Rules of the dance marathon for contestants: — 1. The competition is open to amateur and professional couples. — 2. The marathon has no fixed finish: it is likely to last several weeks. — 3. The winning couple is the last couple standing after the other competitors have withdrawn or been disqualified. — 4. Competitors must keep moving for forty-five minutes every hour. — 5. A knee on the floor is grounds for disqualification. — 6. Beds are available for eleven minutes during each hourly break. — 7. Ice buckets, smelling salts and slaps are allowed for waking up contestants. — 8. Contestants must comply with the host’s instructions. — 9. Sponsors and tips thrown on the track by the public are allowed. — 10. Snacks are distributed free of charge during the competition. — 11. The organiser is not responsible for physical or mental injury.
In 1935, the American writer Horace McCoy described in They Shoot Horses Don’t They? the deadly spectacle of the destitute folk who resorted to dancing until they dropped to earn a few bucks and entertain a thrill-seeking public. After Sydney Pollack adapted the novel for the screen in 1969, Bruno Bouché, Clément Hervieu-Léger and Daniel San Pedro have now turned this dark drama into a new form of dance-theatre featuring forty-four dancers, actors and musicians.