Maison de la Danse in Lyon
- The creation of a venue exclusively for dance
- A centre for every type of dance
- A venue devoted to its public
- The Maison de la Danse’s digital policy
The Maison de la Danse proposes a programme where a wide array of styles meets: from leading choreographers of the 20th century to young, up-to-the-minute creators, it brings together creation and repertoire. A digital, cultural development and mediation strategy complete this project, in particular through numeridanse.tv, a multimedia platform initiated by the Maison de la Danse.
The creation of a venue exclusively for dance
Lyon City Hall proposed a former reception hall, located in the Croix-Rousse district, to the five choreographers who had set the ball rolling. Georges Bacconnier and Laurent Roussel, architects-scenographers transformed and renovated the premises. The newly-refurbished building was inaugurated on 17 June 1980 and, as such, the first-ever Maison de la Danse in France was created. Henri Destezet was appointed Administrator and the journalist Guy Darmet, Artistic Director. The success of the first season exceeded even the most optimistic expectations...
“1,350 subscribers. 25,000 spectators. 70 performances from fourteen different companies. And that was already yesterday; the Maison de la Danse has met its first challenge” (Guy Darmet, 1981).
Maison de la danse à Lyon, 1980
The public, professionals, institutions and the media all showed their interest for the structure’s originality. It gained national, then international renown. Over the years, however, the stage dimensions and equipment no longer met choreographers’ legitimate demands. One of the Maison de la Danse’s highlights was when it moved from the Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse to the Théâtre du 8ème in September 1992. A great display of trust shown by the City of Lyon and the French Ministry for Culture, which had since become project partner.
The move to Lyon’s 8th district was a real success and the Maison de la Danse could now host a greater number of spectators and provide the artists with optimal comfort. In 2011, Guy Darmet left his place as the theatre’s Artistic Director to the choreographer Dominique Hervieu.
A centre for every type of dance
The Maison de la Danse hosts every style of dance imaginable: neo-classical, classical, contemporary, American modern dance, jazz dance, flamenco, butoh, Indian, African dance...
The venue was one of the first to present American tap-dancing performances and was a forerunner in the development of hip-hop.
The Maison de la Danse’s missions also include centre staging national and international works, where the challenge nowadays frequently lies in the links which performing arts manage to create between each other: dance, visual arts, circus, theatre... Committed to incorporating other art forms... something which dance has always promoted, the Maison de la Danse welcomes these hybrid, transgressive creations which flout purist categorization.
In addition to showcasing works, the venue also focuses on developing its production and artist residence policy and wishes to support and accompany local, national and international creators.
Each season is pulsed by the presence of regional, national or international companies in residence (two creative residences per season). By providing its studio and stage, the Maison de la Danse becomes involved in the co-production and ensures choreographers work in the best possible conditions. Since 2017, the Maison de la Danse is also a European Creative Hub, whose purpose is to accompany and optimally link together research, production, dissemination and promotional activities for young choreographic companies working towards global reach.
A venue devoted to its public
From the moment she arrived, Dominique Hervieu wished to integrate amateur activities into her project and, as such, to push the Maison de la Danse’s original mission even further: to share the passion of dance with as many people as possible.
“Spectators will play a key, critical and active role in the Maison de la Danse’s life; they will be the focus of choreographic creation”. (Dominique Hervieu, 2011)
The Maison de la Danse’s all-embracing agenda includes a wide range of performances for young audiences and their families: school matinees “On danse en famille” (Let’s dance with the family) afternoons, “Complices” (Together) subscriptions where parents and their children can enjoy magical moments together. Video-conferences, after-show get-togethers, public rehearsals as well as community actions initiated with social sector partners in hospital and prison settings are also proposed. As a support structure for the PREAC (Resource hub for artistic and cultural education), dance and arts of movement in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the Maison de la Danse also pursues an ambitious artistic education policy, throughout children’s lives, from nursery school to university.
The Maison de la Danse’s next line of development will involve reinstating Lyon’s Guimet Museum (6th district) as a Dance Workshop — a space for creating, for producing and a laboratory for promoting amateur activities — facilities which will complement the currently-used venue and which should open in 2020.
The Maison de la Danse’s digital policy
Since the very beginning, the Maison de la Danse has placed a focus on video and has recorded every performance live thanks to the initiative of the film director and former Director of the Image Division, Charles Picq. 1990 saw the creation of a video library dedicated to dance and freely-accessible to the general public, the first of its kind in France. Numeridanse.tv was developed in 2011 and offers an online access to the Maison de la Danse archives as well as to those of partners involved in the project.
A centre for promotion, for creation, but also for memory, the Maison de la Danse has become a recognized reference for transmitting dance through image.
Fully aware of tomorrow’ challenges and of opportunities for the future offered by new technology, the Maison de la Danse is pushing even further today with virtual reality projects and video game development amongst others.