Maison de la Danse © Angelique Decock

Focus on dancehouses: Maison de la Danse, Lyon

It was in june 1980 that France’s first Maison de la Danse was inaugurated in Lyon. It was the result of a little bit crazy bet, launched from 1977 by five local choreographers (Claude Decaillot, Michel Hallet Eghayan, Lucien Mars, Hugo Verrechia et Marie Zighera), united to defend dance and to claim then what did not exist: a place only dedicated to this art. The City of Lyon and its representative for Culture were interested in the project and granted an old theater in the district of Croix-Rousse. The artistic direction was then entrusted to Guy Darmet. The success of the first season exceeded the most optimistic forecasts. According to the will of the City of Lyon and the General Council of Rhône, then joined the Ministry of Culture, the Region Rhône-Alpes and some other partners. The importance of a space for dance was demonstrated. The public, the professionals, the institutions and the media testified of the interest and the originality of Maison de la Danse. Its echo became national and international. Today still, Maison de la Danse is a unique place for dance in Europe. In 1984, Guy Darmet also initiated the first edition of the Lyon Dance Biennale, that happens every two years in september. The festival grew then, it quickly standed out as one of the most important dance festivals in the world.

One of the most important moments in the development of Maison de la Danse was the moving from the theater in Croix-Rousse to an other theater in the 8th district, in 1992. A beautiful reliable proof of the City of Lyon and the Ministry of Culture. Maison de la Danse found there a stage and an audience of 1100 seats worthy of its ambition and capacity. Since this installation, Maison de la Danse is able to place a studio at the companies disposal for rehearsals or residencies. This studio is also the place for presentations with 100 seats for more intimate presentations.

For thirty-two years now, Maison de la Danse has been pursuing the same artistic policy: to embrace dance in all its forms and techniques; to invite the major choreographers of the 20th century and young creators; to blend creation and the repertoire; to foster the interest of youngsters and older children by organising young people’s matinees; and to defend the aesthetic diversity.

Maison de la Danse presents every season between 30 and 40 companies for approximately 180 performances with a 93% attendance rate. It welcomes approximately 150 000 spectators a season. Every two years, during the three final weeks of september, Lyon Dance Biennale presents around 180 shows which take place in 30 locations in and around Lyon, with an attendance rate of 90%. Furthermore, Lyon Dance Biennale organises the Défilé, a unique choreographic parade bringing together artists and the general public. This attracts 4,000 participants and over 300,000 people.

Maison de la Danse is also at the origin of an international video library of dance online: Its aim is to create the first digital audio-visual database for the dance world. It indexes as extracts, or as complete works, choreographic adaptations/dramas, documentaries and educational resources. These data are available to the general public, dance and/or video professionals internationnaly, and to the world of education through specific tools for presentation and consultation which respect the artistic quality of the works as well as broadcast rights and access to content.

In July 2011, Dominique Hervieu is nominated to become the new director of Maison de la Danse and the new artistic director of the Lyon Dance Biennale.

The beautiful artistic and human adventure of Maison de la Danse continues. Faithful to its original mission to make discover and like dance to a large audience, Maison de la Danse intends to pursue its development. Today, tomorrow, still open the borders of its hospitality in its support to the artists. With generosity and stubbornness. The next development of Maison de la Danse, and the most ambitious, will become a reality in 2018 with the project of a new theater in the district of Confluence in Lyon, in total transformation.

Within the frame of modul-Dance, Maison de la Danse had the opportunity to welcome young european companies for residencies in its dedicated studio. The partnerships, exchanges, collaborations and transfers of knowledge between the members of modul-dance gave also Maison de la Danse the great chance to meet some emerging artists who have been, or will be, then coproduced and presented during its seasons.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012