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Grand Palais, Paris, France

Le Grand Bal

An icon revisited, and a dance party open to all

The 14 July ball – a popular Bastille Day street party held across France – comes to the Grand Palais, Paris, as a major event transcending dance styles. The Grand Bal is a free celebration enabling participants to watch a major dance work and to dance in a collective ‘people’s ball’, invented in situ. 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Le Grand Bal
© RMN - Grand Palais

In 1967, choreographer Maurice Béjart premiered Messe pour le temps présent (‘Mass for the present time’) at the Avignon Festival, to a score by Pierre Henry, the father of French electro-acoustic music. This highly inventive suite remains a flagship Béjart work, typifying his innovative approach to choreography and music. Fifty years later, on 14 July 2017, the Grand Palais honours this seminal ballet with a free, large-scale celebration of the art of dance: the Grand Bal.

Organised by the RMN-Grand Palais and the Maison des Arts in Créteil (south-east Paris), the event is a bold re-working of the traditional 14 July ball, involving amateurs and dance professionals alike. Eight choreographers and 160 amateurs will perform contemporary variations on Béjart’s work. The public is also invited literally to enter into the dance: 240 ‘ambassadors’ of all ages and backgrounds, from urban priority districts, will teach moves and steps from a range of dance cultures.   

Beneath the monumental glass dome of the Grand Palais, the Grand Bal combines a fresh interpretation of a major work of French contemporary culture with a huge dance party open to all comers and all styles of dance.

The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès is delighted to support this project, reflecting the core values underpinning our commitment to the performing arts. Under artistic director and choreographer José Montalvo, this unprecedented event invites everyone who wants to celebrate France’s national day through a unifying project: a chance to come together as a community to experience the joy and freedom of dance.

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