Les phonésies covid de Anatoli Vlassov
Every day through the 2021 COVID-19 confinement period in Paris , Anatoli Vlassov created #DancesWithWords, a half hour online performance using the Facebook video platform.
In the year of the plague 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote: “This day, much against my Will, I did in Drury-lane see two or three houses marked with a red cross upon the doors, and “Lord have mercy upon us” writ there”.
Giovanni Boccaccio’s 1353 Decameron is an earlier novel set in a time of plague, in which a group retires to a castle to escape the plague, and they entertain each other with stories and tales.
Cheery stuff, isn’t it? In our 2020 social distancing, some artists react in the moment, doing what artists always do, contributing creative energy to the social life. One of these is performance artist is Anatoli Vlassov, a Russian who looks like a Greek god and lives in Paris, a contractual Ph.D. student in performance at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University.
For the COVID-19 duration, he invites people to join him on his Facebook webpage as he creates an interactive dance and audio piece which he calls Phonésie.
Vlassov begins his performance using words suggested by the audience. His art joins a dancer’s jazz movements to a songlike vocalizing similar to Inuit throat singing, but while that focuses on breathing as the source of vocalization, Anatoli uses words given by the audience that he fills with tones and musical notes. There’s spontaneous movements and a chant of those words, that he stretches vocally into every acoustic shape they can twist into, while his own body joins in as movement. That of course is only a description.
Like all great artists who touch something primal in our being, Anatoli must be seen and experienced. I find his energy enters our mind teaching something unique he discovered in his art, it touches us and awakens parts of our self we wouldn’t know about otherwise. The power of dance and words expressing the soul of an artist.