CHENNAI: I think art is the most important thing for human beings. We need it to express our potential, creativity, and make a better world,” says Claire Le Michel, contemporary dancer and writer from France who will be in the city for a poetry-reading session, as part of Prakriti Foundation’s, Poetry with Prakriti.
The artist who has always loved reading, especially poetry, says that she likes the ‘music created by words and sounds’. “I started writing poems when I was around 12. My first piece surprises me even today,” she says recalling her first poem on an open theme. “Our literature teacher had asked to write a poem in a special form and I wrote about the rain and how it made me feel.” Since then she has been writing but, her poems were kept under wraps for a long time.
Drawing inspiration from real events, Claire says she likes to write about small events. “I try to find the words that make it real, almost tactile, as if we could reach out and touch what they describe,” shares the performer who has a great connection with nature. Her favourite poets? Marina Tsvetaeva, a Russian poet who was in exile in France. “I have learnt Russian in school. So I have read them a lot : Puschkin, Pasternak... I also love Henri Michaux, he was born in Belgium and lived in France. I learnt a lot from their style. I have created performances based on their poetry,” shares Claire.
For the session in Chennai, she will be reading recent pieces she had written in English a year ago. “I will read both poems in French and English,” she adds. While improvising during a performance, Claire shares that she first listens to the energy around her, while reading for an audience. “It gives me the direction of the performance... Words have their intrinsic vibrations,” she explains. “An artiste answers to the beauty and that’s why everyone can be an artiste (smiles). It makes sense to me!”
Apart from writing, Claire is also into theatre, singing, dancing and French boxing. “I have already produced few pieces where I combine them. But for now, I enjoy focusing on one of them and contribute to projects with other artistes as I have recently done with John Anthony and the Karnatriix, for Be the Change,” she shares. Be the Change is her dance-music project and Claire will be touring India in association with Alliance Française, that includes a performance in Chennai in the next few months.
Having travelled to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Claire loves several aspects of Indian culture. “The food, nature, the music of the languages, classical dances and songs, the way people dress... I have started practicing yoga too,” says that artiste who is eager to know more about contemporary Indian artistes. But she has some simple wishes too! “I hope I could go to the sea in the evening to enjoy the place when it is crowded and have a pakora. I also want to learn Malayalam.” Her current journey is only in poetry. “I have just finished a long piece of poetry. I will read a sample in Chennai. It has thoughts of four different people about one place in a town, a public garden.”
Claire Le Michel will perform at Amdavadi on October 25 from 7 pm onwards. For details, call 9841434125