The Lyon Dance Biennale is the most important and ambitious dance festival in the world
In 2016, the Dance Biennale delivered a popular vibe but also an experimental edge, with 43 productions including 23 new works. There was dance in all of its forms: neo-classical, with La Belle et la Bête by Thierry Malandain; glamorous, with the musical by Jean-Claude Gallotta and Olivia Ruiz; and minimalist, with Vincent Dupont’s Stéréoscopia. There was also a chance to discover standout performers such as Cristiana Morganti, Louise Lecavalier, Jonah Bokaer and Olivia Grandville. The 17th Biennale was hugely successful, drawing nearly 115,000 spectatorsView the site of the edition 2016
This Biennale consisted of two trails: circus, with three of the world’s most talented crews making new work; and performance, in an echo of what was currently happening on stage, with artists revisiting, reactivating and reworking powerful statements from dance history. An opportunity to reconnect with the immense Jan Fabre, who revived his seminal piece C'est du théâtre comme c'était à espérer et à prévoir in a staggering eight-hour performance; William Forsythe and his Study#3; La Compagnie XY, a jaw-dropping collective of acrobats; Yoann Bourgeois, who world premièred his latest piece Celui qui tombe; James Thierrée and his wildly surreal world... This 16th edition scored a resounding success, with about 100,400 spectators, and 16,000 people gathering in Place Bellecour after the Défilé to dance the Tarentella Samba!View the site of the edition 2014
Dominique Hervieu’s first edition as artistic director. The Biennale staged 19 new works including 16 world and three French premières. A big increase in the coproduction budget (+37%) made it possible, for the first time, to host eight companies in residence, as part of the “Dance Work Studio” strand. There were numerous popular hits, especially pieces by Mourad Merzouki, David Bobee, Israel Galván, Dada Masilo, Sankai Juku and Angelin Preljocaj. The “Studio of Perspectives” strand spanned a wide line-up of artist platform events, workshops, academic seminars, and talks. And with the “Amateur Studio”, the Biennale fostered the festive and social presence of dance in the city – a chance to strengthen ties with several local community groups.View the site of the edition 2012
Guy Darmet’s last Biennale as artistic director.
A vintage with no specific theme, but a free-wheeling programme studded with Darmet’s preferences and special favourites. A true declaration of love for dance, shared by 97,000 spectators – the highest Biennale attendance thus far.
This Biennale addressed notions of contemporary repertoire, transmission and exemplarity. The event explored past and future, as well as repertoire and new work.
Eighty-four thousand spectators, 42 guest companies, 16 premières, and the inaugural edition of Focus Danse, a platform devoted to professionals.
Having explored just about the entire world, the Biennale showcased pieces of choreography rooted in major cities worldwide. Twenty-nine cities featured, with four main themes: urban dance, cities with dance at their heart, the relationship between choreography and architecture, and dance in public space.
Forty companies articulated this urban bond to more than 86,000 spectators.
This Biennale presented a snapshot of contemporary Europe with 11 new works, a jigsaw of languages and cultures, and more than 2,000 years of shared history.
Europe was expanding, and the Biennale offered it a great celebration without any preconceptions, respecting identities and embracing creative impulses for the widest possible audience.
Seventy-five thousand spectators discovered highly original productions, leading names, plus up-and-coming talents.
A tenth Biennale devoted to South America, with a flavour at once festive and geopolitical.
More than 75,000 spectators attended a festival in the form of a travel notebook: images of festivities and rituals, and portraits by strongly engaged choreographers…
This ninth Biennale took the public to the Far East, to discover a kind of dance steeped in imagery, reflection and meditation.
A compelling three-week adventure, illustrated by 800 artists. Dance and spirituality filled 17 venues across Lyon, and 79,000 spectators discovered classical Chinese dance, Thai shadow theatre, Japanese Kabuki, and the latest terrifically up-to-date creations by young Asian choreographers.
The eight Biennale, lasting 20 days, hosted 35 companies from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Audiences discovered an array of original and amazingly contemporary pieces, and notably explored the region’s relationship with the body.
The event attracted 85,000 spectators.
The seventh Dance Biennale was an all-Brazilian affair – and truly an invitation to party, particularly with the birth of the Défilé, a street parade through central Lyon which attracted 200,000 spectators.
Over three weeks, more than 82,000 spectators witnessed this homage to Brazil and its flair for dance.
The Dance Biennale is ahead of its time – and proved it with this Biennale, which paid tribute to Mama Africa. It presented a number of African artists, and primarily highlighted the global spread of black African culture.
During this sixth edition, 20 companies from 10 countries performed for 75,500 spectators.
The fifth edition of the Dance Biennale, devoted to Spanish dance, welcomed 27 companies for a hundred or so performances, and confirmed its status as an event with huge popular appeal. The Biennale shared the power and vitality of “Spanish passion” with 79,000 spectators.
The 4th Biennale turned the spotlight on American culture. Its audience travelled the path of the pioneers who created modern dance – and revolutionised movement. The event introduced nearly 73,000 spectators to numerous choreographers including Bill T. Jones. The Biennale, stated The New York Times, “is the only festival that matters”. With this fourth edition, the Biennale attained international stature.
1988 was the year of dance in France, and witnessed the third edition of the Biennale. Thanks to a growing array of partners, to the backing of the City of Lyon, and to philanthropic support, the whole city – metro stations, streets, museums, and no longer just dedicated venues – pulsated to the rhythms of dance. Twenty companies staged 42 performances during a three-week festival of dance, screenings and exhibitions devoted to four centuries of choreographic output in France. The Biennale confirmed its success, with more than 54,000 spectators.
From 13 September to 18 October 1986, the 2nd Dance Biennale hosted 18 companies and paid homage to German expressionism, narrating the birth and development of contemporary dance in Europe and especially in Germany. The event attracted more than 42,000 spectators.
The first-ever Lyon Dance Biennale, which began on 4 June 1984 under Guy Darmet’s artistic direction, featured a line-up of 14 companies in nine venues epitomising the city’s arts scene. The event showed – through evocation, reproduction, testimony and new work – how contemporary dance developed through major currents and its leading exponents in the United States, Germany and France. The inaugural Biennale was a resounding success, drawing more than 39,000 spectators.
The Lyon Dance Biennale is the most important and ambitious dance festival in the world
The Dance Biennale is a major event, by virtue of its international reach and the quality of its programming
An ambitious celebration of choreography, the Dance Biennale is an exemplary success
It’s once again time for Lyon to host the world’s biggest dance festival
Lyon puts down a marker every two years as the city where the world’s largest dance festival – the Dance Biennale – is celebrated
In 2020, the Dance Biennale will hold its 19th edition, celebrating African creativity and the young artists’ scene worldwide. This edition will also feature a new community strand, Les Lyonnais font la Biennale (“Lyon citizens do the Biennale”) with inclusive danceworks headed by international artists. On stage and in public space, an array of shows, performances and digital offerings will lead us towards tomorrow’s art.
Twenty-one world and French premieres will generate this edition’s momentum. After the success of Gravité in 2018, Angelin Preljocaj will be back at the Biennale for the world premiere of his Lac des Cygnes – a far cry from tutus and Tchaikovsky. Yoann Bourgeois will also offer us the world premiere of his new solo, a subtle and burlesque conversation that eschews words... And the most compelling creators on the contemporary international scene – such as François Chaignaud, Marlène Monteiro Freitas and Dimitris Papaioannou – will be in Lyon in September 2020 to stage their latest pieces!
For the next edition of the parade, Africa 20<->20, being held on 13 September 2020, the steering committee has selected 12 projects from around the region. With a cast of 4,000 amateur performers and 250,000 spectators, this Défilé will be an exceptional edition in the colours of Africa.
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