With Versants, I wanted to experiment and develop one of Enroussellements, my last piece's, main themes which looks at the various perceptions of a given reality.
Starting with a choreographic or musical phrase, the infinite plurality of this reality's conjugations is underlined.
Versants attempts to explore this splitting, these marks, echoes and ricochets created around the initial proposals.
In this way all levels of the show : the dance, the music, the scenography come from a simple idea permutated throughout the piece.
This ever-present complexity is always around the same subject, yet seen from a different angle.
Versants may clearly seem complicated in its multi-directional composition, but the spectator can choose to recognise the basic themes at the heart of the raw choreographic material in the same way as the slopes, the versions which punctuate their constant reconstitution.
This project's architecture is built and dismantled as an informal "theme and variations".
A pluridisciplinary voyage, a sort of labyrinth in motion, for which the travellers, accompanied by the public's gaze, shall set down the paths and learn of the exits and keys.
A character, an integral part of the scenography created by Philippe Favier, provides a theatrical counterpoint to all this, enriching the piece with a poetical twist, a sort of shortcut linking the show's different zones.


Les Saisons de la Danse

Precious strangeness...« ...It could be a white room with a red floor and a sort of sentry box in the left-hand corner. Silhouettes of strange characters are cut out in black on the walls while other silhouettes come away in the dark, like stealthy shadows. The dancers are as still as statues. The scene comes to life, the dance is rapid and complex (...) Versants leaves a persistent impression of a precious strangeness with a rich vocabulary and images which stick to the retina. All the more so as Philippe Favier's scenography finds peculiar echoes of the choreographer's movements. And then there is the undeniable talent for composition, either in the choreography or in the sound-track which skilfully brings together a string quartet and Bosco's devilishly techno electronica. (...)
Gallia Valette-Pilenko, Saisons de la Danse, February 2001

Danse - (European Dance News)

Lionel Hoche's little tune...  "... More than a style, Lionel Hoche has succeeded in placing a little gentle tune in the eye and ear of the spectator, a tune made of the subtle memories of things seen, moments of dance particularly beautiful and novel from his imagination.
His last creation in Saint-Etienne confirms once again the choreographer's exceptional qualities.
With Versants, Lionel Hoche takes us by the hand on a wonderful voyage through the labyrinth of his astounding imagination. Wisely chosen poems, delivered with intelligence and insight by Sébastien Charles, a scenography by Philippe Favier, passionate music, five solid dancers, all the ingredients are there. Lionel Hoche mixes them, moulding them as he wishes. Impossible to be bored even for a second, everything is so perfectly regulated, oiled, with daring, imagination and an angelic know-how. Lionel Hoche is an exceptional choreographer who doesn't copy anyone.
Michel Odin, February 2001

Le Monde

"...Lionel Hoche is a young man with technique, know-how and naturally the desire to put them forward. Trained at the Paris Opera School of Dance then with the Jiri Kylian's Nederlands Dans Theater in 1983 where he composed his first piece. He went on to become assistant to Daniel Larrieu before launching his company MéMé BaNjO, in 1992. With over thirty pieces to his name, amongst others for the Paris Opera Ballet, the Lyon and Lorraine Opera Ballets, this thirty-seven year old choreographer is being talked about. Resident in Saint-Etienne since 1998, he is currently touring with various shows. From the 18 to 20 January, he was at the Creteil Arts House with his new production (Versants).
On the stage framed by the pleasing scenography of the plastic artist Philippe Favier - black silhouettes cut out on white walls -, an actor (Sébastien Charles) becomes one with his prose (...) while a string quartet delivers its nervousness further aroused by an electronic sound-track. Five dancers in step articulate a skilful dance - behinds in the air, rolling hips and arms thrown in all directions.
Lionel Hoche's writing proposes a clearly deconstructed virtuosity in which the bodies are always on the verge of imbalance, falling to the ground in flowing acrobatic figures. Enmeshed, they adjust like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. This relay-dance - which dares a slap on the buttocks - highlights the energy across the stage and undertakes a light-hearted dialogue with the most secret parts of the body. These Versants are the proof that Lionel Hoche is not lacking ammunition.(...)"
Rosita Boisseau, 20 February 2001

La Tribune Le Progrès

Words' vertigo, corporal vertigo... «... The shadow is the mark of a show which joyfully explores the divisions, echoes, ricochets of an initial theme expressed as a leitmotiv. Highly structured, the choreographic material is no less malleable, according to the imagination of the modeller, always looking to astound, linking the soul's purity to the beauty of the gesture.
Lionel Hoche has combined Versants' games to the ingenious scenographic talents of Philippe Favier, the designer of a white wall on which appears a batallion of disturbing, detachable silhouettes.
(...) The highly contrasted atmospheres are nourished by the musical climate created by the superb contemporary compositions of Jérôme Charles, played by a string quartet « live » three metres in the air. Finally, the musicians end up stuck on a more earthy level! Their notes overlap with the « new wave » electronic rhythms of Bosco. The jigsaw is amazing and daring, making Versants into a complex, very meticulous work, even down to the subtle lighting by Mikki Kunttu, sculpting the choreography.
This is a highly original piece of work for an inventive dance, in which MéMé BaNjO, made up of very different personalities, finds nevertheless its homogeneousness.»
Claudie Léger, 19 December 2000


"Versants" is a hit... "Lionel Hoche is a young choreographer that ballet companies follow with particular intent. His classical debuts at the Paris Opera Ballet School, followed by his experience with the Nederlands Dans Theater, have given him the solid foundations that he has exploited to develop his own choreographic vocabulary. At 37 years of age, he already has some thirty pieces to his credit, for ballet companies and for his own company, MéMé BaNjO, (founded in 1992 and resident since 1998 at the Esplanade Opera House in Saint-Etienne in France). One is hardly surprised by this activity and by the relative comfort his benefits from, so rare for a young artist : Lionel Hoche represents a new face of considerable value for ballet companies, and posesses an unquestionable savoir-faire.
Variations. Versants favours the performer's sensations rather than the dramatic element, not always easy for the spectator who glides from one end of the show to the other without knowing quite what to grab hold of. This feeling of grasping nothing, of letting oneself go from one end of the (captivating and remarkable) dancers to the other, of changing from an urban sound-track to a live string quartet, of listening to a piece of prose delivered by an actor, of contemplating the black Velcro figures in Philippe Favier's decor is not necessarily unpleasant. Everything here slips through our fingers. As if Hoche would rather that we live his show in the moment rather than leave with memories of it.
In these variations on desire and regret, with all fields together on stage, certain of Lionel Hoche's qualities which we have already appreciated are apparent. Firstly the body movements which deregulate the overly tidy classical. If, for example, a limb stretches out with elegant bearing, it is simultaneously disowned by a miserably dangling arm. The same is true for falls breaking the momentum, beautiful floor passages, the other side of the classical vertical suites, the baroque flavour of the fist which contradicts certain blocked knees.(...)
Marie-Christine Vernay, 20 January 2000



Choreography : Lionel Hoche - Set : Philippe Favier
: Mikki Kunttu - Costums : Alexandra Gilbert
Music : creations from BOSCO & Jérôme Charles / song 'Un Ombra' (MINA)
Dancers : Alexandra Gilbert, Marielle Girard, Cyrill Davy, Emmanuel Le Floch, Cédric Lequileuc - Actor : Sébastien Charles
: Céline Porron, Cécile Guillier, Sophie Chapuy, Jean-Philippe Pascolo