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José Montalvo (choreographer)

José Montalvo (born 1954) is a prominent French dancer and choreographer. A 2001 winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Dance Production, his work has been performed in Europe, America and Asia.

José Montalvo
Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, France
OccupationDancer, dance teacher, choreographer


Early lifeEdit

José Montalvo was born in 1954 in Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, France.[1] He is of Spanish descent, as his parents moved to France during the Spanish Civil War.[1] He took dance lessons at the Toulouse National Dance Centre as a child.[1] At the age of twenty, he moved to Paris to study Art History and Visual Arts, where he intended to become an architect.[1] He then studied Dance with American choreographer Jerome Andrews.[2] He went on to study Dance with Dominique Dupuy (fr) and Françoise Dupuy, when he learnt "expressionist" dance, pioneered by Jean Weidt.[2] Later, he was trained by Carolyn Carlson, Lucinda Childs, Alwin Nikolaïs and Merce Cunningham.[1][2]


He started his career as a dancer at Les Ballets Modernes de Paris.[2] He later transitioned as a dance teacher.[1] In the late 1980s, he began working as a choreographer.[2] One of his main dancers was Dominique Hervieu.[1][2] He won several prizes, including one in Nyon in 1986, in Paris in 1987, and in Cagliari in 1988.[2]

In 1988, together with Dominique Hervieu, he founded the Montalvo-Hervieu Company.[2] The following year, in 1989, he helped organise dances with Les Danses à Voir et à Danser, a dance festival.[2] In 1993, he organised the summer festival at the Théâtre national de Chaillot.[2] Later that year, he made a videographic art piece called Double Trouble with Michel Coste, mixing choreography and technology.[1][2] In 1997, he created Paradis, a highly successful dance performance which was performed in Europe, South America and Asia at an average of four times a week.[1]

In 1998, together with Dominique Hervieu, he became the co-Director of the Créteil and Val-de-Marne National Dance Centre.[2][1] Two years later, he was appointed as the Dance Director of the Théâtre National de Chaillot.[2]

He became a Laurence Olivier Award winner in 2001, when he was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Dance Production for Le Jardin Io Io Ito Ito, together with Dominique Hervieu.[2] They also received the Choreography Prize from the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques in 2005.[2] According to a 1999 article from The New York Times, he is known for mixing "African, Caribbean and break dancing to contemporary, hip-hop and classical styles" and hiring "multicultural" dancers, giving way to what he calls a poetry of juxtapositions.[1]

He is the artist-in-residence at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris.[2] For example, in 2012-2013, he choreographed Don Quichotte du Trocadéro at Chaillot.[3]

At the end of the Bastille Day military parade on July 14, 2014, to commemorate the centennial of the First World War, he was commissioned by the French government a choreographic performance with 250 young dancers from the eighty countries who fought in the war on the Place de la Concorde.[4][5] The eight-minute performance to a clarinet concerto by Mozart included echoes to La Sardane de la paix and La Colombe, two paintings by Pablo Picasso, as well as Les Oiseaux by Georges Braque.[4] The dancers let doves fly away at the end of the performance, a symbol of peace through strength after the military parade.[4]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Alan Riding, DANCE; An Idealist Who Sees the Beauty in Diversity, The New York Times, October 24, 1999
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Patrick Berger. "José Montalvo, permanent artist - Théâtre National de Chaillot". Batsheva Dance Company. DLB Spectacles, Paris. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  3. ^ Theatre Chaillot
  4. ^ a b c Rosita Boisseau, José Montalvo, 250 jeunes, autant de colombes en clôture du défilé du 14 juillet, Le Monde, July 13, 2014
  5. ^ 14 juillet: défilé du Centenaire sur les Champs Elysées, Libération, July 14, 2014