Travailler takes its name from the French word for work and, according to Mousset, the work is inspired by the mentality of "survival of the fittest." Travailler is further described as “…showcas[ing] how the idea of success infiltrates and pollutes the mind, and portrays the circus of the business world, observing the compulsive behaviors of workers into their everyday routine with stress, repetition, competition and the desire for escape,” according to the release. As such, the movement is terse and direct, yet it leaves room for audiences to question their place as “survivors.” Mousset shares his thoughts on the performance at The Pillow and the upcoming performance at Ailey CitiGroup Theater.
Charmaine: Your Company just received a standing ovation at Jacob’s Pillow, what was that like?
Brice: It brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart! It is pure joy and also a relief! When I create a work, it always comes from personal experiences; from my life and my entourage [circle of acquaintances]. Showing my work always gives me the feeling of getting naked in front of everybody; revealing an intimate part of myself. On top of this, there is the hard work spent in studios, plus my dancers who bring a lot of who they are on stage. So, the standing ovation felt like the audience understood us and gave us so much love. It's just an incredible feeling of connecting and sharing with our audience!
Charmaine: Just one week after The Pillow, the New York premiere of Travailler will happen at Ailey CitiGroup Theater. What are your thoughts?
Brice: It's amazing!! What an experience to go from the prestigious Jacob's Pillow to Ailey CitiGroup in NEW YORK CITY! It's also going to be very interesting to go from the gigantic open space of The Pillow, back to a black box theater which is also full of history. Ailey is a completely different venue, with a completely different crowd. This is a great challenge for us. I can't believe how fast it's going!
Charmaine: How did the idea for Travailler come about?
Brice: Travailler came about in a dark place while observing my close entourage [circle of acquaintances] suffering. It is about the corporate world and the insanity that the idea of success can bring. I had, and still have, way too many friends and family members who are miserable in their everyday life at work. They suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, boredom from doing a job they don't like, is too demanding, or consumes them. They suffer from their relationships with their co-workers and/or bosses. It's a world still too often dominated by men, a world where differences are not easily accepted. The idea of success and profit kills the humanity in people. So, I wanted to make a sweet and sour satire that portrays this circus of the business world with exaggeration and a splash of humor. I am convinced that in the end it's all just an act that must be played, but we are all screaming for humanity and looking for love and compassion. Of course some people are very happy about their job, I just didn’t have much time to explore that side of the subject!
Charmaine: It’s been about one year since you began making Travailler and now there are two Acts. Is it complete? Are there more “Acts” in store?
Brice: Travailler is still a work-in-progress. There are aspects of it that I didn't have time to explore, or that I want to develop more, like the acceptance of differences (homophobia, racism and many more). There are also some props and technical elements that I had to give up in the process because it was too expensive and complicated to deal with for now. So yes, there is at least an Act 3 in store.
Charmaine: What goes through your mind now during these last few days of rehearsal?
Brice: Way too much is going through my mind! The pressure is up; it's in NYC, at Ailey, after a standing ovation at Jacob's Pillow. We can't disappoint, we have to be better, stronger. I have to get the best out of my beautiful dancers, as I try to make adjustment in my work to improve it as well. I also think of the lights, the costumes, the ticket sales, the publicity, the press, the very critical New York audience. But I also try to stay calm and enjoy the process, trusting my team who works so hard to make it happen!
Charmaine: What’s next?
Brice: On August 1st OUI DANSE is performing at Wassaic Dance Festival. I will also be working on a dance film with the Company. In September I will give workshops in Argentina, France, Romania and Italy. In October I will create an event for a fashion designer using OUI DANSE (but I can't say more yet), and in the fall I will be back in the studios with the Company to start a new work (we are still hoping to find a great residency to help the process). Then, in 2015, OUI DANSE will again perform French Amour, the 2nd work from the repertoire, and participate in different festivals.
For the Ailey CitiGroup performance, works from special guest artists Matthew Powell and Mike Esperanza are added to the program.
Here is a teaser of Travailler from previous performances.
Find out more here