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Coronet Inside Out: Thomas Lebrun

After great success at The Coronet Theatre presenting Another look at memory as part of FranceDance UK, Thomas Lebrun’s new piece Mille et une danses (pour 2021) gives homage to a world so shaken, which has been pulled apart and is barely recognisable. As part of Coronet Inside Out we are sharing an interview with Thomas Lebrun about this new creation by Centre chorégraphique national de Tours premiering at Festival Montpellier Danse 2021 on 28 & 29 of June.


“While writing the first lines of this new project description last year, little did I know that celebrating dance would take on this new dimension in 2021.
Little did I know that these would be our first creative, danced gatherings after a long, spaceless time without meeting bodily, with a lack of real connection and of closeness… all of those things that  are deeply etched into our lives and our beings as dancers and choreographers.
We need physical dialogue; we need to transmit, through our bodies, everything stored by our bodies; everything they hold – perspiring, bubbling over.
We need to communicate what we are and what we feel, though we may be locked in, masked and far away.
We need the power and usefulness of movement and of space, of discoveries, travel and sharing… of those bonds that motivate us.
Deep inside, I’m convinced that these “One thousand and one dances for 2021” will be vital for the whole crew.
They’ll be brimming with a new quality that will inhabit all our lives and our dance.
A certain taste for freedom, the value of which we had almost forgotten.
The value of our profession, sharing that taste for freedom.
And the value of that freedom in going towards one another.” 
Thomas Lebrun April 2020 


“1001 dances in one show
1001 odes to diversity and transmission 
To dance is to give, to debate, to celebrate, to be who you are, to build and unbuild, to emanate, to strive, to propel and to propose… And whatever it may be, it’s to transmit.
An emotion
A certitude
A vision
A part of yourself 
Dancing humour Peace
Dancing the dance of others
His or her dance
Their tragedy, joys, fears and momentum,
The tragedy of others,
Dancing the choreographies of others, with all of our own joys, fears, impetus and sincerity.
Dancing for 3 seconds, Alone
Or two, or six, or ten of us
14 of us dancing for 1 minute The same dance 
A different dance
14 different dances at the same time. 
Dancing for real Dancing make-believe Without conviction With all our soul
With all our body
With part of our body Making space dance Making the spirit dance. 
Dancing the old, the new; improvising. Testing, tasting, performing
Vibrating, projecting ourselves, committing 
Exuberance, frenzy
Holding back
Intensity, innermost selves
Freedom, enjoyment, lightheartedness Homage 
Homage to our world that is so shaken, that has been pulled apart and is barely recognisable.
Offering it 1001 dances for the future, 1001 nuances of what we are and not going around with closed eyes.”
Thomas Lebrun February 2019


Click here to see the other work available to watch for free on Coronet Inside Out.


Thomas Lebrun

A dancer with such choreographers as Bernard Glandier, Daniel Larrieu, Christine Bastin, Christine Jouve and also Pascal Montrouge, Thomas Lebrun founded the Illico company in 2000 after making his solo Cache ta joie!. Working in the Nord-Pas de Calais region, he was first an associate artist at the Vivat d’Armentières (2002 – 2004) and then, from 2005 to 2011, with Danse à Lille / Centre de Développement Chorégraphique. On prendra bien le temps d’y être, La Trêve(s), Les Soirées What You Want?, Switch, Itinéraire d’un danseur grassouillet and La constellation consternée are not only dance pieces; they also represent so many universes and aesthetics that he has explored, travelling from a physically demanding, precise dance style to a confirmed theatrical quality.

Since he was named director of the National Dance Centre of Tours in January 2012, Thomas Lebrun has created 11 choreographic works:
La jeune fille et la mort (2012), for seven dancers, a baritone and the Voce quartet at the Théâtre national de Chaillot;
Trois décennies d’amour cerné (2013) within Les Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis;
Tel quel! (2013), conceived for the youngest of audiences and keeping their parents in mind;
Lied Ballet (2014), a piece in three acts for eight dancers, one tenor and a pianist, within the 68th Festival d’Avignon;
Où chaque souffle danse nos mémoires (2015), as part of the “Monuments en Mouvement” operation initiated by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, at the castles of Azay-le-Rideau and Châteaudun, and at the Palais Jacques Cœur in Bourges, and in 2016 at the Conciergerie de Paris and at the Mont-Saint-Michel;
Avant toutes disparitions (2016) at the Théâtre national de Chaillot;
Les rois de la piste (2016);
Another look at memory (2017);
Dans ce monde (2018), a work for family audiences;
Ils n’ont rien vu (2019) within Festival Tours d’Horizons;
Mes hommages (2020);
… de bon augure (2020).

Thomas Lebrun has also created several pieces jointly with other choreographers, in particular with Foofwa d’Imobilité (Le show / Un twomen show), Cécile Loyer (Que tal!) and Radhouane El Meddeb (Sous leurs pieds, le paradis).

He also creates choreography for companies abroad, such as the National Ballet of Liaonning in China (2001) and the Grupo Tapias in Brasil (Year of France in Brasil in 2009), and also for Lithuanian dancer and choreographer Lora Juodkaité (FranceDanse Vilnius 2009 operation), for six Korean dancers, a work commissioned by the MODAFE Festival at Seoul (FranceDanse Korea 2012 operation), for dancers of the Panthera company at Kazan, Russia (FranceDanse Russia 2015 operation) and for the Singaporean company Frontier Danceland (2017).

Lebrun is regularly commissioned for various projects. In July 2010, his new solo Parfois le corps n’a pas de coeur was his reply to the Festival d’Avignon’s and the SACD’s «Sujets à vif» commission. In March 2017, he directed Les Fêtes d’Hébé by Jean-Philippe Rameau, for the Paris Opera Academy, performed at Opera Bastille Auditorium in Paris and at the Britten Theatre in London.

Since his arrival at the CCNT, he made 11 new choreography works and 14 repertory works were shown in over 720 events in France (Théâtre national de Chaillot, Biennale de la danse de Lyon, Festival d’Avignon…) and other countries (England, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Ecuador, Finland, Italy, Japan, Hong-Kong, Macau, Netherlands, Peru, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan…).

He gives pride of place to teaching and transmission. Some of the venues where he has taught include Centre national de la danse, at Pantin and at Lyon, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse and the Ménagerie de Verre, both in Paris, the Balletéatro in Porto and the Fomation du danseur interprète Coline in Istres.

Since 2018, in partnership with Touka Danses – CDCN de Guyane and Tropiques Atrium, scène nationale de la Martinique, he develops “Dansez-Croisez”, an exchange and cross over choreographic project with artists from French overseas territories and the Caribbean in Metropolitan France and takes part as a choreographer in French Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Cuba.

In June 2014, Thomas Lebrun received the choreography prize from the Board of Governers of the SACD (Société des auteurs chorégraphiques et dramatiques) and, in March 2017 he was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France.

His upcoming projects features L’ombre d’un doute, a trio for Martinican dancers, in coproduction with Tropiques Atrium, Mille et une danses (pour 2021), which will premiere within Festival Montpellier Danse 2021.