Concordia University

Contemporary Dance year-in-review

2014-15 was a very productive year on many levels for the Contemporary Dance program.

We continue to enjoy our state-of-the-arts studios and facilities on the 7th floor of the MB Building, situated in the core of Quartier Concordia in downtown Montréal. All the performing arts departments (Music, Theatre, Dance) are on two floors in the MB Building that primarily houses the Molson School of Business. With the visual arts departments (Studio Arts, Cinema, Design and Computation Arts, etc.) in nearby buildings, we have many opportunities to exchange and develop a diversity of activities.

An example of collaboration is the 60x60 one hour extravaganza bringing together students from the departments of Contemporary Dance, Music and Theatre, and coordinated with colleagues Eldad Tsabary in Electroacoustics, and Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer and Raymond-Marius Boucher in Theatre. Contemporary Dance professor Silvy Panet-Raymond introduced a new concept in the usual music-dance collaboration by asking Theatre Department’s design students to create lighting based on listening to the list of electroacoustic works proposed for the event. Striking new, one minute works flowed and sometimes collided in most unusual ways, playing to a full house in the D.B. Clarke Theatre.


2nd and 3rd year Majors in Contemporary Dance staged new works in December in our lofty Black box studio theatre on the 7th floor, overlooking Montreal’s cityscape and beyond. To cap off the year, they presented another series of creations in April in the refurbished D.B. Clarke Theatre.

In March, first year Majors ran their own production, called Spirale in the Black Box and transformed one of the studios into a gallery space for their installations and mixed-media works. They were supported by long-standing part-time faculty Jacques Brochu and Marie-Stéphane Ledoux who team-teach the Creative Process I course.

Students were also very active as curators, performers, choreographers and collaborators in the Art Matters Festival during its three week run in March. This event, started by a small group of Fine Arts students in 2000 has since become North America’s largest university arts festival, presenting in galleries, studios, theatres and artist spaces across the city.

The monthly Studio 7 performance events curated by a team of dance students, takes place in a club-like atmosphere. Students in all areas of the arts participate. This is where new and fresh ideas are presented and audience get a chance to engage with the artists and meet potential collaborators. The events are livestreamed. Always a packed house that expects the unexpected.

Students receive academic credits as organizers of Studio 7 in all aspects of production, artistic curation, website design and social networking communications and general management. They are supported by dance student volunteers responsible for lighting and sound operations. This year’s curators  were Maria Paula Cano Bueno, Claire McIsaac and Anna Patterson, supervised by Professor Michael Montanaro.

During the Fall, we taught workshops in Toronto and Ottawa high schools as part of our recruitement efforts. There is definitely a lot of talent emerging from these dance programs.

In November, Concordia’s Open House attracted potential students and their parents. The Contemporary Dance Department offered open classes in contemporary technique, improvisation and choreography, as well as showcasing excerpts of student works. The next Open House will take place on November 7, 2015.

Michael Montanaro completed his long term as Chair of the Contemporary Dance Department in May 2015. In addition to teaching choreography and creative process, he is now co-director of TML, Topological Media Lab

Silvy Panet-Raymond returned from a one-year sabbatical where, amongst other activities, she was guest teaching artist at Université Paris 8, department of dance, where she produced a transdisciplinary event for their Semaine des Arts Festival. She is the current Chair, Department of Contemporary Dance and teaches choreography, creative process and at times the intensive summer course for non-dance majors.

We are also thrilled to welcome a new full-time faculty member, as of August 2015. Angélique Willkie is a reputed teacher, performer, singer and dramaturg who has been working out of Europe for the last fifteen years, including at the Ecole supérieure des arts du cirque in Brussels and as a performer with the likes of Ballets C de la B (Alain Platel), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Zap Mama, Needcompany. This summer she will return as a guest teacher at the cutting edge ImpulsTanz Festival in Vienna. As of September, she will be teaching contemporary technique and choreography in the Contemporary Dance Department.

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