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Les 24 Préludes de Chopin

March 31, April 1-2, 2005
Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts


“Moments of pure genius.”– La Presse, Montréal

“Each choreography is a small masterwork of precision, a moment of intelligence
to be savored.”– Danser, Paris

“Marie Chouinard is in full possession
of her art; let us rejoice, for her imagination is as fertile as ever.”– Le Devoir, Montréal

With spring on the way, Danse Danse welcomes a troupe that could hardly be more seasonal: Compagnie Marie Chouinard. In celebration of life, desire and the infinite intelligence of the body, the company will be presenting a program that bubbles with vitality, beginning with Les 24 Préludes de Chopin, twenty-four exquisite jewels linked necklace-like by the music of the great Polish composer interpreted on stage for the delectation of the audience. Brilliant, genial, serious, and never anything less than virtuoso, each ‘prelude’ forms a part of an “exceptionally successful piece, the product of a fully matured choreographic imagination,” said New York’s Village Voice. The second half of the program features Chorale, a work of joyously unfettered imagination, populated by divinities who call out to one another, frolicking and rollicking, howling at the moon and sniffing the street in a universe of close-knit voices and movements. “Chorale (...) is one of Marie Chouinard’s best pieces ever.” — Ballettanz, Germany

With Cristallisation, her first-ever creation in 1978, Marie Chouinard marked herself as an artist driven by an unquenchable thirst for communicative authenticity. A long solo career ensued, which led her—as choreographer and performer—to international prominence. Her numerous tours abroad, her residences in New York, Berlin, Bali and in Nepal, her encounters with other cultures, techniques and philosophies would come together to create an individual language whose scope is universal.

In 1990, she hung up her dancing shoes and founded Compagnie Marie Chouinard. Created in 1991, Les Trous du ciel, the group’s first ensemble piece, was met with acclaim in Canada, the United States and Europe. In it, solo intensity was multiplied by the number of performers. Between 1993 and 2000, the company presented its visceral, shattering interpretation of Le Sacre du Printemps, to the music of Stravinski, Le Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, L’Amande et le Diamant, Les Solos 1978-1998, Les 24 Préludes de Chopin and, finally, Des feux dans la nuit, an hour’s length solo for masculine performer. “(...) an unforgettable exploration of the masculine psyche, from virility to fragility.” — Toronto Star

2000 witnessed the birth of Cri du monde, a choreography for ten dancers, followed in 2001 by Étude no 1, a solo for female dancer with music by Louis Dufort interpreted in real time. In 2003, Marie Chouinard produced her first film, Cantique no 1, which won the prize for best interpretation for Carol Prieur and Benoît Lachambre at Toronto’s Moving Pictures Festival. Finally, in June 2003, the world première of Chorale was danced during RED Reggio Emilia Danza, in Italy.

Here is a choreographer who, in the even dozen works created for her company, has invented formal structures in which a sense of humanity as profound as it is primordial has been able to wrench itself free, reaching out to touch the imagination. In her exploration of the intimate intelligence of the body and the inexhaustible complexity of its articulations, Marie Chouinard has contrived to make us feel the fragility of beings in the cosmos, the burning joy of existence in the constantly renewed quest for truth and beauty.

The catalogue of Marie Chouinard’s work now boasts more than fifty pieces, including ‘action-performances’, installations, works for the voice, and a film. Each of them reflects her singular approach as a choreographer who holds the dance to be a sacred art.

Marie Chouinard’s outstanding contributions to the dance world and to the arts have been recognized repeatedly. In 2003, she received the National Arts Center award as part of the Governer General’s Awards for the arts of the stage, and the Prix Chorégraphie of the Société des auteurs et des compositeurs dramatiques of Paris. A Bessie Prize laureat (2ooo), she had earlier been awarded the Paper Boat Prize in Glasgow for her Sacre du printemps in 1994, the Jean A. Chalmers Prize for choreography in 1987, and the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize in 1986.

April 2004

Web Site: www.mariechouinard.com

Photo: Marie Chouinard