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Dance for all!

September 9, 2015

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Giving Montrealers a taste of the expressive energy of dance: that’s the mission of the Quartiers Danses festival. With plenty of free outdoor shows and affordable indoor ones, the festival is undoubtedly fulfilling that mission. For 12 days, you have the chance to discover the artists who will move into several into several boroughs. The Quartier des Spectacles is proud to welcome the festival into its space.

We spoke with the chair and spokesperson of Quartiers Danses, Marc Béland.

What is the unique mission of Quartiers Danses?

The festival seeks to democratize dance. Simply put, we want more people to be exposed to contemporary dance. Quartiers Danses is also an excellent showcase for Montreal’s young choreographers and dancers. This year in particular, we’ve made a special effort to highlight these up-and-coming artists, who represent several different approaches. We’ve decided to present these young artists’ work side-by-side with more experienced choreographers. It’s a way to follow through on this year’s theme, intergenerational connection.

For the festival’s 13th edition, you are asking people to take a chance on the raw energy of contemporary dance…

I think it’s a good way to describe the festival. Dance comes in many different forms, and can have a very different energy from one choreographer to another. It can be all about powerful dynamics, or something more minimalist. By presenting shows in public spaces, by going where the people are, we help them get a taste of the art even if they wouldn’t normally attend a dance performance.

On that note, people in the Quartier des Spectacles will have the chance to see dance pieces in the Place des Festivals and in Les Jardins Gamelin. What should we expect?

We always put pleasure first and foremost. When you see dancers perform live, there’s a spontaneous connection between spectator and performer. That created little moments of pure poetry in the city. The outdoor format also gives people the chance to see several choreographers for free, so people can discover several different signature styles and genres, which helps them find out what they like.

Place des Festivals: September 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 18 at 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM
Place Émilie-Gamelin: September 11 and 15 at 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM

This year, you’ve put the spotlight on Spanish choreographers.

Our executive and artistic director, Rafik Hubert Sabbagh, is very moved by that country’s choreographers. He put a lot of effort into bringing them here. To open the festival, on September 11 at Maison Théâtre, we will present the Basque company Kukai Dantza as well as La Intrusa Danza, from Barcelona. And on closing night we will highlight Spain again with the work of choreographer Daniel Abreu.

You’re also a performer in one of the shows.

Yes. With Alix Dufresne, a young director fresh out of the École nationale, we worked on a piece based on an interview by philosopher Alain Deneault about tax havens. It’s a little political play – we try to put the interview into movement. It’s called Hidden Paradise, and it will open for N’ap dansé during dance-theatre night, on September 18 at 8 p.m. in the Cinquième salle at Place des Arts.

Quartiers Danses

September 9 to 20

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