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]

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, musique Godard
Intermezzo / Batailles de fleurs, music Mendelssohn
Cortège / Marche du Tannhäuser, music Wagner
Dans l’antre du roi des montagnes / Peer Gynt, music Grieg
Les Ombres gigantesques / Feux follets, music Szyfer
Golliwog’s Cake Walk, music Debussy
Les Elfes / Scherzo, music Mendelssohn
Ballet des Sylphes, music Berlioz
Moment musical, music Schubert
Le Lys / Prélude du Déluge, music Saint-Saëns
Valse triste, music Sibelius


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]

48 min.

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 dansant, document d’archive, c. 1920
Isadora Duncan, Movement From the Soul, realisation Dayna Goldfine
et Dan Geller, 1987
La Féerie des ballets fantastiques, choregraphy Loïe Fuller, 1934
Denishawn, école de Ruth Saint Denis et Ted Shawn, 1919-1930
Air For the G. String, choregraphy and performance Doris Humphrey, 1934
Document d’archives du Bauhaus, c. 1925
Le Ballet Triadique d’après Oskar Schlemmer (1925), reconstitution 1970
Tänzerische Pantomimen, realisation Suse Byk, performance Valeska Gert, 1925
Hexentanz, choregraphy and performance Mary Wigman, 1934
Serenata, choregraphy and performance Gret Palucca, 1937
Lamentation, choregraphy and performance Martha Graham, c. 1950


La danse expressionniste allemande
[German Expressionist dance]

60 min.

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
, choregraphy and performance Mary Wigman, 1929
Serenata, choregraphy and performance Gret Palucca, 1937
Danse espagnole, choregraphy and performance Gret Palucca, 1933
Totenmal, choregraphy and performance Mary Wigman, 1930
Eternal Circle, choregraphy and performance Harald Kreutzberg, 1952
Tänzerische Pantomimen, choregraphy and performance Valeska Gert, 1925£
Angoisse, choregraphy and performance Dore Hoyer, 1963
L’Amour, choregraphy and performance Dore Hoyer, 1963
« Sans titre », choregraphy and performance Dore Hoyer, 1963
Tanzstudio, choregraphy and performance Dore Hoyer
Le Ballet Triadique d’après Oskar Schlemmer (1925), reconstitution 1970

Post-modern Dance

53 min.

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, choregraphy Anna Halprin, réalisation Jacqueline Caux, 2004
Trio A, choregraphy and performance Yvonne Rainer (1966), realisation Robert
Alexander, 1978
Early Works : Group Primary Accumulation, Spanish Dance (1973), 
Floor of the Forest (1969-1971), performances Trisha Brown, realisation Cinémathèque de la danse, 2008 
Foot Rules (1979), choregraphy Douglas Dunn, realisation Michael Blackwood, 1980
An Audience With the Pope (or This Is Where I Came In) (1979), et The Matter (1972), choregraphies David Gordon, realisation Michael Blackwood, 1980
9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering Steve Paxton: Physical Things (1966)
et Deborah Hay: Solo (1966), série documentaire Barbro Schultz Lundestam, 2013
Katema (1978), choregraphy and performance Lucinda Childs, realisation CN D, 2016


La danse contemporaine
[Contemporary dance]

France Vidéodanse Années 80

55 min.

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.

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


La danse belge
[Belgian dance]

51 min.

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.

Rosas danst Rosas (1983), choregraphy Anne Teresa Keersmaeker / Rosas, 2011
De l’air et du vent (1996), choregraphy Pierre Droulers, 2010
Ashes, choregraphy Koen Augustijnen / les Ballets C de la B, 2009
Out of Context – for Pina, choregraphy Alain Platel / les Ballets C de la B, 2010
The Blind Poet, choregraphy Jan Lauwers & Needcompany, 2015
Quando l’uomo principale è una donna, choregraphy Jan Fabre / Troubleyn, 2004
Sweat Baby Sweat, choregraphy Jan Martens, 2011
Radioscopies, choregraphy Michèle Noiret, 2015
Gone in a heartbeat, choregraphy Louise Vanneste, 2015
It’s going to get worse and worse and worse, my friend, choregraphy Lisbeth Gruwez, 2012
Moeder, choregraphy Gabriela Carrizo / Peeping Tom, 2016
Cold Blood, choregraphy Michèle Anne De Mey, Jaco Van Dormael / Collectif Kiss & Cry, 2015