Lyon and the Alps Feature

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Lyon's Biennale de la Dance

France's second city is thrown into perpetual motion for nearly three weeks every other September (on even-number years). Brainchild of Lyon choreographer Guy Darmet, each year celebrates a different theme. The result, no matter which even year you choose, is a dance blowout at the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers. At each biennale, in addition to the more than 100 performances scheduled in the city's finest venues—such as the Jean Nouvel opera house, the Maison de la Danse, and the cookie box–like Théâtre des Célestins—popular highlights include the tumultuous 4,500-dancer street parade that roars down the left bank of the Rhône on the festival's first Sunday, and the three Saturday night dance galas held in the graceful Brotteaux train station, the Halle Tony Garnier, or the Place des Terreaux. Collective dance classes for thousands and spontaneous outbursts of tango, salsa, or nearly any other genre of rhythmic movement, pop up all over town, while newspaper front pages feature little else. For details: www.biennaledeladanse.com.

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