Teaching dance in the South West of France, 1600-1830

In Aquitaine of modern era, dance played a key role in education and social life. Local archives document this choreographic life, its protagonists and places: a treatise from the beginning of the 17th century, advocating the establishment of an academy in Bordeaux and scheduling dance lessons, the King’s letters patent regulating the incorporation of fiddlers and dancing masters all through the 17th century and part of the eighteenth, the apprenticeship contract of a future dancing master, the working contract of an experienced one with the Jesuit college of Bordeaux, signed on the occasion of Louis XIV’s visit, diaries and commonplace books, college leaflets, letters, small advertisements of professional dancers of the Bordeaux Theatre proposing dance lessons at the turn of the 19th century as ’dancemania‘ was taking hold of all levels of society, the creation of a professional dance school for young artists in 1827, and the publication in Bordeaux of a treatise about dance, education and ballroom dancing.  

Fabienne Lagrange is a Bordeaux Montaigne University PhD student: she looks for traces of ’choreographic life‘, from 16th to early 19th centuries, in south-west of France archives. She is granted a three years doctoral fellowship, within AlFrEs (Franco-Spanish Alliances) a research program funded by the Aquitaine Region. A former ballerina, trained by Russian school-masters in Paris and Moscow in the early 80’s, she performed classical and Balanchine’s repertory. At the same time, at the age of 27, she created her own production company, organizing some Bejart Ballet Lausanne and Baryshnikov White Oaks Dance Project French tours. Fond of horses, she even created a ’pas de deux‘ for her (in toe shoes and in a tutu) and a ’dancing‘ horse, which was distinguished with an Honour Prize at Festival International du Cirque de MonteCarlo. Hired as production and artistic director by a French group, she was in charge of live entertainment for fifteen theme parcs in Europe. She spent the ten last years as administrative manager of the Ballet of National Bordeaux Opera and director of Cultural Affairs for several cities in the Paris area and south west of France. 


Fabienne Lagrange
Symposium Title: 
Teaching Dance 2016
Author affiliation: 
Bordeaux Montaigne University