The body is an infinite reservoir of discovery and potential.”

Choreographer Mathilde Monnier has helped shape the contemporary dance landscape. Her pieces defy expectations and show constant renewal. She explores issues inherent to the discipline of composing movement, as well as themes linked to broader questions such as communality and the links between the body to music and memory. Her appointment as director of the Centre Choreographic National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon in 1994 marked the beginning of a period of experimentation with other artistic fields, and a reflection on the role of the institution and its outreach.

Monnier has created more than 40 choreographic works, which have been performed on the world’s greatest stages and international festivals. She is the recipient of several awards, including the French Ministry of Culture prize, and the SACD Grand Prix, among others. From 2014 to 2019 she helmed the National Dance Centre, Paris (CN D). Thanks to her influence, the CN D is now known for its cross-disciplinarity, continually forging new links with other art forms and genres.

Mathilde Monnier, Soapéra, photo: Marc Coudrais

In addition, Monnier initiated the festival Afrique en création in Angola in the 1990s, known today as the Dance Biennial in Africa. She collaborated on establishing the center for choreography CDC la Termitière in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, directed by Salia Sanon and Seydou Boro. In 1997, Monnier set up France’s only master degree program dedicated to choreography, Excerce, at the CCN Montpellier. In 2014, she initiated the Camping program at the CN D, an international platform of workshops and exchanges for universities and independent artists.

“My main interest lies in the endless possibilities offered by movement and its expression,” says Monnier. “I still believe that the body is an infinite reservoir of discovery and potential. Dance remains a limitless territory, which is constantly in dialogue with other mediums in possible cross-contamination and exchange. My interest in movement is huge and not restricted to one genre. I think the body’s modus operandi is still a major political and artistic topic worth highlighting and questioning.”

As a mentor, Monnier is seeking applications not only from dancers and choreographers, but from anyone who incorporates body practices into their work. She also welcomes applications that integrate other topics relating to stage and scenography in relation to movement. “I consider the body and movement as active intelligence that speaks for itself,” she adds. “The more I go forward, the more my works return to simple forms that question time and space in a specific context. I also need and use humor as a tool in my work and to gain critical distance.”

Watch the video statement to find out more about what Monnier is looking for in applications: