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  • Body and soul, here is an expression that gives its full measure when applied to the art of dance. And which could very well be the motto of director Dominique Delouche, the author of "L'Adage", knowing that his passion for dance is matched only by his ceaseless quest for the soul in the human being. Perfect graceful bodies projected into the air, almost free of gravity, in unison with each other, far beyond the trivialities of the flesh, what could inspire Delouche more? Nothing, to be sure. For inspired, the director undoubtedly is. This particular documentary (a very reductive term in this instance) and all the others he made about dance are clear proof of it. The magnificent bodies and souls Delouche chose to focus on this time are those of prima ballerina Nina Vyrobova and of her partner Attilio Labis. In "L'Adage" (a technical term for soft connected movements), the helmer is not content to film them during a performance, he also aims (and we with him) to witness the genesis of what will later appear to audiences as a regular miracle of perfection. His admiring camera therefore follows work in progress rather than the final stage of the representation. That is how we are shown to see Vyrobova and Labis rehearsing Adolphe Adam's ballet "Gisèle" rather than their final public performance, a way for Delouche, as he is wont to do, to approach some kind of sacred mystery, here the mystery of dance, in its loftiest dimension. Using all the technical means at his disposal, whether camera, lighting or sound equipment, he hunts down the unspeakable. With their support, he accompanies, encircles, draws near to or moves away from the artists at work: the elaborate lighting sculpts the bodies, the well thought-out framing places the viewer at the ideal distance while the use of stills (showing the dancers stopped in their movements...) enhances the impression of graceful lightness. As for the acoustic effects (the sound of a ticking metronome, the dancers' voices but very sparsely heard...), they help us not to forget that the magic proceeds from the real and does not exist in itself. Delouche never dissociates the sublime from the mundane, which makes the sublime even more sublime. If the dancers appear to us "not of this world", everyday details are there to remind us they are also creatures of flesh and blood just like us (their arrival at the opera-house in their winter clothes, Adam's beautiful music identified as coming from a tape running on a recorder, the panting of Vyrobova and Labis...) We will not conclude without mentioning the voice overs, the solemn ones of Laurent Terzieff and Pascale de Boysson, which not only allow an overall impression of the ballet, of which we actually only see excerpts, but also bring into relief its dark romanticism, love being inextricably bound up with death. The text they read is a French translation of the poem by Heinrich Heine which later inspired librettist Vernoy de Saint-Georges and composer Adolphe Adam for "Gisèle". From words to music, from rehearsals to the work performed, from the camera eye to the intangible of a miracle, everything is contained in this brief but bewitching short.