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Three company dancers promoted

Congratulations to Béatrice Larrivée, Dana Pajarillaga, and Jerimy Rivera, all of whom have now become permanent dancers at RBDG! This brings the total number of permanent dancers at the company to eight.

Credit: Isabel Rancier

Victor Quijada, winner of the Prize for Cultural Diversity in Dance

Montreal, November 30, 2017 — This morning, the winners of the 2017 PRIX DE LA DANSE DE MONTRÉAL (PDM) were announced. Victor Quijada was awarded the prize for Cultural Diversity in Dance, bestowed by the head of the Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM), Nathalie Maillé. This prize, of a monetary value of $10,000., was awarded by an independent jury in recognition of Victor Quijada’s exceptional contribution to the development of the discipline and for his role as a precursor in bringing street dance into theatrical venues, legitimizing a dance genre that had long been marginalized. The jury of this prize attributed by the CAM was made up of Karla Étienne, assistant director, performer, and teacher at Zab Maboungou/ Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata; Alexandra Landé, choreographer and artistic director of Productions Unkut; and Michael Toppings, artistic and general director of MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels).

Victor Quijada is the artistic director of a multiform, multilingual company in which hybridity in choreography, plurality in practices and culture, and diversity in genres have been in the organization’s DNA for 15 years now. Through RUBBERBANDance Group, the choreographer makes the most of the rich cultural backgrounds of the dancers, artistic collaborators and conceptors who issue from widely diverse milieus. Created in a spirit of equity, RUBBERBANDance Group is currently made up of young dancers of Latin-American, Asian, Afro- American, and First-Nations origins who hail from different regions of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Some of the company’s members, who speak French, English, and Spanish, were classically trained, while others debuted in dance as self-taught b-boys or b-girls. The company’s works have travelled from coast to coast in both Canada and the U.S.A., as well as to Mexico, Europe, and Asia, augmenting the resonance and impact of the Montreal dance scene around the world. Respect for difference and a care for representing diversity are fundamental values of RUBBERBANDance Group, whose members embody and transmit these values on a daily basis.

The other PRIX DE LA DANSE winners
Daniel Léveillé was awarded the GRAND PRIX de la danse this year, and choreographer/dancer Manuel Roque was a double prize recipient. Dancers Esther Gaudette and Paige Culley, philanthropist Constance V. Pathy, and cultural manager Lorraine Hébert were the other PRIX DE LA DANSE winners.

The Making of Empirical Quotient, Part 2

by Evelyn Reid,

”Who are we, if not measured by our impact on others? That’s who we are! We’re not who we say we are, we’re not who we want to be — we are the sum of the influence and impact that we have, in our lives, on others.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

I finally had a chance to watch a full run-through of Empirical Quotient during Week 11 of rehearsals, just days before RUBBERBANDance Group premieres the show worldwide November 20, 2013, in Montreal at Place des Arts.

Amazing what two months of practice between six carefully curated dancers can do to change perceptions. When I first saw the troupe rehearse bits and pieces of Victor Quijada’s latest choreography in Week 2 of creation, I found myself looking for Empirical Quotient‘s story. By Week 11, I let go of trying to assign a logical, linear explanation to my observations because I realized a key, crucial detail. There is none.

In Week 2, I thought a love story, however impressionistic, was in the making. But when I saw the full rehearsal in Week 11, I shifted gears. Within the first ten minutes and then again halfway through, I was convinced Empirical Quotient was a deconstructed opera featuring a godhead toying with her minions. That might have something to do with collaborator Jasper “Lil’ Jaz” Gahunia’s eerie score, my favorite one from him yet, in part due to the DJ/composer’s incorporation of voice, a first for Gahunia in the context of his longstanding collaboration with the troupe.

Then I waxed poetic over the various pas de deux and trois and quatre, possibly representing an exploration of North America’s relationship zeitgeist-du-jour, the polyamorous lifestyle. That first-degree analysis lasted all of another ten minutes, replaced by a more elementary interpretation, that of  ”amoebas flirting in a pile of primordial goo,” according to my notes.

A gentleman present for the rehearsal, Seattle-based dancer Matt Drews, shared with me that what he saw was a woman freeing herself of an abusive relationship. I saw it too, once he spelled it out. A few thoughts and two pages of my chicken-scratchings later, I saw something else, an anthropomorphic ”reenactment of the Big Bang followed by the Big Crunch.” After running all of this by Victor, who seemed delighted by my confusion, I shifted gears yet again, struggling to figure out who was the electron and who was the proton in what just had to be a post-contemporary ballet breakdance theatrical interpretation of the everyday atom. Science! Dance! Why not? It’s in the title…

So to spare you yet another stream of consciousness, I’m just gonna come out and say it.

I don’t know what Empirical Quotient is about. Or maybe I do? Armed with a Cheshire cat smile, Victor wouldn’t say if I was close to or completely off the mark. Besides, according to him, there is no story per se. But there are themes. Identity. Nostalgia. Regret.

And emotion. The experience of watching Victor’s handpicked team interpret his unique dance language is a visceral one, with images still haunting me of Empirical Quotient‘s Katherine Cowie pounding her heart as she writhes on the ground, reaching out to Lea Ved, who watches her spasms with concern and yet brutal detachment, moving on to make way for a moment with Lavinia Vago. And seeing the trio of Empirical Quotient‘s leading men – Franklin Luy, James Gregg, Zachary Tang – grapple with each other so explosively, it’s never entirely clear if they’re collaborating or fighting. Are they friends? Or foes?

