Carousel Of Ideas, An Inventive Philosophy And Dance Event For Kids And Families, Part Of The Tilt Kids Festival

Carousel Of Ideas, An Inventive Philosophy And Dance Event For Kids And Families, Part Of The Tilt Kids Festival

New York, NY, February 19, 2016—The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) present Carousel of Ideas, a special event dedicated to philosophy and dance, taking place on March 19 at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Albertine Books. For one day, the French Embassy’s iconic Fifth Avenue Gilded Age mansion will be transformed into an inventive and creative space where young audiences can exercise both mind and body in the company of some of the most cutting-edge French and American thinkers and artists.


Starting at 10am under the starry ceiling of Albertine Books, philosopher Simon Critchley, moderator of The New York Times philosophy column “The Stone” and celebrated author of The Book of Dead Philosophers will orchestrate a forum of ideas with small groups of budding intellectuals, helped by four of his PhD students from The New School. Children ages 4 to 10 will gather by age group to explore various themes chosen by Critchley. The discussions will be led in English.


At 3pm in the French Embassy’s ballroom, professional and non-professional dancers will perform in Ballet (NY) from French choreographer Jérôme Bel. An unconventional dance piece, Ballet (NY) features thirteen performers with dramatically different levels of dance training, body types, and ages, all executing the same classical dance moves. The work explores how we perceive choreography and experience dance according to the context and performer. Ballet (NY) questions what dance is in explicit terms and is readily accessible to younger minds. Ballet (NY) was commissioned by Performa for Performa 15.

At 4pm children ages 6 and up will be invited to dance in a series of participatory events. The first, Follow me led by dancer and choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen, is inspired by a Moroccan wedding party. In Morocco, weddings are a special moment when children are invited to take part in the world of adults, imitating them in dress, make-up, dance and song. In this improvisational and transformational context, children are invited to dress up and learn dance moves, rythms and songs.

At 5:30pm New York-based artist Miguel Gutierrez will lead a session of DEEP AEROBICS, an absurdist workout for the radical in all of us. The colorful, carnivalesque, high-energy event is part dance party and part group fitness class that has been adapted for kids and families. It consists of Gutierrez loosely leading participants in a series of dramatic, physical, invigorating moves. Participants are encouraged to come in costume, or create one onsite at the Transformation Station.


Philosophy for Kids, by Simon Critchley
3 sessions; ages 4-10; free with RSVP

Ballet (NY), choreographed by Jérôme Bel
Ages 6 and up; free with RSVP

Follow me, with Bouchra Ouizguen
2 sessions, 30 min each; ages 6 and up; free with RSVP

Deep Aerobics, with Miguel Gutierrez
Ages 6 and up; free with RSVP

Carousel of Ideas will take place March 19 from 10am to 6:30pm at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy & Albertine Books (972 Fifth Avenue). All events are free with RSVP to
Events led in English. No French necessary to attend.


Special thanks to all our partners in New York and Paris who helped us make Tilt happen: Institut français, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, Howard Gilman Foundation, FACE Foundation, Florence Gould Foundation, Air France, and SACD (Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques).
Special thanks to our partners for the Carousel of Ideas event: Abracadabra NYC, The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium, Coperaco Coffee Roasters, Green Mustache, Jacadi Paris, Michel et Augustin.

About Tilt Kids Festival

Kids and adults alike are invited to discover, play, imagine, think, and create as part of the Tilt Kids Festival. A new initiative co-presented by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in partnership with venues throughout the city, the festival invites some of the most inventive and exciting creators from France and around the globe to redefine art for young audiences. Philosophy and dance, circus and magic, design, music, and gastronomy come together in a series of forward-thinking and playful events curated for the audiences of today and tomorrow.

Tilt Kids Festival is thrilled to partner with a network of leading cultural institutions: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Invisible Dog Art Center, Museum of Food + Drink, The New Victory Theater, and the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The festival is co-curated by Lili Chopra and Violaine Huisman. Tilt Kids Festival runs March 4 through April 3, 2016.

Participant Bios

Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research. His books include Very Little…Almost NothingInfinitely DemandingThe Book of Dead PhilosophersThe Faith of the FaithlessThe Mattering of Matter, BowieMemory Theatre and Notes on Suicide. He is moderator of “The Stone,” a philosophy column in The New York Times, to which he is a frequent contributor.

Jérôme Bel is known for conceptual performances that break away from the typical formal theater setting, and explore the interplay between choreography, performer, and spectator. Bel’s work has been presented at the Venice Biennale, Festival d’Automne in Paris, Festival d’Avignon, and Tate Modern in London. Disabled Theater, a bold piece for professional actors with learning disabilities, was a highlight of Performa 13.

Bouchra Ouizguen lives and works in Marrakech, Morocco where she has been committed to developing the local dance scene since 1998. Co-founder of the association Anania in 2002, she contributed to the creation of On Marche dance festival, before creating her own company, Compagnie O. Her work questions the Moroccan society and its visual and folk art traditions. She has performed throughout Morocco and abroad, including at the prestigious Montpellier Dance Festival in France and in New York in 2010 and 2013 at FIAF’s Crossing the Line Festival.

Miguel Gutierrez lives in Brooklyn and makes performances. His most recent body of work – the Age & Beauty series, a meditation on queerness, art-making and middle age – was presented at Centre National de la Danse and the Pompidou Center as part of Festival d’Automne in Paris, New York Live Arts as part of FIAF’s Crossing the Line 2015, and the Fisher Center for the Arts at Bard College.

About FIAF

The leading French language and cultural center in the United States, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is dedicated to innovative and unique programming in education and the arts, all exploring the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures.

About the Cultural Services of the French Embassy

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts and education across the US and builds partnerships between artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts.

Media Contacts:

Emilie Cabouat, 212.439.1417,
John Wyszniewski at Blake Zidell & Associates, 718.643.9052,
Natascha Bodemann, 646.388.6677,