It seems important to me, at the heart of the Company’s research, to encounter – for movement’s sake – children for whom simply being in and with the world is a challenge. If in our performances we play with what is strange, the communication of what is intimate and troubling, perhaps we have something to share with children whose limits are agitated, for whom what’s strange is often painful, for those who are often marginalised?
The workshops invite children into gestural explorations, conducted in close relation with music, that aim at encouraging a heightened awareness of their bodies while opening up the creative potential within them: the focus is on their own gestures, canalized through spatial and rhythmic patterns. By establishing a group dynamic we hope to create visual and tactile links between them.
The notion of the group, even if it is chaotic with autistic children, is an important aspect of this endeavour: we encourage them to come into contact with each other, through rhythmic coincidences and interactions at a distance in order to establish a connection, however fleeting, between them. The children evolve in a defined space and have the opportunity to express themselves in total freedom and hopefully discover pleasure through movement and rhythm.
Each session has its own ritual: beginning and ending with a meeting in what we call the “salon” (a few chairs placed in a circle will suffice) in which we greet each other and eventually exchange information with the children and the educators that accompany them. It is also the place we take off our shoes and coats. We then go together onto the stage, for a 45-minute session.
In order to establish contact with each child, we try to connect with the gestural instantaneity of each one. By putting ourselves in step with their world we hope to communicate beyond words, and create an authentic bond with each one. When we feel the opportunity presents itself, we try to bring the children together in a shared movement, like a circle, or a wave that sweeps across the space.
The music is an invitation to enter into the dance and alternates between dynamic moments and those of calm, of peace.
It all began with a desire shared by psychoanalyst Trees Traversier and choreographer Nicole Mossoux, a desire to join an artistic methodology with the treatment of children suffering from autism.
The first workshop saw the day one Thursday in 1999, accompanied by Claire Renoy, a developmental therapist and colleague of Trees at the Centre Rivage/Den Zaet. It was first carried out with students from the school La Clairière, with workshops taking place at the studio of Company Mossoux-Bonté. During the 2000-2001 school year, the project continued with the institution “Grandir” (the Ecole du Quotidien). Since 2005, the Company Mossoux-Bonté has defended this activity in its general mission statements, like the one recognized by the Minister of Culture, who has supported the company through subsidies since 1996.
When Claire Renoy left the project in 2007, Trees and Nicole began to search their network for a new collaborator. In 2008 Jean Florence joined their team, proposing to accompany them in their work on stage with the children.
In September 2008, they met the team from the Centre Orhogénique de Mont-Sur-Marchienne and a great collaboration was born.
The project, as established in collaboration with the Centre Orthogénique de Mont-sur-Marchienne, benefits from the following invaluable support: La Rivage/Den Zaet, through whom the services of Trees Traversier have been provided, and Charleroi/Danses who has generously put a studio at the Ecuries at our disposition.
The workshops are lead by Jean Florence, Nicole Mossoux, Elodie Paternostre, Trees Traversier and Virginie Verdier.
Since January 2013, Elodie Paternostre and Virginie Verdier have lead two workshops at the ASBL Le Rochet (a home for children and young adults).