In the next several months, you'll be able to visit this section for a quarterly review of what's new, what's hot, and what's trending this season. But for now, we thought it best to get started with a history of the discipline's deep roots in Quebec's Anglo arts community. The following essay can be read in its complete, interactive form at the RAEV.ca website, as well as in the book Minority Report: An Alternative History of English-Language Arts in Quebec, published by Guernica Editions in 2011.
THE UN-SOLITARY WORLDS OF MONTREAL DANCE
By Tao Fei
Montreal is Canada’s long-reigning dance capital. Today home to more than 50 companies and a dynamic community of independent dancers and choreographers, this highly bilingual city is a hotbed of dance activity. A favorite touring stop for international companies and boasting a large network of dance presenters, established local troupes and year-round cultural happenings, Montreal is a magnet attraction for Canadian and international dance artists in search of creative laboratories and professional opportunities.
Montreal experienced a contemporary dance boom in the 80’s that catapulted a local community onto the international stage, forging a distinct choreographic signature known at the time for androgynous physicality, high-risk, provocation, and hard doses of existential angst. This galvanizing period for Quebec dance is largely responsible for concretizing Montreal’s reputation as a dance epicenter. It also brought its Francophone creators into high relief, fashioning a public portrait of Quebec dance as an immaculately conceived field of homegrown originals.
A deeper look into the city’s choreographic history, however, reveals a rather more assorted lineage – one of immigrant and migratory artists eagerly working with diverse influences to create the hybridized movement palette from which Montreal dance continues to thrive. The high degree of cross-pollination leads back to a fundamental fact: Dance repels sol...
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