Dancer, choreographer, and creator of experimental projects like the ephemeral school Bocal, Musée de la danse or [terrain], future institution without roof and walls, Boris Charmatz subjects dance to formal constraints which redraw the field of its possibilities. The stage is a notepad where to draft concentrated, organic concepts in order to observe the chemical reactions, intensities, and tensions engendered by their encounter.
Following studies at the École de danse de l’Opéra National de Paris and the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon, together with Dimitri Chamblas he creates À bras-le-corps (1993), groundbreaking work they continue to dance and that is part of the repertoire of Paris Opera Ballet Ballet since 2017. Pieces like Aatt enen tionon (1996), herses (une lente introduction) (1997), Con forts fleuve (1999) or régi (2006) write history in parallel to his activities as a dancer, performer and improviser (e.g. with Médéric Collignon, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Odile Duboc and Tino Sehgal).
From 2009 until 2018 Boris Charmatz runs the Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne under the label Musée de la danse, paradox creating its dynamics from its own contradictions, an experimental space for thinking and practice, putting upside down any established relationship among audience, art and its physical and imaginary territories. Musée de la danse articulates both, the alive and its meta-level – art and archive, creation and transmission.
As the associate artist of the 2011 Festival d’Avignon, Boris Charmatz proposes Une école d’art and creates enfant for 26 children and 9 dancers at the Cour d’honneur of Palais des Papes, restaged in 2018 with a group of children from Berlin at Volksbühne Berlin.
Invited by MoMA New York in 2013, Boris Charmatz stages Musée de la danse: Three Collective Gestures, a three-part programme displayed all over the museum over the course of three weeks. Following an invitation in 2012, Boris Charmatz is again guest of Tate Modern London in 2015: If Tate Modern was Musée de la danse? proposes new versions of À bras-le-corps, Levée des conflits, manger, Roman Photo, expo zéro and 20 dancers for the XX century.
That same year, Boris Charmatz opens the dance season of Paris Opera with 20 dancers for the XX century, and invites 20 dancers from Paris Opera Ballet to perform twentieth-century soli and solo parts in the public spaces of Palais Garnier. In May 2015 he premieres Fous de danse, an invitation to live dance in all its forms from noon until midnight. Further editions of this choreographic assembly bringing together professional dancers and amateurs, take place in Rennes in 2016 and 2018; Brest, Berlin and Paris (Festival d’Automne) follow in 2017.
During 2017-2018 Boris Charmatz is associate artiste of Volksbühne Berlin where he presents danse de nuit (2016), 10000 gestes (2017), A Dancer’s Day (2017) and enfant (2018).
End of 2018 Boris Charmatz leaves Musée de la danse / Centre chorégraphique national de Rennes et de Bretagne and for the occasion creates La Ruée at Théâtre National de Bretagne, a collective performance inspired by the book Histoire mondiale de la France, written under the direction of Patrick Boucheron.
In January 2019 he launches [terrain], association established in the Region Hauts-de-France and in partnership with the phénix, scène nationale of Valenciennes, Opéra de Lille and Maison de la Culture d’Amiens. Boris Charmatz is also associate artist of Charleroi danse (Belgium) for three years (2018-2021).
In the summer of 2019 Zürcher Theater Spektakel gives Boris Charmatz carte blanche to take over the festival site on the lake. terrain | Boris Charmatz : Un essai à ciel ouvert. Ein Tanzgrund für Zürich becomes the first test of his project [terrain] : a green choreographic site without roof and walls, an architecture of bodies during three weeks, every day and under the open sky, including public warm-ups, workshops for children, amateurs and professional dancers, performances and a symposium.
In 2020, Festival d’Automne à Paris proposes the Portrait Boris Charmatz with works from his repertoire and new projects : La Ruée (2018), (sans titre) (2000) by Tino Sehgal, La Fabrique (2020), Aatt enen tionon (1996), 20 danseurs pour le XXe siècle et plus encore (2012, 2020), boléro 2 (1996) & étrangler le temps (2009) and 10000 gestes (2017). In this framework he creates La Ronde for the closing event of Grand Palais, collective performance of 12 hours and subject of a film and a documentary for France Télévisions. In June 21, he orchestrates a performance for 130 dancers, Happening Tempête, for the opening of Grand Palais Éphémère. In July 2021, he opened the Manchester International Festival with Sea Change, a dance piece with 150 amateurs and professional dancers. In November he creates and interprets the entirely whistled solo SOMNOLE.
Boris Charmatz is the author of: Entretenir/à propos d’une danse contemporaine (Centre national de la danse / Les presses du reel, 2003), co-authored with Isabelle Launay; Je suis une école (Editions les Prairies Ordinaires, 2009), a work that retraces the adventure Bocal; and EMAILS 2009–2010 (Les presses du réel, in partnership with Musée de danse, 2013), co-authored with Jérôme Bel. In 2017, MoMa New York as part of its series Modern Dance, publishes the monography Boris Charmatz, directed by Janevski and with contributions by Gilles Amalvi, Bojana Cvejić, Tim Etchells, Adrian Heathfield, Catherine Wood...
His projects initiate various cinematographic realisations, among them Les Disparates (2000), directed by César Vayssié ; Horace-Bénédict (2001), by Dimitri Chamblas et Aldo Lee ; Une lente introduction (2007) by Boris Charmatz et Aldo Lee ; Levée (2014) by Boris Charmatz et César Vayssié ; Daytime Movements (2016), by Boris Charmatz et Aernout Mik ; TANZGRUND (2021), by César Vayssié ; étrangler le temps (2021) by Boris Charmatz and Aldo Lee.
In September 2022, Boris Charmatz will be the new director of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, to launch, with [terrain], a new project between France and Germany.