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2021 Festival de Danse Cannes-Côte d'Azur

From 27 November - 12 December, the Côte d'Azur will host some of the world's top and most avant-garde dance performances, exhibitions and films on the topic of Dance.

The 2021 edition of the Festival de Danse Cannes-Côte d’Azur kicks-off this weekend! This bi-annual festival of culture celebrates not only dance, but the movement, expression of form of the human body.

After the last two years of the global pandemic has been devastating for the arts, and the city of Cannes is excited to present a full festival of top danse houses and choregraphers, welcoming 28 French and international companies to celebrate dance and rediscover the essential effervescence of choreographic diversity.

The artistic Director of the festival, Brigitte Lefevre, stated:

“The Festival de Danse Cannes-Côte d'Azur France is continuing to bring together the cultural fabric of the Côte d'Azur with the support of the region's organisations. Each of them is committed to investing in this event, which was conceived in a spirit of mutual listening and fruitful exchange.

This fourth and last edition that I have been entrusted with is presented under the sign of the fourth element, the earth. This is reflected in the resistant, powerful and volcanic woman who appears on the festival poster. This dancer from the Martha Graham Dance Company sums up our editorial line in many ways by devoting a special place to women, and particularly to those pioneers who made a major contribution to the invention of modern and contemporary dance by establishing their movements."

Brigitte Lefèvre’s has held the role of Artistic Directore since 2015. The Mairie de Cannes and the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès have announced the appointment of Didier Deschamps, director of Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse, to succeed her for the 2023 edition of the Festival de Danse de Cannes. It is of the utmost importance for the city that the director of The Dance Festival maintains carte blanche for their selections from the world of dance.

Cannes Mayor, David Lisnard, a staunch supporter of the arts and culture, considers dance essential to human expression. In his dedication to the festival, he stated:

“Dance, like cave painting, is a mode of expression that has been around since the beginning of humanity. Over the millennia, it has evolved with civilizations and cultures.

Sprouting from the body, dance is both dialogue and an offering. It has a sacred quality that transports the soul. … Josephine Baker said: ‘To live is to dance, I should like to die out of breath, exhausted, at the end of a dance or a chorus.’ In these trying times that we have been going through for almost two years, let us more than ever indulge in life. To a rich and intense life, nourished by generations of artistic achievements.”


Dance performances will be held in theatres throughout the region, uniting our many houses of culture. The following venues will host: Anthéa (Antibes), Forum Jacques Prévert (Carros), Scène 55 (Mougins), Théâtre de Grasse, Théâtres en Dracénie (Draguignan), Théâtre La Licorne (Cannes), Théâtre National de Nice and a newcomer in the adventure, the Théâtre intercommunal Le Forum (Fréjus).

Here is a selection of unique international performances. To view the entire programme, click here.

27 November



Directed by Janet Eilber

Martha Graham's longevity and exceptional personality have influenced the entire development of 20th century dance. She was able to forge a technique and a vocabulary that could express all the social, political, psychological and even sexual dimensions of dance. The Martha Graham Dance Company is the heir to this rich and fertile history. Its repertoire consists of the major works of the pioneer of American modern dance, but also includes new works by contemporary choreographers to bring new perspectives to the company.

This exciting programme by the Martha Graham Company vividly illuminates the roots and branches of the technique invented by the high priestess of modern dance. John Martin, the famous American dance critic, wrote back in 1933, "one senses in Martha's works demons to be exorcised, demons of colossal power". 1933 was the date of Ekstasis' premiere. This was the period when Martha Graham was developing her "dances of revolt" and choosing costumes that both magnified and hindered her, such as the tight-fitting jersey that transformed the hieratic dancer into a sensual, sculptural form. Literally captivating, the solo reveals, through an incessant play on the weight of the body and its support, the floor, all sorts of images and representations of the woman: troubled, mysterious, deep, anchored, sacred... Performing: Steps in the Street (1936), Ekstasis (1933), Scavengers (EU premier), and Acts of light (1981).

