A major festival in the dance worldIn many ways, the connections built by BNP Paribas with Montpellier Danse are quite emblematic of the Group’s commitments towards performing arts: anxious to support contemporary creation, the BNP Paribas Foundation choose to sponsor the international artist residencies organized all year round prior to the festival. Since its creation in 1981, Montpellier Danse has become a key event in the dance sector, gathering each year noteworthy figures of the choreographic landscape, from great masters to young talents.
Along four decades of existence, we have lost count of the prestigious artists such as Ohad Naharin or Emmanuel Gat, which the festival has contributed to showcase on the international stage.
Among all these brilliant artists, the name of Dominique Bagouet founder of the festival, shines brightly.
An eclectic programme
Since 1983, Jean-Paul Montanari has headed up and developed the festival of Montpellier with brio.Thanks to the eclectism of its lineup, Montpellier Danse has opened up to an even larger audience, while remaining artistically demanding. From a public of journalists and professionals from various countries, the audience has grown to also attract enthusiastic amateurs, mainly from the city of Montpellier and its surroundings, all of whom were conquered by this festival which spreads from the Corum and its
2 000 spectators, to the free public representations given on the city plazas and beyond.
A support to artist residencies
Thanks to the partnership signed in 2012 with the BNP Paribas Foundation and renewed 5 times since, the artists in residency are hosted in the former Ursulines convent, now headquarters of Montpellier Danse, called « Agora, cité de la danse ». The venue is comprised of a large courtyard -transformed into an outdoor theatre during the festival and three rehearsal studios. During a few days or weeks, dancers and choreographers benefit from these optimum housing and work conditions to work on their artistic project.
In 2019, 21 French and foreign companies have directly benefited from the BNP Paribas Foundation’s support, adding up to approximately 300 days of residency. Almost half of the choreographic projects designed and nurtured at the Agora was then included in the festival’s 2020 programme.
Backstage of the festival, 4 questions to Jean-Paul Montanari, general director of Montpellier Danse festival
40 years of festival, artists and creations
Emmanuel Gat, Mathilde Monnier, Jiri Kylian interpreted by the Ballet de Lyon, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Robyn Orlin, Raimund Hoghe, Nadia Beugré, Sharon Eyal, Mourad Merzouki… those whom Jean-Paul Montanari calls his « friends in dance » and whose pieces have marked the memory of the festival, will be present. Without forgetting the much-regretted Dominique Bagouet, thanks to the recreation of ‘So Schnell’.
All of which proof, if ever needed, that Montpellier Danse is an iconic festival to celebrate artistic creation: an essential point of perspective in these troubled times.
Photo credits : Header : @Anne Van Aerschot & © Montpellier Danse