View illustrated pages from Luigi Serafini's Codex Serafinius

Fish Eyes
Horse and Carriage

In the spring of 2002 at the Kennedy Center, this acclaimed contemporary company from France caused a sensation with Maguy Marin's "dollhouse" version of Cinderella (Cendrillon). Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times hailed Lyon Opera Ballet as "a company full of surprises," marked by "impressive individuality [and] versatile dancers."

Lyon Opera BalletApril 8 through 10, Lyon Opera Ballet returns as part of the Kennedy Center-wide Festival of France with the Washington premiere of Tricodex, a new work by Philippe Decouflé. The French choreographer is celebrated for creations "bursting with color and theatrical wit" (Dance Magazine).

Tricodex is the continuation of two prior works by Decouflé: Codex, created in 1987, and Decodex, created in 1995. Both modern dance productions were inspired by Codex Serafinius, an absurdist encyclopedia designed by contemporary Italian artist and naturalist Luigi Serafini.

Lyon Opera BalletOne of the world's most fascinating publications, Serafini's stunning 400-page masterpiece features illustrations, graphs, charts, and descriptions depicting an imaginary world of fantastical animals, plants, objects, and machines. Written entirely in an alien language, Codex Serafinius evokes topics ranging from gardening, anatomy, mathematics, and geometry to hairstyles, card games, flying contraptions, and labyrinths.

Serafini's evocative encyclopedia has inspired Decouflé throughout his career, and it continues to feed his imagination with Tricodex, the culmination of his infatuation with Serafini. Combining dance, mime, acrobatics, video, and film—and featuring 30 dancers and nearly 150 costumes—Tricodex will premiere at France's Opéra de Lyon in March 2004 beforecoming to the Kennedy Center in April.

America Dancing
The Festival of France is held in cooperation with the Embassy of France with support from the Florence Gould Foundation, the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, Association Francaise d'Action Artistique, FedEx Corporation, HRH Foundation, Grand Marnier Foundation, AREVA, Inc., and the French American Cultural Foundation. International Programming at the Kennedy Center is supported through the generosity of The Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts.