I can’t think of a better send off into the summer than with BJM – Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal’s Dance Me, inspired by and featuring the work of the incomparable Leonard Cohen, Montreal’s beloved musical hero.
Dance Me has garnered such great attention and audience response since its premiere, touring to 45 cities in 10 countries on three continents, and even appearing on the big screen. I’m very excited that NAC Dance is able to present a return engagement of this remarkable work for those who missed it the first time around, and those who wish to see it again!
As the company’s most ambitious project to date, the program features the interwoven visions of three internationally-recognized choreographers, under the guiding hand of Director Éric Jean, exploring a range of 15 Cohen songs from early to late in his career. The result is a fitting homage to Cohen’s great art, and a stunning example of the power and beauty of dance.
NAC Dance is honoured to bring you these performances on the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Nation, and we gratefully acknowledge them as past, present, and future stewards of this land.
Time passes, new creations emerge
In more than two decades with BJM, the Dance Me evening, inspired by the massive talent of Leonard Cohen and the artists of the company, is definitely the production that is most personal to me.
How rewarding it is to return to Ottawa with this unifying dance work, which has now been presented in 45 cities and 10 countries on three continents.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people involved in this production, especially Eric Jean, the show’s writer and director and above all, my faithful comrade in arms.
On behalf of the entire BJM team, I leave you with the words of Mr. Cohen:
We are so privileged to be able to gather in moments like this,
When so much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
Bon voyage, and enjoy the evening.
Dance Me is an exclusive creation inspired by the rich and profound work of Montreal-based poet, artist and songwriter, Leonard Cohen.
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.
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. 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.
Suzanne (1967) – So Long, Marianne (1967) – Famous Blue Raincoat (1971) – Lover, Lover, Lover (1974) – Hallelujah (1984) – First We Take Manhattan (1988) – Tower of Song (1988) – Everybody Knows (2001) – Here It Is (2001) – Dance Me to the End of Love (live in London, 2009) – Boogie Street (live in London, 2009) – Nevermind (2014) – Steer Your Way (2016) – It Seemed the Better Way (2016) – String Reprise / Treaty (2016) – A Thousand Kisses Deep (poem)
World Premiere: December 5. 2017, Danse Danse, Montréal
Ideation: Louis Robitaille
Dramaturgy and Stage Direction: Eric Jean
Choreography: Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Ihsan Rustem
Principal Dancers: Céline Cassone, Yosmell Calderón
and dancers of the BJM company
Music Direction: Martin Léon
Music Conception : Alexis Dumais
Scenography and Prop Conception: Pierre-Etienne Locas
Creation Technical Direction: Alexandre Brunet
Lighting Design and Production: Cédric Delorme-Bouchard, Simon Beetschen
Video Design: HUB Studio – Gonzalo Soldi, Thomas Payette, Jeremy Fassio
Costume Design: Philippe Dubuc
Costume Production: Anne-Marie Veevaete
Assistance Stage Direction: Elsa Posnic
Sound Engineer: Guy Fortin
We would like to thank Judy Bronfman for the support given to the creation of the show.