Josette Baïz, who was trained by Odile Duboc, has been teaching contemporary dance since 1978 in Aix-en-Provence, where she created her first choreographies for young dancers who took part in her classes.
In 1982, when she was a dancer for Jean-Claude Gallotta, Josette Baïz won first prize in the 14th edition of the Bagnolet International Choreographic Competition, as well as the public prize and the French Minister for Culture's prize. She went on to found her first company: The Place Blanche, and has since created over 40 works, for her own companies and for an array of national (Toulouse, Jeune Ballet de France of the Lyon Conservatory, etc.) and international ballets (Boston, Royal Ballet of Phnom Penh, Germany, Venezuela, The Netherlands, etc.).
In 1989, the French Minister for Culture invited her for a year as artist in residence for a school in the Northern districts of Marseille. This encounter with young people, from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, led her to reconsider the signification of her work and to radically modify her artistic approach.
The confrontation with proposals as diverse as breakdance, smurf, hip-hop, oriental, gypsy, Indian and African dance, obliged her to totally reappraise the physical and mental skills she had acquired.
She was totally unacquainted with the supports, the way the ground was used, the circular movements of the hips, the sharp strikes of flamenco and the loosened pelvis of African dances.
And so, a process of mutual exchange was initiated: Josette Baïz taught contemporary, classical dance and composition in research workshops; the young dancers taught her their way of asserting their origins and feelings.
It was, therefore, only natural for Josette Baïz to create the Groupe Grenade, which brought together over thirty young dancers, in 1992. In 1998, Josette decided to perpetuate the cross-cultural work undertaken with the Groupe Grenade, whilst continuing to pursue an intensely contemporary perspective. She created the compagnie Grenade which comprised five key dancers from the Groupe Grenade.
Josette Baïz's wish is to continue to enhance this choreographic repertoire by continuing to partner artistically with French and international choreographers; by taking part in cutting-edge and original multidisciplinary projects and, as such, initiating encounters and exchange.
Source : Grenade - Josette Baïz Cie 's website