> News: A year in review 2020

From the Artistic Director Marie-Josée Chartier:


As starters, I would like to send my best wishes to you, readers, for a better year with front and centre, health, health and health.


On a personal note, I have been debating if a report of my activities for 2020 would be a futile exercise considering the state of affairs. But as it stands, my bi-annual/annual newsletter remains a Chartier Danse archival document and well, as we are experiencing an historical moment, I thought, better write this down. These activities became my buoy in tumultuous waters. Obviously by the time you get this, it is clear that I reflected too long before putting this in print!


(For these news with all the photos, click here)





Moncton: I started the year sitting on a plane on my way to Fredericton to put the final touches on quartet choreographed for four emerging ‘dactors’ (actor-dancer) from the coop. This piece was part of a full program for the IMPACTfest presented by the Atlantic Ballet Atlantique Canada (Moncton). Later in the week, dancers from Mocean Dance (Halifax) met us in order to resume our final rehearsals. This process started in 2019 in the context of petites danses.  I also taught a company class and a voice and movement workshop for the community. On January 11, we presented a mixed programme which included my works (solo, quintet and aforementioned quartet) and Standing alone facing you performed by Gillian Seaward-Boone and Sara Coffin of Mocean Dance. We had a great audience response followed by a Q&A; afterwards everyone had to rush home as a storm was on its way, Maritime style! Here is a video clip from the Atlantic Ballet Sunday Series, Creative Briefs.


Toronto: Back in Toronto, I dove immediately into rehearsals with Blue Ceiling, for Lucy Rupert’s new work 8 minutes 17 seconds. This premiered on January 23rd, at the Theatre Centre in Toronto with four great performances. It felt so good performing and sharing the stage/backstage with 11 marvelous dancers. It brought back great memories of being a company member, days that I miss so much. Find out more from Lucy’s website: www.blueceilingdance.com



February / March


Toronto: On February 5th, L’Exercice de l’Oubli, a play by Emma Haché, held its Toronto premiere at the Berkeley Street Theatre, presented by Le Théâtre Français de Toronto. I was movement director for this play in 2019 when it premiered in Caraquet, NB, under the artistic direction of Joël Beddows. I had the pleasure to work again with the powerful duo; actors Bruno Verdoni and Claire Normand. For more information, click here.


Dan Wild: Later in the month. I spent a few quiet days at home. While giving my apartment a facelift, I decided to change some photographs in my hallway. I mention this because I had my dear friend Dan Wild come over on February 7th, for coffee and a visit. I showed him the large pictures of the two of us from the work Bas-Reliefs taken by Jeremy Mimnagh. Little did I know that this would be the last time I would see Dan. He passed away on March 28, 2020 in Toronto. It was devastating for all of us, his family and the dance community. Here are some articles about Dan’s life and impact in the Canadian dance scene in the Dance Current and Dance Collection Danse magazines.





We are deep into the pandemic. It has become clear that all my artistic projects are fully suspended and-or permanently cancelled. The petites danses maritime version tour scheduled for the fall in four beautiful theatres in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, four years in the making, involving close to 20 artists; fully cancelled. It was very demoralizing but it is pale in its consequences compared to all the losses that have struck people since March 2020. I would like to thank Lesandra Dodson, Lisa Anne Ross, Sara Coffin and Susanne Chui for their unwavering commitment to this project and the various presenters for believing in this production.


Online: On May 8th, I had a blast improvising as the double dancing figure for the musical piece Samsara for Ed Hanley’s latest Album/Film Lockdown project Mushroom. Find out more about the film, the music and the visuals here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/mushroomfilm





Toronto: During the week of August 10th, Alon Nashman of Theaturtle invited me as movement coach for Alphonse a play by Wajdi Mouawad. A work for solo performer, Kaleb Alexander and Alon alternated performances for the one production allowed to be presented ‘live’ in Toronto parks. Alphonse garnered wonderful reviews (NOW Toronto + ludwig van Toronto) and made the NOW magazine ten best things in the city for 2020.



September / October


Online: Pianist Eve Egoyan invited the members of the multidisciplinary collective URGE (for which I am a co-founder) to lend our voices for her latest creation A Doubling for augmented piano. This work is part of a programme entitled Seven Studies for Augmented Piano which Eve created for a newly imagined instrument that delves into the space between what a piano can do and what Eve has always wished a piano could do. As per covid restrictions, the live stream premiere scheduled for the 21C Music Festival at Koerner Hall is postponed to January 22, 2022. You can still find out more about Eve’s extraordinary work here: https://eveegoyan.com


Toronto: During the week of October 26th, I spent five afternoons rehearsing for Lucy Rupert’s latest creation, a tiny piece of anything. We gathered and danced, in all safety, on the outdoor stage of the High Park Nature Centre. I am very grateful to Lucy for inviting me to be part of her work and for my three dancing companions Sky, Elke and Tanveer.


Québec: As the pandemic reality sank in with no projects in sight, I decided to embark on a 17 day road trip with my dear friend, colleague and best travelling companion Mairéad Filgate. We felt like fugitives aiming for a safer zone as we travelled from Montréal to Baie St-Paul, La Malbaie, Tadoussac (to see the whales), and then across to Gaspésie where we drove the full iconic road 132, staying in Matane, Gaspé, Percé, Baie des Chaleurs, Amqui, Ste-Flavie, Kamouraska (of the famed book and film) and then back to Montréal making sure we saw every little village on our way home. It was a truly memorable trip, accompanied by our majestic Fleuve Saint-Laurent. A deep and powerful way for me to reconnect with my québécois roots.


Toronto: I was invited by Claudia Moore (Moonhorse Dance Theatre) to join a group of dancers to perform the Nelken Line in celebration of the Older&Reckless 20th anniversary. On September 17th, we gathered one afternoon on the Bentway under the Gardiner, dancing this line from Pina Bausch’s iconic work 1980. I remember attending a memorable performance of 1980 with Pina’s company at the Ryerson Theatre in the mid-80’s with her majestic dancers parading the Nelken Line amongts the audience. In 1985, I also had the chance to learn it from Pina herself at a Dance in Canada Conference held in Halifax. And now, full circle, performing and sharing this experience with so many dear colleagues.


Online: Lisa Anne Ross of Solo Chicken Productions invited me to lead a voice with movement workshop for the Groundworks Online Performance Training for the series quick hits. It was wonderful to be part of an international cohort of teachers and my first forray into teaching on zoom. Click here for more information.





And to finish the year with movement, I asked photographer Jeremy Mimnagh to lend his extraordinary eye during a spontaneous photo shoot. Here are a few selected images captured in the Michael J. Baker studio in the Distillery district in Toronto.


As we enter the new year, I hope that you will find a way to continue navigating these challenging times and stay healthy. Please take good care of yourselves.








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