Danse à la carte – TransFormation Workshop
TransFormation Danse is an intensive contemporary dance workshop for professional dancers, choreographers, teachers, and emerging artists. A variety of workshops, laboratories, and classes are offered on an à la carte basis. The participants themselves choose and design a schedule and programming which best embodies the pursuit of their own artistic development. This year’s edition features six choreographers and offers a plunge into their approach to dance creation.
Nadia Beugré (L'homme rare) Guest artist
A native of Abidjan, Nadia Beugré was for many years a dancer in the Ivorian company Tché-Tché (which performed in Montreal at FIND in 1999) with Béatrice Kombé, who played an important role in her personal development.
Following the painful loss of Béatrice, she joined choreographer and educator Germaine Acogny in Senegal, before taking up residence in Montpellier, France, to pursue the exerce Master course, directed at that time by Mathilde Monnier. She then began creating her own works while dancing in the final pieces by choreographer Alain Buffard (d. 2013), who had a major impact on her. She made waves with her first significant solo work, Quartiers libres, which laid the foundations for her staking a place and is still performed today.
When Beugré takes the stage, it’s for the purpose of making statements, asking questions, tackling taboos. Her engagement in the cause of women is inspired by a historic event, the 1949 women’s march on Grand Bassam. This Ivory Coast uprising aimed at liberating the women’s husbands, who were imprisoned by the colonial authorities, features in her piece Legacy (2015). The spirit of struggle, courage, and self-exposure that marked this movement are key elements in her choreography. Beugré also created the Libr’Arts association with the goal of building connections, particularly between France and Ivory Coast. She recently established an educational project for young Ivorian women in order to provide a space for creation and speaking out, visibility, and freedom. There are no limits to Beugré’s determination.
Mélanie Demers (Confession publique) Guest artist
Mélanie Demers is a multidisciplinary artist who has choreographed over 30 works presented in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
A creator of movements but above all a weaver of relationships, she founded the company MAYDAY in 2007. Goodbye (FTA, 2012), a shrewd blend of dance and theatre, reflected on art and its artifices. Her fascination for the interplay of words and gestures was crystallized in Would (2015), which won the CALQ Prize for Best Choreographic Work. In 2016, she began a creative cycle with Animal triste and Icône pop, which won an award at the SummerWorks Performance Festival in Toronto. After contributing to the choreography for Pluton-Actes 2 (FTA, 2016), she initiated Danse Mutante (2019), an ambitious choreographic relay unfolding across three continents. La Goddam Voie Lactée (FTA, 2021), a work about incompleteness and the unpredictable, was produced in response to the present social and political context. In 2021, Demers received the Grand Prix de la danse de Montréal recognizing her oeuvre as a whole.
Catherine Gaudet (Les jolies choses) Guest artist
On Catherine Gaudet’s stage, social masks come off to the rhythm of bodies exulting. After surveying the troubling truths and irreverent underground pathways of our humanity with Au sein des plus raides vertus (FTA, 2014) and Tout ce qui va revient (2018), Gaudet is back at FTA with a whole new piece, Les jolies choses. This time, she steps away from the theatrical aspects of her earlier works, all the while maintaining her subversive powers.
One of the leading artists of her generation, Gaudet has never stopped exploring the tremors of the choreographic form by working with its raw physicality, in constant tension with the emotional bodies swarming under its flesh. She excels at creating waves of intensity that powerfully stir the audience’s empathy. Les jolies choses is part of a new choreographic cycle—a more minimalistic and contemplative one, which she initiated with L’affadissement du merveilleux (FTA, 2019) and Se dissoudre (2021). In this endeavour, she explores our perception of time, as part of a quest combining the ontology of movement and its underlying currents.
Gaudet’s reputation is very well established. Her impact on the artistic ecosystem and her influence on contemporary dance research are indisputable. In addition to her regular teaching as an adjunct and as a visiting professor at the Département de danse at UQAM in 2018–2019, she is executive director of the Compagnie Catherine Gaudet, a member of Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique, and an associate artist at DLD-Daniel Léveillé Danse and l’Agora de la danse.
Lara Kramer (Them Voices) Guest artist
Lara Kramer is a choreographer and multidisciplinary artist of mixed Oji-Cree and Mennonite heritage. Her work, which is grounded in intergenerational relations and knowledge and the impacts of the Indian Residential Schools of Canada, has been presented all across Canada, in Martinique, New Zealand, the UK and Australia.
