Danse Danse celebrates 20 years

  • No to be missed

Danse Danse, Canada’s largest contemporary dance company, is celebrating its 20th birthday! Founded in 1988 by barre stalwart Pierre Des Marais, Danse Danse instinctively united performers and artists that would go on to forever change the world of dance in Quebec and across the globe.

“We are extremely proud of the work we’ve accomplished throughout the years. Our audiences are loyal, open to new things, and very aware,” enthusiastically confirms Artistic Director Caroline Ohrt.

For the 2017-2018 season, novice and knowledgeable audiences alike will be able to choose from 15 of the season’s performances. Numerous Quebecois dancers will grace the Place des Arts stage, while those who crave innovation and are on the hunt for cultural shocks will be able to witness innovative performers from such enticing, eclectic locales as Norway, Barcelona, London, Taiwan, Vancouver and New York. “This is one of our most original and complete seasons,” affirms Ohrt. “As a dance company, our most sincere wish is to see more Quebec-based dance companies thrill audiences, at home and abroad.”  

Espace danse in the Wilder Building

With palpable emotion, on September 11, 2017 the Espace danse space in the Wilder Building was officially inaugurated: a space wholly dedicated to dance from ballet to contemporary, located in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles.

Bordering the Place des Festivals at De Bleury and Sainte-Catherine, the Wilder Building will foster a new synergy in the dance world by regrouping four key performance and choreography organizations under the same roof: les Grands Ballets de Montréal, Agora de la danse, Tangente and the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal. Unanimously, these organizations agreed that Quebec needed this cultural building, given that home-grown dancers and choreographers have traditionally, and continue to, excel nationally and internationally, inspiring a love and appreciation of dance. These new avant-garde studios and facilities have been designed specifically for dance; more than 400 cultural workers will join together to make this a unique space that celebrates dance. Dignitaries, partners, private donors, artists and creators alike, are thrilled with this project’s completion, which brings to life a long sought-after dream: a permanent Canadian dance hub, all from the renovation of a humble industrial building in downtown Montreal.

The project came to fruition through careful reflection and dedicated work by several institutions and individuals, and in 2011 was approved by the Quebec government’s Conseil des ministres. The governments of Quebec and Canada, as well as the four implicated organizations named above, and their respective donors, contributed to the project, in addition to a major private-sector joint financing campaign led by businesswoman Danièle Henkel, that raised 25.8 million dollars. Architectural consortium Lapointe Magne + AEdifica designed the space and completed the transformation of the historic building that was originally built in 1918 by architect Charles R. Tetley.

“Espace danse space in the Wilder Building is the oasis that contemporary dance needed. Both the art form and the building speak to this shared language that interrogates our perceptions, differences, and individualities,” confirms Agora de la danse’s President of the Board of Directors, Ms. Florence Junca-Adenot

The building contains 12 dance studios, as well as performance spaces, public and private locales, two recreational facilities, a dance therapy centre, two cafés and a restaurant. And what’s more, it’s open to all—from the general public to seasoned professionals.

The Wilder Building facilities will be a clearinghouse for creation, training, and performances, and will also become a major attraction for passers-by and tourists. While wandering past large windows that open into studios, anyone can pause to watch the inner life of dance: classes, conferences, rehearsals, performances—a stimulating and enriching environment!

This new dance hub will surely find its rightful place among the many cultural and artistic facilities and buildings already present in the Quartier des spectacles! 


Texte: Maxime Beauregard-Martin

Photo: Jocelyn Michel


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