The death of choreographer Dominique Dupuy

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Dominique Dupuy, in the show “Le Regard par-dessus le col”, at the Théâtre national de Chaillot, in Paris, April 24, 2007. LAURENT PHILIPPE/ DIVERGENCE

His penetrating mind, his deep vibration surrounded each encounter, even fleeting, with Dominique Dupuy with an electric tension. Free and adventurous, the artist and choreographer, leader of modern and contemporary dance, as present in the limelight as an activist in the offices of institutions, died Wednesday 1er May at his home in Paris. A year and a half after the disappearance, in September 2022, of Françoise Dupuy, his wife and creative accomplice, this man with a strong temperament has faded away.

Read also | The dance of memory of the pioneers Françoise and Dominique Dupuy

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Dominique Dupuy was born Jean-Dominique Dupuy on October 31, 1930, in Paris. Curious, greedy, a go-getter, having learned ballet, acrobatics and theater, he worked with the German choreographer living in France Jean Weidt (1904-1988) at the end of the 1940s for the play Cell, where he meets the woman he will marry. In 2005, at the Théâtre de Chaillot, in Paris, he paid homage to Weidt and expressive German dance in the show WMDwhich took up the superb Old people, old irons, designed in 1929 by Weidt.

This loving care given to history and its transmission drains all the lives of Dominique Dupuy. From his first company, Françoise et Dominique, which played in cabarets from the 1950s, to the Ballets Modernes de Paris, founded in 1955, from the Baux-de-Provence festival, which he created in 1962, to the Ministry of Culture , where he was a dance inspector from 1989 to 1991, Dominique Dupuy endlessly revisits his work on the profession.

A sharp programmer

In the book A dance at work, by Dominique and Françoise Dupuy (Co-edition National Dance Center – National Stage of La Roche-sur-Yon, 2001), the American pioneer Anna Halprin (1920-2021) underlines the role of the couple in the introduction: “Their determination, since the 1940s, to change the art of dance (…) witness[e] of their true nature as iconoclastic artists. To meet this long-term challenge of working against the cultural tide, they had to surpass themselves and take on many roles. (…) They have become artists, educators, teachers, writers, directors, choreographers, organizers, politicians and activists. »

A keen programmer, Dominique Dupuy presented the American choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) for the first time in 1962 at the Théâtre de l’Est in Paris. A teacher, in 1969 he created the training center for the International Contemporary Dance Meetings (RIDC) and gave courses notably at the National Center for Contemporary Dance in Angers. This is where the choreographer Amala Dianor worked with him in 2001. “For me, who came from hip-hop and whose movement was demonstrative and muscular, he taught me to find another density in gesture, to move the air, as he said, with the same physical intensity but with an awareness complete of what is being put to work”summarizes Dianor.

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