History of dance

Serpentine dance

Loïe Fuller was one of the pioneers, with Isadora Duncan, of modern dance, which appeared in the early 20th century. Loïe Fuller, who had a background in music hall, was one of the first artists to use theatrical effects (thanks to electric light) as an integral part of choreography. She also combined pure movement and technique, freed from narrative purpose. She was known above all for the serpentine dance. In 1891, she adapted the skirt dance, which came out of flamenco and the French cancan. She increased the length of the skirt, whose fabric, giving form to the movement of the gesture through space, described ephemeral forms illuminated with colour. In the serpentine dance, the costume became a dance accessory, and then a veritable instrument of formal expression. 


La Féérie des ballets fantastiques de Loïe Fuller
[The enchantment of Loïe Fuller’s fantastic ballets]

1934, 29 min.
By George R. Busby. Eleven ballets choreographed by Loïe Fuller.
La Féérie des ballets fantastiques de Loïe Fuller was recreated by Renée Lichtig and the Cinémathèque Française, with the aid of the Musée d’Orsay, at the request of the Cinémathèque de la Danse, and presents choreographies by Loïe Fuller performed by her company.

Valse de Godard
Intermezzo / Batailles de fleurs de Mendelsohn
Cortège / Marche du Tannhäuser de Wagner
Dans le Hall du Roi des Montagnes / Peer Gynt de Grieg
Les Ombres gigantesques / Feux follets de Szyfer
Cake-Walk de Debussy
Les Elfes / Scherzo de Mendelsohn
Ballet des Sylphes de Berlioz
Moment musical de Schubert
Le Lys / Prélude du Déluge de Saint-Saëns
Valse triste de Sibélius


Loïe Fuller et ses imitatrices
[Loïe Fuller and her imitators]

NB: Specific conditions for this montage

Ballet Libella, réalisation d’Alice Guy, 1897
Annabelle Butterfly Dance, réalisation de Thomas A. Edison, 1894
Annabelle Serpentine Dance, réalisation de Thomas A. Edison, 1894
Annabelle Serpentine Dance, réalisation de Thomas A. Edison, 1897
Serpentine Dance, réalisation de Thomas A. Edison, 1897
Serpentine Dance, réalisation de William K.L. Dickson, 1903
Annabelle Serpentine Dance, réalisation de Thomas A. Edison, 1895
La Création de la danse serpentine, réalisation de Segundo de Chomon, 1908
Danse serpentine, n°765, , réalisation de Louis Lumière, 1896
Butterfly / Le Farfalle, 1907
Danse serpentine, réalisation de Paul Nadar, c.1900
Danse serpentine, Gaumont, 1900
Annabelle Fire Dance, réalisation de Thomas A. Edison, 1898
Le Lys, Prélude du Déluge de Saint-Saëns


La danse moderne
[Modern dance]

Histoire de la danse moderne : d’Isadora Duncan à Martha Graham
[History of modern dance: from Isadora Duncan to Martha Graham]

The creation of the serpentine dance by Loïe Fuller in 1892 led to an explosion of forms, sensations and visual references that inspired the burgeoning modern dance movement, which featured complementary and sometimes contradictory creations. From Isadora Duncan to Martha Graham, via the oriental inspirations of Ruth St.Denis and the geometric choreographies of Oskar Schlemmer, these first decades would form the foundations on which or against which the choreographic movements of the second half of the 20th century would be built.

Isadora Duncan, document d’archive, c.1920
Isadora Duncan, Movement from the Soul (extraits), réalisation de Dayna Goldfine et Dan Geller, 1987
La Féérie des ballets fantastiques de Loïe Fuller (extraits), 1934
Denishawn, école de Ruth St. Denis et de Ted Shawn, 1919-1930
Air For the G. String, chorégraphie et interprétation de Doris Humphrey, 1934
Document d’archives du Bauhaus, c. 1925
Das Triadische Ballett, chorégraphie d’Oskar Schlemmer, reconstitution de 1970
Tanzerische Pantominen, réalisation de Suse Kyk, 1925
Hexentanz, chorégraphie et interprétation de Mary Wigman,1934
Serenata, chorégraphie et interprétation de Gret Palucca, 1937
Lamentation, chorégraphie et interprétation de Martha Graham, c.1950

La danse expressionniste allemande
[German Expressionist dance]

Expressionism was a cross-disciplinary artistic movement that appeared in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. In dance, the Expressionist movement emerged in around 1919. It was usually referred to as ‘expression dance’, and embraced multiple identities, styles and individuals with diverse backgrounds, but with shared features such as the soloist as principal figure, choral dance and the attempt to create a new vocabulary out of an inner life.

