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Choreographer | Danièle Desnoyers

“The free, fluid, whimsical gestures constantly test the limits of balance. [...] Desnoyers is truly a past master of the art of bathing her works in an aura of mystery. This ineffable quality is most welcome.” (La Presse, Canada)

Fascinated by the worlds that arise from the friction between bodies and sound, Danièle Desnoyers defies fashions in her drive to produce finely honed works that are sensual and sensory, rich and allusive. For her second contribution to Danse Danse - she presented Concerto grosso pour corps et surface métallique in March 2000 - Danièle Desnoyers is back with a new work for five dancers and one musician. Created in collaboration with talented composer and sound installation designer Jean-François Laporte, the work takes as its focal point a piano that has been deliberately stripped of its original purpose. The rapport created between the disused instrument and the dancers gives rise to a series of solos, duos and ensemble movements that are like the different facets of a crystal.

Danièle Desnoyers
With works such as Rouges-Gorges (1989) and Mirador-Mi-Clos (1990), Québec’s Danièle Desnoyers has made her mark from the beginning of her choreographic career as an artist whose innovative work enriches the broad spectrum of contemporary dance. The pieces Desnoyers has created for Carré des Lombes, the company she formed in 1989, include Du souffle de sa tourmente, j’ai vu (1994), acclaimed throughout Canada, the United States and Europe, and Discordantia (1997), featuring music by composer Sofia Gubaïdulina and presented at the Festival international de nouvelle danse and Japan’s Shizuoka Performing Arts Center.

Desnoyers choreographs one-of-a-kind shows, often conceived around theatrical devices and sound environments that influence body language. They include Concerto grosso pour corps et surface métallique (1999), awarded the Prix d’auteur du Conseil général de la Seine-Saint-Denis at the Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales in 2000 and presented at the Zagreb Music Biennale in Croatia; Bataille (2002), an “always brilliant synthesis of bodies and music” (Le Devoir, Montréal); and Duos pour corps et instruments (2003), a work premiered at the Festival international de nouvelle danse and performed again at theatres and festivals in Canada and Europe during the 2004-2005 season, including Agora de la danse last November.

“[Bataille] is imbued with a fluid energy, like the flux of life. The superbly orchestrated and shrewdly placed music is in large part responsible. The discordant line played by Goldstein, whose stage presence is spellbinding, alternates with or superimposes over startling samples of electronically modified baroque music.” (Le Devoir, Canada)

In addition to working closely with composers and sound artists, Danièle Desnoyers teamed up with architect Pierre Thibault in 2001. The duo explored a dance space in motion during the Espace Dynamique project for the Fondation Jean-Pierre-Perreault. In the resulting installation, the spectator shifts into an environment in constant metamorphosis where several choreographic actions take place at once.

Between 2000 and 2003, Danièle Desnoyers was a guest professor in the dance department of Université du Québec à Montréal, where she created two works for large ensembles: Vingt jours, 20 nuits (2000) and Les 10 cahiers (2002). Works from the Carré des Lombes repertory are also performed regularly in Québec dance schools.

Jean-François Laporte
Jean-François Laporte approaches music through concrete experimentation with raw sounds, whether arising from the day-to-day, from traditional instruments or invented ones. The variety of his sonic sources leads him to use multiple musical languages: instrumental, experimental and electroacoustic. In his career as a musician and composer, Jean-François Laporte has created close to fifty works for conventional and invented instruments that have been played in Montréal and across Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States. The Nouvel Ensemble moderne, the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, the Quasar saxophone quartet and the Trio Fibonacci are among the ensembles that have performed his compositions.

At the awards ceremony for the Conseil québécois de la musique’s Opus Prize in late 2002, Laporte won best new artist of the year, composer of the year and new work of the year for Tribal, a piece written for an orchestra of invented instruments.

Founder of the Totem Contemporain group, this young composer has lent his skills to dance performances since 2001; before the Carré des Lombes project, he collaborated with Japanese choreographer Heidi S. Durning and the American Susan Buirge.

April 2005

Photos | Luc Senécal