2 February 2024


Zoom lecture

Modernist Paris 2

Théâtre des Champs-Elysées:

The Mecca of Modern Dance, Spectacle and Music in Paris, 1913-1930.

A lecture based on the exhibition at the Petit Palais, Paris

(until 14 April 2024)

with Anne Catherine Abecassis

Dancer Jean Börlin in Rolf d e Maré's ballet "Skating-Rin k", premiered at Théâtre de s Champs-Elyseées in 1922
Dancer Jean Börlin in Rolf d e Maré's ballet "Skating-Rin k", premiered at Théâtre de s Champs-Elyseées in 1922

The Théâtre des Champs-Elysées was founded by Jewish-born journalist, musician and musical producer Gabriel Astruc just before WWI. The anti-Semitic climate of 1909 prevented Astruc from being allocated a site on the celebrated Paris avenue, but through perseverance and audacity he managed to inaugurate "his" theater on the nearby avenue Montaigne.


The building is the work of one of the great pioneers of modern architecture in France, Auguste Perret, a master of reinforced concrete. The Nabi and Neoclassical decoration of the theater is the fruit of the collaboration of a great team of artists: Sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, inspired by the American dancer Isadora Duncan, Henri Lebasque, Jacqueline Marval, Maurice Denis, Ker-Xavier Roussel and Édouard Vuillard.


The inauguration in the spring of 1913 featured the premiere of Claude Debussy’s symphony La Mer and was crowned by the scandalous opening of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, choreographed by Vaclav Nijinsky for Diaghilev’s Ballets russes. Subsequently, the theater became the true center of modern dance and performance of the Roaring Twenties, launching some of the greatest names of the era: Rolph de Maré founder of the Swedish ballets, choreographer Jean Börlin, authors Jean Cocteau and Paul Claudel, composers Francis Poulenc and Darius Milhaud, director and actor Louis Jouvet, and the great American jazz-age entertainer, Josephine Baker, among many, many others.

You will be receiving the recording via WeTransfer as soon as we receive notification of your purchase