The Quartiers Danses Festival has made its mission to democratize contemporary dance in all its forms and hybrids by making it more accessible to all audiences in traditional and unusual venues. The FQD primarily presents shows from local artists, but also frequently invites national and international creators. It adopts a multidisciplinary approach to original dance that comprises presentation, performances, installations, films, exhibits, meetings, discussions, and, last but not least, cultural mediation workshops.
Convinced that dance is a universal language that speaks to all of us, the Festival seeks to include artists of all generations...
Emerging talents and renowned contemporary choreographers alike, of all genders, of all cultures, and of all horizons (differently mentally- and physically-abled, Indigenous, and under-represented artists). The FQD presents debut works, works in progress or new versions (creative laboratories), and reconstructed performances from the choreographic heritage; sometimes performed by pre-professionals.
Support the artistic community
The festival affords enviable visibility to local and international artists. Exchanges with other cities, provinces, and countries are organized to promote Quebec dance performers, choreographers, and directors.
Focus on inclusion
In keeping with its inclusion mandate, the Festival is active in several Montreal neighbourhoods with cultural mediation workshops in community, education, social, and health centres in order to make dance accessible to as many people as possible.
The FQD strives to make the work of artists from the world of dance accessible to all audiences, whose participation is encouraged.
The Festival organizes performances in locations throughout the city of Montreal, depending on the specificities of every piece and in partnership with recognized performance venues, unusual spaces, neighbourhood, university, and cegep theatres, and diverse public locations. The Festival’s policy is to offer attractive prices or free admission to its shows, in keeping with its mandate of democratizing contemporary dance and increasing its reach.
1987 – Rafik Hubert Sabbagh founds in Montreal the dance company DANSE IMÉDIA
Rafik Hubert Sabbagh, dancer, teacher and choreographer, was the artistic and general director, but also the resident choreographer of this dance-theatre company. The company produced fourteen dance-theatre pieces presented in Montreal and New York while incorporating the work of choreographers, dancers, directors, dramatists, composers, musicians and actors from varied nationalities and cultures.
1997 – Founding of IMÉDIA / COMMUNICATIONS ARTISTIQUES INTERNATIONALES
This company acts for the development and the promotion of local contemporary companies both in Canada and overseas. The company’s activities include the coordination of local and international tours in Europe, Africa and North America.
2000 – Founding of Festival Quartiers Danses under its first name: Transatlantique Montréal
It’s only in 2001 that the first artistic manifestation takes place at Maison de la culture Frontenac, in the Centre-Sud borough of Montreal. This event included 5 performances, a dance photo exhibit and a conference about the networking of cultural policies and independent initiatives. The Maisons de la culture (houses for culture) in Montreal were the first venues invested by Transatlantique Montréal. By the second edition, events were taking place in five of them: Frontenac, Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Plateau-Mont-Royal, Ahuntsic, and Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension.
2005 to 2007 – Transatlantique Montréal sets roots in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Thanks to a partnership with Pierre Larivière, cultural agent at Maison de la culture Maisonneuve, Transatlantique Montréal creates artistic manifestations in many venues throughout the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough: the Maison de la culture Maisonneuve, the Cégep Maisonneuve, the Chateau Dufresne Museum, and the Place Valois.
2008 – Transatlantique Montréal spreads across Montreal and launches its film program
Starting in 2008, Transatlantique Montréal can be found in 5 of Montreal’s borough ; Côte-des-Neiges, Ville-Marie, Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Plateau Mont-Royal, and, of course, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. It is also then that the first dance film projection is broadcast at the ONF and the Verdun’s public Library.
2009 – Transition from Transatlantique to Festival Quartiers Danses (FQD)
Since it was now invested in different boroughs, the event had to bear a name that suited its identity: Festival Quartiers Danses. The festival then includes more than performances in theatres and in urban context. Its program also presents workshops, film projections and exhibits, all circling around contemporary dance practices.
2012 – Marc Béland joins the movement
Marc Béland, dancer, actor and director, joins the festival as the official spokesperson, a title he still holds to this day. He also took the role of president of the board in 2013. FQD is growing fast and offers more and more creations from local and international choreographers. 2012 also marks the beginning of privileged partnerships with the Arte Musica Foundation, and with the Bourgie Hall of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the first events at the Monument National.
2013 – Creation of a department of cultural mediation
In order to further its mission of bringing dance where it is not present, FQD starts offering, all year round, dance workshops and activities to social, community and health organizations throughout Montreal. This new department works with different public and communities — youth, elders, disabled or mentally challenged people and immigrants among others — that is to say anyone who would not otherwise have an easy access to dance and culture.
2013 also marks the first incursion of the festival at the Place des Arts, for the performances in theatres, and in the Quartier des Spectacles for the performances in urban context.
2015 – Place des Arts as H.Q.
Since 2015, FQD presents its program at the Cinquième Salle, in Place des Arts, which acts as headquarters for the festival’s activities. Emerging, mid-career, and established artists invited to the festival presented their work there, but also in 14 outdoor venues covering 5 boroughs of the city and 8 neighbourhoods.
2020 – FQD in the digital era
Reacting to the extraordinary events that marked the year 2020, FQD embarked in the digital era for its 18th edition, which became the first hybrid edition happening both online and in urban context. FQD unveiled a program of Montreal based short films co-created by the festival’s choreographers associated with local filmmakers. 16 new dance short films were therefore presented as world premieres on the FQD’s website along with 20 outdoor short performances mainly in the Quartier des Spectacles and downtown Montreal.
The Festival Quartiers Danses (FQD) has paced Montreal in all its cracks and nickels visiting as much as 85 venues since its foundation in 2000. In theatres as much as in urban context, the creations featured in the festival represent the power, the identity, the timing, the humour, the fierceness, and the revolt typical to Montreal’s creative dance scene, one of the 6 international dance capitals.
In a sharing state of mind, established, mid-career, and emerging artists caught the eye of the audience throughout the years. FQD allowed the public to discover choreographers mainly from Montreal, but also from overseas inviting artists from Brazil, U.S.A., France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Danemark, England, India and South Africa to perform. Moreover, FQD established significant cultural partnerships with allies like the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the McCord Museum, the Musée d’art contemporain, the Phi Center For Contemporary Arts, the Cinémathèque Québécoise, the Place des Arts, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, The dance department of Concordia University, and a dozen of Montreal’s studios and dance companies that share their spaces for artists’ residencies. After 18 editions, FQD is no less than 1745 artists, 405 choreographic pieces, 121 dance short films, 26 art exhibits, 70 conferences and run tables about dance and more than 1000 cultural mediation activities.