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Ballet Jazz Montreal

April 11th 2022 / 20h

Serbian National Theatre, Novi Sad

April 12th 2022 / 20h

Serbian National Theatre, Novi Sad

Dance Me
on Leonard Cohen’s music 

idea: Louis Robitaille
dramaturgy, stage design: Eric Jean
choreography: Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Ihsan Rustem
music direction: Martin Léon
music conception: Alexis Dumais
scenography and accessories conception: Pierre-Étienne Locas
lighting design, production: Cédric Delorme-Bouchard, Simon Beetschen
video design: Hub Studio – Gonzalo Soldi , Thomas Payette, Jeremy Fassio
sound design: Guy Fortin
costume design: Philippe Dubuc
costume production: Anne-Marie Veevaete
scenography technical direction: Alexandre Brunet
assistance stage direction: Elsa Posnic

duration: 80’
premiere: 2017, Montreal

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 dancers. Surrounded by a team of celebrated designers, “Dance Me” combines scenic, visual, musical, dramaturgical and choreographic writing to pay tribute to Montreal’s greatest ambassador. For this unforgettable performance, Ballet Jazz Montreal has been granted exclusive five years dance rights.

Andonis Foniadakis grew up in city of Ierapetra, in the south part of the island of Crete, in Greece. He began his dance training with Niki Papadaki at the local dance school, in his hometown. From 1990 to 1992, he studied at the State Dance School of Athens and before his graduation he received the prestigious Maria Callas scholarship to continue his studies in Rudra Bejart Lausanne, in Switzerland until 1994. As a dancer Andonis has collaborated with Bejart Ballet Lausanne (1994-1996) under the direction of Maurice Bejart, Lyon Opera Ballet (1996-2002) under the direction of Yorgos Loukos, Saburo Teshigawara/Karas Co. (2004) under the direction of Saburo Teshigawara, as well as, with his own dance company Apotosoma. During them years of his professional engagement with these companies he has performed choreographic works of Maguy Marin, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Dominique Boivin, Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, Maurice Bejart, Ohad Naharin, Frederic Flamand, Bill T Jones, Herve Robbe, Tero Saarinen, John Jasperse, Saburo Teshigawara... As a freelance choreographer he has collaborated with Royal New Zealand Ballet, Geneva Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Bern Ballet, Ballet de Lorraine, Luzern Ballet, Gauthier Dance Company, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Martha Graham Dance Company, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Aterballetto, Sydney Dance Company, Florence Ballet, National Dance Company of Wales, Dansgroep Amsterdam, Cia Sociedade Masculina, Bale da Cidade of Sao Paulo, Helsinki Dance Company, National Ballet of Greece, National Theater of Northern Greece, Greek National Theater, Benjamin Millepied Dance Company, Washington Ballet, Bejart Ballet Lausanne, Ballet Junior Geneva, Hellenic Dance Company, Copenhagen International Dance Festival... He has been director of the Greek National Ballet for the season 2016/2017, and he continues to be their resident choreographer. Foniadakis has been commissioned to choreograph for three operas, productions of Theater Champs Elysees, National Opera of Rhin and GRAME in Lyon. He has collaborated as moving coordinator for the film “NOAH” by Darren Aronofsky. In 2012 he received Danza & Danza Award for the Best Choreographer in Italy, for the creation “Les Noces” for Maggio Danza, also presented at the Belgrade Dance Festival. He has collaborated with Palais de Tokyo as Choreographic Curator for the exhibition Prec(ar)ious Collectives, that took place in Athens in 2017. In addition to creating and performing, Foniadakis is teaching seminars based on his personal dance technique.

