Dance: new productions in the spotlight in 2018

Laure Juilliard

What's in store for Montréal's dance scene in early 2018? Here's a summary of some of the daring and innovative choreographed works opening in the 2018 winter/spring season.


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A journey around the globe with Danse Danse

Danse Danse kicks off the 2018 season with renowned companies, celebrated choreographers and young and inspiring creators. In January, let yourself be transported to Taiwan with The Eternal Tides by Legend Lin Dance Theatre, its poetic choreography inspired by religious rituals and local ceremonial rites. In February, Spain takes the spotlight with La Veronal, a reflection on the human body through the ages choreographed by Marcos Morau. Next is New York with Répertoire, presented by the famous Martha Graham Dance Company. In March, Alan Lake returns with Le cri des méduses, a blend of visual art, dance and video. As part of Printemps nordique, an artistic and cultural event that will spotlight the creativity of the Nordic countries at Place des Arts from April 4 to 29, Danse Danse will present works by two outstanding choreographers: Norway’s Ina Christel Johannessen (Again) and Finland's Tero Saarinen (Breath). The 20th season will close with the must-see Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which features 19 Buddhist monks who are also kung-fu masters, five musicians and 21 wooden boxes.

See the full program for the 2018 season of Danse Danse.

New beginnings for Montréal's Les Grands Ballets Canadiens

Under the new artistic direction of Ivan Cavallari, Les Grands Ballets, which recently took up residency in the Wilder Building, will be putting the spotlight on young choreographers and international productions. Three original creations will be presented: The Firebird by American choreographer Bridget Breiner and The Rite of Spring by France's Étienne Béchard, presented as a double-bill program (March 15 to 24), followed by Vendetta – Storie di Mafia by Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (May 24 to June 2). Under the direction of fiery Russian choreographer Boris Eifman, the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg will return with Requiem (February 21 to 25), followed by an enchanting production of Cinderella by Victor Lytvynov of the National Ballet of Ukraine (May 2 to 6). Finally, Soirée des étoiles will close the season with style and flourish from June 7 to 9. This new gala, which will focus on the theme of love, will celebrate the blending of dance and song and offer a special tribute to Leonard Cohen.

See the full 2018 program of Les Grands Ballets.

A meeting of talents with Tangente

In 2018, Tangente will spotlight emerging local choreographers at the “Espace danse” venue of the new Wilder Building, featuring 24 unique creations including 12 artistic events (mostly evening programs with two shows). The season will open with a new production, Bienvenue chez moi, petite malgache-chinoise, which portrays a visit to the home of choreographer Claudia Chan Tak's grandfather in China in the form of an interdisciplinary performative installation (January 19–20, free entry). It will be followed by a series of double-bill programs where audiences can discover two artists, two artistic worlds and two distinct visions related to a single theme. Come and experience Connecting Forces (February 1–4), Technologies of Contemplation (February 8–11), Facts & Fictions (February 22–25), Inner Necessities (March 8–11), Dust & Smoke (March 22–25), Rewilding (March 29 to April 1), Persona: Fragments (April 12–15) and Kinesthetic Empathy (May 17–20). The next generation of talent will also take the stage with the show of the first- and second-year students of the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal from May 16 to 19 and the graduates’ show from May 23 to 26. Finally, don't miss the performances, shows and discussions around contemporary Aboriginal dance in Quebec (May 4–6).

See the full 2018 program of Tangente.

Black humour and audacity at Agora de la danse

Performance venue Agora de la danse begins the year on a strong note with Icône Pop by Mélanie Demers, a work that “incarnates the ambivalence of a society that has lost its bearings [and] sanctifies self-glorification.” The icons featured in this work range from Beyoncé to the Virgin Mary (January 24–27). Choreographer George Stamos will then present his live installation Recurrent measures, in which six dancers play with the limits of physical movement in a space open to the public (January 24–28). In Instant Community, four performers will use their high-tech mobile devices (and yours, if you wish) to create a low-tech collective experience (January 24–27). With Veriditas, Margie Gillis will explore portraits of a collective, modern humanity through three female performers (February 14–17), while Jérémie Niel will invite audiences to peer in on 15 characters in an enclosed space in Elle respire encore (March 14–17). Another by Dana Gingras will be part-installation, part-performance and part-concert set against a backdrop of 24 television screens collected by the artist (April 4–14), while Running Piece by Jacques Poulin-Denis will offer “a reflection on contemporary society and its contradictions” (April 18–21). The season will conclude with Les rois de la piste by Thomas Lebrun, a parade of characters with atypical and astonishing bodies and a series of portraits on those who love the night and dance floor (April 25–28).

See the full 2018 program of Agora de la danse.

Multidisciplinary performances at La Chapelle Theatre

La Chapelle Theatre gives audiences the chance to discover a range of artists of all backgrounds and disciplines. The 2018 season will open with Sang Bleu by Andréane Leclerc and Dany Desjardins, “an exploration about the body and its relationship to its material components” (February 26 to March 2). Next, choreographer Catherine Gaudet will present Tout ce qui va revient, a trilogy of powerful solos to be performed by Clara Furey, Louise Bédard and Jolyane Langlois (March 7–15). Production company La 2e Porte à Gauche will be back with PLUTON – ACTE 3, the third chapter in a series that began in 2015, featuring mature performers collaborating with young choreographers (March 22–31). Finally, duo Ellen Furey and Malik Nashad Sharpe will close the season with No Nationalism, which explores a broader conception of solidarity through contemporary dance.

See the full 2018 program of La Chapelle Theatre.

Intelligence, creativity and poetry at Usine C

This season at Usine C, choreographer Raimund Hoghe redefines a classic dance in Pas de deux “to return to the most vulnerable level of our relationship to others and allow all the nuances of togetherness to show” (April 10–11). Legendary Belgian “nano-dance” Cold Blood by the Kiss & Cry collective, Michèle Anne De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael returns with its ingenious and captivating approach to the stage (April 25–28). Finally, German choreographer Raimund Hoghe will be back with a reinterpretation of Maurice Ravel's La Valse, navigating the meanders of history like a perpetual ebb and flow (April 13–14).

See the full 2018 program of Usine C.

Experimental and hybrid forms at the MAI

The MAI draws on intercultural artistic practices and Montréal's diversity. Âgés et déjantés shines the spotlight on dancers aged 55 and older and confronts audiences with the challenges faced and undertaken by older artists (January 19 and 21). In minor matter, Dominican-born dancer and choreographer Ligia Lewis presents a vision of blackness across time. The piece combines historical and iconic representations of popular dance, and arrives at a bareness of flesh—both of the performance space and its performers (March 2–3). In her solo show the aisha of is, the dynamic Aisha Sasha John shapes rage to transmute it into light and opening (April 27–28). Finally, El Silencio de las Cosas Presentes by choreographer, performer and teacher Ruiz Vergara will evoke and reflect on physical sensation and pain (April 6–7).

See the full 2018 program of the MAI.

Laure Juilliard

Laure Juilliard, blogger

Laure is a writer, community manager and the founder of the blog Une Parisienne à Montréal. She’s also an epicurean globetrotter who’s always on the hunt for innovative concepts and must-try restaurants. In 2016, she co-founded Slow Journeys, a webzine that focuses on ecotourism and design.

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