Tanhäuser Bacchanale, 1930-1932
4 solos de Mary Wigman, 1929 : Danse séraphique, Pastorale, Danse d’été et Danse de la sorcière, chorégraphie et interprétation de Mary Wigman, 1929
Serenata, chorégraphie et interprétation de Gret Palucca, 1937
Danse espagnole, chorégraphie et interprétation de Gret Palucca, 1933
Totenmal, chorégraphie et interprétation de Mary Wigman, 1929
Eternal Circle, chorégraphie et interprétation de Harald Kreutzberg, 1952
Tanzerische Pantominen, chorégraphie et interprétation de Valeska Gert, 1925
Angoisse, chorégraphie et interprétation de Dore Hoyer, 1963
L’Amour, chorégraphie et interprétation de Dore Hoyer, 1963
« Sans titre », chorégraphie et interprétation de Dore Hoyer, 1963
Tanzstudie, chorégraphie et interprétation de Dore Hoyer
Le Ballet triadique, chorégraphie d’Oskar Schlemmer, 1970

Post-modern Dance

Reflecting a desire to re-examine dance, its forms and definitions, post-modern dance rejected everything that characterised the modern dance of Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. Performances in abandoned spaces, the shunning of virtuosity, rejection of the spectacular. The intense period of experimentation by the choreographers involved in this movement would continue to flourish in diverse forms and have unexpected developments (film, opera, ballet) through key works by the likes of Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown and Lucinda Childs.

Out of Boundaries, documentary Jacqueline Caux, 2004;
Trio A, Robert Alexander, 1978, NB, duet, choreography and interpretation by Yvonne Rainer, 1966;
Early Works by Trisha Brown at the Tuileries Gardens, production of the Dance Cinematheque, 2008: Group Primary Accumulation (1973), Spanish Dance (1973) and Floor of the Forest (1969-1971);
Footrules, directed by Michael Blackwood, 1980, sound, color, choreography by Douglas Dunn, 1979;
An Audience With the Pope and The Matter, directed by Michael Blackwood, 1980, sound, color, choreography by David Gordon, 1979 and 1972;
Two excerpts from 9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering, Barbro Schultz documentary series, 2012 = Steve Paxton: Physical Things, 1966 and Deborah Hay: Solo, 1966;
Katema, director of the National Dance Center, filmed in 2016 at the Théâtre de la Commune in Aubervilliers, choreography and performance by Lucinda Childs, 1978.


La danse contemporaine
[Contemporary dance]

France Vidéodanse Années 80

In the early 1980s, a new trend in contemporary dance appeared – auteur dancing – known as the Nouvelle Danse Française, whose many representatives would become the directors of the first national choreography centres created in 1984 by Jack Lang. During this rich period in dance history, video dance emerged, with numerous choreographers working with directors to create dance films. Cinematography and choreography signified etymologically: notation of movement.

The camera shed new light on dance, which it examined, analysed and condensed using the mechanical means at its disposal. The close up, the pull back, the ellipse and a series of special effects altered the nature of movement and gesture. Cinema, like photography, added a new dimension to dance.

KOK, chorégraphie et réalisation de Régine Chopinot, 1988
Caramba, chorégraphie et réalisation de Philippe Decouflé, 1986
Les Raboteurs, chorégraphie d’Angelin Preljocaj, réalisation de Cyil Collard, 1988
Mammame, chorégraphie de Jean-Claude Gallotta, réalisation de Raoul Ruiz, 1986
Dix Anges, chorégraphie et réalisation de Dominique Bagouet et Charles Picq, 1989
La Fiancée aux yeux de bois, chorégraphie de Karine Saporta, réalisation de Luc Alavoine, 1989
Anna de la Côte, chorégraphie de N + N Corsino, réalisation de Marielle Gros et Nicole Alix, 1986
L’Etreinte, chorégraphie et réalisation de Joëlle Bouvier et, Régis Obadia, 1987
46 Bis, réalisation de Pascal Baes, 1988

La danse belge
[Belgian dance]

This montage is devoted to Belgian dance in all its diversity, and also to the links between different works. From the key works that have today become classics of contemporary dance to the most recent experiments of choreographers and groups, what emerges is more than just a cartography that will never be exhaustive, but also a spirit of experimentation that has made Belgian dance an extraordinary laboratory.


Sinfonia Eroica, chorégraphie de Michèle Anne de Mey, 2006
Love Sonnets, chorégraphie de Michèle Anne de Mey, réalisation de Thierry de Mey, 1994
Mountain / Fountain, chorégraphie de Pierre Droulers, 1995
Quando l’uomo principale é una donna, chorégraphie de Jan Fabre, 2004
Sampled Images, Needcompany, chorégraphie de Jan Lauwers, 2000
La Chambre d’Isabella, chorégraphie de Jan Lauwers, 2004
iets op Bach, chorégraphie d’Alain Platel et Roel Dieltiens, 1998
VSPRS, chorégraphie d’Alain Platel, musique de Fabrizio Cassol, 2006
bâche, chorégraphie de Koen Augustijnen, 2004
Light, réalisation de Patrick Lemy, 2004
K.O.D (Kiss of Death), Compagnie Isabella Soupart, chorégraphie d’Isabella Soupart, 2007
Le Salon, Collectif Peeping Tom, 2006
Blush, réalisation et chorégraphie de Wim Vandekeybus, 2005