1.1 Creators

The contemporary dance trailblazers of the eighties played an important role in establishing Montréal’s current reputation as a dance epicentre. Some of them now head their own companies: Ginette Laurin with O Vertigo, Marie Chouinard with Compagnie Marie Chouinard and Édouard Lock with La La La Human Steps. These three, along with bjm_danse (formerly Les Ballets jazz de Montréal) and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal are the “big 5” companies in the province based on their size, budget and activity. Initially, they all struggled for recognition and financial stability. Today, they present internationally, hire salaried dancers and administrative staff, and operate with annual budgets that reach into the millions.

Montréal is also host to a growing number of mid-sized companies that are anywhere from five to twenty years old. These include Daniel Léveillé Danse, Benoit Lachambre’s Par B.L.eux, José Navas’ Compagnie Flak, Lynda Gaudreau’s Compagnie De Brune, Zab Maboungou’s Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata, Roger Sinha’s Sinha Danse and Danièle Desnoyers’ Le Carré des Lombes to name a few. More recent additions to the mid-sized company list are Dave St-Pierre and Rubberbandance Group who have qualified for operating funding within the past two years. Most of these artists started out as independent choreographers who eventually incorporated in order to become eligible for operating grants, among other reasons. Operating funding permits hiring administrative personnel on a full-time basis. The dancers that work with these companies are self-employed and work on a contract-to-contract basis.

There are many choreographers working today who are coined as “independent”, which is defined by an absence of operating funding and permanent administrative structure. These artists can have any number of years of experience, and range from established (Deborah Dunn, Lucie Grégoire) to mid-career (George Stamos, Chanti Wadge) to emerging. Every year, many emerging choreographers begin to ply their craft in Montréal as independents. Some take the traditional route of first working as dancers for several years before delving into choreography. Others may be recent graduates of one of the several professional or university dance programs.

… next chapter: 1.2 Presenters

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