MAYDAY La Goddam Voie Lactée (The Goddamn Milky Way)
February 4, 5 and 6, 2022
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Presented by The Dance Centre and PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
I first met Mélanie Demers at the B-Motion Festival in Italy when she was in a residency some twenty years ago. Our paths have crossed several times since then: in Italy, Montreal, Vancouver. It has given me great joy to see her artistic trajectory and how her vision has evolved over time, and to witness the success of her company MAYDAY. It’s a pleasure to be able to invite Mélanie back to Vancouver and to present this important work at a time that resonates and calls for change. Our ongoing partnership with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival offers a fruitful context where The Dance Centre can continue to expand on its presentation of the ever-evolving forms and voices of dance of today. With presentations such as this, we continue to join forces to bring meaningful work to our stage and to Vancouver.
The Dance Centre
The Dance Centre and the PuSh Festival have a rich history of co-presenting that we are thrilled to continue with these presentations of MAYDAY’s La Goddam Voie Lactée. As a multidisciplinary risk-taker, choreographer Mélanie Demers exemplifies the spirit of PuSh. I still remember the first piece of Demers’ I saw in 2008 – Sauver sa peau. I was a dance student in Montreal at the time and it left its imprint on me as her work continues to do – not only on individuals, but on an entire milieu. The Dance Centre has a wonderful legacy of developing audiences for dance in all its forms, and PuSh is delighted to have joined forces once again to create this opportunity for audiences to experience the work of such an influential artist.
Director of Programming, Collaborative Leadership Team
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
La Goddam Voie Lactée’s reaction to the harshness and asperity of the world is to offer up a pagan mass. A celebration in the form of a challenge. Drawing inspiration from the constant mourning that marks our current age, Mélanie Demers dives into a reflection on the theme of incompleteness. Each one is camped out at their own lookout post; sometimes they jump into the arena and grab hold of gestures, words, music, to drape around themselves like a costume. They sketch out their universe, drawing and erasing it. An aesthetic little Big Bang, La Goddam Voie Lactée is an exercise in self-imagination, a means of finding our bearings in this imperfect and infinite world which is our common belonging and inheritance.
Ideation, choreography, and direction: Mélanie Demers
Performers: Stacey Désilier, Frannie Holder, Misheel Ganbold (replacing Brianna Lombardo), Chi Long, Léa Noblet Di Ziranaldi
Rehearsal director: Anne-Marie Jourdenais
Dramaturgy: Angélique Willkie
Music: Frannie Holder
Lighting design: Claire Seyller
Costumes and accessories consultants: Elen Ewing
Technical director and management: Hannah Kirby
Sonorisator: Benoit Bouchard
Production director: Mélanie Primeau
Special thanks: Alexandre Pilon-Guay
Co-producers: Festival TransAmériques (Montreal, Canada) | Agora de la danse (Montreal, Canada) | Centre chorégraphique national de Tours (Tours, France) | Centro per la Scena Contemporanea (Bassano del Grappa, Italy) | The Dance Centre (Vancouver, Canada)
This project is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
A multidisciplinary artist, Mélanie Demers founded in Montreal her own dance company, MAYDAY, in 2007, exploring the powerful link between the poetical and the political. She deepened her engagement with cross-genre works and hybrid forms. Her fascination with the interplay between word and gesture crystallized with WOULD (2015), which won the CALQ Prize for best choreography. Combining theatricality, literature, music and visual arts, a new cycle began in 2021 with the creation of the works La Goddam Voie Lactée and Cabaret Noir. To date, she has choreographed over thirty works and has been presented across Europe, America, Africa and Asia.
For the choreographer and artistic director of MAYDAY, Mélanie Demers, the stage is a platform for performers to reflect as a group, a space for calling into question the role of the artist and the genre of theatre, and where our collective and individual fates are pondered. She does not subject audiences to accusatory harangues, nor does she wallow in a mood of sterile resignation: she simply draws our attention to the dark side of the human condition. Her works are at once a cry for help and a call for change. Hence the name MAYDAY: in the eyes of Mélanie Demers this word is imbued with equal parts hope and despair.
Since its foundation in 2007, an array of charismatic and eclectic artists working with Mélanie Demers has been drawn to MAYDAY as a hub for creative exchange and reflection. Some hail from Montréal, the company’s home base, others from around the world. Each MAYDAY work is thus the fruit of a collective effort. And not only between the artists: the public enters into the creative process as well, since the physicality, imagery, and sense of rhythm characteristic of MAYDAY’s unique approach only come together as a coherent whole before an audience.
