Jacques Garnier


Jacques Garnier is one of the important pioneers of contemporary dance in France. He was born in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie (Vendée) in 1940 and died in 1989 after a long illness. He began dancing as a child in Nantes at Mona Rosalba's ballet school and entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of eighteen. In 1963 he was accepted into the corps de ballet of the Paris Opera, where he worked with Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart and George Balanchine, among others. From 1968 he took part in the "Ballet Studio" founded by Michel Descombey. After a stay in the USA, where he trained in the techniques of Alvin Ailey and Merce Cunningham, he was invited by Jean Vilar to the Festival d'Avignon two years in a row (1970 and 1971). In 1972, he founded the Théâtre du Silence with Brigitte Lefèvre. The La Rochelle-based company was one of the first to include works by American choreographers in its repertoire. After Jacques Garnier's return to Paris, he founded the "Groupe de recherche chorégraphique de l'Opéra de Paris" (GRCOP) there. For this department at the Paris Opera, he curated an innovative programme and invited numerous artists. These included names such as David Gordon, William Forsythe, Karole Armitage, Ulysses Dove, Andy DeGroat and Lucinda Childs. Jacques Garnier created Aunis in 1979. The music was written by Maurice Pacher, who was inspired by the traditional music of the La Rochelle region for the composition for accordion. The area is also known as "Aunis". At first Jacques Garnier danced his work as a solo, only in the following years did the version for three dancers come into being.