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France Honors Nicole Birmann-Bloom with the Order of Arts and Letters

On April 23, Kareen Rispal, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy, conferred upon Nicole Birmann Bloom the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Nicole Birmann Bloom has been a tireless advocate of performance artistry and international cultural exchange ascoordinator and then director of the French Cultural Service’s Dance and Theater Office since 1999. She coordinates the highly successful Etant Donnés: The French-American Fund for the Performing Arts and the French-US Exchange in Dance (FUSED) programs, and has helped organize four major arts festivals since 2001, including France Moves, the Cultural Services’ first major festival and a resounding success.

Nicole Birmann Bloom’s passion for dance was first sparked when she was 14 and began modern dance classes at a neighborhood dance school in Montmartre. She began studying dance full-time in Paris at the School of Françoise and Dominique Dupuy, and then moved to New York to study dance at the Merce Cunningham Studio before returning to France to start her career as a professional dancer and dance instructor. She later worked abroad for a decade in the public and private sectors, and in 1995, Nicole returned to New York and joined the Cultural Services.

The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) was created in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as individuals who have contributed to the recognition of French culture in the world. The Order is given out twice annually to only a few hundred people worldwide. Among the Americans who have received this award are Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman.