Artists in Residence

Time and space to create. A veritable incubator for the creation of new contemporary dance works, Agora de la danse welcomes a number of artists throughout the year to its Montreal studios for residencies of one, two or more weeks, an opportunity for them to explore new dance ideas, workshop choreography with collaborators and polish technical aspects of their pieces. This support is the cornerstone of an ever fertile and innovative dance milieu.

Associate Artists

Long-term, supportive partnership. Artists make themselves at home at the Agora in a long-term residency (2 or 3 years), receiving support throughout the process of creating a new work. In return they contribute to the dance milieu and to audience outreach activities (mentoring, workshops, open rehearsals, etc.).

La 2e Porte à Gauche

For the past decade, La 2e Porte has been a platform for dance that is open to the community. The company specializes in artistic research and development, and its adventurous projects question forms of representation in favour of collaboration with other artists, so as to rethink how the spectator relates to dance. Managed by Marie Béland, Frédérick Gravel, Katya Montaignac and Aude Watier, La 2e Porte à Gauche brings together several creative artists to explore new production models and new spaces for performance and presentation.

© Julie Artacho – La 2e Porte à Gauche

Daina Ashbee

A Montreal-based artist, dancer and choreographer, Daina Ashbee received the 2016 CALQ Award (best dance piece of the year) for When the ice melts, will we drink the water?, as well as the Prix de la Danse de Montréal award in the Discovery category for Unrelated. Her work is often influenced by her Cree, Métis and Dutch heritage and her experiences as a young woman, and makes use of both contemporary and traditional means of expression. Most notably, her work has been presented by the Global Alliance against Female Genital Mutilation (Switzerland 2015), and also at the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève (MEG),  La Chapelle: Scènes Contemporaines (Montreal 2015, 2016) and the OFFTA (2016).

In autumn 2016 her piece Unrelated was presented in Bergen, Norway and London, England. Daina Ashbee has been awarded mentorships and residencies at Circuit-Est Centre Chorégraphique, the MAI (Montreal, Arts Interculturels) centre and Studio 303 in Montreal

© Patrice Mathieu – Choreographer, Daina Ashbee

Isabelle Van Grimde

A choreographer, founder and artistic director of the Montreal dance company Van Grimde Corps Secrets, Isabelle Van Grimde has had an international career marked by interdisciplinary collaborations that expand the horizons of contemporary dance while multiplying possible perceptions of the body and the piece being staged. Her work is characterized by the quality of the dialogue she encourages between dance and music and, since 2008, by the harmonious integration of new technologies. Open to the world, she conducts theoretical and basic research on the body, research that nourishes and supports her artistic approach. She has been moving away from theatre venues in favour of presenting dance in galleries, public spaces or on the Web. In 2011 the Canada Council for the Arts awarded her the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize for her contribution to enriching artistic life in Canada and abroad.

© Michael Slobodian – Choreographer, Isabelle Van Grimde

Mélanie Demers

After a 10-year career as a dancer for O Vertigo, Mélanie Demers founded her own company, MAYDAY, where she explores the strong connection between poetics and politics. A socially engaged artist, she has taught dance in Kenya, Niger, Brazil and Haiti. The political and social conditions of developing countries have led her to create art whose force lies in its capacity to encourage action and reflection. It was in that perspective that she created Les Angles Morts (2006), Sauver sa peau (2008), Junkyard/Paradis (2010), Goodbye (2012), MAYDAY remix (2014) and WOULD (2015). During the course of the coming year, Mélanie Demers will be working abroad as a guest choreographer at the Skånes Dansteater in Malmö and at the OperaEstate Festival in Bassano. She has a repertoire of some twenty original works that have been presented in over thirty cities in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.

© Michael Slobodian – Choreographer, Isabelle Van Grimde

Performer in Residence

Dancers are also creators of movement. That is why Agora offers this unique 2-year residency to performers and not to choreographers. During the residency the dancer pursues his or her own research and/or creative projects. Following Sophie Corriveau, the first dancer in residence at Agora from 2014-16, we now welcome Marie-Claire Forté (2017-19).

Marie Claire Forté

Marie Claire Forté likes to think that we can always broaden our perceptions, include more, understand more and find more pleasure… Chorégraphe et danseuse, elle mène ses propres projets et travaille notamment avec Sophie Bélair Clément, Alanna Kraaijeveld, PME-ART, Louise Bédard, Aurélie Pédron, Justine A. Chambers, Martin Bélanger et Projet bk. She danced for four seasons with many choreographers at the now defunct Le Groupe Dance Lab in Ottawa, where she trained daily with Peter Boneham. He remains her great friend and mentor, and they are currently working on a book about his teaching practice. Parallèlement et conjointement à sa pratique artistique, Marie Claire traduit, écrit et enseigne la danse.

In 2016, she and her friend Sophie Bélair Clément created the exhibition project – I’d rather something ambiguous. Mais précis à la fois. with the support of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Program in Support of Artistic Production. From 2017 to 2019, Marie Claire will be dancer in residence at the Agora de la danse.

Her plural path has been supported and inspired directly and indirectly by people and institutions, namely by k.g. Guttman, Lynda Gaudreau, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Michèle Thériault, L’Agora de la danse, Catherine Lalonde, Ame Henderson, Public Recordings, Katya Montaignac, Et Marianne et Simon, Catherine Lavoie-Marcus, Toronto Dance Theatre, Christopher House, Noémie Solomon, Jody Hegel, Adam Kinner, Tangente, Circuit-Est, Studio 303, the Casino Luxembourg, Artexte, WP Zimmer (Antwerp), Concordia University and the Regroupement québécois de la danse.

© Paul Litherland – Marie Claire Forté and Alanna Kraaijeveld in Collection de danses de...

Technical and Creative Residencies

José Navas
Cas Public
Rhodnie Désir
Simon Ampleman
Anne Plamondon
Catherine Gaudet
Sylvie Cotton
Out Innerspace Dance Theatre
Guy Cools and Lin Snelling
La 2e Porte à Gauche
Daina Ashbee
Priscilla Guy and Sébastien Provencher

Creative artists – choreographers, dancers, stage professionals – are at the very heart of the Agora de la danse mandate, and it was time to set aside a creative space for the dancers. I’m surprised that we didn’t think of it long ago.Francine Bernier