2021 Année Napoléon > Company “Danses au (Pas)sé”

Irène Feste, a professional dancer and choreographer specialising in the repertoire of historic dance from the 16th to the 19th century, is organising a study day on the quadrilles of the time of Napoleon I, in partnership with the BnF and the INHA, as part of “Danses au (Pas)sé” and the bicentenary of Napoleon’s death.

For more information, please email Irène Feste.

Updated 26 October 2021.

Study Day > The quadrilles of Jean-Etienne Despréaux, organiser of entertainments and shows at the court of Napoleon I
26th November 2021, Grand Auditorium of the BnF Mitterand
At the court of Napoleon I, dance was fashionable at the balls as well as in the theatre, where dancers showed their talent.
The research project led by Irène Feste, supported by the Centre National de la Danse, has as its theme: “Les quadrilles de Jean-Etienne Despréaux, organisateur des divertissements et spectacles à la cour de Napoléon Ier” (which received a Dance Research and Heritage Grant in 2020).
One of the objectives of this research was the reconstitution of three quadrilles choreographed by Jean-Etienne Despréaux, general inspector of spectacles at the Imperial court, professor of dance and “grace” at the Ecole Royale de Musique and rehearsal master of court ceremonies. These quadrilles were performed by the court nobility during masked or costumed balls.
– The Quadrille “La partie du jeu d’échec”, performed on 9 January 1810, at the home of Mr de Marescalchi.
– “Le Quadrille des Saisons et des Mois”, performed on Tuesday 26 February 1811, at the Tuileries.
– Le Quadrille des Heures, performed on 6 February 1812, at the Palais des Tuileries.

Study day in partnership with the BnF and the INHA. The programme is still being finalised, but at the end of the day there will be a presentation of the quadrilles by Jean-Etienne Despréaux.

Mathias Auclair (BnF)
Laurent Barré (CND)
Pauline Chevalier (INHA)
Elisabeth Claire (EHESS)
Françoise Dartois-Lapeyre (Sorbonne Université)
Irène Feste (chorégraphe, soutien à la recherche du CND)
Marie Glon (université de Lille)
Bruno Ligore (BnF / université Côte d’Azur)
Patrick Taïeb (université Paul-Valéry)
Charles-Eloi Vial (BnF)

Free admission – Booking recommended via the Affluences app or affluences.com
It is recommended to arrive early (up to 20 minutes before the event).

BnF François-Mitterrand – Grand auditorium
Quai François-Mauriac
75013 Paris
Entrance East (opposite the rue Émile Durkheim)

► On 18 January 2022 at 4pm, Irène Feste’s research talk will take place at the Centre National de la Danse.


© Irène Feste


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Irène Feste is a professional dancer and choreographer specialising in the early dance repertoire from the 16th to the 19th century. She is conducting research on early 19th century dance for which she has been awarded several times the Dance Research and Heritage Grant from the French Centre National de la Danse (CND):
– “Évolution de la danse de bal sous le Premier Empire et la Restauration à travers le corpus chorégraphique des traités de Jean-Henri Gourdoux-Daux, entre 1811 et 1823 [“Evolution of ballroom dance during the First Empire and the Restoration through the choreographic corpus of Jean-Henri Gourdoux-Daux’s treatises, between 1811 and 1823”];
– De l’entraînement du danseur à la théâtralité d’une variation chorégraphique dans les cahiers de Michel Saint-Léon entre 1829 et 1836 [From the dancer’s training to the theatricality of a choreographic variation in Michel Saint-Léon’s notebooks between 1829 and 1836].

To discover her work and the group Danses au (Pas)sé, visit the website and Facebook page.