Discover Perreault’s pivotal work Joe - a moving masterpiece of humanity - streaming from March 17 to 23, 2021 

OTTAWA, CANADA – The National Arts Centre’s Dance Department, through the Digidance partnership with DanceHouse (Vancouver), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto, and Danse Danse (Montreal), and in collaboration with the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, is pleased to invite audiences to experience Joe, the pivotal work by late - Canadian choreographer Jean-Pierre Perreault – streaming online March 17-23. 2021. 

Joe not only pays tribute to one of Canada's greatest choreographers, but also allows the public to discover, or rediscover, a breathtaking performance that has had a profound impact on contemporary dance. 

“We are thrilled to have an opportunity to bring back the memory of Jean-Pierre Perreault and share with our audiences the resonance and influence of this piece” said Cathy Levy, Executive Producer of NAC Dance and Digidance partner. “Thirty-seven years after its stage premiere, Joe persists in representing the mastery and depth of Perreault’s immense genius at revealing the human condition. This iconic work was considered the beating soul of a new generation of contemporary dance, and yet it transcends the boundaries of the era in which it was created.”   

Perreault was responsible for almost all aspects of Joe: choreography, set design, costumes and the percussive music produced by the dancers’ steps on a stage wired for sound. With this work, he realized not only the evocative power of the group but also the dramatic impact of music. 

To the sound of 32 pairs of work boots obsessively pounding the floor, 32 dancers, dressed in long coats and hats, move in a compact mass from which individuals occasionally attempt to free themselves to escape a preordained destiny. In Joe, Perreault also continues exploring an expressive dimension that is a recurring theme in his work: the body’s gravity as an emblem of the human condition.   

The film version of Joe, which premiered in 1984, was produced in 1995 by Bernard Picard for Radio-Canada. Thank you to Radio-Canada Archives for sharing this film, which is available to stream around the world. This digital presentation is approximately 70 minutes. 

Tickets are on sale on the NAC website at $15 for individuals or $25 per family (+ applicable taxes). 


Jean-Pierre Perreault (1947-2002), one of the most important Canadian choreographers and recipient of several prestigious national awards including the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award which was presented to him at a ceremony at the National Arts Centre, is recognized for his global conception of his works. Perreault is known for works such as Rodolphe (1983), Joe (1984), Stella (1985), Nuit (1986), Flykt (1991), created for the Ballet Cullberg, Adieux (1993), La vita (1993), Les années de pèlerinage (1995), Eironos (1996), L’exil, l’oubli (1999), and a series of choreographic installations (1994, 1997 and 2000). A thoroughly committed artist, Perreault was responsible for the stage design, choreography, lighting and sound design of all his work. He placed fragile beings – intense, authentic and “Perreault-esque” – in a world of vast architectural spaces. Racing, jumping, ruptures, sounds and rhythms are the features of Perreault’s style, a dance with deep roots in space and place and which, in part, creates its own music. Jean-Pierre Perreault’s work constantly brings us face to face with human nature. 

Digidance is a new joint initiative of Canadian dance presenters to deliver exceptional, full length Canadian and international dance content online to Canadians across the country. Created in July 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Digidance consists of the following leading dance presenters: the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), DanceHouse (Vancouver), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), and Danse Danse (Montreal). 

The National Arts Centre is Canada’s bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for the performing arts. As part of its Strategic Plan, the NAC’s vision is to lead and support the renewal of the performing arts sector. The NAC presents, creates, produces, and co-produces performing arts programming in various streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety — and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. The NAC is located in the National Capital Region on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe. 




Andrea Ruttan 

Communications Strategist 

National Arts Centre 


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