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In co-presentation with



Frédérick Gravel / GAG

Frédérick Gravel

Usually Beauty Fails

7. 8. 9. 10. 14. 15. 16. 17 Nov. 2012
Cinquième Salle

Frédérick Gravel / GAG
“Cheerfully combining Chopin and PJ Harvey with spirited candour, jumping from one style to another and turning the dramatic structure topsy-turvy, the choreographer demonstrates how to construct a good contemporary dance piece, and then moves on to something else. ...In the end, the spectator gets caught up in this crazy choreography.” (Danser, Paris, France, review of Gravel Works)
Frédérick Gravel is back with a new piece that is part performance art and part dance. A declaration of ambiguous love for popular culture and the high culture of dance, it features nine performers/musicians exploding to the music of Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup and the trenchant words of Gravel.

A Gaze at Beauty
Frédérick Gravel hopes to pick up from where he left off with Gravel Works. “I want to create another group project because I feel that I can go further, in terms of the energy and the writing, than in Gravel Works.”

Frédérick Gravel returns to a favourite theme – pop culture or mass culture – which he often views as loud, brassy and devoid of meaning, based as it often is on dreams and fabricated images. At the heart of this new piece lies an intense, uneasy relationship with beauty in the context of the consumer society. We want beauty to be immortal and transcendent but beauty, and by extension dance, are consumer products, utterly disposable.

The new piece will feature a number of talented Montreal performers, starting with Gravel himself, here as both dancer and musician. Co-produced by Danse Danse and Place des Arts, it will have its world première in Montreal before heading off to France in May 2013 to attend the Rencontres Chorégraphiques de Seine-Saint-Denis (also a co-producer). The piece will also benefit from an artistic residency at Place des Arts.

“If you’re feeling out of sorts and need to boost your spirits, then go and watch and listen to Gravel Works.” (DF Danse, Montreal, Canada)

“Will Gravel Works be presented in Belgium some day? Let’s hope so, given that this collage piece by the young choreographer is full of energy, awareness, spontaneity and tremendous musical force.” (La Libre Belgique, Brussels, Belgium)

Frédérick Gravel
Frédérick Gravel has a Bachelor’s degree (2003) as well as a Master’s (2009) in dance from UQAM. The first recipient of the David Kilburn (2007) scholarship, he is a choreographer, dancer, lighting designer, researcher, director and musician. His work freely combines several different disciplines.

Approach to Choreography
The choreography of Frédérick Gravel focuses on creating reasons for movement, rather than aiming for definite forms. The intention of the movement, its rhythm and its impetus, are parameters used to build the phrasing, but what is finally expressed by the dancers remains open, with no final version imposed, leading to dance rhythms where no one is doing exactly the same thing. That becomes the canvas where he gradually paints the shape of each piece.

Over time music has become an integral part of his work, as have monologues offering an ongoing critique complete with descriptions of brilliant strokes and their functions and role in contemporary dance: physical intensity, raw virtuosity, pedestrian movement, nudity, sexuality, blending of artistic genres (rock, performance, text, improv, etc.).

Frédérick Gravel favours an approach where all the participants involved in the construction of a dance make their own contributions, which is why he calls his work crew Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup. It isn’t a dance company, but is instead a way of working in collaboration with artists who come together for a particular project for which he assumes full artistic responsibility. There is a constant emphasis, however, on the gap between the reality of our daily lives and the paradise of advertising, between the dreams maintained by the star system and the banality of the everyday. His shows present a look at the flip side, challenging the passivity of the spectator and aficionados of “dance”.

Artistic Career
Frédérick Gravel created Du Pittoresque en Danse, et dans la mienne en particulier at Studio 303 in 2004. It was followed by Gravel Works, presented initially at Tangente in 2008 and then at Festival TransAmériques (2009), Fuse Box Festival in Austin, Texas (2010), Théâtre La Chapelle in Montreal (2010), Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales Seine Saint-Denis (2011) and Festival Nouvelles de Strasbourg (2011). That piece was the genesis for Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup.

A more recent work, Tout se pète la gueule, chérie, was presented at Festival TransAmériques in May 2010, and remounted that autumn at Théâtre La Chapelle in Montreal. It continues to tour.

Frédérick Gravel is a co-founder of the production house La 2e Porte à Gauche, a collective for which he directed two dance projects performed in a private apartment (7 1/2 à part (2008) and 9 1/2 à part  (2009)), in addition to other site-specific works. He was one of the four choreographers featured in 4 quART (2011), presented in association with Danse-Cité. More recently he was one of the choreographers involved in Danse à 10, co-presented by Agora de la danse in the fall of 2011.

Frédérick Gravel works as a director, choreographer and lighting designer with artists from diverse disciplines and with various companies such as Compagnie De Brune (Clash by Lynda Gaudreau in 2007-2008), Montréal Danse (Research Event (2009)), Pierre Lapointe (videos and the show Mutantès), Théâtre de la Pire Espèce (Gestes Impies et Rites Sacrés, FTA (2009)) and Théâtre de la banquette arrière (Les Mutants (2011)), as well as the writer Étienne Lepage, with whom he recently presented Ainsi parlait... a creative workshop featuring voice and movement (OFFTA 2011).

Frédérick Gravel is also a dancer (in Dave St-Pierre’s La pornographie des âmes), and guitarist and lighting designer (Les sœurs Schmutt; Maribé Sors de ce Corps; Nicolas Cantin; Catherine Gaudet). He often shares the stage with musician friends in both underground spaces and learned conferences.

He is also involved in research and teaching, and works on motion capture systems with Martine Époque at LARTech (UQAM).
Lenght: 1 h 45

Usually Beauty Fails
Artistic and production team. General Concept & Direction Frédérick Gravel. Dancers Francis Ducharme, Frédérick Gravel, Kim de Jong, Brianna Lombardo, Frédéric Tavernini, Jamie Wright. Musical Composition Stéphane Boucher, Philippe Brault. Musicians on stage Stéphane Boucher, Philippe Brault, Frédérick Gravel. Director of the rehearsals Anne Lebeau, Ivana Milicevic. Lighting Environment Alexandre Pilon-Guay. Technical Direction David-Alexandre Chabot. Sound Louis Carpentier. Production Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup. Executive producer Marie-Andrée Gougeon for Daniel Léveillé danse. Co-production Danse Danse and Place des Arts, Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (France), Moving in November (Helsinki). Residencies Université du Québec à Montréal Dance Department, Société de la Place des Arts, Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique, Centre Segal for Performing Arts. With the support of Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.



   Up close with Frédérick Gravel
Thursday, November 15 – 5:30 p.m. at ARTVstudio – Moderator: Geneviève Guérard (in French only)
   meet the artists
Fridays, November 9. 16 – in the hall right after the performance 


2012-2013 SEASON

BJM - Les Ballets Jazz de MontréalHofesh Shechter CompanyFrédérick Gravel / Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroupJosé Navas / Compagnie FlakAszure Barton & ArtistsTAO Danse TheaterLa Otra OrillaCarte BlancheT.r.a.s.h.Fondation de danse Margie GillisMaría Pagés CompañíaSinha Danse / Constantinople