The Colombian-Belgian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa completed her dance education at the Royal Ballet School of Flanders in Belgium. After a 12-year long dance career, where she danced as a soloist with the Scapino Ballet, she decided in 2003 to focus her energies solely on choreography. In that same year she was hailed “rising star of the Dutch dance scene”, and some years later, she became an award-winning and sought-after choreographer who has created works for more than 40 companies around. Some of them are Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Dutch National Ballet, Geneva Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Gothenburg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX, Ballet Jazz Montreal, Marseille National Ballet, Jacoby & Pronk, Ballet Hispanico, Finnish National Ballet, Compania Nacional de Danza Madrid, Scottish Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Nacional Dominicano, Augsburg Ballet, Ballet Austin, Atlanta Ballet, Cuba Nacional Ballet, Ballet Nacional Chileno, Ballet Manila, Daniil Simkin Intensio Project, Cincinnati Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, English National Ballet, New York City Ballet... Lopez Ochoa is a versatile choreographer who creates also for theater, opera, musical theater and for fashion events such as for the celebrated Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf’s project in the Van Gogh Museum. In 2009, she created “Zip Zap Zoom” for Ballet Jazz Montreal, which is included in the 10 best dance moments of the year by the Pittsburg Gazette, Boston Globe and the Montreal Gazette and was included in the list of 10 best dance highlights of the year in San Diego and Chicago, also presented at the Belgrade Dance Festival. Her works have received numerous awards. In 2012 A “Streetcar named desire” was nominated for a prestigious Olivier Award, while received the Best Classical Choreography by the Circle of Critics of the National Dance Award (UK). In 2007, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa was elected to participate with the prestigious New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute.

Ihsan Rustem was born in London, where he trained at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Rustem began his professional career at the age of 17, joining Matthew Bourne’s Adventures in Motion Pictures, followed by engagements with the Ballett Theater Munich and Introdans in The Netherlands. In 2007 Ihsan moved to Switzerland as a Soloist with the Bern Ballet and later a founding member of the Tanz Luzerner Theater. During this period, he originated roles in creations by Wayne McGregor, Hofesh Shechter, Alexander Ekman, Matthew Bourne, Stijn Celis, Cayetano Soto, Guilherme Bothello and worked with choreographers Mats Ek, Jiri Kylián, Paul Lightfoot/Sol Leon, Hans van Manen and William Forsythe, amongst others. In 2010, Sarah Slipper invited him to Portland, Oregon, where he created “State of Matter” for the Northwest Dance Project, a piece which went on to win both the 2012 Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest and the Audience Choice Award at the 25th International Competition for Choreographers Hannover. In 2015 Rustem was appointed Resident Choreographer for NWDP and continues in this position today. He is the former Artistic Director of the Ballet School in Luzern, and currently serves as its Artistic Advisor. Rustem is recipient of numerous important awards for his work. Recently, he was a featured choreographer for Russia’s TV show “The Bolshoi Ballet”, while to date, he has created works for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Northwest Dance Project, Istanbul State Ballet, Tanz Luzerner Theater, Kazan State Opera and Ballet, UK’s National Youth Dance Company, Palucca School Dresden...

Emerging from a collaboration between Geneviève Salbaing, Eva Von Genscy and Eddy Toussaint in 1972, BJM – Ballets Jazz Montreal – 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. The company offers its artists high-level professional ballet training and gives internationally renowned choreographers the freedom to develop their artistic process in keeping with BJM’s identity. In doing so, the company is able to create an exclusive repertoire that is accessible to all. As a leading ambassador of Quebec dance across the globe, BJM is synonymous with flawless execution. Its distinctive style is at once artistic, sexy, explosive, original and accessible. 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, Mauro Bigonzetti, Andonis Foniadakis, Itzik Galili, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Barak Marshall, Benjamin Millepied, Cayetano Soto... In recent years, the company’s artistic direction has favored multidisciplinary creations that blend dance with other artistic disciplines such as theatre, video and music. Every piece created for BJM remains faithful to an aesthetic exerting a positive influence. The distinctive personality and high calibre of its performers ensure the company’s sustained success and reputation. Having presented more than 2,500 performances for over 2.8 million fans in 68 countries, BJM is a true ambassador of Canadian dance and artistic vitality across the globe. In 2016, BJM and its artistic director were awarded the Rideau Hommage prize in recognition of the company’s reputation and continued presence on the Québec stage. In 2017, BJM proudly celebrates 45 years of history, ballet, touring and meeting audiences.

…Rarely do we have the privilege to witness such a display of excellence. Ballets Jazz de Montréal, credited in having some of the best dancers in the world, truly lived up to its reputation…
© Midi Libre

BJM have been supported by CCOV - Centre de Création O Vertigo
We would like to thank Judy Bronfman for the support given to the creation of the show.


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