Born in Toulouse to Spanish parents who fled the Franco regime, Maguy Marin has been creating since the 1970s socially conscious dance pieces that have made her one of the most important figures of new French dance. The many awards she has received include the prestigious Bessie Award for Umwelt (presented in Montreal in 2007). She is also one of the rare non-Americans to have received the American Dance Festival Award. She is now 62 and has some forty works to her credit, including pieces commissioned by companies such as the Ballet de l’Opéra in Lyon, the Ballet de l’Opéra in Paris and the Nerderlands Dans Theater III. Last year the Festival d’Automne de Paris featured a retrospective of her work, with select pieces from her repertoire presented in nine different sites.
Trained in classical ballet in Toulouse, Maguy Marin danced for the Ballet de Strasbourg before entering the first class of students in 1970 at the Mudra school founded by Maurice Béjart in Brussels. Her vision of dance and choreography was totally transformed. After a brief collaboration with the theatre research group Chandra, she became a soloist in Béjart’s company, the Ballet du XXe siècle. It was during that period that she began creating her own works.
Among works from her early career, Nieblas de niño received first prize at the Bagnolet International Competition in 1978. Her style was already characterized by theatrical components that were not danced. May B, her most famous piece, reflects her radicalism and avant-gardism. Created in 1981 and presented several times in Montreal, it remains strikingly modern and relevant. The theme of “living together” found in all her work was already apparent. Since 1987 most of her pieces have been the result of close collaboration with the composer Denis Mariotte, with whom she shared the stage in the duo Ça quand même, co-written by both of them.