decoration hirondelle

Dance and circus, arts of our world in motion

For the BNP Paribas Foundation, supporting contemporary dance and circus arts is no coincidence. Their pieces offer a diversity of views, perspectives and talents that speak to everyone.

Last update: 12 July 2024

In the beginning, there is dance

Why support contemporary dance? Well, that’s something as obvious and long-standing as the creation of the BNP Paribas Foundation, in 1984.

Back then, dance was experiencing a wind of renewal, and the Foundation chose to lend its support to it. Instead of traditional pathways, it chose to take a new, bold and modern direction, resolutely standing for creation with the risk that this entails. Andy de Groot and Susan Buirge, then Angelin Preljocaj were the first artists receiving support.

This was the start of an extraordinarily rich adventure with choreographers and a few large institutions, such as the Maison de la danse de Lyon, which the Foundation has supported since 1986.

History repeated itself in the late 1990s, with contemporary circus arts. This created a history of loyalty and passion that is now written into the Foundation’s DNA.


Contemporary dance and circus arts: complementary and flagship disciplines

Innovation is central to both contemporary dance and circus arts’ creative approach.

What they have in common is complete freedom of style and a penchant for mixing and matching between their own disciplines and those of theatre, the visual arts, music, and performance. They offer different perspectives, views, and talents that everyone can relate to. Creators and performers hail from diverse origins, physical conditions, and ages, reflecting the global diversity of the world.

In 2024, the BNP Paribas Foundation is providing support to about 20 performing arts artists, companies & institutions

Values shared with the Foundation

Reaching out, being in touch, being mindful of life, and making relationships one of the drivers of commitment: the values that the BNP Paribas Foundation stood for from the start are fully embodied in contemporary dance and circus arts.

Through their capacity to engage despite language barriers, these arts of movement address our determination to reach all audiences through our cultural, social and environmental missions.

Furthermore, their hybrid production process, their constant sense of invention and their aptitude to adapt to reality, in order to transform it – all this fully embodies our own approach. Our mission:

To take a personalised and long-term approach in supporting each artist’s journey

Contemporary: why and how?

The Foundation’s support for contemporary dance and circus arts is not a mere coincidence.

While they are part of the history of their art – Alexander Vantournhout, for example, was a student of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, who was trained by Maurice Béjart – these disciplines are perhaps the forms that best speak about our modern world.

By taking the risk of creation and in exploring unknown or emerging territories, creators and performers give us the keys for questioning and understanding our present, but also our future. From Amala Dianor to Yann Frisch or Jann Gallois, artists draw the lines of shared horizons where culture, which reinvents itself every day, carries the hope of a better way of living together.

New cultural fields of actions

In response to the prevalence of digital technology, the BNP Paribas Foundation has taken an interest in the new links between artistic creativity and technological innovation. It supports the creators who use these digital tools to offer a passionate artistic vision on these profound changes.

In a 2.0 world, where human contact is becoming increasingly dematerialised, the arts of movement offer a real-time laboratory for bringing people together.

How do we create in the digital era? What are the new possibilities offered by technology in the field of choreography? The BNP Paribas Foundation supports experimentation and the development of innovative proposals for the creation and dissemination of dance.

As part of the same dynamic, the Foundation also takes an interest in the different forms of expressions the various hip-hop disciplines offer, in both supporting creation and access to culture and art practice.

A network opened up to the world

The BNP Paribas Foundation extends its patronage outside France by supporting companies and creative projects worldwide but mainly in Europe.

Because their modes of creation feed on otherness, the Foundation supports the circulation and residency of choreographers and contemporary circus performers from all geographical horizons within partner organisations:

Biennale Internationale des Arts du Cirque
Centre National de la danse
La Fabrique Chaillot / Chaillot – Théâtre National de la Danse

Le Plus Petit Cirque du Monde
Maison de la danse de Lyon

Montpellier Danse

Sometimes extending beyond Europe via BNP Paribas Group’s subsidiaries, this patronage promotes artists’ international mobility and enables them to explore their disciplines more deeply. For instance, Franco-Moroccan support was provided for the creations and tours of Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger, with the close involvement of Fondation BMCI, BMCI being BNP Paribas’ subsidiary in Morocco.

Renewal of the partnership with Maison de la danse de Lyon

In March 2023, the Foundation renewed its partnership with the Maison de la danse de Lyon, which it has supported since 1986.

Dissemination, awareness, and accessibility to culture, as well as support for artists, social inclusion, change management, and international openness – these are all values that we share with our longstanding partner and that remain at the core of its projects.

The appointment of director Tiago Guedes in 2022 represents a continuation of this approach, as evidenced by his artistic, societal, sustainable, and inclusive project: “Only dance – a shared future for dance in Lyon”

Tiago Guedes’ testimonial (in French only)
(video on our YouTube channel) :

At the core of the creation process

The BNP Paribas Foundation strives to share its artistic patronage with its audiences – partners, clients and employees of BNP Paribas Group – by providing with opportunities to meet the artists at their performances. This provides a glimpse of the vitality of contemporary dance and circus arts, and their creative processes.

To achieve its ambition of inspiring our daily lives with more dance and sharing the creative experience, the Foundation also provides support to artistic projects that bring artists together with amateurs.

  • On 8 June 2024, Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga impressed us all while tightrope walking above the Stade de France (Great Paris area)! Funambulist, artist with a high physical intensity, and teacher, Tatiana-Mosio keeps bringing this art to life, sharing and reinvent it over the past 30 years. It also was a unique and extraordinary experience for some BNP Paribas employees who contributed to this achievement as they volunteered to hold the ropes that allowed her to move in the airs.

These projects are all invitations to Step up to dance, and to share memorable collective experiences.

Our latest news