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Robyn Orlin & James Carlès


Centre culturel Charlie Chaplin, Vaulx-en-Velin


Ballet Lorraine 625x230

Dance and Performance

Performance is at the heart of this Biennale edition. Learn more and discover the shows.


Things to see


James Carlès et Robyn Orlin

It was born in the African clubs of the diaspora. Bling, buffoonery, strutting and vengeance: that’s what the “coupé-décalé” style is about. A lesson in grandeur and a politico-aesthetic perspective by Robyn Orlin and James Carlès on this phenomenal community practice.

CHow do contemporary choreographers adopt and adapt popular practices? A conversation between Robyn Orlin and James Carlès led to the Coupé-décalé project. Act 1, I am not a sub-culture, rather a gallery of self-portraits with a history walking in circles: a solo made-to-measure for James Carlès by the South-African choreographer, Robyn Orlin. Between light farce and a flash portrait of the Franco-Cameroonian dancer, teacher, choreographer and active collector and defender of “Black dances.” Act 2, On va gâter le coin!: now it’s Carlès’s turn to place five perfectly dressed dancers for a round of “coupé-décalé”. The dance and music created in France in African clubs in the early 2000s begins by mocking the disjointed dance movements of the Attié, an ethnic Ivorian group. It then lays the foundations for a culture that is as satirical as it is vital. “Coupé,” meaning to cheat; “décalé,” meaning to flee. Pioneers? Newcomers, precarious workers, students, undocumented immigrants... Find in it a language of protest, a type of revenge. Dress code? Sophisticated silhouettes of dandies and show-offs, where the brand label and bling weigh heavily. Movements? Every week, new “coupé-décalé” DJs, groups, “concepts” (not dance) and, inevitably, new kings are born. But at the heart of it all is a mix of Congolese rumba, hip-hop and Caribbean dances, foot-stamping, hip rolling and miming with a political and/or sexual connotation. All of it with a pronounced taste for the grandiose and the vulgar, spending energy and literally spending: the “Boucantier” (dancer) sometimes hands out wads of money to the audience. In ten years, the movement has returned to its country of origin, !lled stadiums, enthralled black youth, found its gods and even spawned variants in other parts of the world. Is it more rooted in identity than hip-hop? It’s no doubt more political. “Coupé-décalé can be considered a Black identity movement of a new kind,” explains James Carlès. “A focus for recognition amongst our community, but not the isolated type of community I experienced in my youth, where we would get together to dance ‘national’ dances, those of our home community. In “coupé-décalé”, the construction of an identity and feeling of belonging is based on codes taken from daily life – gestures, stories in the news, clothing – and on a hedonist model of celebration.” In short, the dance floor as a staging ground for differentiation.

Centre culturel Charlie Chaplin, Vaulx-en-Velin

Dates et horaires

  • Wed 24 Sep21:30
  • Durée : 1h30 environ


  • Plein tarif 16€
  • Tarif réduit 13€


  • CatégorieC

Solo and piece for 5 dancers — 2014 — Run time 1h30

ACTE 1 : I am not a sub-culture, rather a gallery of self-portraits with a history walking in circles
(35 min)
Chorégraphe : Robyn Orlin

Interprétation : James Carlès — Conseil vidéo : Pierre Sasso — Conseil costumes : Birgit Nepll — Musique : Marin Marais, Alaitz Eta Maider, Ray Lema, Senene Mingui — Lumière et régie : Arnaud Schulz

ACTE 2 : On va gâter le coin ! (40 min)
Chorégraphe : James Carlès

Interprétation : Gahé Bama, Clément Assemian, Stéphane Mbella, Franck Serikpa, Brissy Akezizi — Vidéo : Charles Rostan — Musique : DJ Arafat, Charles Rostand & James Carlès, Abou Nidal 2 Genève, DJ Leo — Lumière et régie : Arnaud Schulz

Accueil : Centre Culturel Charlie Chaplin / Vaulx-en-Velin, Théâtre Théo Argence / Saint-Priest Biennale de la Danse

Coproduction APCA – Cie James Carlès ; CDC Toulouse/Midi-Pyrénées ; Centre national de la danse ; CNDC Angers ; L’Astrada Marciac dans le cadre du dispositif Résidence-association en Midi-Pyrénées – Production déléguée CDC Toulouse/Midi-Pyrénées APCA - Cie James Carlès est soutenue par la DRAC Midi-Pyrénées, la Ville de Toulouse, le Conseil régional Midi-Pyrénées et le Conseil général de la Haute-Garonne.

Photo © Pierre Ricci - Portrait © DR

To be explored



Performative dances: deframed French choreographies, 1990-2010.

Café Danse - CCI, Palais du Commerce
Wed 17, 4 pm - Free Entry

Jan Fabre

Jan Fabre is Laurent Goumarre’s special guest for a conversation that’s open to the public. 

Théâtre Les Ateliers
Sat 20, 2pm - Free entry


Performance: a history in commentary and images. This lecture, open to all, offers a journey through the history of performance with video excerpts enriched by commentaries. 

Café Danse - CCI, Palais du Commerce
Fri 19, 6pm - Free entry


Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present by Matthew Akers. A retrospective of her work which will be the opportunity for Abramović to answer the  question she is constantly asked: how is this art?

Cinéma Le Comoedia
Sun 21, 11.15am – Single price: €4.80


An event around the DVD Anna Halprin, Danser sa vie,  just released in France. An invitation to discover the career of this wonderful dancer through a historical presentation, screenings, and an exploration of the body. 

Théâtre Les Ateliers
Sat 27, 5.30pm - Free entry

Frigo Group

Performance art was one of the forms of artistic action produced by the Frigo group in Lyon in the 1980s. The Biennale has invited the players in that adventure to comment on a screening of their major performances of the time. 

Café Danse - CCI, Palais du Commerce
Sat 13 at 2pm

To be experienced


Ambra Senatore

Asta, an auction
Performance: Ambra holds an auction of everyday acts. The winning bidder will have their purchase performed at their home by Ambra Senatore.

Café Danse - CCI, Palais du Commerce
Thu 18, 12.30-2.30pm

Free entry 


Les Thermes

France Distraction - Living installation

A swimming pool filled with 25,000 black balls. On each ball, inscriptions borrowed from the Stoics. All you need to do is dive in, for a perfectly
literal immersion in a “big bath of morality”. A philosophical yet highly entertaining experience.

Café Danse - Palais du commerce
Wed 10, 17 and 24 and Sat 13 and 27, 1-5pm

Free entry, unlimited experimentation (subject to space)

Sat 20 at 2.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm
Experiment assisted by Julien Fournet and Alice Popieul.

Free entry, booking required at ticket office

Thu 18 and Fri 19
Assisted experimentation, for schools only (booking required)