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.
1. Promoting artistic diversity
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.
2. Encouraging artistic development
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.
3. Bringing dance closer to its audience
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.
4. Widening the dance audience
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.
Since May 2000, the organisation, co-founded by Rafik Hubert Sabbagh (Montreal), has presented 15 events featuring 458 performances and 52 movie nights, 23 dance-themed visual art exhibits, and 65 conferences/meetings with audiences. A total of 1267 artists have participated, 324 choreographic works were presented and more than 86 venues were invested in Montreal, for a total audience of more than 91,174 spectators.
Transatlantique Montréal is founded in May 2000 by Rafik Hubert Sabbagh (Montreal).
Traces Montréal 2001 – September 27-29
First event, featuring one French and three Quebec companies, with five shows, a photo exhibit on dance and a conference on cultural policies at the Maison de la culture Frontenac.
Danse Aquitaine Québec 2002 – November 20-22
Dance event featuring three French and two Quebec companies, with six shows at four different Maisons de la culture in Montreal, at the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault and at the Pauline-Julien auditorium.
Three-year partnership and co-directing agreement 2004 – April
Between Rafik Hubert Sabbagh (Transatlantique co-founder) and Pierre Larivière (cultural agent for the Maison de la culture Maisonneuve) for the organization of an annual event in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough in Montreal.
Transatlantique Montréal 2005 – September 19-24
Ten premiere presentations with seven established or up-and-coming Quebec choreographers/companies and eight different shows in four locations around the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough. Artist residencies, conferences, and master classes. Presented at four venues in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough.
Transatlantique Montréal 2006 – September 19-24
Event featuring four local companies and artists, two Canadian schools and two foreign acts, with six shows in three different locations in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, two days of master classes at Circuit-Est, one danced conference and two meetings between the artists and the public. Presented at three venues in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough.
Transatlantique Montréal 2007 – September 14-20
Event featuring four local companies and artists, one Canadian company, two foreign choreographers and one new outdoor show by young artists, in two different locations in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough and in Verdun, with five meetings between the artists and the public and two artist residencies.
Transatlantique Montréal 2008 – September 20 – October 4
Nineteen performances, including twelve premieres, some in situ, fourteen different shows, four evenings of films on dance and seven meetings between the artists and the public in five boroughs and nine venues/cultural partner institutions.
Quartiers Danses festival 2009 – September 17 – October 4
Eleven locations, twenty-four shows, three films showings, twenty-two choreographers, ten film directors / four visual artists featured in four photo and video exhibits on dance, as well as ten meetings between the artists and the public and two workshops. Eight new works, four Montreal premieres and seven reprise performances in eight different neighbourhoods in six boroughs.
Transatlantique in Quebec City and Vancouver, first collaborations
La Rotonde, Quebec City: three evenings of short films on dance at Le Cercle bar in the Saint-Roch neighbourhood. Dance Centre, Vancouver: Co-presentation of short films on dance and of two performances featuring two young Montreal artists.
Festival Quartiers Danses 2010 – September 10 – 26
Twenty-three choreographers, thirty performances in seven indoor and eight outdoor venues in ten different neighbourhoods. Six showings of films on dance by thirteen Canadian and international directors, as well as two photo and visual art exhibits on dance. Eleven world premieres, three Montreal premieres, ten reprise performances and nine new works presented in the urban space.
Transatlantique in Vancouver, second collaboration
Dance Centre, Vancouver: Co-presentation of short films on dance.
Festival Quartiers Danses 2011- September 16-25
Festival Quartiers Danses 2011 featured 38 different choreographers and 50 events in nine indoor and six outdoor venues spread out around the city in six different neighborhoods. The festival program also included a screening of films on dance by four Canadian directors about four of the festival’s featured choreographers, as well as three photo exhibits on the previous edition of Festival Quartiers Danses.
Festival Quartiers Danses 2012 – September 12-23
In 2012, the Festival Quartiers Danses’s tenth edition featured 37 emerging artists, ten established choreographers and five foreign guests. In total, 24 works were shown in 20 different performing spaces spread out across seven neighbourhoods. Of these 48 performances, 16 were held indoors and 32 outdoors. There were also two photo exhibits, an evening of films about dance, as well as six workshops facilitated by some of the artists featured at the festival. This was also the first year in which the festival benefitted from the support of its spokesperson – and now chairman of its board – artist Marc Béland.
Festival Quartiers Danses 2013 – September 11-21
Festival Quartiers Danses presented the work of 37 choreographers, among whom two national and five international artists, 21 well-established choreographers and 11 emerging ones. Thirty-four works were shown at 14 different performing spaces in eight Montreal neighbourhoods, with 19 indoor and 34 outdoor performances, for a total of 53. The program included two showings of short dance-themed films by young Quebec directors and one showing of feature-length films, three retrospective photo exhibits on the previous editions of the festival by two photographers (from Montreal and London), a parent-child dance workshop, and a series of meetings with our artists. The festival also gave out three awards for the development of its featured artists.
Festival Quartiers Danses 2014, September 12-20
Festival Quartiers Danses went all over Montreal and was present in 19 original locations, in 9 boroughs. A varied program – 68 shows and performances, 3 discussions, 5 film projections and 2 photo exhibits – brought forth the works of 31 local choreographers, 4 foreign choreographers, 11 directors and 2 photographers. This year, Festival Quartiers Danses transformed the Gesù | Centre de créativité into its headquarters. Moreover, Festival Quartiers Danses invited the audience and dance professionals to attend a series of day-long forums. Three discussions opened the floor to current themes: intergenerational choreographic meetings, dance in institutions and the challenges of dance in an urban setting.
Festival Quartiers Danses 2015, September 9-20
The Festival Quartiers Danses took Montreal by storm and revealed the daring, limitless universe of contemporary dance. Festival Quartiers Danses presented 71 shows and performances, a discussion, two projections of short films about dance, and 2 photo exhibits in 14 original locations, in 6 boroughs. Festival Quartiers Danses brought forth the works of 25 local choreographers, 8 foreign choreographers, 13 directors and a photographer. This year, Festival Quartiers Danses transformed the Maison Théâtre and Place des Arts’ Cinquième Salle into its headquarters. 25 in-venue works were showcased in 14 performances, while 14 works were showcased in 46 performances in an urban setting. Moreover, Festival Quartiers Danses presented two community projects within its program and a discussion, which opened the floor to the place of up-and-coming artists in the artistic community.
Festival Quartiers Danses 2016, September 6-17
The Festival Quartiers Danses (FQD) started this year’s new edition with 59 show performances including 25 in-theatre creations and 11 creations in an urban setting. Both on stage and outdoors, the works reflected power, identity, nature, temporality, humour, passion and rebellion, all of which were on full display. In a spirit of sharing, a blend of established, mid-career and emerging artists, local but also Canadian and Foreign artists, captured the audience. The FQD has allowed the public to discover mostly Montreal-based choreographers, but some were also from Rio de Janeiro, London, New York City, Poitiers in France, Victoria in British Columbia, Ottawa and Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.
Festival Quartiers Danses 2017, September 7-17
The FQD presented its 15th edition, entitled “Les Bâtisseurs” in 12 different locations in 6 Montreal neighbourhoods. This 15th edition consisted of 26 performances, including 26 in-theatre creations and 15 urban creations, as well as 2 round tables, 3 short film screenings on dance, a walking tour at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, a photographic exhibition at Place des Arts and free dance workshops offered to all audiences. In 2017, the FQD presented the work of 34 local choreographers, 5 international choreographers (USA, Spain and the United Kingdom), 10 Montreal dance film directors and a photographer (United Kingdom).