‘Dance Me;’ tribute to Leonard Cohen coming to FirstOntario PAC

FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre press release – Surrounded by a team of celebrated designers, Dance Me combines scenic, visual, musical, dramaturgical and choreographic writing to pay tribute to Leonard Cohen; Montréal’s greatest ambassador. Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM) brings Dance Me to Partridge Hall for two shows – Sunday, Feb. 23/2020, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Approved by Leonard Cohen during his lifetime, and under the artistic direction of Louis Robitaille and the strong and bold dramaturgy of Eric Jean, this riveting homage to the famed poet-singer-songwriter evokes the grand cycles of existence in five seasons, as described in Cohen’s deeply reflective music and poems.

Three internationally renowned choreographers were entrusted with putting movement to Cohen’s legendary songs: Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Ihsan Rustem. Their powerful and profound choreographic world reflective of Cohen’s singular work is brought to life by 14 BJM performing artists.

Dance, music, lighting, scenography and videography all come together in this unforgettable show, for which BJM has been granted exclusive dance rights for five years.

“It’s always one of our goals to bring our audience to different kinds of emotions,” says Artistic Director Louis Robitaille. “It’s also to give space to audience memory. A lot of us have memories of his songs. That’s why we leave it musical and abstract — to leave room for the audience to create new memories.”

Emerging from a collaboration between Geneviève Salbaing, Eva Von Genscy and Eddy Toussaint in 1972, BJM – Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal – is a repertory company that creates, produces and presents contemporary dance performances based on the technique, rigour and aesthetics of classical ballet. Its work consistently appears on local, national and international stages.

Since being named Artistic Director in 1998, Louis Robitaille has reoriented the company toward audiences open to new choreographic forms. He has linked BJM with rising names in the world of contemporary dance, such as Crystal Pite, Aszure Barton and others.

“As BJM’s artistic director, I want to democratize and demystify dance so that it is accessible to everyone. I constantly ask myself: ‘Who am I doing this for, and why?’ I always have the audience in mind. I use my work as a way to meet and share with audiences,” explains Robitaille.

“Every theatre is a temple, every show or encounter is a celebration, and every performance is important, no matter where we are. We have the privilege of being able to present our art to audiences, and we take that privilege very seriously. We are aware that audiences have paid for their seats and are giving us their time. We believe they deserve nothing but our very best.”

Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal will perform Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me on the Partridge Hall stage Sunday, Feb. 23/2020, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Click on firstontariopac.ca for tickets or visit the box office in-person at 250 St. Paul Street or call the box office: 905-688-0722.