The one thing that is clear to me is that every action in Empirical Quotient leads to a reaction. A fall leads to a catch. A swipe leads to a block. Even a simple finger point creates an invisible ripple of movement in space that impacts whomever happens to be in its path.

In Empirical Quotient, everyone is affected by everyone. And from my humble observations, there’s no way around it.


The Making of Empirical Quotient, Part 1

by Evelyn Reid, About Montreal


When RUBBERBANDance Group approached me to write about the making of their latest project, Empirical Quotient, I was ecstatic, having felt drawn to the troupe ever since I laid eyes on Hasta la Prόxima, a RUBBERBANDance creation from 2002, back when the company was in its infancy.

I was also mildly terrified. Writing about dance, especially for one who hasn’t seen the inside of a dance studio in years, is one of the hardest things for me to do as a writer. As a wordsmith. How do you put instinct and the movement that arises from it into words? I can barely describe my own creative process when I’m sitting in front of a blank computer screen, poised to make order out of the chaos floating in my jumbled mind, shaping untamed thoughts like a disheveled tree into a tempered bonsai.

Dance creation, and even creation in general, is not a linear, point-A-to-point-B process, much like the uncharted movements characterizing the corporeal language RUBBERBANDANCE founder Victor Quijada has been refining over the last decade. Creation comes in spurts. Bursts. Unexpected ones. Two steps forward. Three steps back. Push. Pull. Stop. Start.

For the purposes of Empirical Quotient, six accomplished performers were handpicked by Quijada: Juilliard graduate Zachary Tang, one of Dance Magazine‘s 25 Dancers to Watch in 2012; YC performance art company creative director Lavinia Vago, her gentle smile and lithe movements melding into Tang’s explosive, sensual grace as if they’d been practising their pas de deux for months, not weeks; Lea Ved, also a Juilliard alum, who during a practice session blew me away with her focussed, in-your-face fluidity; Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal dancer James Gregg, whose playful, boyish virility belies a stage presence only a veteran could have honed; capoeira practitioner and hand-balancing artist Franklin Luy, who grappled with Tang and James coherently, effortlessly; and competitive gymnast turned Juilliard grad turned Hofesh Shechter Company member Katherine Cowie, yet another stage vet and former Ballets Jazz de Montréal dancer, whose pairing with Ved revealed segues and heartfelt sequences seemingly tailor-made for her slender limbs as she dominated the pairing with a few jagged edges here and there, normal if endearing imperfections considering the duo was only into Week 2 of creation.

The story and theme of Empirical Quotient? With its world premiere scheduled for this November 20 at Montreal’s Place des Arts, either/or/both will be revealed in due time. But if RUBBERBANDANCE Group’s previous works are any indication of what’s to come, expect power struggles. Separation. Reunion. Cooperation. Anticipating the needs of the many attempting to reconcile the needs of the few. Or vice versa.

New creation – Empirical Quotient

After a short excursion to PS21 (Chatham, N.Y.) for a performance of Gravity of Center, Victor Quijada and the RBDG team are back in the studio developing a new work, Empirical Quotient. Watch for a chance to be in on the creation process this fall!

Maisonneuve Danse

We’re very happy to announce our participation in Maisonneuve Danse on September 21, 8 p.m., at Théâtre Maisonneuve. A single performance for the 50th anniversary of Place des Arts will be part of a program that features four other renowned Montreal dance companies (O Vertigo, BJM Danse, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, and Les Grands Ballets). Our contribution will be the exclusive presentation of a short excerpt from our new creation, Empirical Quotient.


Tickets are already on sale here.

Additions to the “achievement of our collaborators” series

  • Promo trailer, Les mêmes yeux que toi

            A preview of Anne Plamondon’s work, Les mêmes yeux que toi, is now online on Vimeo, here. Keep tabs on us, as upcoming tour dates will soon be finalized.

  • Christophe Collette

We’re pleased to announce that Christophe Collette (a collaborator on the film Gravity of Center) has been chosen director of photography for Luc Besson’s new film, Brick Mansions, to be released in 2014.

Return to the studio

Since May 6, we’ve been back in the studio working on our new creation, quotient empirique, scheduled for the next Danse Danse season. Thanks to a partnership between the Segal Centre for Performing Arts and Danse Danse, we’ll be able to take advantage of a one-week residency at the Segal Centre from May 13 to 18.

Our performance at the Segal Centre on May 18 will present excerpts from quotient empirique, still in the creation stage. We hope you are among those who managed to get tickets earlier, as the show quickly sold out.

First summer days given to trainning

From June 3 to 7, 2013, Anne Plamondon will participate in TransFormation, the annual intensive contemporary dance workshop in Montreal, where she will teach the fundamentals of the RUBBERBAND Method.

In addition, Springboard 2013 has again invited Victor Quijada, assisted by Anne Plamondon, from June 10 to 28 to teach the RUBBERBAND Method, which he created.

Finally, Victor Quijada and the entire company have been asked to return to teach at Domaine Forget from June 30 to July 13, 2013. There may still be time for late-comers to register. Please communicate directly with Domaine Forget at 418 452-8111.

We will also be performing Gravity of Center at Domaine Forget on July 3. If you’re in the area, come and join us. You can reserve seats through the Domaine Forget ticket office by telephone, at 418 452-3535.