Danse Danse joins forces with the Orchestre Métropolitain to present the most ambitious work in its history

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Montreal, March 11, 2020 — Danse Danse is pleased to partner with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal to present the prestigious English National Ballet for the first time in Canada. On this historic occasion, Giselle, the iconic Romantic ballet in a contemporary interpretation by Akram Khan, will be performed in Montreal. The Orchestre Métropolitain will be conducted by Gavin Sutherland, Music Director of the English National Ballet Philharmonic.

A must-see Danse Danse presentation, March 10 to 13, 2021 in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts

“It is with deep emotion that Danse Danse unveils to the Montreal public this important work, in which the fusion of dance and music is exceptionally rich. And this emotion is all the greater because we will be collaborating with the Orchestre Métropolitain, whose international renown is based on its enlightened approach to the musical repertoire and the exceptional commitment of its conductor and musicians. This is a big step for us, and an extraordinary opportunity to bring together, on stage and in the orchestra pit, more than 100 artists around a masterpiece of dance in which tradition is transcended by modernity.”
—Pierre Des Marais, Executive Director and Artistic Co-Director, and Caroline Ohrt, Artistic Co-Director and Director of Development, Danse Danse

“This artistic partnership between Danse Danse and the Orchestre Métropolitain will offer an intensely emotional experience heightened by the exceptional quality of this production, which has been a resounding international success. This updated version of Giselle highlights all the creative power of our contemporary composers and choreographers in an exceptional reinterpretation of a work from the classical repertoire. What an incredible opportunity it is to host the Canadian premiere of this production in Montreal! Congratulations to Danse Danse for this artistic coup. The Orchestre Métropolitain is delighted and honoured to be part of this collaboration.”
— Kim Lajeunesse, Artistic Programming Director, Orchestre Métropolitain

Giselle, a historic work finally entering the 21st century

Giselle, a blockbuster production choreographed by Akram Khan and performed by 43 dancers from English National Ballet, will allow audiences to discover a new facet of the work of this choreographer, returning to Danse Danse for a seventh time. Totally contemporary without being iconoclastic, this Giselle retains the pointes and grace of Petitpas’ masterpiece—but not the tutus. Composer Vincenzo Lamagna, a long-time associate of the choreographer, has created a new adaptation and orchestration of Adolphe Adam’s score, with its familiar melodies. On an impressive set, the virtuoso dancers of the English National Ballet, accompanied by the Orchestre Métropolitain, deliver a moving, dazzling and fascinating performance.

English National Ballet, a dance company worthy of royalty

English National Ballet (ENB) has a long and distinguished history. Founded in 1950 as London Festival Ballet by the great English Dancers Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin, it has played a major role in the growth and history of ballet in the UK. Princess Diana was patron of ENB and made it the only nonhumanitarian cause she embraced. Her work for the company made possible the opening of the English National Ballet School in 1995. Today, English National Ballet is renowned for taking world-class ballet to the widest possible audience through its national and international tours, and through innovative programs such as Dance for Parkinson’s.

Under the artistic directorship of Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet has gained new acclaim as it introduces innovative new works to the company’s repertoire while continuing to honour and reinvigorate classical ballet.

Akram Khan, choreographer

Akram Khan was born in London in 1974, into a family from Bangladesh. He began practicing traditional Indian kathak at the age of seven, and made his stage debut at 13 in Peter Brook’s legendary Mahabharata. After studies in contemporary dance, he danced for Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. He created his first solo works in the late 1990s, always combining kathak and contemporary elements. In 2000, he co-founded Akram Khan Company with producer Farooq Chaudhry to conceive a space for innovation and presentation of a wide diversity of works created in collaboration with internationally renowned artists from different disciplines, merging traditional and innovative influences. For his company, Akram Khan has created solos, duos—often working with such prominent fellow artists as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (zero degrees, 2005), Sylvie Guillem (Sacred Monsters, 2006) and Juliette Binoche (In-I, 2008)—and group works, including ma (2004), Vertical Road (2010), iTMOi (2013) and Until the Lions (2016), all four presented at Danse Danse. A highlight of his career has been the creation of a section for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. He is the recipient of numerous international awards and honours. Giselle is his second collaboration with English National Ballet.

Gavin Sutherland, conductor

Gavin Sutherland is in international demand as a conductor, composer/arranger and pianist. Born in County Durham, England, in 1972, he was active in music from a very early age. He studied conducting, piano and orchestration at Huddersfield University and graduated with first-class honours, as well as gaining the Kruczynski Prize for Piano and the Davidson Prize for Distinction Brought to the Institution. Music for dance has played a very important part in his career, beginning with his appointment as pianist and staff conductor for Northern Ballet Theatre from 1992 to 1998. On the basis of his first album, the critically acclaimed British Light Music Discoveries on ASV, Sutherland began a healthy relationship with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia in its roles on the concert platform and as the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet (involving both national and international tours). He has featured as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and has also guest conducted frequently for English National Ballet, National Ballet of Japan, Atlanta Ballet, New Adventures and South African Ballet Theatre. He became Music Director of English National Ballet in 2008 and Principal Conductor in 2010.

About Danse Danse

Danse Danse, an associate presenter at Place des Arts, invites you to discover the best of contemporary dance from here and abroad in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles. Since its foundation in 1998, Danse Danse has offered a diversified program, rooted in the 21st century, of new creations and landmark works from the contemporary repertoire. With a mission to support and promote contemporary dance, the organization builds bridges between artists and audiences and provides time, space and funding to creators at key points in their careers. In order to make the arts more accessible, Danse Danse develops initiatives and programs specifically targeting a variety of audiences. Finally, Danse Danse proudly contributes to the international outreach of Montreal, capital of dance and metropolis of movement.

About the Orchestre Métropolitain

One of Quebec’s leading cultural ambassadors, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal (OM) was founded in 1981 on a bold gamble: that the best way to promote symphonic music is by creating strong ties with the public. Composed of Canadian musicians trained mainly in Quebec musical institutions, the OM reaches out to audiences throughout the city and abroad. Since 2000, the OM has grown under the direction of Yannick NézetSéguin, whose career has gone from strength to strength. Thanks to the Montreal conductor’s exceptionally close connection with his musicians, many musical achievements have come to fruition during his tenure. As a result of this special relationship, in addition to its concerts and recordings, the OM has enjoyed growing success and an enviable international reputation. Inspired by its unwavering commitment to excellence, the OM is acclaimed for its focus on education, its audacity, its authenticity, its accessibility and its dedication.

Kindly supported by The Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation

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