Founded in 2004, the Pas de Dieux company primarily bases its research on the possibilities of corporeal movement and expression for drama. A major source of research is based in Corporeal Mime of Etienne Decroux, a discipline that isolates and articulates the different parts of the body by varying the intensities and the rhythms of movement and by playing with muscular tension and relaxation. In addition, we explore the “Organic Lineage” of Jerzy Grotowski that searches for inner impulses that gives life to the form of corporeal movements and voice. To integrate these training techniques, we play. Through improvisations, we cultivate the joy of discovering the limitless imagination.
We give workshops, work in artistic creations, and create improvisation events. In addition to our own workshops and training programs, we search the four corners of the globe to bring to you the hidden masters to share the secrets on art of the actor. From Paris to Singapore, the Pas de Dieux Company aims for a theatre that can cut across borders, free of the limitations of the written language, and where the body speaks the true poetry.
What is Corporeal Mime?
Created by Etienne Decroux, the technique allows the actor to become a creator. It teaches the isolation of movements for different parts of the body, and incites an infinite possibility of compositions by: playing with dynamo-rhythm, exploring weight and counterweight, and transmitting a specific vocabulary that gives the possibility of a personal expressive identity of each actor/dancer.
“[My teaching] is the breaking apart of the natural and the composition of the ideal. That is chemistry’s method, also painting’s, the method of all the fine arts, with the exception of the actor’s art–and especially music, the most technical art on the one hand and the most faithful representation of the movement of the soul on the other. We would like, therefore, for the mime’s body to be to the mime as a keyboard is to the pianist. As for the designs which the whole body must be able to accomplish, or each part of it, or each group of parts, they proceed from the geometric spirit…. If it is obvious for everyone that, in music, technique neither paralyses nor sterilises inspiration but, on the contrary, aids its birth, excites it, gives ceremonial dress, one none the less sees the actor’s art differently.”
-Etienne Decroux, lecture in Ghent, Belgium, 1972, cited by Thomas Leabhart, Modern and Postmodern Mime, Macmillan, 1989, p. 57.
What is the Organic Lineage?
Developed by Jerzy Grotowski and other collaborators, he explores an organic study of the actor’s expression–the human behavior in his extra-daily state. The corporeal movement searches it’s source from the interior–the impulses that flower immanently. There are a series of exercices created to explore the fluidity of these impulses.
“Theatre – through the actor’s technique, his art in which the living organism strives for higher motives – provides an opportunity for what could be called integration, the discarding of masks, the revealing of the real substance: a totality of physical and mental reactions. This opportunity must be treated in a disciplined manner, with a full awareness of the responsibilities it involves.Here we can see the theatre’s therapeutic function for people in our present day civilization. (…) It is true that the actor accomplishes this act, but he can only do so through an encounter with the spectator – intimately, visibly, not hiding behind a cameraman, wardrobe mistress, stage designer or make-up girl – in direct confrontation with him, and somehow ” instead of” him. The actor’s act – discarding half measures, revealing, opening up, emerging from himself as opposed to closing up – is an invitation to the spectator. This act could be compared to an act of the most deeply rooted, genuine love between two human beings – this is just a comparison since we can only refer to this “emergence from oneself” through analogy. This act, paradoxical and borderline, we call a total act. In our opinion it epitomizes the actor’s deepest calling.”
-Jerzy Grotowski, Towards a Poor Theatre, “Statement of Principles”, New York, Routledge, 2002, pp. 255-256. First edition Simon and Schuster, 1968.