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Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon

Jiří Kylián - Emanuel Gat - F. Chaignaud & C. Bengolea

Opéra de Lyon


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Dance and Performance

Performance is at the heart of this Biennale edition. Learn more and discover the shows.


Things to see


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Purity of movement, sophistication, musicality: those are the marching orders of Yorgos Loukos, director of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, in this line-up which draws a connection between Jiří Kylián and Emanuel Gat. And what will François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea make of all this, in their first creation for a ballet company? One thing’s for sure: everyone will be in pointe shoes, the men included, in this dance of extremes and extremities.


Questions to Yorgos Loukos, Director of the Opéra de Lyon.

What is your aim in showing Heart’s Labyrinth by Jiří Kylián, a piece from 1984?
When I was deciding on the programme, I immediately thought of this little-known piece, a very strange ballet that Kylián himself had removed from his repertoire for years because it was tied to a tragedy in his company, which I won’t go into here. For thirty years, I’ve been thinking that it was time to show this work again, with his consent. And, as always with Kylián, this dance is extraordinarily fluid, with simple yet sophisticated movements with a purity that we rarely see elsewhere.
Performing a Kylián piece makes real sense, especially these days when troupes are handed over to choreographers who use them to show their works but who have no knowledge of the rest of the repertoire. It’s strange to see that, in the theatre, directors stage Ibsen and Tchekhov, but in dance, repertoire is under-appreciated. I always wonder, what would become of the history of dance it weren’t for a company like the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon and a few others, though there are not many of us left.

Along with the Kylián piece, you’ve chosen a work by Emanuel Gat, with about 10 dancers and an orchestra.
What link do you see between these choreographic styles?
Putting Emanuel Gat on the programme was a way to emphasize the musicality, the sophistication and purity of the movements. What’s interesting with Gat is that he doesn’t fit into any clear category. We know postmodern dance and its descendants, those who claim the heritage of Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown or Lucinda Childs in their abstract choreographic work. Then there are the more literary French postmodernists: Boris Charmatz, Christian Rizzo… who feel compelled to cite Foucault or Derrida. Gat doesn’t think along those lines; he offers a simplicity of movement that is far more sophisticated than anything I’ve seen in new French contemporary dance.


Questions to François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea.

This is the first time you’re creating a ballet. Will the dancers wear pointe shoes?
Yes! Pointe shoes are part of classical ballet and they are indispensable for intensifying, exacerbating and transcending the fundamental parameters of dance: balance, gravity, form, speed, immobility... We will use pointe shoes, following on from work we did for our piece Dublove, not as a pastiche of classical dance but, rather, by embracing classical technique and considering the slippers from an entertaining angle, in a concrete way. In fact, it’s a tool for elevation that allows us to invent either a stiff, immobile body or a round and graphic one, so" and voluptuous, slow and heavy or fast and blunt... We will go further this time with the use of pointe shoes, for both the girls and the boys.

What is your relationship with ballet?
Cecilia Bengolea: I’ve always felt a great deal of emotion and admiration for choreographies by Balanchine, Kylián, Cunningham and Forsythe. I am moved by the mastery, the effort, both visible and hidden. François Chaignaud: I especially love abstract ballets, though the dream of weightlessness and immateriality of romantic ballet is still very powerful. I greatly admire Jiří Kylián: the clarity, the musicality and the humour of his pieces are true models for inventing combinations, rhythms and postures. He’s one of my favourite choreographers!


"Pointe shoes are part of classical ballet and they are indispensable for intensifying, exacerbating and transcending the fundamental parameters of dance: balance, gravity, form, speed, immobility..."

François Chaignaud & Cecilia Bengolea

Opéra de Lyon

Dates et horaires

  • Wed 10 Sep20:30
  • Thu 11 Sep20:30
  • Fri 12 Sep20:30
  • Sat 13 Sep20:30

Plein tarif

  • 1re série 42€
  • 2ème série 32€
  • 3ème série 16€

Tarif réduit

  • 1re série 39€
  • 2ème série 29€
  • 3ème série 13€


  • CatégorieA

Jiří Kylián
Musique : Schoenberg, Webern, Dvořák

Emanuel Gat
Distribution en cours

François Chaignaud & Cecilia Bengolea
Musique : Toru Takemitsu

En coproduction avec l'Opéra de Lyon

Photo © DR - Portrait © Odile Bernard Schroeder

To be explored



Performative dances: deframed French choreographies, 1990-2010.

Café Danse - CCI, Palais du Commerce
Wed 17, 4 pm - Free Entry

Jan Fabre

Jan Fabre is Laurent Goumarre’s special guest for a conversation that’s open to the public. 

Théâtre Les Ateliers
Sat 20, 2pm - Free entry


Performance: a history in commentary and images. This lecture, open to all, offers a journey through the history of performance with video excerpts enriched by commentaries. 

Café Danse - CCI, Palais du Commerce
Fri 19, 6pm - Free entry


Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present by Matthew Akers. A retrospective of her work which will be the opportunity for Abramović to answer the  question she is constantly asked: how is this art?

Cinéma Le Comoedia
Sun 21, 11.15am – Single price: €4.80


An event around the DVD Anna Halprin, Danser sa vie,  just released in France. An invitation to discover the career of this wonderful dancer through a historical presentation, screenings, and an exploration of the body. 

Théâtre Les Ateliers
Sat 27, 5.30pm - Free entry

Frigo Group

Performance art was one of the forms of artistic action produced by the Frigo group in Lyon in the 1980s. The Biennale has invited the players in that adventure to comment on a screening of their major performances of the time. 

Café Danse - CCI, Palais du Commerce
Sat 13 at 2pm

To be experienced


Ambra Senatore

Asta, an auction
Performance: Ambra holds an auction of everyday acts. The winning bidder will have their purchase performed at their home by Ambra Senatore.

Café Danse - CCI, Palais du Commerce
Thu 18, 12.30-2.30pm

Free entry 


Les Thermes

France Distraction - Living installation

A swimming pool filled with 25,000 black balls. On each ball, inscriptions borrowed from the Stoics. All you need to do is dive in, for a perfectly
literal immersion in a “big bath of morality”. A philosophical yet highly entertaining experience.

Café Danse - Palais du commerce
Wed 10, 17 and 24 and Sat 13 and 27, 1-5pm

Free entry, unlimited experimentation (subject to space)

Sat 20 at 2.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm
Experiment assisted by Julien Fournet and Alice Popieul.

Free entry, booking required at ticket office

Thu 18 and Fri 19
Assisted experimentation, for schools only (booking required)