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Back to themas

Do you mean Folklores?


Very Wetr !

Chopinot, Régine (France)


Coupé décalé

Carlès, James (France)


Dervish in Progress

Azazi, Ziya (Turkey)



Acogny, Germaine (Senegal)

Maison de la Danse de Lyon 2007 - Director : Picq, Charles

Choreographer(s) : Acogny, Germaine (Senegal)

Video producer : Maison de la Danse

Integral video available at Maison de la danse de Lyon

Take a look at this work in the video library

Magyar Tancok

Salamon, Eszter (France)


Political Mother

Shechter, Hofesh (United Kingdom)


D'après une histoire vraie

Rizzo, Christian (France)

Do you mean Folklores?

2018 - Director : Plasson, Fabien

Choreographer(s) : Rizzo, Christian (France) Torres Guerrero, Rosalba Augustijnen, Koen (Belgium) Shechter, Hofesh (Israel) Acogny, Germaine (Senegal) Salamon, Eszter (Hungary) Chopinot, Régine (France) Azazi, Ziya (Turkey) Carlès, James (France)

Author : Sarah Nouveau

en fr


“Folklore” refers to popular traditions, those of sharing and community festivity in groups. Folklore has often undergone forms of "revivalism", whether to reactivate dances and musical styles under the threat of disappearance, out of a need to come together to dance collectively ,or to re-affirm the power of the State and the cohesion of a people. Many choreographers are interested in taking inspiration from these popular traditionsconcealing the living aspect of these often rigid forms. What are their motivations and mechanisms? This may first of all correspond to a desire to return to one’s roots, to what these learnt folk-dances have left as a trace in the background of the choreographer, but also to the desire to affirm an alternative approach and to help discover the richness of a heritage.  


Very Wetr ! - Régine Chopinot  

Régine Chopinot works at Pacifikmeltingpot, a project created between France, Japan, New Zealand and New Caledonia. She notably works with the group Wetr, founded in 1992, which reinvents the Kanak singing traditions that were prohibited during French colonization. The choreographer finds that it is particularly important not to impose her own vision of events, nor to rest on an exotic image of other cultures. Her work as choreographer with the Wetr group is, in own words, a combination of precision and letting-go, so as to be clear in her offering, whilst allowing the freedom for the performers to create their own alchemy. She therefore takes the risk of creation outside of Western and European standards, fostering the emergence of something new.  

Coupé décalé - James Carlès  

Created in the 2000s in Ivory Coast and Paris within the Ivorian community, the coupé-décalé includes urban dance and music combining Congolese rumba, hip-hop, music from the Caribbean and popular French chanson and it is composed by various dance steps full of imagery. Made popular under the impulse of a group of Ivorian DJs, the coupé-décalé is typically danced at parties. James Carlès, Cameroon-born French dancer and choreographer, took an interest in Afro-American dance and has always worked hard to remember the African cultural origins of jazz dance. He created the “Coupé décalé” project which includes two sections with a 5 dancer piece “We are going to rip it up!”. This performance shows various aspects of the coupé décalé.

Dervish in progress -  Ziya Azazi  

Since 1999, Turkish dancer and choreographer Ziya Azazi has explored the sacred traditional dance of Sufis, which dates back to the 13th century. This dance is, at first sight, nothing to do with folklore, since it is spiritual, albeit a part of the cultural tradition of the country, and many groups take to the stage.  At its origin, as an initiation ritual, the Dervishes turned on themselves, in a repetitive and continuous manner, so as to annihilate themselves in a mystical ecstasy, to welcome the divine. Through this dizzy ritual, the Dervishes fell into several states of consciousness, and this dance offers a model for the spiritual journey of the Sufi. s

Waxtaan - Germaine Acogny  

Waxtaan means Word or Discussion : the dancers parody people in power and politicians. However this work also highlights and promotes the cultural heritage and popular folklore from several African countries, reinterpreted in a contemporary manner. Whilst criticising political chaos, Germaine Acogny pays homage to the richness of African traditions through a modern creation.

BiT - Maguy Marin

In BiT, an implacable rhythm leads dancers in a farandole where various traditions are evoked. Maguy Marin combines various types of folklore and affirms the unifying power of dance. Holding each other's hands, hammering against the floor, or beating out a common rhythm, the group of dancers forms and begins a continuous dance, which is reminiscent of ancestral traditions. There is an urgency to remember the primitive need to dance collectively, and BiT is perhaps a testimony to an attempt at creating a "new folklore", a possible response by dance to the harsh and violent nature of the world.  

Magyar Tancok - Eszter Salamon  

In this danced conference, Eszter Salamon looks back over her background and her practice of traditional Hungarian dance. Eszter Salamon has never stopped questioning gender differences. Traditional hungarian dances have a very codified structure, within which a principle of improvisation allows each individual to stand out. However, this possibility of improvisation was first and foremost reserved for men, who could show the society their virtuosity, strength and humor, whilst women primarily danced together. In this extract, she interprets a masculine dance from Transylvania, which her nephew passed down to her.  

Political Mother - Hofesh Shechter  

Like many Israeli dancers, Hofesh Shechter has sought inspiration from folk dance for his contemporary creations. In Political Mother, a powerful energy is released to the public, whilst an English sentence illuminates at the back of the stage: "where there is pressure, there is folk dance". Hofesh Schechter composed the music for the dance himself, and the bodies of the dancers are thrust into this energy almost like a trance, on the border between folly and anger, all united in a common heritage which prevents them from remaining still.   

