Festival Mondial des Cultures du Monde de Chambéry Featuring the Ballet de Savoie!
When I lived in NYC I often went to the theatre. I loved seeing Broadway musicals, off-Broadway plays, the ballet and the opera. I really took advantage of all the culture and diversity NYC had to offer.
So when I heard about the 51ème Festival Mondial des Cultures du Monde de Chambéry, which translates to the 51st World Festival of World Cultures in Chambéry, I had to find out more.
For the past 50 years, dance troupes from over 200 countries have come to the Rhone-Alps region of France to perform traditional dances with live music accompaniment.
This year, the festival runs from July 8th through July 14th and features dance troupes from France, (Savoie and Alsace), Burkina Faso, Columbia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia and Ireland.
The regional dance troupe, Ballet de Savoie is not a classic ballet group. They are a group of young men and woman between the ages of 15 – 25 years old that study and perform traditional Savoyard dance while promoting and conserving the heritage of the Rhone Alps region.
Robert De Marchi, the Artistic Director, who has been with the group for over 20 years has beautifully combined Savoyard traditional dance with innovation to create the future of traditional dance.
Robert took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to sit with me and have an interview. Unfortunately, FB Live kept crashing after multiple attempts, so we did a traditional Q &A instead.
- Tell us about the group.
Robert: The group is presenting traditional dances in a much more modern way. The choreography reflects today. It is a unique group because it is based on people between 12 – 25 years old who are involved in keep Savoie traditions alive.
- What types of dances are they doing?
Robert: The dances are traditional Savoie dances coming from the 19th century with roots from other dances including the Polka and Scottish dances that are only done in this region.
- As the Artistic Director, what is your main role in the group?
Robert: My role is to bring all of the dancers, who are joining the troupe as young as 15 years old, to the same capability and technical and artistic capability and then creating everything that it takes to ensure a very good show. Today the Ballet de Savoie is very well known internationally.
The gala was packed as the Ballet le Savoie opened the show! The traditional costumes, creative choreography and solid synchronization were all consistent during their performance.
All the dancers were fantastic! Their smiles, characterizations and high energy really set the bar high for the rest of the performers.
I love dance and have danced in competitions myself, and for me, doing something new isn’t as difficult as making something ‘old and traditional’ ‘cool and fun’. They succeeded and it is no wonder they are well received and respected when they tour throughout the world.
Last year, Ballet de Savoie toured the USA for 3 weeks and this year they were already in the United Arab Emirates and will be in Eastern Europe in the upcoming months.
They will be performing at the festival this week and have prepared a very special free performance exclusively for the Fete de National in Chambery, France on Friday, July 14th.
For those of you who are not in Chambery, France for the festival and can’t wait until next year to see them, you can visit the Ballet de Savoie website www.atplasavoie.com to discover more about them and find out when they will be dancing their way to a city near you!
* A special thanks to Robert De Marchi and Franck Angelino Catella for the warm welcome!