« My body is my primary home. A space coloured by where I live, what I see, what I hear and then feel. Dance invades my senses. It represents escape, imagination. It’s a state of both optimism and madness. It serves as a response to silence. It creates havoc. And I reconstruct things from this disorder. To dance is to both interiorize and exteriorize the body. This is the key feature of dance: its two-way movement. Everything begins from the body and leads to the body. »
A leading figure in Quebec contemporary dance, Danièle Desnoyers has made her mark with an art in which dance, the visual arts and music converge. Beginning in the 1990s, she established herself on canadian and international stages with such mysterious and intimist pieces as Du souffle de sa tourmente, j’ai vu, followed by works that incorporated astonishing stagecraft and sound environments that shaped the language of the body.
Her choreographic signature forcefully emerged in Discordantia in 1997, which launched a long cycle of creation in which the art of sound and dissonance figured prominently. The trilogy composed of Concerto grosso pour corps et surface métallique, Bataille, and Duos pour corps et instruments took this approach to its furthest limits. She continued with two large ensemble works, Vingt jours, 20 nuits and Les 10 cahiers, and in 2008 collaborated for the first time with a media artist in Là où je vis.
In 2010 she returned to her first love, pure movement, which predominates in Dévorer le ciel. This new cycle continued with Sous la peau, la nuit, a work for 6 dancers premiered in June 2012 at Festival TransAmériques.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of her company, Danièle Desnoyers (re)created Duos pour corps et instruments in January 2014, a pivotal work in her artistic path. It featured a new cast of dancers, emblematic of their generation. That same year, with the collaboration of numerous co-producers, Paradoxe Mélodie, a work for 10 dancers and a harpist, made its world premiere at the Canada Dance Festival. These two pieces epitomize her avid interest in acoustic and musical scores in her work as a whole.
Since 1989, Danièle Desnoyers has created some fifteen works for her company, Le Carré des Lombes, which is based in Montreal. Her works have received the support of several partners, including Agora de la danse, the contemporary dance series Danse Danse, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Festival TransAmériques, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis, the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, the Centre d’art Vooruit in Ghent, the Cultuurcentrum in Bruges, TanzWerkstratt in Berlin, Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris and the CanDance network.
As a leading figure in Quebec contemporary dance, Danièle Desnoyers has been invited to join the faculty of the dance department of the Université du Québec à Montréal, in autumn 2012. The choreographer has contributed to the development of new generations of artists, and her repertoire is taught in Canada’s foremost professional dance institutions.
Photo © Monic Richard