Kitsou Dubois

Paris-based choreographer and dance researcher Kitsou Dubois experiments with alternative environments such as the walls of buildings, factories, water and weightlessness. From 1990 onwards, she has worked with the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) on various programs (training astronauts using dance techniques, studying movement in zero gravity, and art projects). Since then she has pursued her relationship with scientific, academic and space organizations, experimenting with micro-gravity on parabolic flights with her team of dancers and acrobats. All these experiments are filmed and provide the artistic raw material for her projects. Her work results in a variety of different art forms: shows, video installations, in situ pieces and documentary films. In her latest parabolic flights, she has been involved in twenty-two such flights to date, she has worked with 3D cameras. In 2013, the Patrouille de France (France’s air force formation flying group) will fly over Marseille, as part of a festival celebrating the city as the European Capital of Culture for 2013, in a performance choreographed by Kitsou Dubois.

Parabolic flights are the only way to experience zero gravity while staying “on Earth,” whereby a plane goes up to a high altitude, turns off the ignition and comes down in free fall. The body is rendered weightless for 20 seconds, and then crashes back onto the plane floor. These flights recreate the zero-gravity living conditions of astronauts in orbital stations. Generally, there are 20 or more volleys during a parabolic flight mission.

From her parabolic flight experiences, she has developed projects based on the body faced with states of altered gravity: she has worked on the bodies of dancers in the water, of acrobats on circus apparatuses, and of astronauts in the plane. She now examines through her productions how movement is born, the ambiguity of the body’s limits, and the moment of appearance. In Dubois’ choreographic and visual process, the weightless body seems like the symbolic scene for the discovery of new spaces, enabling a rediscovery of the self, giving another meaning to weight and gesture.

For Free Enterprise, her installation, Bulle, has been re-created. It consists of a hanging, rectangular box with a concave bubble upon which is projected Dubois’ choreography during zero-gravity. When a viewer stands close to the concave bubble to observe the projection, the hope is for a disorienting experience that might suggest being an audience member, sitting on the plane, as it falls back to earth.
Zero gravity performance video:
On earth performance video:

• left: Bulle, 2010, view of visitor looking into concave bubble of sculpture in which a video is projected of Dubois performing in zero-gravity.

• Dubois and dancers performing during a parabolic training flight, usually reserved for astronaut training, during which bodies are rendered weightless for 20 seconds. Each flight program consists of 20-30 parabolas.

Traversées, 2009. Performance back on Earth with gravity employing moves learned during zero-gravity flights. Photos courtesy of the artist.