Thirty years after his death, Dominique Bagouet, a major figure in contemporary dance, continues to inspire the choreographic scene. On December 9, several events will celebrate this anniversary with the Ministry of Culture.

It is an emblematic collection hosted by the Montpellier Dance Festival on Numeridanse, the platform of dance. Among the videos that make up the Dominique Bagouet collection, we find the choreographer, a major figure in the renewal of contemporary dance in France in the 1980s, in all its dimensions: child, he dances a few steps with incredible grace; in another video, he speaks with a rare intensity of his work while in a wide shot we discover, sitting next to him, the composer Pascal Dusapin; a third, finally, shows the by the choreographer Catherine Legrand of So SchnellA flagship piece of his repertoire.

These videos, accessible free of charge, are a treat for the general public, the informed amateur and the professional. Above all, they document the major figure in the world of dance that was Dominique Bagouet, creator of some of the most important pieces of the contemporary choreographic scene and initiator of the Montpellier Danse Festival. « In total, the fund includes seventy videos available ", explains Alice Poncet, who is in charge of the platform, and the films directed by Charles Picq, the founder of Numeridanse » but also a collection of archives « expertly edited by Les Carnets Dominique Bagouet », the association founded in 1993 by the dancers of his company to preserve and transmit the artistic heritage of the choreographer. A fund to which it should be added the virtual exhibition dedicated to it by the platform.


A hybridization with other arts

On December 9, on the occasion of the thirty years of the disappearance of the choreographer, Jean-Paul Montanari, the director of Montpellier Danse, imagined a celebration of the festival’s creator’s memory, drawing not only from the video collection available on Numeridanse but also from its own archives so that everyone can appreciate the importance of its work and work today. « I didn’t want a sad tribute, he insists. We wanted a tribute accessible to all, in accordance with our time, to the image finally of the dance of Dominique Bagouet A tribute that will continue beyond the anniversary date, as evidenced by the reassembly of Strange days, which will be taken over by Catherine Legrand at National Dance Centrein Pantin from March 23 to 25, 2023, while Desert of Love will be edited by Jean-Pierre Alvarez for the 2023 edition of the Montpellier Danse Festival.

« Throughout the day, thanks to our social networks and our newsletter, we will propose to the spectators to have a thought for him and to dive back into his work thanks to small capsules that will be as many entries in the life and creations of Dominique Bagouet, says Nathalie Becquet, director of communication at Montpellier Danse, we will see which great choreographer but also what great man he was A way also for the Montpellier institution once directed by the choreographer to recall his imprint in the city. “ Everyone in Montpellier knows the name of Dominique Bagouet but some do not know who he was exactly, the day of December 9 will recall him ", she adds.

Whether it is the images of the Angel jump, one of his masterpieces, the testimonies of his dancers and those who knew him, the ties he never ceased to weave with the other arts while retaining to dance its autonomous status – in addition to Pascal Dusapin, his collaborations with the composer Tristan Murail and the visual artist Christian Boltanski – a precursor of a hybridization today everywhere at work in the artistic field, everything underlines the immense legacy left by the choreographer but also the eminently modern character of his work.


A style of formidable precision

A work inaugurated in 1976 by Night songs, his first piece, which won first prize at the Bagnolet competition, was awarded “research”. Dominique Bagouet was 25 years old. Before that, between 1974 and 1976, he took classes with Carolyn Carlson and Peter Goss, danced in the companies of Joseph Russillo, Anne Béranger and Peter Goss, and went to the United States for a few months where he discovered techniques from American schools.

He then created his own company and created fourteen plays until 1979. “ With In the dark, the young choreographer begins to impose himself and finds a haven: the city of Montpellier which welcomes the company and gives it the means to exist since Georges Frêche, its mayor, invites him to set up and manage the Centre chorégraphique régional de Montpellier. They will drive together from 1981 the Festival International Montpellier Danse that he will conduct until 1983 and where he will create the great majority of his plays ” continues Nathalie Becquet.

In pieces that are among the most striking of French contemporary choreography – from Insaisies (1982) until Necesito, coin for Granada (1991) through Deserts of Love (1984) and Lucien’s Crawl (1985) or Assaï (1986) – Dominique Bagouet imposes his personality and style, he “ composed the movement of very many small gestures (games of feet and hands, particular tilt of the torso...) without any mannerism and with a formidable precision You only have to subscribe to the social networks of Montpellier Danse to discover it in images.