portraits
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Dance

Blanca Li

For me, dance is a universal language that has no borders or limits in form or style.

Choreographer, dancer, actress and film director, Blanca Li has asserted herself as a reference in the world of contemporary dance. Resolutely turned towards innovation, in November 2020 at the Chaillot National Theatre she presents the live performance virtual reality show Le Bal de Paris (The Ball of Paris) (2020).

Updated on 15/02/2021

5 min

Bianca Li was born in 1964 in Granada, Spain, first doing rhythmic gymnastics in the Spanish national team. She studied in New York when she was 17 with the choreographer Martha Graham. She settled in the Spanish Harlem neighbourhood, and witnessed the birth of hip hop. This culture has continually inspired her throughout her career, and is embodied in her show Macadam, Macadam (1999) for example, where she mixes hip hop and music hall. On returning to Spain, she established her first contemporary dance company in Madrid. She arrived in Paris in 1992 and founded a new company there the following year. Although she lives in Paris, since 2019 Blanca Li has also been the director of the Teatros del Canal in Madrid, a centre dedicated to performing arts. 

With Blanca Li, everything starts and finishes in the energy and movement of dance. The choreographer, dancer and director is characterised by her great curiosity. : “I love mixing things, everything inspires me. The more I see of things, the more I learn, the more inspiration I have”. She explores different universes, from flamenco to hip-hop, classic dance to baroque and particularly stands out with Scheherazade for the Paris National Opera Ballet in 2001 and Al Andalus in 2004. Her latest creation, Le Bal de Paris (the Ball of Paris), is a show lasting about forty minutes in virtual reality. With this work, the choreographer submerges her audience in a poetic and fabulous universe and invites it to dance interactively with the Company’s dancers. 

Blanca Li has done choreography for world renowned artists such as Beyoncé, Daft Punk or Paul McCartney. She has put her name to choreographies for international films like I’m So Excited (2013) by Pedro Almodovar, or Froth on the Daydream (2013) by Michel Gondry. Her installations, choreographies or events have been welcomed in the most prestigious institutions, such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Metropolitan Opera, or the Brooklyn Academy and the Future of Storytelling festival in New York. She has also choregraphed and done performances during fashion shows for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Stella McCartney. 

  • 1964

    1964

    Blanca Li was born in Granada, in Spain.

  • 1993

    1993

    After spending several years in New York, and one year after she arrived in France, she created the Compagnie Blanca Li and the choreographed show “Nana et Lila”, touring 9 countries.

  • 2014

    2014

    The choreographer was appointed Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour.

  • 2019

    2019

    Blanca Li became director of the Teatros del Canal de Madrid. She was elected a member of the new choreography section at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, in France.

  • 2020

    2020

    The choreographer produced her first virtual reality show “Le Bal de Paris” at the Chaillot National Theatre in Paris.

The Institut français and the artist

The Ball of Paris by Blanca Li is  in the “VR Immersive Experiences” catalogue. The “VR Immersive Experiences” catalogue presents some forty original works at the intersection of virtual reality, live entertainment and visual arts. It introduce partners of the cultural network (theatres, museums, cultural centres, art centres, festivals, shopping centres, etc.) to new kinds of shows and exhibitions which meet a growing public demand for forms of entertainment and cultural offerings with a strong digital dimension.

Find out the catalogue VR Immersive Experiences

 

Blanca Li is also taking part in the #plusloin digital campaign. Launched by the Institut français, #plusloin aims to promote the learning of French among the 18-25 year old.

Find pout more about the campaign #plusloin


 

L'institut français, LAB