In June 1980 France’s first Maison de la Danse was inaugurated in Lyon. It was the result of a gamble taken in 1977 by five local choreographers (Claude Decaillot, Michel Hallet Eghayan, Lucien Mars, Hugo Verrechia et Marie Zighera), who united to defend dance and to find a place dedicated to this art form. The City of Lyon granted an old theatre in the district of Croix-Rousse. The artistic direction was entrusted to Guy Darmet. The success of the first season exceeded the most optimistic forecasts. The importance of a space for dance had been demonstrated. The City of Lyon and the General Council of Rhône, along with the Ministry of Culture, the Region Rhône-Alpes and some other partners supported the initiative. The interest from the public, professionals, and from other institutions and the media were testimony to the originality of Maison de la Danse cause. The project resonated at national and international level.
Today still, Maison de la Danse is a unique place for dance in Europe. In 1984, Guy Darmet initiated the first edition of the Lyon Dance Biennale. The festival grew quickly to become one of the most important dance festivals in the world. So far, the Lyon Dance Biennale happens every 2 years, during the 3 final weeks of September.
A significant moment in the development of Maison de la Danse was moving from the theatre in Croix-Rousse to another theatre in the 8th district in 1992 – further proof of the City of Lyon and the Ministry of Culture’s continued support.
In July 2011, Dominique Hervieu was nominated to become the new director of Maison de la Danse and the new artistic director of the Lyon Dance Biennale.
At the moment, a new additional location is being developed in the past Musée Guimet in Lyon - les Ateliers de la Danse. This new location should be delivered in 2022 for creation, production, and amateur practices.