Les danses exotiques en france (1880-1940)

Prize delivered by the Congress on Research in Dance in 2006 for best book on dance.
Grand prix de la critique 2004/2005 - Palmarès danse’ - best book on dance, prize awarded by the ‘Syndicat professionnel de la critique dramatique et musicale’ (Paris).

“There was dancing everywhere”, Paul Dupays wrote about the ‘Exposition Universelle’ in Paris in 1889: in addition to the female dancers of the Rue du Caire, the onlookers discovered gipsy women dancing a furious tango, Javanese women whose airs and graces baffled even the most cunning of us, girls from Martinique and Indochina, veiled women from Algeria, Kabyle women.” Thus exotic dances emerged in France, in universal and ethnological exhibitions. For almost the first half of the 20th century they sparked genuine interest among the audience and the dancers, who dedicated themselves to their practice.
The figure of the exotic female dancer became the object of many a fantasy and left its mark on the world of music hall. Subsequently, in the 1920s and 1930s theatres brought together artists from all over the world such as Toshi Komori (Japan), Uday Shankar (India), Armen Ohanian (Armenia), Féral Benga (Senegal) and many more.

Through their journey, Anne Décoret-Ahiha tells us about the discovery of exotic dances on the French territory. She analyses the speeches made at the time and assesses the impact of that encounter on dance social and artistic practices.