Back to press releases
  • Press release
  • Corporate philanthropy

DANSATHON: the first international hackathon created by the BNP Paribas Foundation, with three partner theatres, that will gather 90 participants to imagine the future of dance in the digital age

The rise of new technologies has been intriguing everyone in the dance world including artists, the public and the different institutions. To make the most of the opportunities offered by these new technologies, the BNP Paribas Foundation has created the Dansathon – the first international dance hackathon, in partnership with Maison de la Danse, Sadler’s Wells theatre in London and the Théâtre de Liège.

The Dansathon is a new format aimed to co-create through collaboration and connectivity and explore the innovations which will shape the future of dance through the use of digital technology.  

From 28-30 September 2018, the Dansathon will bring together 90 participants from the worlds of dance, technology, design and communication and will take place simultaneously in 3 European cities: Lyon – as part of the International Dance Biennale –, Liege and London. Chosen from almost 400 entries, applicants will form multidisciplinary teams of 6 people and will work for 72 hours to develop prototypes of artistic forms or experiences that aim to envision new creation, production and distribution possibilities for the dance sector.

For the BNP Paribas Foundation, one of the main sponsors of creation in contemporary dance, the Dansathon represents the opportunity to experience a new method of discovering and supporting innovative projects in the field of dance:

Jean-Jacques Goron, Managing Director of the BNP Paribas Foundation, said: “Through its support to contemporary dance, the BNP Paribas Foundation aims to encourage creation and experimentation. By creating the Dansathon with our partners, we want to develop a new laboratory that offers creators the means to imagine the future of dance through the use of new technologies. The Dansathon is also a new way for us to consider philanthropy, enabling us to spot new talents and help them achieve their project.

“We are proud to participate in this project along with leading partners and made possible by BNP Paribas”, explained Dominique Hervieu, General Director of Maison de la Danse, in Lyon. “As an ultimate art of sensitivity, dance cannot be separated from new technologies that are ever-present in our lives. The Dansathon will allow us to innovate and get closer to public that are outside the theatres.”

“DANSATHON is an opportunity for us to understand what impact digital culture will have on the art form and explore new innovations in technology and dance that can benefit both worlds. It aims to use the tools of the digital age to create better understanding between people”, explains Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive.

“Decompartmentalisation is one of the main challenges we have to face. Disciplines, practices, professional sectors, institutions have to be more and more sensitive in order to favor innovation, stimulate creativity and develop audiences.”, adds Serge Rangoni, General and Artistic Director of Théâtre de Liège. “Dansathon is part of its dynamic by opening the ways to new models at the heart of which, we feel, everything is possible, even the impossible!”

A multidisciplinary jury

Using the same rationale as the event, each city has gathered a multidisciplinary jury to support the participants during the co-creation experience and to reward the best project in their city.

Each winning team will receive a development grant of €10,000 from the BNP Paribas Foundation to develop their project, and will benefit from the support of the participating theatres to pursue their work.


Supporting a digital and collaborative culture

The aim of the Dansathon is to provide creators with a platform on which to invent new forms combining dance and digital technology. As such, the Dansathon is built around an approach that fully subscribes to today’s digital culture and its new ways of working:
a collaborative and iterative approach, multidisciplinary in nature, and conducive to risk-taking.

To encourage their creativity, each Dansathon team will benefit from collective working methods, dedicated spaces along with specialist tools and technologies including virtual reality masks, motion sensors, voice recognition equipment, Fab Labs provided with 3D printers, or sewing machines for electronic textiles.

The creators taking part in the event will also receive assistance from a team of expert mentors. Among those involved: Clément Thirion, stage director and choreographer; Ghislaine Boddington, artistic director in body tech and immersion; Gonçalo Lopes, neuroscientist; and Hermutt Loby, designer of the iPad’s Playground app.

A central theme

Fully committed to a common cause, the 3 cities will share the same methodology and one central theme: ‘connecting with the public and the local area’. The participants will thereby all be making a contribution to a joint initiative exploring the following questions:

  • Can we create new artistic forms where dance and digital collide? What new performances and what new experiences can we imagine?
  • How can we make dance go viral, and make it accessible to as many people as possible?
  • How can connected dance transcend social, physical and cultural frontiers?
  • How can theatres make a greater contribution to a rich and harmonious urban life?
  • How can we share more positive experiences together? What would a dancing digital society look like?

