Montpellier has a long standing tradition of staging impressive artistic and cultural events throughout the year. It is therefore not so surprising that the city should be the host of one of Europe’s premier dance events. If you are ready to tap your feet to the beat, time your trip to Montpellier in June, when the annual Montpellier Dance Festival will be in full swing.
Since its creation, the 16 day festival has been an event that unites a startling array of top class dancers and choreographers from all over the world. Taking place in the month of June, the festival has held an established place in the city’s calendar, since its foundation in 1981 by dancer and choreographer Dominique Bagouet. Now in its 30th festival season, the event is extremely reputable, with emerging and well known dancers fighting out to perform here. It is thanks to them, that the town becomes alive with an extravaganza of exotic dance ensembles, music, color and celebration.
Over the two weeks, the Festival takes over nearly every venue in the city. For the opening night, an impressive production is held in the city’s modern 2, 000-seat Corum Theatre, which from then on is where most of the more high-profile productions of the festival are held. The festival also has some open air oomph, with amphitheatres and stages being put up on many a corner and pavilion throughout the city. Here, contemporary dancers glide across the stages, effortlessly twisting and turning, to present intriguing and challenging new dance concepts.
Over 300 top notch troupes fill the city, which come from not only other areas within France but also much more further afield. Usually ten different countries are invited to perform, with a representative group from each continent. The festival has a long history of showcasing emerging talents alongside more well- known famous names and dance groups, which contributes to the amazing array of dance styles on show- from tango, to swing, to classic ballet, to modern hip-hop.
The festival is undoubtedly a dance lovers’ paradise, bringing together an eclectic mix of talented dancers and innovative choreography from a great range of cultures and traditions. With about 90 different shows throughout the festival, all promise stunning performances, where dancers bringing with them traditional dress and ritual to bestow a few mysteries of their expertise on an astounding 30,000 wide-eyed spectators attending.