Xavier Le Roy

Product of Circumstances (1999)

In his performance Xavier Le Roy presents his pathway from biologist to dancer. Product of Circumstances was developed as an essay contribution to a conference on performance, through a combination of text, slides, and movements. It is less a biographical piece than a manifesto structured as anecdote. As a student finishing his advanced degree in science, Le Roy was working on breast cancer diagnostics, where his youthful idealism ran into the cold hard reality of the marketplace. As a scientist, Le Roy had previously operated with a belief that there was a Truth out there, which could be identified through proper objective rigorous inquiry. The lecture performance he presented in the context of Chronicles of Work was structured in performative fragments that were connected with autobiographical sequences and stories extracted from his life.

Circumstances: I began to take two dance classes a week at the same time I started to work on my thesis for my PhD in molecular and cellular biology. It has been eight years now that I have submitted my thesis and stopped to work as a biologist. Since I work as a dancer or choreograph I am very often presented as an atypical dancer or as a dancer molecular biologist. It became my currency in the “Society of the Spectacle.” I was invited to prepare and present a lecture for an event on theory and praxis in performance, “Body currency” (Wiener Festwochen, June 1998).

Product: Biography as theory. An autobiographical lecture becoming a performance. My body as the raw material of social and cultural organization and as the practice of critical necessity.

By and with: Xavier Le Roy
Production: in situ productions and Le Kwatt
Coproduction: Podewil/TanzWerkstatt-Berlin, Senatsverwaltung für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur, Berlin
Thanks to: Chantal Escot-Theillet, Tara Herbst, Mårten Spångberg, Hortensia Völckers, and Christophe Wavelet.

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