Following Fragments (2009), informed by her mother’s experience at the Residential Schools, and Native Girl Syndrome (2013), which explored deceleration as a form of resistance, she created a two-pronged project for the 2018 edition of FTA: in the performance Windigo and the installation Phantom Stills & Vibrations, she examined the effects of boarding schools on three generations of her family, who were forcibly sent away to these institutions.
For the 2019 edition of FTA, in collaboration with Émilie Monnet, she created This Time Will Be Different, an installation-performance denouncing the report issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The piece sought to shed light on the report’s perpetuation of the status quo, which was again invoked to the detriment of Indigenous Peoples. Based on interviews conducted with several members of the First Nations, the performance brought together different generations and served as a catalyst for reclaiming a history previously confined to a written narrative dominated by non-Indigenous voices. By extending her research to multigenerational experiences, Kramer broadens her quest with Them Voices, allowing herself to dream of a future and to fuel new rhythms, new modes of mobility. The solo piece summons a multitude of voices in a collective memory, and past, present and future herstories/histories, connecting to elders of all generations.
Qudus Onikeku (Re:Incarnation) Guest artist
Qudus Onikeku is a representative of a new generation of artists working internationally. The choreographer was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and in 2009 went on to train at the École nationale supérieure des arts du cirque in France, initially working at the crossroads of dance and acrobatics. Inspired by traditional Yoruba philosophy, he has also been influenced by hip-hop, capoeira, and contemporary dance.
Since 2004, his solos have been performed in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean. My Exile is in My Head was presented at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 2015. After starting his company in Paris to tremendous success that brought him to the Festival d’Avignon amongst other global stages.In 2014 he returned to Lagos with his partner Haji, and together they initiated an artistic development project, the QDance Center, now the People Centre, an incubator for art practices, talent development and community engagement, a unique structure with which they examined and experimented the possible intersections between arts and society. Onikeku is currently the first “Maker in Residence” at The Center for Arts, Migration and Entrepreneurship of the University of Florida. His research is in developing interactions with cutting edge technologies and interactive systems, to create new economic opportunity for creators of value, by building a bridge between new technology and the global African experience.
Re:Incarnation is the result of extensive work with young dancers recruited on social networks in Nigeria and trained in body awareness and body memory. The piece, which was featured at the 19th Biennale de la danse de Lyon as part of their Africa2020 season, is based on Yoruba philosophy, informed by Onikeku’s ethnic origins. Re:Incarnation celebrates the living memory of the body and Africa’s powers of reinvention in a collective rebirth where past, present, and future come together.
Naishi Wang (Face to Face) Guest artist
Naishi Wang has lived and worked in Toronto since entering The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 2004. He attracted the Festival TransAmériques’s attention through his involvement in Quebec choreographer Paul-André Fortier’s projects 15 X LA NUIT and Trois (Agora de la danse, 2017), among others.
An independent contemporary dance artist, Wang observes and studies the underlying motivations of the body’s movements and the emotions it conveys. Renowned for his exceptional improvisations, which he turns into incarnations of bodily meaning, Wang is also a practicing visual artist. His drawings, which take the form of dances on paper, echo his work in dance. As a dancer, he has worked with various artists and choreographers, including Peter Chin, D.A. Hoskins, Paul-André Fortier and Heidi Strauss. As a choreographer, he is currently working with Jean Abreu for a co-creation named Deciphers and collaborated with Christoph Winkler, a Berlin-based Tanztheater artist, on Can Asian Dance?, Crossing Half of China to Sleep With You, and Tale of the Dragon and Lion.
Part of the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) program in February 2019 and also presented in Halifax and Hamburg, his solo show Taking Breath demonstrated his interest in intimate forms of bodily communication, a subject he takes up again in the duet Face to Face. For this creation, he focused on our new modes of virtual communication and the factors that act in concert to convey our intentions in even the simplest exchanges. His next creation, a collaboration with Claudia Chan Tak entitled Double Tigers, will be presented at the Festival Accès Asie. The two artists will unpack their Chinese cultural baggage and explore how the Chinese conception of the body influences their movements.