Drawing on creative energies from around the world, MAYDAY’s unique works testify to both a spirit of artistic freedom and a deep-seated concern for contemporary issues. The company’s first piece, the duo Les Angles Morts, examines the way we perceive the world by focussing on those aspects of it that escape our awareness: things we prefer not to see, not to feel, or which we simply ignore, either driven by an instinct for survival or simply because it’s convenient for us to do so. Sauver sa peau / Sense of Self, created in collaboration with the choreographer Laïla Diallo, confronts stereotypes with a clarion call for freedom in an attempt to reconcile the idea of uniqueness with the notion of multiple identities. Junkyard/Paradise, a work for five dancers, explores the dual nature of the world and our capacity to enjoy life even as we are aware of its ability to alternately both redeem and horrify us. Mélanie Demers was at work again while Junkyard/Paradis was on tour and created Goodbye, a quartet which premiered at the Festival TransAmériques in May 2012. This labyrinthine work, at turns aesthetically pleasing and artistically grating, deconstructs performance practice and offers us a tasty little guide to saying farewell. Demers’ fascination and the relationship between words and gestures crystallizes in WOULD, a work which won the Prix du CALQ for Best Choreography at the Prix de la danse de Montréal in 2015. WOULD was followed by the choreographic relay Danse Mutante in 2019, then in 2021 by La Goddam Voie Lactée, MAMA and Confession Publique, and finally in 2022 by Cabaret Noir.
MAYDAY tours frequently and has collaborated with many international partners. It is proud to be one of the few Canadian companies to have performed in both North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
THE DANCE CENTRE
Executive Director Mirna Zagar; Programming Coordinator Raquel Alvaro; Associate Producer Linda Blankstein; Member Services/Outreach Coordinator Nazanin Oghanian; Director of Marketing Heather Bray; Digital Marketing Coordinator Lindsay Curtis; Venue and Operations Manager Simran Ghesani; Lead Technician Chengyan Boon; Accountant Elyn Dobbs; Dance Central Editor Shanny Rann
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jason Wrobleski (Chair); Andrea Reid (Vice-Chair); Annelie Vistica (Treasurer); Tin Gamboa (Secretary); Judith Garay; Linda Gordon; Arash Khakpour; Rosario Kolstee; Anndraya Luui, Katia Oteman; Zahra Shahab
The Dance Centre is grateful for the generous support of The Choreographer’s Circle, Anndraya Luui and the BC Arts Renaissance Fund.
The CORPORATE LEADER’S CIRCLE
Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP – Ingrid M. Tsui, Partner; The Holiday Inn and Suites Vancouver Downtown – Angela van den Byllaard, Sales Manager; Jarislowsky, Fraser Limited – Beau Howes
THE CHOREOGRAPHER’S CIRCLE
Impresario: Charles and Eve Chang Foundation; Anndraya Luui
Choreographer Anonymous; Anonymous; Beau Howes and Genieve Burley; Tony Giacinti (in memory of Lola MacLaughlin); Stephen Jarislowski; Anne Hildebrandt
Artistic Director Linda Blankstein; Marnie Carter; Joyce Ozier; Yosef Wosk, OBC; Moh Faris; Pamela Goossen; David Matte
Principal Dancer David Cousins; James Felter; Ken Gracie and Philip Waddell; McGrane – Pearson Endowment Fund; Jean Orr; Janet and Ron Stern; Don and Jane Shumka; Mike and Kathy Gallagher
Dance Artist: Anonymous; Anonymous; Ken Alexander; Santa Aloi; Rosario Ancer; Mary and Herb Auerbach; Gary R. Bell; Andrew and Andrea Benzel; Trent Berry; Noel Best and Barbara Shuman; Matthew Breech and Shino Watanabe; Richard Cavell and Peter Dickinson; Amanda Collinge; Norm and Dorothy Cross; Count and Countess Enrico and Aline Dobrzensky; Jason Dubois and Clayton Baraniuk; Nicola Follows; Judith Garay; Peter Harmon; Karim and Christina Jandali; Linda Johnston; Kathy Scalzo; Kemo Schedlosky and Mark Gatha; Betty Scheltgen; Ingrid Tsui and Matthew Heemskerk; Annelie and Dan Vistica; Denis Walz; Michael Welters; Mirna Zagar; May Wyman and Susan Mertens; Emily Klukas; Amy Millar; Jason Wrobleski
THE ARTIST’S CIRCLE
Linda Aristizabal; Brent Belsher; Denis Blais and Paras Terezakis; Val Brandt; Deborah Dragon; Lorna Froidevaux; Megan Halkett; Lynn B. Johnston; Lorita Leung – The Lorita Leung Dance Association; Barry McKinnon; Dubravko Pajalic; Sheila Evani and Jeffery Ramkellawan; Dr. Mary Robertson; Frank Salisbury; Selma Savage
The Dance Centre acknowledges that it is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy’əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl’ílwəta?/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. It is an honour and a privilege for us to be guests in their lands. We are grateful.
The operations of The Dance Centre are supported by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of British Columbia, the BC Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver.
The VDC Dance Centre Society is a registered charity no. BN 11925 8754 RR0001