Catalyst for creation. Agora de la danse was the first permanent venue in Quebec devoted specifically to contemporary dance, and has been at the forefront of new dance creation and presentation for more than 25 years. In addition to offering a public performance venue for dance, Agora also co-produces avant-garde dance projects and provides long-term support for choreographers. It has been a mobilizing force for artists such as Hélène Blackburn, Danièle Desnoyers, Paul-André Fortier, Lucie Grégoire, José Navas, Crystal Pite, Isabelle Van Grimde, George Stamos and Virginie Brunelle.
Agora de la danse opened its doors in Montreal in 1991 on Cherrier Street in the same building as the UQAM dance department, at the instigation of a founding body composed of Dena Davida, Martine Époque, Florence Junca-Adenot and Gaétan Patenaude. The Quebec dance milieu was burgeoning at the time and needed a space to create and present dance works to the public. A dance creation fund was soon established in order to provide artists with residencies and co-productions. A program of public activities demystifying and promoting dance was also launched, expanding over time. To develop networks across Quebec for the presentation of dance performances, the Agora implemented international exchange projects with the Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in France (1995), with Vooruit in Belgium (2003) and also in Catalonia (2008) in order to present shows from other countries in the Agora venue and have Quebec works featured abroad.
1- 1991 Opening
2- 1995-1996 First in a long series of international exchanges.
3- More than $700,000 invested so far in co-productions.
4- Destinations danse Catalogne.
A new space for exploration. In 2017 Agora de la danse will embark on a new chapter of its existence as it settles into its new home in the Wilder Building in the heart of Montreal’s entertainment district. Its new studios will allow it to better serve the development of new dance works, while continuing to offer a season of national and international performances in a variable configuration theatre that it shares with Tangente. This urban context, combined with evolving artistic practices, will open up a new range of activities both indoors and outdoors such as free live performances, unconventional encounters with the public and architectural video projections.
Bodies and/or Technologies
Should bodies and technologies engage in dialogue, or on the contrary should we embrace the offerings of the digital age? These days it sometimes seems that the salvation of dance depends on the answer to that question. The autumn 2018 season at Agora will feature intriguing dance that provides food for thought on both fronts with some works solidly anchored in the body — Catherine Gaudet, Mal Pelo, Lucie Grégoire—while others turn that question into art by combing dance and technology — in pieces by Line Nault, Karine Ledoyen, Van Grimde Corps Secrets and Caroline Laurin-Beaucage/Montréal Danse.
The latter two favour a twofold approach, with the stage performance accompanied by an architectural video projected onto façades of the Entertainement District. Regardless of their allegiance – with or without techno — the works presented this autumn are characterized by the issue of the freedom of the body and thus, by extension, of humankind. And what better way to appropriate that freedom than by actively participating in the dance? Two projects will launch the season by placing the “spect-actor” at the heart of the artistic experience.
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Placing Agora de la danse in the very heart of the entertainment district (with all its vitality) and being close to the major dance artists and companies there gives pride of place to this necessary and audacious art.Florence Junca-Adenot, Chair of the board of directors and a founding member of Agora de la danse.