MéMé BaNjO

Aged 52, Lionel Hoche is undoubtedly one of France's most promising and talented young choreographers. Since 1989, he has gleaned a wealth of experience both with his company and further afield, as guest choreographer for many of Europe's major international companies. This activity is not only due to his insatiable appetite for his work and passion for dance but also to his rich and atypical professional career. His debuts in classical dance at the Paris Opera Ballet School, his six years as an interpreter with Jiri Kylian's company in the Netherlands followed by Daniel Larrieu's French-based contemporary dance group... versatility combined with his acclaimed savoir-faire have made Lionel Hoche an extremely attractive trump card to play.
All these factors have lead him to collaborate on over fifty projects for some thirty companies (including MéMé BaNjO) in Europe and the Far East, and he is today one of France's most sought-after choreographers.
A few like to classify Hoche's dance, attributing a neo-classical label to his work, and his experience as a choreographer for many 'neo-classical' companies is probably to blame. However most (including Hoche himself!) are unanimous in their analysis: Lionel Hoche has used his wealth of experience, without denying his past, to create a choreographic vocabulary that is unique, personal and in constant evolution, therefore contemporary. His dance is often qualified as sensual, intimate, tender, and plays on a kinetic and a deconstructed or even dis-'jointed' vision of a sometimes too-vigorous perception of the body. His work demands an extremely high-level of technique from his interpreters, yet is always attentive and respectful of a human body all too often forced into shape.
A rigorous artist with an eye for form and volume (he sometimes designs the sets for his pieces), Lionel Hoche pays particular attention to the aesthetic environment of his pieces, his choices of performers, light and costume designers alike often referred to as astute and even outstanding.
In 1992, The company MéMé BaNjO was founded (in reference to his grandmother, a Parisian lady of character and influence in the Hoche family, and particularly so for Lionel).

Association MéMé BaNjO
42, rue de Maubeuge
75009 Paris
e-mail -

Agnès Izrine about Lionel Hoche

Lionel Hoche is a man of words - choreographically speaking of course. Throughout his career - from the Paris Opera to Daniel Larrieu via Jiri Kylian, he has constantly enriched his varied store of expertise and techniques to create a highly personal choreographic language.
Embarking on his choreographic career in 1988, he pursued the development of a finely tuned yet vigorous style, creating his own company, MéMé BaNjO, in 1992. His performers, though stemming from very varied backgrounds, are all equally fascinating : from contemporary choreographers like Alain Buffard, Cécile Proust, Alvaro Morell and Cyrill Davy to Christophe Wavelet (who has since turned to journalism and dance theory) to outstanding classically trained performers.
His highly personal language maintains a perilous balance, sliding from "contact improvisation" that slips into the most academic of dance steps, to contemporary styles that perversely contort the implacable beauty of a tightly choreographed whole, with a distinctive distorting of gesture that seems to warp space itself into a curve. His profoundly humanist pieces conceal a kind of humorous, affectionate irony towards his counterparts. From one dance to the next, he seems to be researching what might be called the grandeur and decadence of the dancer. There is undoubtedly a classical majesty in his vocabulary, along with an almost animal savagery that brings a disturbing twist to his highly controlled, even calculated movement. At times, his dance evokes the languid grace of a harem : sinuous lines, sensually rounded arms and suggestively arched bodies... Sometimes there is a harsh, inexorably geometric rigour to which the dancers step out in austere brilliance.
Thus within a single piece, Lionel Hoche succeeds in simultaneously evoking a vision of a glorious, triumphant physicality, abruptly collapsing into harassed, material humanity, even a disquieting eroticism. In this way his choreographies genuinely reinvent the classical vocabulary in the most unexpected ways. This is perhaps why so many major ballet companies have solicited Lionel Hoche'sw expertise, who, undaunted by such challenges, was called upon by Daniel Larrieu as his assistant at the Paris Opera before embarking on his own creation for that same ballet with Yamm. He knows how to compose energetic and fluid dances for ensembles with a subtly off-centred symmetry, as well as brilliant solos of typically French elegance that bring out all the qualities of his high-level dancers.
Lionel Hoche's exciting work with stage designers and composers produces results that stand out by their free-flowing tone. His acute vision, heightened by a thorough understanding of avant-garde pictorial trends, enables him to select talented painters with a discriminating eye. Their visual art brings a distinctive graphic quality to his pieces, choreographed to create the effect of a particularly attractive animated mobile. As for the music, his choices are eclectic : he will combine techno with an old-fashioned, slightly out-of-tune waltz, and his taste for peculiar and unusual instruments gives a disconcerting, bitter-sweet flavour to his work, gently distorting his audience's perception, lured into this maze of boundless possibilities !...
© Agnès Izrine
MéMé BaNjO

22/23 Légendes (Les Gens De...) - 23/24 Mytho

La Cie vient de terminer deux belles collaborations, auprès du Théâtre Brétigny (91) et du Pavillon de Romainville (93) avec notamment le projet Légendes (les gens De...) qui continura sa route cette saison au CDA d'Enghien-les bains puis la suivante à Roubaix en complicité avec CCN Ballet du Nord...
C'est aussi le temps des prémices d'un nouveau projet... Mytho pour la saison 23/34!

La compagnie MéMé BaNjO -  Lionel Hoche reçoit le soutien de la Direction régionale des affaires culturelles d'Ile-de-France - Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, et de la Région Ile-de-France.

Point of view

Work in progress