American Choreographers at the Paris Opera

From 16 June to 25 September 2016 at the Palais Garnier

A true phenomenon in the history of the choreographic arts, American dance is regarded as “an art of change”. It developed quickly at the beginning of the 20th century and asserted its creative strength during the middle years of that century, whilst becoming immediately recognisable around the world. Characterised by great diversity, American dance cannot be limited to a stylistic or geographical definition.

A social and cultural melting pot and a welcome home for immigrants, the United States attracted many foreign artists, one of the foremost being Russian-born George Balanchine who would become nothing less than the founder of American classical-modern ballet. If the American choreographers followed complex paths fashioned by their own artistic choices and the historical upheavals of the 20th century, from a European perspective they nonetheless embodied an ideal of modernity and corporal freedom, expressed through characteristic elements of the New World – among others, modern dance, jazz and the musical.

As the Paris Opera evolved structurally and artistically, it could not ignore these choreographers and by 1947—the year George Balanchine created Le Palais de cristal—they were being invited to the Opera on a regular basis. Arranged chronologically and thematically, the exhibition staged by the Paris Opera and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France offers a detailed panorama of almost seventy years of exchanges and creations. Highlighting the emblematic figures of American dance who left their mark on the Paris Opera Ballet, the exhibition attempts to define their stylistic and aesthetic contribution through pieces primarily drawn from the collections of the two institutions.

Exhibition curators

  • Benoît Cailmail
  • Guillaume Ladrange
  • Jérôme Maurel,
  • Inès Piovesan


  • Olivia Berthon et Julia Kravtsova

The whole family can discover the exhibition with the game booklet

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