Growing Old

Age is the topic of many songs. In a 1971 song called “Trop jeune ou trop vieux” (Too young or too old) composed by Michel Braque and Eddy Marnay, it is clear that age is mostly a question of perspective.

Too young or too old
Too young or too old, the world is divided in half
But for those who understand with their eyes
Being too young or too old never meant anything
We’re alive as long as we are old enough to smile.
Too gray or too blue, what is a day’s true colour?
Each and every time, it is a matter of the heart, a matter of love.
I know trees that are stronger than any winter
And flowers that can’t tolerate light.
Some churches are rooted in their spring
And ruins that are barely twenty.
Too young or too old, allow me to laugh softly.

This period of life often begins when the children leave the family nest. The house seems quiet, but still becomes lively now and then for celebrations or family meetings with children and grandchildren. Sometimes, the house becomes too big and the aging people choose a smaller apartment or a retirement home. Cohabiting is different there; the tranquil home gives way to new people, new activities, and new ambient noise.

Just like the song “Trop jeune ou trop vieux”, growing older doesn’t necessarily mean the end of life. It is a change of pace, less frantic than adult life. For its part, retirement leads to the discovery of new activities that revitalize the lives of retired people with new sounds. This period is lived according to one’s desires, everyone at their rhythm.

Écoute pour voir – À la rencontre des aînés (Listen and see – Engaging with Elders)

Download video: MP4, (29,82 MB), WebM, (30,08 MB), Ogg (28,18 MB) (2 minutes 38 seconds)

Through contemporary dance, Écoute pour voir engenders genuine human contact, bringing different generations and sensibilities closer together. Écoute pour voir consists of a variety of solos, scattered throughout the space and performed simultaneously. Each dancer is paired with a spectator. Both are equipped with a pair of headphones attached to an iPod, allowing them to share a choreography face-to-face over the course of the music.The dancers of Danse Carpe Diem/Emmanuel Jouthe’s company visited a group of elderly residents at Les Résidences Soleil Manoir St-Léonard some twenty times in 2013. The warm approach of Écoute pour voir offers an interlude of lightness, a reprieve from boredom or monotony. Its personalized nature lends itself to supportive care, allowing viewers to abandon themselves to the pleasures of music and the restorative charms of dance. Both people-oriented and artistic, the piece serves to enliven everyday life, to enhance the surroundings with glimmers of light.

Art Director: Emmanuel Jouthe and Laurence Fournier Campeau
Production: Danse Carpe Diem/Emmanuel Jouthe

The idea behind the project is to ease the sense of loneliness felt by the elderly, to give them the feeling they exist for others too. The concept involves the use of two sets of headphones connected to the same iPod, allowing the dancer and the elderly person to share the same music privately.

Elderly lady: Do I have to dance with you now? Do I have to dance with you?
Young man: If you want to!
Young woman: You don't have to.
Young man: You don't have to, but if you feel like it, don't be shy!

Because of the music, along with the choreographic choices, a kind of bubble or cocoon is created for the two participants.

Elderly lady: Ha ha ha ha!
Young man: I'm glad I could make you laugh.
Elderly lady: At the very least!

This special relationship is really powerful, since at that moment, they exist solely for each other.

TEXT: Through contemporary dance, ÉCOUTE POUR VOIR creates genuine human contact, bringing different generations and sensibilities closer together.

Dancers visited this elderly group at Les Résidences Soleil Manoir St-Léonard about twenty times in a year.

Artistic Direction: Emmanuel Jouthe and Laurence Fournier Campeau
Choreography: Emmanuel Jouthe, in collaboration with the dancers
Dancers (in the video): Laurence Fournier Campeau, Nicolas Labelle and Raphaëlle Perreault
Dancers (for the project): Élise Bergeron, Sarah Dell’Ava, Sarah-Ève Grant, Eve Lalonde, Marilyne St-Sauveur, and Gabrielle Suprenant-Lacasse

Director: Xavier Curnillon
Sound mixing: Yann Lavoie
Tranquility Base

This project received financial support from the City of Montréal’s Partenariat culture et communauté (Culture and Community Partnership) program.

Danse Carpe Diem/Emmanuel Jouthe receives financial support from:
Canada Council for the Arts
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (Québec Council for the Arts and Letters)
Conseil des arts de Montréal (Montréal Council for the Arts) and Emploi-Québec and is a member of Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique.