The Défilé is a choreographed parade, unique in Europe, which every two years brings together more than 5,000 amateur participants, aged 10 to 80, from 600 towns and villages across the Rhône-Alpes region. Managed by 250 professional artists upervised by professional choreographers, they offer to 300,000 spectators in central Lyon a fusion of the urban imagination into a contemporary vision.
In tradition to a certain "Lyon humanism", the Défilé has since 1996 been all about meeting new people, sharing experiences, citizenship, and celebrating amateur praticies in the arts in their most noble facet: quality art in service of social inclusion; citizens expressing themselves in public with an artistic statement; with a particular attention on enabling more fragile persons to participation and take part in the adventure.
For the past 20 years, the Défilé has contributed to the enhencement policy of working class neighbourhoods and their population, while fostering and embodying a mix of social backgrounds, generations and geographic origins.
The Défilé entails a year-long programme of hands-on arts workshops that promote connections between amateurs and professionals in the fields of dance, music, singing, and costume, scenery, props making etc. The wealth of these encounters comes from the sheer variety of partnerships on the area and, on the long run, from the project initiators operating in communities, ensuring a good mix of stakeholders (ages, origins, social context).
Initiated in 1996 as part of the “Neighbourhood Cultural Projects” programme, the Défilé has established itself over the years as an exemplary event that epitomises:
- the relationship between artists and neighbourhood residents
- the Culture strand of urban policy
- the connection between the worlds of culture and socio-professional integration
- Lyon’s distinctive dance-related identity and savoir-faire.
The general and financial organisation of the event is overseen by a Steering Committee chaired by Ms Myriam Picot, Vice-President for Culture of the Métropole de Lyon authority. This committee brings together the Dance Biennale and the Défilé’s partners: the Métropole de Lyon, central government agencies (DRAC, CGET, DIRECCTE), the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Regional Council, the City of Lyon, the Lyon Employment and Training Centre, and state investment bank the Caisse des Dépôts.
The Défilé Steering Committee takes care that priority neighbourhoods’ residents are involved, and that diverse areas and organisations team up – a way to help participants mix and move around, and to let struggling people tap the energy of the event, by running a social or professional integration scheme.