because the personal is cultural
When music and movie awards come around, everyone likes to share their own picks and predictions for who should win. Not so with dance awards though. To be fair, dance awards aren’t much of a thing. New York has the Bessies (Louise Lecavalier, Édouard Lock, José Navas, Marie Chouinard and Benoît Lachambre are all local recipients) and Toronto has the Dora Awards (Gilles Maheu & Danielle Tardiff, Paul-André Fortier, Ginette Laurin, Benoît Lachambre, Daniel Léveillé, Tom Casey, Lina Cruz and Marc Boivin have gotten their hands on one), but live productions obviously don’t travel with the same ease that records and movies do, and any prediction that those of us who don’t happen to live in those cities might make would be little more than shooting in the dark.
It’s only three years ago that Montreal got its own dance award, Les Prix de la Danse de Montréal. Its Grand Prix can be awarded to any dance artist having presented work in the city the previous season. In 2012, a prize was added for Quebec choreographers. This year, yet another will be attributed to a Quebec dancer for the first time. Predictions remain difficult as nominations are non-existent. Quebec choreographers need to submit an application to be considered, but there’s no way to know who submitted one. Still, I decided to take a stab at it. Why shouldn’t dance also get some hype?
LE PRIX DU RQD - INTERPRÈTE
On the radar: Sophie Corriveau (Milieu de nulle part), Michèle Febvre (CHEESE), Margie Gillis (Florilège), Louise Lecavalier (So Blue), Carol Prieur (Henri Michaux : Mouvements), Manuel Roque (Projet In Situ)
My pick: Sophie Corriveau (Milieu de nulle part)
Corriveau floored me like no other with her performance in Jean-Sébastien Lourdais’s Milieu de nulle part, bringing the choreographer’s embodied aesthetic to its extreme. However, some purists might find that her performance was more acting than dancing. That’s not the only problem. Corriveau is actually part of the jury that gets to pick the recipient of the award this year. (Let’s note that Michèle Febvre is also part of the jury.) Let’s assume that Corriveau is humble enough not to vote for herself; one vote is a big loss when there are only five members in the jury. Her only chance to win is if the other four feel comfortable enough to shove the award in her hands.
My prediction: Margie Gillis (Florilège)
That’s why my second choice, Margie Gillis, will probably win. She is one of the most recognizable figures in Quebec dance and, with her show that celebrated her forty-year career by revisiting five pieces created over two decades (1978-1997), Gillis reminded us why that is the case. Her practice has legitimized dancing from the inside out. She makes the intangible manifest.
LE PRIX DU CALQ POUR LA MEILLEURE ŒUVRE CHORÉGRAPHIQUE
On the radar: Marie Chouinard (Henri Michaux : Mouvements), Lina Cruz (Rockin’), Maria Kefirova (The Nutcracker), Benoît Lachambre (Prismes), Jean-Sébastien Lourdais (Milieu de nulle part), Manuel Roque (Projet In Situ)
My pick: Marie Chouinard (Henri Michaux : Mouvements)
By translating Henri Michaux’s drawings into dance, Chouinard once again proved her ability to think the human body creatively. Some might (wrongly) feel that having a sort of pre-written choreographic score is cheating. Others might (rightly) feel it’s time to give someone else a chance as Chouinard already won the award two years ago…
My prediction: Marie Chouinard (Henri Michaux : Mouvements)
…but Benoît Lachambre already won the Grand Prix just last year; Maria Kefirova and Jean-Sébastien Lourdais’s work might not be considered “dancey” enough by some; Lina Cruz’s delightfully eccentric work was created for the students at L’École de Danse Contemporaine and so might have slipped under the radar; as might have Manuel Roque’s Projet In Situ (in which his choreography really became his own), which was presented for free in L’Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme of Place des Arts. For those reasons, Chouinard has a good chance of winning again.
LE GRAND PRIX DE LA DANSE DE MONTRÉAL
On the radar: Marie Chouinard (Henri Michaux : Mouvements), Olivier Dubois (Tragédie), Jan Fabre (Drugs Kept Me Alive), Margie Gillis (Florilège), Maguy Marin (Salves), Meg Stuart (Built to Last)
My pick: Olivier Dubois (Tragédie)
After drilling the image of eighteen naked bodies walking up and down the stage into our heads for thirty minutes, Dubois created a work that explored all the big themes (life, the passage of time, mortality, death, and the role of art in all of this; in one word: humanity) without ever resorting to shortcuts, but by letting the meanings emerge on their own. However, the jury will probably consider Dubois too young to win this award (the previous three recipients were all born between 1958 and 1960)…
My prediction: Maguy Marin (Salves)
…which is why Marin will most likely win. The jury must be wishing that this award existed seven years ago so that they could have given it to her in light of the far superior Umwelt, but this will be their chance, especially since Marin comes to Montreal so rarely. They probably figure that they have a better chance of getting to give the prize to the other five in the future. They might also wish to avoid giving it to Chouinard or Gillis so as to not appear chauvinistic since two of the previous recipients, including last year’s, are from Montreal.
Did I miss anyone who should be on the jury’s radar or mine?
has an MA in Film Studies and works in contemporary dance. His fiction has appeared in Headlight Anthology, Cactus Heart, and Birkensnake.
s.verstricht [at] gmail [dot] com