Choreographer and dancer Victor Quijada founded RUBBERBANDance Group (RBDG) as a vehicle to manifest his unique choreographic identity through the creation of powerful and innovative dance works. The mandate of the company, also led by dancer and artistic co-director Anne Plamondon, consists of creating, producing, and disseminating these works nationally and internationally in performances, films, and special events.
With RBDG, Victor Quijada reconciles his opposing dance worlds and their aesthetics: the spontaneity, fearlessness and risk-taking of his younger years in hip-hop culture and the refinement and choreographic maturity of the ballet and contemporary works he immersed himself in as a professional dancer. Victor’s position as a pioneer of this ground-breaking movement form is demonstrated by a decade of research and more than a dozen creations. Beating with the fresh pulse of street attitude and an acute understanding of theatrical staging, his choreographies explore human relationships by harnessing the ardour of obsession, the shock of violence, and the delicate nature of tenderness, comedy, and tragedy with a great deal of honesty and courage.
Carrying within him the sensibility of a street dancer, Victor Quijada has consistently sought to bring the immediacy of hip-hop circles into the compositional display frame, shattering conventional presentation formats. He has tested alternative venues, carried out impromptu performances, and broken the performer/audience barrier in countless ways, in hopes that the public will experience dance as a participatory event rather than as passive spectators.
In addition to the stage and film creations, Victor Quijada and Anne Plamondon have developed a training technique to prepare qualified professional dancers for the demands of Victor’s choreography. This program introduces dancers to a movement hybrid influenced by urban and contemporary dance vocabularies, while emphasizing interpretation, decision-making, the use of rhythmic variations, and partnering. Workshops, lecture-demonstrations, post-show Q&As, and school performances are also regularly offered as part of company touring activities.
RBDG has also invested in nurturing young choreographers seeking to develop their own voices. The Post Hip Hop Project, begun in 2009 at the Cinquième Salle of Place des Arts, invites young artists to workshop their creations under the mentorship of Victor Quijada and to test them in front of an audience.
Founded in 2002, the Montreal-based company immediately surprised and delighted audiences and critics with three creations presented at Espace Tangente over two seasons, while presenting several smaller works in mixed programs and self-produced evenings around the city. Tender Loving Care and Hasta La Próxima were both chosen in Le Devoir’s “Top 5 in Dance for 2002”, while Elastic Perspective began a 100-performance run in 2003 after winning the RIDEAU Prize at the Vue sur la relève festival. During the 2003-2004 season, RUBBERBANDance Group was granted a residency at Usine C for the creation of Slicing Static, named best dance production of 2004 by the Montreal cultural weekly Hour.
In 2005, Anne Plamondon joined as artistic co-director, assisting Victor Quijada with the company’s strategic planning. Another residency at Usine C in 2006 was followed by a four-year stint as artists-in-residence at the Cinquième Salle of Place des Arts. During that period, four new works were created: Loan Sharking and AV Input/Output in 2008, Punto Ciego in 2009, and Gravity of Center in 2011; these works benefitted from the support of numerous partnerships.
RBDG has co-produced five films choreographed by Victor Quijada, two of which he also directed (Secret Service and Small Explosions That Are Yours to Keep). Hasta La Próxima, made in 2003, was a finalist in the short film category at the American Choreography Awards.
Now functioning as a full-time project-based company, RBDG has represented Canadian artistic innovation across the United States, and in Europe, Mexico, and Japan. The company is at the forefront of Montreal’s contemporary dance community and is recognized internationally for its innovative and unique vision of contemporary dance theatre.
Concerning peer recognition, Victor Quijada is the recipient of the Choreography Fellowship Award of the Princess Grace Foundation (US), the Peter Darrell Choreography Award (England), the Bonnie Bird North American Award (England), the Choreography Media Honors (US) as well as a second award from the PGF with the 2016 Work in Progress Residency Award.
© Photo by Samuel Rigaux