In the late 1930s, the famous French choreographer Pierre Rouget was asked by the government of Louis Joly to organize a ballet production in France. Rouget had already performed dance in several foreign countries and found that the French performed ballet as well as anyone else. So he decided that the best way to do this would be to make a dance for French audiences. He named the piece “Travail and Fantasies” which translated into English as “Toys and Fantasies.”
When Rouget started working in France, the country was run by fascists. There was no public health or other social reforms. One of the tasks they had to do was to find a new style of ballet. Rouget set out to study all the major styles in Europe and found that most were variations of American dance. This meant the ballet performed in these styles could be performed safely and efficiently at the same time.
Rouget’s work attracted the attention of the government of Joly who decided he should travel to Paris and show it off to the people. After all, there may have been a little bit of fascism in France during the Joly years when ballet was banned, but this was nothing more than a temporary setback to the government which was still full of fascists.
Joly invited Rouget back to France where he set out to study French dance. The French Dance Ensemble was formed in 1935. Joly was the artistic director and Rouget was the dancer. The group began choreographing a variety of dances, most of which were American in nature. In fact, there were two American dancers in their ensemble: Claude Bouchier and Claude Tinguey.
The French were very interested in new dances and the French also wanted to take American dance lessons. Bouchier was an old ballet teacher who had retired with great pleasure just two years earlier. After his retirement, he had a number of students and the two of them went to America at a time when the American dance world was beginning to get really popular in France. In fact, there was no place in France where you could go for classes of American dance. Bouchier took his students to dance at the Paris Ballet Theater; they were taught by a teacher named Max Bourgeois. They had a great time.
The Bouchiers were always in town and went every summer to a dance school in New York City and they took classes with Max Bourgeois. The Bouchier dance had nothing to do with
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