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By Dominique Hervieu, artistic director

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SEP

Dominique Hervieu

Who would have thought that the unbridled performers François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea would create a piece of choreography en pointe and with orchestra, for the dancers of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon? Who would have thought that the Spanish-to-the-bone Carmen would regain all of her sensuality in the body of a phenomenal South African dancer, Dada Masilo? Who would have thought that !ve feminist performances from the 70's, including ones by Yoko Ono and Marina Abramović, would be turned into a magic show? Who would have thought that young choreographer Benjamin Millepied, a fan of contemporary music and hip hop dance who shuttles between screen and stage, would become the director of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris?

Welcome to the creative world we’re passionate about! We are witnessing a truly joyous period of across-the-board openness, where it seems that the world of art is able to expand ad in!nitum through its cross-pollinations and its blending of references and styles… The 2014 Dance Biennale will let us track all these audacious endeavours and understand how the individual’s relationship with creation and the world is undergoing radical change.

The Biennale’s energy and rhythm will be injected by the creators present for three weeks in Lyon, Greater Lyon and the region. They will over you 25 French new works and premieres, including 15 works made in Lyon; and 14 other productions from Chad, Greece, Los Angeles, Italy… After months of preparation, the shows will come alive before your eyes – and at this great moment, everything makes sense.

For 20 days, there’ll be a festival mood!
As in 2012, this new edition will be popular and experimental. And also just as inclusive, because developing an “aesthetic of diversity” remains my creed for introducing people to dance and nurturing their love for it, because I wish to build a programme of popular, high-quality works, with the pearls of hip hop (a new piece by Kader Attou), with the up and-coming figure in flamenco (a new piece by Rocío Molina), with a sophisticated and very rare piece by Jiří Kylián
William Forsythe’s company is invited to Lyon for the first time with Study#3, a “study” of movement focused on his extraordinary choreographic language and on his dancers’ incredible improvisational flair.
With this 16th edition, the Biennale proposes a vision of dance that is even broader – not only in its choice of aesthetics, but this year in its timespan too. It is embracing history, giving the public a fresh chance to see cult 20th-century works (Picabia - 1924, Cunningham - 1975, Jan Fabre - 1982). This link with history will allow us to pose the question (which runs through the whole Biennale): what influence has performance exercised, and does it continue to exercise, on the “canonical arts” (theatre and dance)?

My idea is to juxtapose historical and new works in order to put contemporary output to the test of emblematic 20th century works, and vice versa. With five reference works and five creations (François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea for the Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon, Noé Soulier for the Ballet de Lorraine, Alessandro Sciarroni...) we will reactivate thinking on the current interest for “performative dance” in all its dimensions. Today, many creators are knowingly playing between performative culture and spectacle, and moving from one practice to the other with no qualms at all. We will be the !rst witnesses of this invigorating creative freedom, a far cry from binary aesthetic oppositions. We will also examine Frigo, Lyon’s important performance movement in the ‘70s, which attracted many choreographers (Régine Chopinot, Dominique Bagouet…) and also Charles Picq, for 30 years the house video artist of the Maison de la Danse, who died in 2012. We are holding a screening with commentary from Frigo’s founders, Alain Garlan and Gérard Couty, to discover some exceptional video archives from the ‘80s.

This year, the Dance Biennale is embracing the circus. We are supporting three world premieres by Compagnie XY, Compagnie Yoann Bourgeois, and Claudio Stellato. The creative vitality of the circus is eye-catchingly clear, and capturing spectators’ enthusiasm. Now anything but a minor art, the circus is renewing imaginative realms while craving novel forms and unclassifiable fictions. It is evident that the Biennale’s guest circus creators have a very strong bond with dance. They readily borrow materials and treatments specific to the choreographic art, and yet they have passionate ties with their history, and with the virtuoso artistry that is as essential as ever. This Fernand Léger quotation puts it in a nutshell: “Circus is riskier than dance, but it’s part of the same family!” The Dance Biennale’s spectators will, I’m sure, be happy to discover these artistic worlds.


And besides the dance shows?
You can dance your way into the Biennale, by exploring numeridanse.tv and its thematic close-ups. You can become a very attentive festival-goer by attending the “rendez-vous” hosted by Laurent Goumarre, with Jan Fabre and Benjamin Millepied. You can discover at Café Danse an artwork/installation concocted by France Distraction, in the form of a philosophical bubble bath for physical experiment… And children cannot miss the Family Weekend! All these “extras”, mostly free of charge, will bring to life our three Fabrique (“studio”) strands around the themes of new dance work, perspectives, and amateur practice, which were already well attended in 2012. Also to be explored: the Biennale fringe, which is expanding with Le Lavoir Public, Le Croiseur, choreographers’ initiatives, and more… The Lyon Dance Biennale is truly vibrant!

I extend my warm thanks to all the venues that are continuing to partner, o!en very generously, with the Dance Biennale in order to host our guests and artist residencies, and to synergise our programming. This year, we are joined by a further 10 towns in the region, and the Dance Biennale’s reach now stretches from Valence, down the Rhône Valley, to Sallanches in the Alps…
This artistic energy may seem out of sync with the “general mood” and the crisis of meaning our society is suffering. But to avoid the ambient declinism, I propose to trust artists and the creative impulse to lead us into novel, sense-engaging worlds and discover new aesthetic models. I hope that these works, with the intelligence and precision of what is in the making, will rise to the challenges of our time.

Dominique Hervieu,
Artistic director, Dance Biennale