8:30 pm, Grand Auditorium, Palais des Festivals, Cannes

30 November



The 'Madonna' of contemporary flamenco is never where you expect her to be. In her latest creation, she invites two guitarists, Eduardo Trasierra and Yerai Cortés, to create a dialogue between the most classical style and a radical expressive power. Rocío Molina is constantly challenging herself: whether it is to transgress traditional flamenco codes or to dare risky performances. Her new show, Al Fondo Riela (Lo otro del Uno), is no exception. Stripping the tradition of all its folklore, routines and legends, she reinvents the style to push its limits in an intimate and virtuoso dialogue with two dazzling guitarists: Eduardo Trasierra and Yerai Cortés. With her undulating arms that would calm the sea, she draws us into a solitary reverie with a dance of classical accents that echoes on the mirror floor. This duality between self and other as well as the notion of dialogue permeates the entire piece, dividing the stage space into two worlds: the terrestrial and the immaterial, the real and the mysterious.

Born in Andalusia in 1984, she has been dancing since she was three years old and asked to become a professional when she was seven. Ten years later, she graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Dance in Madrid and danced in Maria Pagés' company. In 2005, she presented her first show Entre parades, followed by El Eterno Retorno. In 2006, she created Turquesa como el limón in a duet with Laura Rozalén. In 2007, she undressed her dance and showed flamenco naked in Almario. Considered one of the best bailaoras today, Rocío Molina takes flamenco to new places and changes the image of women in this style.

8.30pm Theatre Anthéa, Antibes




With its ability to project itself into unusual phantasmagorias, Système Castafiore has no equivalent in the choreographic landscape. In this world premiere, the company brings us closer to the marvellous while taking a critical look at the world today. In the future, following the Anthropocene, the species we know have become extinct. An assembly of archaeologists, zoologists, botanists, theologians, engineers, and poets is building a three-dimensional database to try to revive it. But what can they do in the face of this irremediable extinction, if not sing their memory? So, they summon a tribe for a sort of "shamanic" ceremony tinged with a new spirituality, around phantasmagorical characters. Magicians of light and sound, virtuosos of video, Système Castafiore, otherwise known as Marcia Barcellos and Karl Biscuit, create a choreography of extraordinary creatures in a singular universe.

Marcia Barcellos was born in São Paulo. She took her first dance classes there. At the age of 17, she came to France for auditions. Alvin Nikolaïs took her on as a trainee and she joined the CNDC in Angers in 1978. She danced in the creations of Alwin Nikolaïs and Quentin Rouillier, before founding the Lolita collective in 1981 with other artists. In 1986, she joined the group Tuxedomoon for the Holywars tour in Europe. Karl Biscuit is a member of the Northern European experimental music movement and one of the artists of the Crammed Discs label. He trained in choreographic writing with Alwin Nikolaïs and met Marcia Barcellos with whom he founded Système Castafiore in 1989.

8 pm, Théâtre de Grasse


27 November to 12 December


An exhibition about the famous dancer, great teacher and director, who dedicated her life to dance and its transmission. Sixty years ago, she founded a unique dance school, which today has become an internationally renowned Pôle National Supérieur de Danse, which bears her name. Rosella Hightower was the first American ballerina to make her mark on the European stage. She was the leading interpreter of Leonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine, and later starred in the Nouveau Ballet de Monte-Carlo, which was revived as the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas. Director of the Marseille, Paris and Milan Scala ballets, in her school in Cannes she aims to "train bodies that are free and ready for anything".

Grand Auditorium of the Palais des Festivals and the Debussy Theatre halls, Cannes.

Open 1 hour before the start of the performances until 11pm.

Free admission on presentation of a ticket for the show


The collective, based in Grasse and formed by choreographer Marcia Barcellos and video artist and composer Karl Biscuit, has no equivalent in the choreographic landscape. Come and discover their singular aesthetic universe through an exhibition made up of large format art prints produced in mixed, photographic and digital techniques, using images from a repertoire of 25 productions, as well as aesthetic research in the fields of costume, décor and persona. An original sound atmosphere will dialogue with the images and a notable costume installation. Free entry subject to availability of seats

For more information, contact Nitya Fornaresio +33 04 92 99 33 78 or

There are so many more unique and amazing dance performances at theatres across the Alpes-Maritimes. For more information, visit the Festival de la Danse website:

To download the full programme, click here.

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