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Our Global Dance Connections series opens February 4 with La Goddam Voie Lactee, the latest creation from Montreal-based choreographer Mélanie Demers and her company MAYDAY. Our Executive Director Mirna Zagar shares some insights into this exciting work.
Who is Mélanie Demers?
Mélanie is a multidisciplinary, multitalented artist based in Montréal where she founded her company MAYDAY in 2007. In a relatively short period of time she has created over 30 works and attracted international attention. Her impact on Quebec dance has been acknowledged by awards such as the CALQ Award for best choreography in 2015, and in 2021 she received the Grand Prix da la danse de Montréal, recognizing her unique contributions and artistry. Her works tour regularly to Europe, the USA and Africa. This will be her second appearance in Vancouver.
When did you first encounter Mélanie and her work?
I first met Mélanie on one of my visits to the B-motion festival in Bassano, Italy many years ago. She was just starting out as an emergent creator and was in residency there. Since then I would meet her regularly in Bassano at the festival, which pre-pandemic I would visit annually as an important meeting place for dance professionals and artists. We kept in touch over the years and explored the possibilities of bringing her work to Vancouver. A few years ago the plastic orchid factory presented her work Animal Triste at Scotiabank Dance Centre. I always thought it would have been great to bring her back and have her work more exposed and connected to our diverse community.
What kind of show is La Goddam Voie Lactee?
La Goddam Voie Lactee (The Goddamn Milky Way) is Mélanie’s most recent work which premiered in 2021 at FTA in Montreal. It is a mix of music, dance and theatre and expresses a very powerful feminine voice, with a cast of five women. In many ways it’s a reflection of the times we live in, full of would-be and imaginary encounters. The composition overall resembles a pagan ritual almost, speaking up against racism, sexual exploitation, violence. It is somewhat of a collage of statements, reflections, stories, which transforms the space as well as the audience. We are taken on a journey that alters our perception of time and experience, and we cannot stay untouched by it.
What made you decide to bring this show to Vancouver?
I often come across works and artists that I would love to bring in – and when they are so abundant in the crossover between disciplines I feel that it is a great opportunity to expand the audience experience and invite newcomers to dance too! It seemed to me that now is the time, and I am grateful that once again we found a great partner in the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival – The Dance Centre has partnered with Push every year since the Festival began! – for this to come together.
Anything else we need to know?
There is of course understandable hesitation among audiences in terms of attending live performance. We all get quite anxious around the current context. However, we also now know a lot more about COVID and how to minimize the risk. We have invested significantly in enhanced ventilation and HEPA filters, and closely follow protocols such as masking and reduced seating capacity. This is an intense and thrilling show, a full-on sensory experience. If there is anything that will shake us awake, and loudly proclaim why we need live theatre, dance, music – this is it!
The Dance Centre presents the Global Dance Connections Series
MAYDAY: La Goddam Voie Lactee
February 4-6, 2022 | 8pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Info and Tickets
Presented with the Push International Performing Arts Festival
Photos: Mathieu Doyon and Julie Artacho