Phantoms Within is a recent collaborative project specially created and commissioned for « No Limits Festival 2022» in Hong Kong, originally set to be an outdoor site specific performance at the iconic Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts.
The creation took place remotely from the UK to Hong Kong but due to Covid19 Phantoms Within could not be created and performed as a live work. Thankfully, Marso and film director Marie Yi-Qing Bouvéronan birthed an amazing collaboration and the work was adapted to a 20min dance film.
The film Premiered as part of Hong Kong Arts Festival/ No Limits screened program on the 17th June 2022 and is available for screening as a 20min or 10min version upon request.
Conceptualised and choreographed by Mickael Marso Riviere, the work explores and challenges the limits of physicality through hip-hop and contemporary dance movement, and how diff-abilities meet in the same space. Real life stories from the cast involved in the R&D and creation of the work have helped shape the narrative.
Working with an international team of disabled and non-disabled performers, Phantoms Within focuses on the power of adaption and connection.
The inspiration for the work first emerged in 2016 while exploring art work by Alexa Wright, which prompted Marso to learn about Phantom Limbs syndrome and its associated therapies, including mirror therapy and the emotional relief it can have on patients.
In 2019 Marso spent time at the Wellcome Collection (UK) to acquire a deeper understanding of how medicines, therapies and prosthetic designs have evolved through history. With time, the work began to navigate towards peoples' adaptability of their disability in every day life and others' perceptions.
Beyond the research on Phantom Limbs syndrome, more questions arose: How does one compare the grieving we experience in life? How can one process the memory of pain? Could there be “phantoms" of various sizes and shapes within us?
About The Film, a statement by Marie Yi-Qing Bouvéronan :
"Marso approached me and asked if I could direct and produce PHANTOMS WITHIN as a movie, and I, of course, said yes. During that time I was saddened by the fact that so many performances were canceled and artists not yet been on stage for a very long time.
I saw this as a great opportunity to express the void that they have been enduring.
Moreover, Marso and I decided to dig into the performers personal life in order to build a narrative and a cohesive choreography. Aside from being trapped in the city for so long, they’ve shared their intimate stories. JP and Athena’s heartfelt struggles and the restricted opportunities due to the pandemic, Shadow Kid’s journey as a blind dancer and Vehbi having the use of only one hand. Their stories were also incredibly empowering on how they faced their phantoms everyday but still managed to shine through their dance.
Being only allowed to shoot this indoor, and not being able to have the performers together, Marso and I wanted to contrast their mental struggles with their fantasy of being able to connect with one another through space and their dance.
I aimed to express the dancers' emotional and physical struggles through shifts of space with their movement and colour contrast, emphasizing on emotions and vitality. Thanks to Domenico, our composer, we really could connect each character through specific instruments and melodies that represented each dancer's individuality.
It was a great journey to be able to collaborate with Marso, who was such a talented dance director and choreographer, Domenico with his musical sensitivity and Domingo, the cinematographer's understanding of space and movement.
To this end I would like to conclude with the key questions of Marso's concept:
How does one compare the grieving we experience in life? How can one process the memory of pain? Could there be “phantoms" of various sizes and shapes within us?
This is Phantoms Within."
The R&D of this was work (originally titled 'Phantom Limbs') was supported by The Place (Choreodrome 2019), Wellcome Collection, DanceXchange, Birmingham Hippodrome and Theatre National de Chaillot. It was awarded the "OneDance UK Award for Research in Dance" 2020.
If you're interested in this project or wishing to join our list of partners and supporting venues please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you !
Artistic director, choreography and concept /visuals/movement direction: Mickael Marso Rivière
Phantoms Within film director and Producer: Marie Yi-Qing Bouvéronan
Director of Photography: Domingo Lamarre
Collaborators/dance artists for the film :
Film Cast: JP Ying, Choi Ha Leung, Vehbi Can, Marso Riviere, Bboy ShadowKid
Creative contributors: Christina Promoona, Si Rawlinson, Paris Crossley, Luke Lentes
Composer/Sound designer: Domenico Angarano
UK Producer: Vasanthi Argouin
Commissioned and produced by Hong Kong Arts Festival / No Limits www.nolimits.hk