The Creators: Alain and Françoise Chantraine

The Chantraine Dance of Expression and School of Dance are the creation of two gifted pioneers in the world of dance - Alain and Françoise Chantraine. From the foundation of their School of Dance in France in 1958, the Chantraine vision has been to broaden and deepen the scope of dance so that it can become an unlimited expressive art for the whole person and integrated with life.


Françoise Chantraine



Alain Chantraine

Françoise Chantraine

Outstanding dancer, choreographer, teacher and creator of a methodology, Françoise danced and choreographed from early childhood and living in the country, drew much inspiration from the natural world. She went on to train professionally in many dance styles, among them classical ballet, contemporary and jazz, as well as expressive dance with Mallkovsky and dances of other cultures. She also studied psychology and physiotherapy, and trained professionally in music and art, both of which she taught for a time. She has danced frequently as a soloist in Europe and North America

Alain Chantraine

A meeting with Alain Chantraine (1929 - 2000), musician, artist, poet and philosopher, was a turning-point in both their lives. They shared a common vision of dance integrated with life, as well as a deep respect for human beings in all their diversity, and while recognising universals in dance styles, looked beyond style alone. As a married couple, they united their talents and training with extensive research into dance in many cultures, to create and develop a new approach and teaching method. In 1958, Alain founded the Chantraine School of Dance - a School open to all, with at its heart a vision of dance as an unlimited expressive art, linked with life and for the harmony and development of the whole person - body, mind and emotions.

Development of the School

Alongside teaching in the School, creating the choreographic repertoire and performing, Françoise took their approach into many different milieus. She tested it with medical and social workers, teachers, disabled and under-privileged people, workers in agriculture and industry, and people with psychological needs. For 8 years, at the request of the French dance inspectorate, she assisted in the re-training of classical ballet teachers from the National Conservatoires, and also taught at courses run by the National Federations for dance. An invitation to Canada from the State government of Quebec led to the adoption of the Chantraine method in their school programme. In France also, she was invited to advise the government on dance education. Meanwhile, the School expanded: new Chantraine professionals were trained, and centres established in Paris, the provinces, Brussels, and, in 1978, in England.


Since 2000, Françoise has continued to direct the School. She teaches, gives master-classes to Chantraine professionals and future professionals, and twice-yearly workshops for all interested in experiencing the approach and the expanding repertoire. She also creates and directs performances for the choreographic ensemble and the “Company”, the latter consisting of professionals and amateur pupils of all ages.

francoise chantraine
Francoise Chantraine in "Vers la Lumière"
Photo: Sabrina Michaud/Rapho

 



francoise chantraine
Left: Françoise at  a workshop in London
Right: in a performance in Geneva

Her immense contribution to the world of dance, has been recognised nationally by the award of the gold medal of the French Federation of Dance in 1988, and she received the honour of Chevalier in the National Order of Merit, in 1993. In 2000 she was appointed emeritus member of the International Council of UNESCO. A brief biography, “La Danse de la Vie”, was published by Cerf in 1988.