The Highlight of the French Dance World Touches Down in Paris

© Cheryl Mann

The Les Étés de la Danse festival offers a moveable feast for the senses right in the heart of the City of Lights.

Every summer, at a time when most Parisian dance houses have closed for the season, some of the world’s greatest dance companies stop by the city for Les Étés de la Danse, a festival highlighting ballet and contemporary work alike. Over the past 12 years, it’s become a highlight of Paris’ summer cultural calendar, and a great opportunity for international travelers to catch world-class performers not otherwise seen on France’s stages.

The 2018 fest appropriately kicks off with performances dedicated to the centennial of Jerome Robbins, the groundbreaking ballet and theater choreographer who’s being honored all around the dance world this year. A dream lineup of major companies well-acquainted with Robbins choreography–including New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet–will perform classic Robbins works like Dances at a Gathering, In the Night, Other Dances, The Four Seasons, and Interplay.

© Cheryl Mann

The following week, Pacific Northwest Ballet, making its debut appearance in France, gets the spotlight, performing two programs highlighting the best modern choreographers, ranging from living masters like Twyla Tharp and William Forsythe to established contemporary forces like Christopher Wheeldon and Benjamin Millepied and notable rising stars including Crystal Pite and Jessica Lang. All of the festival performances are accompanied live by the Orchestre Promethée and take place in an especially evocative space: La Seine Musicale, the monumental arts complex on the Île Seguin in Boulogne-Billancourt, surrounded by the lush Bellini Garden. June 28-30 and July 3-7.