Badke - Koen Augustijnen  

For Badke, Koen Augustijnen, Rosalba Torres and Hildegard De Vuyst have worked with ten Palestinian dancers from various disciplines. The title of this creation twists the name of the dabke, an Arab folk dance, popular in Palestine and various countries in the Middle East. This dance, which is performed with skillful leg work, in a circle and in a line, during marriages and parties, is the basis of the show.   

D’après une histoire vraie - Christian Rizzo  

For Christian Rizzo, choreographer and visual artist, the choreography is above all about space.. His creation d’après une histoire vraie (based on a true story), originates with the choreographer's emotional shock when he experienced, in Istanbul, a masculine dance, which came from Turkish folklore. This remarkable experience gave him the desire not to recreate the dance, but to ask questions about the reverberating power he experienced. The corporal conditions of falling, abandonment, touch, and contact allowing a partner to stay standing on his feet, as well as the masculine empathy, are the basis of the choreography.   

In more depth


BAILLY Danielle, BORZYKOWSKI, Michel (collab.). La danse traditionnelle juive ashkénaze : revue d’ouvrages et d’articles commentés. Paris : L’Harmattan, impr. 2014, cop. 2014. 237 p.

BARBA, Eugenio, SAVARESE, Nicola, DESCHAMPS-PRIA, Eliane (trad.). L’énergie qui danse : un dictionnaire d’anthropologie théâtrale [2e éd. revue et augmentée]. Montpellier : L’entretemps, impr. 2008, cop. 2008. 333 p. (Les voies de l’acteur).  

GRAU, André (dir.), WIERRE-GORE, Georgiana (dir.), ARGAUD, Elise (trad.), LEYMARIE, Isabelle (trad.). Anthropologie de la danse : genèse et construction d’une discipline. Paris, 2005. 318 p. (Recherches – CND).  

GUILCHER, Yves. La danse traditionnelle entre manière d’être et façon de faire. Saint-Join-de-Milly : éd. FAMDT, 1998. 276 p. (Modal Folio).  

GUILCHER, Yves. La danse traditionnelle en France : d’une ancienne civilisation paysanne à un loisir revitalise. Saint-Join-de-Milly : éd. FAMDT, 1998. 276 p. (Modal Folio).

GRÜND, Françoise. Danses de la terre. Paris : éd. de La Martinière, 2001. 255 p.

MARTIN, György, HAP, Béla (trad.), KARDOS, Géza. Les danses populaires hongroises. Budapest : Corvina, 1974. 86 p. (Art populaire hongrois).

ROUGET, Gilbert. La musique et la transe : esquisse d’une théorie générale des relations de la musique et de la possession.  Paris : Gallimard, 1980. 494 p. (Bibliothèque des sciences humaines).

ROUSIER, Claire (dir.). Etre ensemble : figures de la communauté en danse depuis le 20e siècle. Pantin : Centre National de la Danse, 2003. 383 p. (Recherches – CND).  

SEGUIN, Eliane. Histoire de la danse jazz. Paris : éd. Chiron, cop. 2003. 281 p.

Articles et reviews

BORO, Seydou, SANOU, Salia, SMAOUI, Imen. « L’idée que l’on se fait de la danse africaine », in Repères, n°12, Biennale de danse Val de Marne, novembre 2003.  

CHOPINOT Régine, SUQUET, Annie. « Douceur et précision », in Repères, n°32, février 2013, p. 3-4.  

« Danse nomade, Regards d’anthropologues et d’artistes », in Nouvelles de Danse, n°34, Bruxelles, Contredanse, 1998. (Nouvelles de danse).

 « Le Sacre du printemps », in L’Avant-scène Ballet/Danse, n°3,  Paris, L’Avant-Scène Théâtre, août-octobre 1980.  

MARTIN, György, PESOVAR, Erno. « Une analyse structurale de la danse folklorique hongroise, Esquisse méthodologique », in Anthropologie de la danse, Genèse et construction d’une discipline, Pantin, Centre National de la Danse, 2005 (Recherches – CND).  

MOMBOYE, Georges. « Entretien avec Georges Momboye », in Repères, n°12, Biennale de danse Val de Marne, novembre 2003.  

PESOVAR, Ernő. « Les types de la danse folklorique hongroise », in Studia musicologica academiae scientiarum hungaricae, vol. 7, fasc. ¼, Budapest, Akadémiai Kiado, 1964, p. 103-108.  

ROGINSKY, Dina, « Folklore, folklorism and synchronization : Preserved - created folklore in Israel », in Journal of folklore Research, n°44, janvier-avril 2007. P 41-66.  

ROQUET, Christine. « L’Ecole des Sables, ou le studio à l’air libre », in Repères, n°31, La Briqueterie/CDC Val-de-Marne, p. 27-28.

SIEGERT, Nadine, « Contemporary dance from Africa as creative opposition to stereotypical images of Africanity » [en  ligne],  in Buala, 2010.  Disponible sur : 


ACOGNY Patrick, Les techniques des danses africaines et leur expansion en France : transmission et genèse des copropriétés interculturelles. Thèse de doctorat, sous la direction de Jean-Marie Pradier, Université de Paris 8, 2010.

More information


Sarah Nouveau


Excerpts selection  

Sarah Nouveau

Texts and bibliography selection

Sarah Nouveau

Maison de la Danse

The « Folklore, I hear you say? » Parcours was launched thanks to the support of General Secretariat of Ministries and Coordination of Cultural Policies for Innovation (SCPCI)

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