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I Went To The Dance (J'ai Été Au Bal)

Les Blank & Chris Strachwitz, Maureen Gosling

I Went To The Dance (J'ai Été Au Bal) still

USA, 1989, 84 min

I WENT TO THE DANCE (J’AI ÉTÉ AU BAL) is the seminal film on the history of the foot-stomping, toe-tapping music of French Southwest Louisiana. The film features many Cajun and Zydeco greats, Michael Doucet, BeauSoleil, Clifton Chenier, Canray Fontenont, Marc and Ann Savoy, D.L. Menard, Boozoo Chavis and many more.   Newly restored in 5K, I WENT TO THE DANCE (J’AI ÉTÉ AU BAL), celebrates the music of Southwest Louisiana. Blank, Strachwitz & Gosling's film brims with tender affection for its subjects, the vitality of their marvelous music, and a generosity of spirit.


We all are lucky to be invited to this exuberant dance.

C.J. Hirschfield, EatDrinkFilms

Most of the musicians in this fantastic film are little known.

Lincoln Spector, Bayflicks

I Went to the Dance” is a colorful record of its era, filled with music from some of the best to ever do it

Louisiana’s Cajun music comes alive in ‘I Went to the Dance’ Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle

Tapping toes make the 84 minutes fly by

Toba Singer, Culture Vulture

A toe-tapping musical journey

Randy Myers, Bay Area Matters

Making movies as a near-incidental byproduct of hanging out with people whose livelihood is a sonic party

Listening to legends of the Bayou with Les Blank Dennis Harvey, 48 Hills

His gaze is never exoticizing, trivializing, or mocking, too earnestly focused as it is on teasing out the lyricism in the endless, inexplicable idiosyncrasies of mortals.


An exuberant tribute to the continuing vitality of Louisiana’s Cajun and Zydeco music

Music, Musicians and a Louisiana Rollick Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Les Blank’s thoughtful and engrossing explorations of humanity through its many cultural traditions, livelihoods, and struggles are eternally ripe for rediscovery by each new generation.

Les Blank Charts the History of Cajun Music in Gloriously Restored Documentary Soham Gadre, Film Stage