Bit, by Maguy Marin, choreography of the year Tanz Magazine

French choreographer Maguy Marin likes to quote Paul Klee’s approach to life as a sort of way to define her work: “a walking walk”. It is true that the uncanniness of Marin’s work makes her a singular case of a landscape that seems to no longer have the desire to question what it means to look around and demand if there’s something else to add. Bit, her recent creation proves, once again, why creating choreography cannot just be to produce a chain of movements that might lead to thought.

In it’s intense approach to community and communitarianism Bit is more than a choreography. It’s a work about ethics on dance, and about the experimentation of those limits while living them. If exposure, violence, voyeurism and exhaustion are used as tools, they are no more than paradoxical metaphors about the possibilities for dance to be the encounter between ethics and utopia.

The group of dancers, skilled on their manufactured way of investing on a movement as a breath of air, transform means into movement and movement into actions, in a twirling and dazzling choreography of rhythm and musicality.

It comes to mind the beginning of a poem by Paul Verlaine from his book Sagesse, a word so few can bear like Maguy Marin: “Petits amis qui sûtes nous prouver Par A plus B que deux et deux font quatre, Mais qui depuis voulez parachever Une victoire où l’on se laissait batter” (an approachable translation: Beloved friends that try to prove through A plus B that two and two is four/ But after would like to prevail where we would chose to lay beaten”).

Maguy Marin composes a chorographical structure that demands from both dancers and spectators a commitment to what’s unsure and unknown. The notion of “bit” like a moment frozen in time, works as a standout from the complexity of meanings that can be produced by a work of art. By focusing on the minimal part of a wider structure, Marin is also focusing on the need to frame time and space and, from that philosophical approach to life, to look inside and extract the reason why to move.

The daring spirit of Maguy Marin never ceases to question the reason why it is necessary to transform those metaphorical actions into reality.


Bit was selected by an international panel of specialists invited by the german magazine Tanz as choreography of the year 2014. This text was originally publish on the Tanz Yearbook – August 2015

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