Article

Victoria, the choreography

Production
Dulcinea Langfelder & Co

To complement videos around Victoria by Dulcinea Langfelder, the company offers four short texts on themes that deepen our understanding of the piece.

MOVEMENTS – THE ESSENCE OF VICTORIA

Dance touches us on a much deeper level than speech. It allows a metaphorical imagery that transposes the situation of Victoria. But, how to make dance a character who is 90 years old?  For Dulcinea Langfelder, who is above all a dancer, movement is always at the forefront. You could say that every little gesture of the show is judiciously choreographed. Hands, eyes, the smallest movements, nothing is left to chance.

However, there are three danced scenes in the piece:

THE TANGO

 

This is one of the first scenes conceived in Victoria. For Dulcinea it is ‘the meat’ of the show. Tango is a dance that has at its heart, the tension between two antagonists; between resisting and following, with a strong desire to win. It is Victoria’s soul that dances with her armchair – a symbol of her weakening – and she dances with the strength of her character until the chair wins the battle… unavoidably.

 

THE JIG/TAP DANCE

 

Victoria sits in her armchair most of the time… and the jig is a dance that can be done while sitting! Very difficult at first, once you have learned to tap on a music, the feet will do it unconsciously. The muscles, as long as they have enough strength, do not lose their memory!

 

To explore jitter and tap, Dulcinea put on a music by Fred Astaire for her warm-up, letting herself loose in front of a mirror. The idea then came that Victoria could take on her attendant’s shoes; taking (not stealing deliberately) is something that happens to people who have lost their memory.  Wearing such large shoes, her allure gives birth to a clownish dance, evoking the charming naivety of a ‘second childhood’ often found in dementia.

 

It was only 10 years later that Dulcinea remembered her 18th birthday while working at the Metropolitan Museum in NY on an exhibition of Hollywood costumes; breaking all the rules, she couldn’t resist trying the top hat and shoes of Fred Astaire… What a mystery our memory is!

 

THE BIRTHDAY SCENE

 

During the auditions to find the Orderly, Dulcinea used the same music by Fred Astaire to improvise with the candidates. In this scene, Victoria became like a doll, especially since she lost the ability to speak. Thus, it was agreed that the Orderly would put her on his feet to make her dance. Réal Bossé, who had just become a father, took on this idea with enthusiasm and twirled Dulcinea with joy! He got the part! The scene thus made it possible to illustrate an aspect of the caregiver/patient relationship that can sometimes be very joyful.

 

Created in 1999 for the stage, the work is transposed into a film in 2022. During 20 years of international touring, thousands of testimonials from all over have confirmed this; Victoria touches the viewer right in the heart and brings them a new capacity for tolerance.

 

Synopsis

 

Victoria, 90, has lost her memory. In her world, time does not exist; memories are as real as the present. A shadow of herself, Victoria is like a stage performer who’s forgotten her role; a kind of puppet, adapting herself to comic, dramatic and poetic situations as they present themselves. The orderly that takes care of her seems at times to be a friend, an adversary, her father, son, brother, lover… while her wheelchair becomes her rocking chair, her prison, her tango partner and even a flying chariot that takes away her last breath.

Projects

Victoria: how it all began

Co-production

Dulcinea Langfelder created Victoria in 1999—a dance piece about old age, vulnerability and cognitive decline. It has been presented in fifteen countries and eight languages, and is still available for touring today. To pay tribute to the work and the issues it raises, Dulcinea Langfelder…

Events

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