Francine Lancelot (1929-2003) began learning dance when she was 15 years old. She moved to Berlin in 1954 where she studied under Mary Wigman. Then, in Paris, she worked with Françoise and Dominique Dupuy. At the same time, she studied theatre, mime and acrobatics. She then joined the Théâtre de l’Atelier, where she worked with Pierre Conté and used this opportunity to discover and learn Conté’s dance notation method. She worked as a dancer, choreographer and actress in the Jean Dasté Company in Saint Étienne. From 1964, within the framework of the Musée des Arts et Traditions populaires (French Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions), she compiled traditional dances for the CNRS (French National Scientific Research Centre), under the leadership of Jean-Marie Guilcher. She taught these dances, in particular for the Institut de Musique et de Danses Anciennes (IMDA - French Institute of Historical Dance and Music) founded by Philippe Beaussant.
In 1979, Francine Lancelot met Antoine Geoffroy Dechaume, harpsichordist and musicologist, who would play an influential role in her career. He played, she danced, and everything that she read in books took shape naturally. In 1980, encouraged by Philippe Beaussant and the IMDA, she created the Ris et Danceries Company. She brought together dancers, choreographers and researchers with whom she created a dozen pieces of work, was involved in producing operas, comedies-ballets and, at the same time, managed to reproduce Pécour’s erudite choreographies for current-day audiences and to propose her own creations through a rigorously-studied baroque style. Rudolf Nureyev would recognize the quality of this second knowledge that called for an ever-so delicate balance between a taste for history and personal inventiveness. As such, he invited Francine Lancelot to choreography the "Bach Suite" solo (1984) at the Opéra de Paris, as well as the ballet "Quelques pas graves de Baptiste" (1985).
A dancer, choreographer, notator and innovator, actress and documentarian of traditional dances, Francine Lancelot combined all these skills to breathe life into a whole realm of dance, the Belle Danse. Through her passion, the Belle Danse reappeared as if it were the first time. It had not been seen for centuries. It burst forth from this oblivion. From notation to movement: Francine Lancelot did not just retrace these choreographies, she also produced them, performed them with their originality, their feeling, their life.
Source: The dance company l'Eventail 's website