Jane Avril – Solo Cancan Dance and Solo Dance, 2019, 2021

Jane Avril – Solo Dance
Jane Avril – Solo Cancan Dance
Video loops and installation
Projections on folding walls, 2 m x 1,85 m (78 x 72 in) and 2m x 1,20 m (78×47 in)

No filmed recording exists of Jane Avril dancing, but written sources describe her movements as very energetic, erratic and jerky. She is described as having a refined strangeness and elegance. Avril improvised while performing and drew the movements from within herself.

In Jane Avril – Solo Cancan Dance and Solo Dance I’ve reimagined her performing based on written sources and artistic depictions of her. I’ve recorded two of her dances, and tried to immerse myself in her stage persona.

In Solo Cancan Dance I invoke her as the solo cancaneuse with an alluring, seductive smile, but with a hint of madness. The video is framed to focus on the performative facial expression of me/Avril.

The Solo Dance (the black dress) is framed similarly as filmed material of dancers from her era. It shows Avril as the sombre slow dancer who improvises her movements as she channels a convulsive power from within, and sinks into a rapid, ecstatic twirl.