The Annenberg Center presents Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal in Dance Me / Music of Leonard Cohen, September 26-28, paying homage to famed poet/singer/songwriter, Leonard Cohen. Visit AnnenbergCenter.org for tickets.
Dance Me is inspired by the rich and profound work of Montreal-based poet, artist, and songwriter, Leonard Cohen. Approved by Cohen during his lifetime, and under the artistic direction of Louis Robitaille and the dramaturgy of Eric Jean, this tribute to the renowned poet/singer/songwriter evokes the cycles of human existence as described in Cohen’s deeply reflective music and poems. With a soundtrack of Cohen’s most beloved songs, Dance Me paints a multifaceted portrait of the man who gave the world “Hallelujah” and “So Long, Marianne,” his words finding profound, new meaning though dance. Three internationally renowned choreographers—Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Ihsan Rustem—put movement to Cohen’s legendary songs, which are brought to life by 14 Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM) performing artists. Dance Me, for which BJM has been granted exclusive dance rights for five years, combines scenic, visual, musical, dramaturgical and choreographic writing to honor one of Montreal’s greatest ambassadors.
Leonard Cohen songs included in the production include “Suzanne”; “So Long, Marianne”; “Famous Blue Raincoat”; “Lover, Lover, Lover”; “Hallelujah”; “First We Take Manhattan”; “Tower of Song”; “Everybody knows”; “Here It Is”; “Dance Me to the End of Love”; “Boogie Street”; “Nevermind”; “Steer Your Way”; “It Seemed the Better Way”; “String Reprise/Treaty”; and the poem A Thousand Kisses Deep.
Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal is presented in Philadelphia with the generous partnership of The Consulate General of Canada in New York and The Québec Government Office in New York.
Emerging from a collaboration between Geneviève Salbaing, Eva Von Genscy and Eddy Toussaint in 1972, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM) is a repertory company that creates, produces and presents contemporary dance performances based on the technique, rigor 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 Québec dance across the globe, BJM is synonymous with flawless execution. Its distinctive style is at once artistic, sexy, explosive, original and accessible. Dancers appearing in this production are Principal Artists Céline Cassone and Yosmell Calderon and Artists Brandi Baker, Jeremy Coachman, Kennedy Henry, Shanna Irwin, Terra Kell, Elijah Labay, Marcel Mejia, Andrew Mikhaiel, Benjamin Mitchell, Saskya Pauzé-Bégin, Julia Radick and Madeleine Salhany.
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 and others. The company also regularly collaborates with internationally renowned choreographers, including Mauro Bigonzetti, Andonis Foniadakis, Itzik Galili, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Barak Marshall, Benjamin Millepied, Rodrigo Pederneiras, Ihsan Rustem and Cayetano Soto. In recent years, the company’s artistic direction has favored multidisciplinary creations that blend ballet with other artistic disciplines such as theatre, video and music. Having presented more than 2,500 performances for over 2.8 million fans in 68 countries, BJM is an 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. For more information, visit bjmdanse.ca.
Performance Day Extras
The performance on Friday, September 27, will be followed by a post-show talk with Annenberg Center Executive and Artistic Director Christopher A. Gruits. Audiences can also experience REBO(U)ND, an immense video projection of dancers by Caroline Laurin-Beaucage that will be shown on the Annenberg Center’s Outdoor Plaza continuously from 7 PM to 11 PM, September 25-29 (canceled in the event of rain), and the Annenberg Center’s new outdoor Beer Garden, open two hours before evening performances in September.
Steven Weisz, Editor of The Dance Journal reviewed this work when it premiered in Toronto.
Read the review here