Festival Quartiers Danses (FQD) launched its indoor programming for its 15th edition on June 14th, under the theme of The Builders. A banner that recalls the power of togetherness and the energy behind the ideas that have forged FQD’s identity.

By Rose Carine Henriquez

As Rafik Hubert Sabbagh, FQD’s general and artistic director, points out, many artists have in this 15th editions have already taken part in previous years, some by taking their first steps in the professional dance world. “It’s daring to take risks in neighborhoods that are new to contemporary dance. Daring to go outside of one’s comfort zone, of the audience already won over in advance,” explains the festival’s co-director Louise Harel.

Fifteen years, it’s a slow progression and a long time in the life of a festival, which is often subject to financial and human ups and downs. Over fifteen years, the FQD has had time to transform itself, to mature, to dare, and to build. Artists and choreographers are artisans of FQD’s mission to democratize contemporary dance. This year’s programming builds bridges, identities, utopias, and portraits of society, through the work of 25 choreographers and 62 dancer-performers.

As part of the “Encounter” between Montreal, Madrid, and Barcelona, we open the festival and remember the sensitivity of multiple imaginaries over three evenings. For the “Women’s Outlook” evening, we find creations that question identity, collectivity, and beliefs. Diving into local diversity and into eclecticism thanks to choreographers presenting the influences of the world in their works, the festival touches upon the issues of mental health, of dancers’ physical challenges, and of our relation to time.

And this is but one part of what this year’s festival has to offer. Outdoor performances are yet to be unveiled in August. Emphasis is put on the creation of meeting spaces, on emancipating dance from the constraints of venues, on heightening accessibility. On letting dance finds its own audience, no matter where it is, to allow it to construct memory. In discovery, wonderment, feedback and critique, the audience shares the questioning process of creators.

Photo: Romain Lorraine Photography