Guiding principles

Le Gymnase is one of twelve National Centres of Choreographic Development (CDCN) in metropolitan France. As CDCN, Le Gymnase's guiding principles are based on: 

  • supporting artists in their work by opening up their studios (for co-productions and residencies);
  • working to raise awareness and mediation; 
  • professional training; 
  • research; 
  • dissemination of dance and regional outreach.

On average, Le Gymnase welcomes thirty companies in residence and/or co-production every year (at Le Gymnase or in its nearby studio), and there is also one residency a year in a rural setting, known as a countryside residency. 

Every year, around 120 events are staged for the public, interspersed with regular outputs from residencies associated with their open studios. Shows with our programming partners such as the NEXT festival or Urbex. 

Le Gymnase also has two major events in its programme. Les Petits Pas festival, which was first staged in 2006, is France’s first dance festival for young audiences. It takes place from mid-November to mid-December each year. Its current focus is on new works or tours of new works, as well as projects that invite special interaction with audiences such as participation or immersion. Each festival is visited by around 8,000 people. Le Grand Bain is a festival that was launched in 2014. Based on a strong logic of collaboration, it takes place in the Hauts-de-France region in March every year in 20 to 30 towns, depending on each particular festival, with around forty theatrical and operational partners. Le Grand Bain offers immersion in the field of choreography, both large forms and more intimate ones, opening up a range of aesthetic experiences for around 10,000 people.  

Le Gymnase also joins forces with an artist for a period of four years – Jan Martens from 2016 to 2019 and currently Sylvain Huc until 2023 – working on co-productions, dissemination, masterclasses and participatory projects with the associate artist and boosting the artistic presence in its area. 

One particular historical and organic focus for life at Le Gymnase is its involvement in mediation work in the sectors of education, social work and health, using different tools and teaching packs such as Application à danser. Another example of this is the LOOP network that Le Gymnase runs, a national dance network designed for children and young people that today comprises 23 national organisations. This network is involved in sharing resources and developing educational tools, and is also a space of artistic exchanges. Through the LOOP network, Le Gymnase commissions artists for shows for young audiences such as Au Pied de la Lettre and TWICE, and more recently one for very young audiences, Marion Muzac’s Le Petit B. Le Gymnase is associate producer of each of these creations.  


International Perspective

With a new director at the helm and they plans for the future being formulated, an increasingly international outlook for Le Gymnase CDCN is taking shape. This will be translated into each of its activities, such as expanding the LOOP network to festivals and initiatives intended for children and young people on a European scale. 

One of the goals is being more involved in producing and disseminating the work of international artists. Establishing a career path for artists with our European partners, such as our experiments with artistic support that allow young choreographers to spend time immersed with our European partners to become acquainted with dramaturgical approaches, transdisciplinarity, collective writing and audience participation. 

Becoming more international also crosses over into their mediation projects through involvement in international cooperation projects such as Dance Well, which unites eight European partners to work on long-term activities from August 2022 to July 2025. 

Le Gymnase CDCN is about continuous action with artists and with people. Infinite attention on dance every day.  

5 rue du Général Chanzy CS30453
F-59100 Cedex 1