Artistic Director and choreographer of Groupe and Compagnie Grenade
Josette Baïz, trained by Odile Duboc, has been teaching contemporary dance since 1978 in Aix-en-Provence, where she created her first choreographies for the young dancers in her classes.
In 1982, while a dancer for Jean-Claude Gallotta, Josette Baïz won 1st prize for the 14th Concours International de Chorégraphie de Bagnolet, as well as the Audience Choice Award and the Ministry of Culture Award.
Shortly after, she founded her first company: La Place Blanche, and has since created more than 40 dance shows, not only for her own companies but also for numerous national (Toulouse, Jeune Ballet de France, C.N.R de Lyon ...) and international ballets (Boston, Phnom Penh Royal Ballet, Germany, Venezuela, Netherlands ...).
In 1989, the Ministry of Culture offers her a one year residency in a school in the northern neighborhoods of Marseille. This experience with youngsters from various backgrounds and cultures leads her to rethink the meaning of her work and to radically alter her artistic approach.
Faced with proposals as diverse as break dancing, the smurf, hip hop, oriental dance, gypsy, Indian and African dances, forces her to entirely rethink her acquired body and mental skills.
The body positions, the way to use the ground, the circular movements of the hips, the sharp flamenco strikes, the African loose pelvis movements, none of it was familiar to her.
A process of exchange was thereby put into place: Josette Baïz taught contemporary and classical composition in her research workshops; the young dancers taught her their way of asserting their origins and feelings.
It naturally follows that Josette Baïz creates the Groupe Grenade in 1992 gathering more than thirty young dancers. In 1998 Josette chooses to preserve the cultural mix in the work undertaken with the Groupe Grenade, while keeping a profoundly contemporary perspective. She then creates the Compagnie Grenade with five of the major dancers from the Groupe Grenade.
Today, Grenade is a choreographic ensemble with approximately sixty dancers divided between the Groupe Grenade and the Compagnie Grenade. The Groupe Grenade comprises around fifty children and teenagers from 7 to 18 years old, the Compagnie Grenade comprises around a dozen professional adults.
Nearly all have been training in multiple choreographic disciplines (contemporary, classical, hip hop, jazz and ethnic dance) and performing on stage since an early age.
From the age of 7 they travel the national and international stages performing in pieces running approximately one hour. They approach all these tours with a seriousness and commitment worthy of a professional company.
In recent years, Grenade has also opened up to other forms of contemporary dance; the youngest have danced in “3 générations” and “Ulysse” by Jean-Claude Gallotta; the Compagnie Grenade professionals have danced in jointly choreographed pieces by Mourad Merzouki/Cie Käfig and Jean Charles Gil/les Ballets d’Europe.
In addition, all regularly attend classes given by visiting dance teachers invited for their teaching specificity.
Josette Baïz hopes to continue to enrich this choreographic repertoire by collaborating artistically, again and again, with French and foreign choreographers; by participating in new and original multidisciplinary projects, thereby developing encounters and exchange.