Dominique Mercy Dancer

© Bettina St

Born in 1950 in Mauzac, France, Dominique Mercy started dancing at six in Talence, near Bordeaux, with Mme. Dupradeau.

In 1965, after three years studying with Madame Germaine Lalande, he joined the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux Ballet, then directed by Paul Grinwis and later Adolfo Andrade. It was guest choreographer Françoise Adret who gave him his first roles. Enrolled in the Ballet Théâtre Contemporain the year of its creation, in 1968, by ean-Albert Cartier and Françoise Adret, he met Manuel Alum, dancer and choreographer in Paul Sanasardo’s Company.

In 1972, he met Pina Bausch at the Saratoga Festival, in the United States, who invited him to join her in Wuppertal for the beginnings of the Tanztheater. After the creation of Fritz (1974), he danced the lead roles in Iphigénie en Tauride (1974) and Orphée et Eurydice (1975), alongside Malou Airaudo.

He then left Germany and moved in Paris, where he took part in two productions by Carolyn Carlson staged at the Paris Opera, Wind, Water, Sand (1976) and The Architects (1980), and worked with Peter Goss. With Jacques Patarozzi and Malou Airaudo, Héléna Pikon and Dana Sapiro, he founded the group La Main. He went back to Wuppertal in 1980 and became one of the lead dancers in Pina Bausch’s company.

From 1988 to 2009 he taught at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen-Werden. In 1999, during the Avignon Festival and for the Vif du Sujet project, Josef Nadj created for him the first part of his Petit Psaume du Matin, a duet which was presented for the first time in its final version in September 2001 at the Venice Biennale and then toured worldwide until last year.

Régis Obadia based a movie on his life: Dominique Mercy danse Pina Bausch (2003). In 2009, following the death of Pina Bausch, he became co-director of the company until March 2013 and with Robert Sturm, while continuing to perform his repertoire. He worked on Wim Wenders’s movie/DVD Pina (France Télévisions Éditions,2011).

Named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2001, then Officer in 2022, he won an Award in 2002 and the French légion d’honneur in 2013.

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