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Dancers descend on Lyon festival

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Dancers descend on Lyon festival

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The French city of Lyon has celebrated the 10th edition of what is considered to be
Europe's biggest dance parade.

Thousands of dancers, mostly amateurs, participated in an event that attracts around 300,000 people every two years.

Launched for the first time in 1996, the ‘défilé’ was inspired by Brazil’s most famous carnival, and this year the event went back to its origins.

Dominique Hervieu, the Artistic Director of Biennale de la danse, said: “This is a homecoming because the parade was created as a little model of the Rio Carnival. There are 12 groups, like in the Sambadrome in Rio, and so everyone used this theme to celebrate this 10th edition.”

The parade has become a highlight of Lyon’s dance festival ‘Biennale de la Danse’ and it’s also the most popular project involving both regional and international participants, most of them are dance lovers of all ages, from all walks of life who work under the direction of professional choreographers.

Eve Hanus, a choreographer, said: “It’s a great experience. There is a general pleasure in participating. It’s extraordinary. I am super proud and glad to participate.”

Dancer Hassiba Voisin said it was a lot of work but worth it: “It’s stressful, but a lot of joy and a lot of happiness.”

And the public who filled the streets of central Lyon seemed taken by the magic of the show.

One woman has been coming for years, she said: “We’ve been coming since the beginning and I always like it. The party, the music, the costumes are beautiful.

“The dance, costumes , everything is beautiful. It’s also hot, I have air conditioning on my head, but it’s really wonderful”

Puppets played a major role in this year’s parade. Some came from the Italian city of Turin, which held a similar dance parade last July in the framework of the Torinodanza festival.

Closing Lyon’s colourful event, South African choreographer Dada Masilo presented her own version of Swan Lake performed by a group of African and French dancers.

The open air show took place in the central Bellecour square where the audience was invited to end the festivities with a samba-inspired choreography.

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