| back |


In 2002, Danse Danse welcomed Hélène Blackburn and  her company Cas Public for their performance of Courage  mon amour. Now they are back with the world premiere of Suites  cruelles, an ambitious new work for 9 dancers and 2 pianists. Using body movements that combine the discipline of  ballet with the surrender of contemporary dance, Hélène Blackburn  draws us into a murky realm where pleasure and pain become one. Suites cruelles will  be danced among others to the music of Ana Sokolovic, composer for Courage mon amour and recipient of the 2006 Prix Opus for composer  of the year A show as far-reaching as the choreographer’s talent.

Suites cruelles marks the return of Hélène Blackburn  to choreography for adults after three years devoted to producing  and performing Barbe Bleue, a work for children, and Journal intime/Diary, aimed  at young people. The enthusiastic response to the well-crafted shows  led to performances across Quebec, France, the U.K., Italy and Spain  over the last three years.

When Barbe Bleue was presented at the Bastille Opera  House in Paris, Le Nouvel Observateur wrote:  “Rarely has a dialogue between words and bodies been so fruitful.  As staged by Hélène Blackburn, Perrault’s fairy tale takes  on a new resonance. […] The six dancers switch from one language  to another with disconcerting ease. Every nook and cranny of the  text is explored, repeated and reinterpreted until it reveals all  its secrets.” Le Figaroscope added: “The episodes are conveyed  through lavish ballets, slide shows and soundscapes with dancers.  […] A marvellous, rewarding piece.”

Journal intime/Diary, a work about love aimed at  young people, premiered at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in  winter 2006. The teens loved it and critics agreed; the show was  an instant hit. “Nine dancers launch into a series of spirited duets  and bittersweet tangos, almost violent in their fervour and intensity.  […] Sometimes words, songs and video images of kisses compete joyfully  with the movement. […] Journal intime is a wonderful  bridge between Hélène Blackburn’s work for young audiences  and her work for adults” (Le Devoir).
The excellent Journal intime/Diary was  yet another testament to the choreographer’s talent and creativity,  leading Danse Danse to commission a work for adults from Hélène Blackburn  for its 2007-2008 season. Danse Danse commissions help support  and nurture choreographers from Quebec and Canada. The company will  also benefit from creative residencies with several Quebec dance presenters  as part of the commission project.

Cas Public
In 1989, Hélène Blackburn founded a company that she christened  Cas Public, a reflection of her firm beliefs about collective work  and the artist’s role in society. Since then, Cas Public has built an international reputation with works that include Incarnation (1998), Suites furieuses (1995) and Bestiaire (1994).  Always firmly rooted in the cultural reality of Quebec, Cas Public  is active in introducing the public to today’s dance. With this  in mind, Cas Public branched out into shows for young audiences  in 2001 with Nous n’irons plus au bois, a show that has  been performed over 300 times. Next came Barbe Bleue (2004),  still on tour in Canada and Europe in 2007, then Journal intime/Diary, a  work for teens coproduced with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Cas Public, a company renowned for its performance dance, owes its  reputation to its exceptionally well-crafted works and a constant  presence on the national and international dance scenes.

Hélène Blackburn
Winner of the Canada Council’s Jacqueline Lemieux Prize (1990)  and the Bonnie Bird North American Choreography Award (1999) from  London’s prestigious Laban Centre, Hélène Blackburn began her choreographic  career in 1983. Since then, she has created almost twenty works  and made a name for herself on the Canadian and European contemporary  dance scenes. Her physically demanding choreographies always have  a major theatrical component.

Alongside choreographing for Cas Public, Hélène Blackburn  is often invited to create works for other companies and dancers.  Among the pieces she has choreographed in the last two years are Dance,  Love, Sex and Other Little Details for Bare Bones, the  resident company at the Birmingham-based DanceXchange, and Chase  the Glowing Hours with Flying Feet for the Welsh national dance  company Diversions, a work that was a hit at the British Dance Edition.

As an instructor Hélène Blackburn  is in high demand, working as a teacher and choreographer at some  of the best professional dance training centres in Canada and  Europe, including Les Ateliers de danse moderne de Montréal (LADMMI),  Concordia University, UQÀM, the École supérieure de danse du Québec,  London’s Laban Centre and the Accademia di Danza in Venice.

Duration: to be determinated


Suites cruelles ou le diable est dans les détails
(World premiere presented by Danse Danse)
Choreography: Hélène Blackburn, with the precious collaboration of the dancers
Rehearsal Director: Sophie Michaud
Dancers: Sarah Desrosiers, Roxane Duchesne-Roy, Sébastien Forgues, Claudine Hébert, Kyra Jean Green, Pierre Lecours, Susan Paulson, Bennyroyce Royon, Georges-Nicolas Tremblay - Gabrielle Cousineau (maternity leave)
Apprentices: Simon Ampleman, Roxanne Bouvrette
Pianists: Laurier Rajotte, Matthieu Fortin
Drums: Roxane Duchesne-Roy
Music for piano: Ana Sokolovic, Fugue pour gg, Danse 6, Toccata, Interlude fantomatique, Interlude bouche, Danse 4, Danse 3, Une journée d'automne, Étude, Malinconico
Musical direction of pianists for works by Ana Sokolovic: Véronique Lacroix
Music for drums: Mario Roy
Piano Improvisation: Laurier Rajotte, Floorburns
Songs: Der Tod und das Mädchen by Franz Schubert arranged by Laurier Rajotte, These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ written by Lee Hazlewood and sang by Nancy Sinatra. Suites Cruelles texts, chosen by Hélène Blackburn and the dancers are extracted from Frederic Nietzsche, Chantal Thomas, David Le Breton, Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.
Slam: Louis-Dominique Lavigne
Light Design: Andréanne Deschênes
Sound Design: Samuel Thériault
Costumes: Annie Gélinas
Costums cutting: Marie-Andrée de Courval
Costums confection: Annie Gélinas et Marie-Andrée de Courval
Video: L E M M (Martin Lemieux)
Coiffure: Martin Morissette (Salon Lutèce)
Shoes: Luigi Luzio (Angelo Luzio)

Photo 1 Leda & St.Jacques | Dancers Suzan Paulson and Pierre Lecours, photo 2 Rolline Laporte