Discover the 90 Dansathon participants on the website

and watch the official trailer for the event:

28, 29 & 30 sept. 2018 -- Liège -- London -- Lyon -- #Dansathon18 --

Press contacts:

> BNP Paribas Foundation:

Renato Martinelli - renato.martinelli [at] bnpparibas (dot) com - +33 (0)1 58 16 84 99

Heymann Renoult Associées: Sarah Heymann et Silvia Cristini – s.cristini [at] heymann-renoult (dot) com - +33 (0)1 44 61 76 76

> Maison de la Danse de Lyon :

Jean-Paul Brunet - jp.brunet [at] maisondeladanse (dot) com - +33 (0)4 72 78 18 07

> Sadler’s Wells :

Caroline Ansdell - caroline.ansdell [at] sadlerswells (dot) com - +44 (0)20 7863 8125

> Théâtre de Liège :

CARACAS public relations - Hélène van den Wildenberg - info [at] caracascom (dot) com -
+32 (0)2 560 21 22

Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been playing a key role in corporate philanthropy for over 30 years. The BNP Paribas Foundation’s activities are aimed at promoting innovative projects dedicated to the Arts, Solidarity and the Environment. It provides optimal support to its partners, through a long-term commitment.

The BNP Paribas Foundation has been supporting contemporary dance for 33 years. It accompanies 17 artists and their companies to foster creation internationally. The BNP Paribas Foundation also encourages experimentations at the crossroad of dance and new technologies, and promotes the commitment of artists and major dance institutions in the community. Believing in cross-disciplinary approaches and hybrid experiences, it also supports companies in the field of new circus arts.

The Maison de la Danse, European creation hub directed by Dominique Hervieu, proposes a programme where a wide array of styles meets. From leading choreographers of the 20th century to young, up-to-the-minute creators, it brings together creation and repertoire (30 to 40 companies totalling some 200 performances and 160,000 spectators per season). This project is completed by a digital, cultural development and mediation strategy which focuses on making choreographic art, in all its diversity, accessible to the most eclectic range of audiences possible. In 2021, as Lyon’s Guimet Museum will be reinstated as a Dance Workshop, a space for creating, for producing and a laboratory for promoting amateur activities, the Maison de la Danse will benefit from creative facilities which will complement the currently-used venue located in Lyon’s 8th district.

Since its creation in 1980, the Maison de la Danse has been filming performances and, as such, has built up an extensive collection of audiovisual archives. Informative tools are created using this video base, including a freelyaccessible video library, video conferences, an educational

DVD “Le Tour du monde en 80 danses” (Around the World in 80 Dances), a documentary series “La Minute du spectateur” (The Spectator’s Moment) and now Numeridanse, the first multimedia dance platform in the world. This ambitious policy called « the digital house » aims to develop with new technologies the digital creation, dance education as well as audiences development.

Sadler's Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances and learning activities, it is the place where artists come together to create dance, and where people of all backgrounds come to experience it – to take part, learn, experiment and be inspired. Audiences of over half a million come to its London theatres each year, with many more enjoying its touring productions at venues across the UK and around the world, and accessing its content through digital channels.

Sadler's Wells commissions, produces and presents more new dance work than any other theatre in the world, embracing the popular and the unknown. Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 160 new dance works to the stage, many of them involving its 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and four Associate Companies – the most exciting talents working in dance today. It also nurtures the next generation of talent through research and development, running the National Youth Dance Company and a range of programmes including Wild Card, New Wave Associates, Open Art Surgery and Summer University. Sadler's Wells' learning and engagement activities reach over 25,000 annually through programmes that take dance out into the community and invite communities into the theatre. Projects include community productions and the renowned Company of Elders, its resident over-60s performance group, while events range from pre and post-show talks with dance artists to classes, workshops and assisted performances.

Located in Islington, north London, the current building is the sixth to have stood on site since entrepreneur Richard Sadler first established the theatre in 1683. The venue has played an illustrious role in the history of theatre ever since, with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Opera having all started at Sadler's Wells.

One of four dramatic centres in the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, the Théâtre de Liège (formerly Théâtre de la Place) has been reinvigorated by an artistic project that has been running since the 2005/2006 season, headed by Serge Rangoni. A European centre for theatrical and choreographic production since 2006, the Théâtre de Liège in the heart of Liège intends to consolidate its partnerships with local and regional actors and build bridges with international institutions. In recent seasons the Théâtre de Liège has co-produced various European productions.

Since the 2005/2006 season, the Théâtre de Liège has made Liège move every two years to the rhythm of the Emulation Festival, dedicated to young French-speaking Belgian theatre companies. Bolstered by their vigor and (im)pertinence, they take over various venues in the city. Besides this theatre festival, the Théâtre de Liège organizes every two years the Pays de Danses, an international contemporary dance festival.