Skip to main content

The Dance Biennial Défilé

One may still have the impression that the Défilé is an urban ritual (...). Dance offered the city a means for looking after its ability to live in harmony, to celebrate, to open up to the world, to embrace the rhythms and warmth of the South. These influences have transformed the city, and if the city has been able to perceive itself in this movement, it’s because all this makes sense to it. (Charles Picq, 2010)

The creation of the Défilé

Twelve years after the first edition of the Dance Biennial, Guy Darmet brought back the theme for the 1996 edition from a trip to Brazil: Aquarela do Brasil. During his trip, he was enthralled by the Rio Carnaval and decided to create its far-distant cousin in Lyon. During this Brazilian edition, the Défilé was born, a tribute to the Rio Carnaval and to the actions of the samba schools, which would go on to become a key event of the Dance Biennial and which has constantly grown ever since. 

The first Dance Biennial Défilé, 1996

The first-ever Dance Biennial Défilé, held in Lyon in front of 200,000 spectators, brought together Brazilian professionals and amateurs from the city’s suburbs. 

The Défilé is a hub for encounters, for sharing, for community spirit, a celebration of amateur dance and arts.

Le Défilé de la Biennale de la Danse 2000

The Défilé is a choreographed parade, unique in Europe, which brings together some 5,000 amateur participants of all ages from towns and villages across the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region every two years. Supervised by 250 artists and choreographers and held in the heart of the City of Lyon, it offers 300,000 spectators a festive, poetic, non-stop moving showcase. Today, the Défilé is recognized as an emblematic event of the cultural aspect of the City’s urban policy and of the relationship between artists and neighbourhood residents.

Samba opus 1 - Rio, le conservatoire de la samba

Preparing a Défilé

The Défilé entails a year-long programme of hands-on arts workshops that promote encounters between amateurs and professionals in the fields of dance, music, singing, costumes, scenery, props, etc. Dress rehearsals take place in the summer when real live Défilé conditions are tested during run-throughs in the City’s sports stadiums. On the Défilé day, participants trace their route from the Place des Terreaux to the Place Bellecour via the Rue de la République. 

2014 Défilé preparations in Bron

 10th edition of the Dance Biennial Défilé where the keyword was “Live and dance!”. 

The Défilé has always been a festive, community-spirited celebration which promotes strong values: living in harmony, community togetherness.

Défilé 2008

When she took over as the Lyon Dance Biennial’s Artistic Director, Dominique Hervieu decided to offer the public a gigantic choreographic creation, signed by contemporary artists like Mourad Merzouki and Dada Masilo, as a grand finale to the Défilé. At the end of the performance, the “Tarantella” is an open invitation for everyone to join in the dance: thanks to a video tutorial published online before the Défilé or by learning live and direct during the finale, the public can take part in a thrill-filled, danced moment with the choreographers and Défilé participants.

Défilé 2012

Your opinion interests us
By accessing the website, you acknowledge and accept the use of cookies to assist you in your browsing.
You can block these cookies by modifying the security parameters of your browser or by clicking onthis link.
I accept Learn more