Danse Mutante is a choreographic relay over three continents conceived of and anchored in Montréal. An original duo, Cantique, will be created by Mélanie Demers. Then, three choreographers, Ann Liv Young (New York), Kettly Noël (Bamako) and Ann Van den Broek (Antwerp/Rotterdam), will each work in succession with the performers (Riley Sims and Francis Ducharme) to produce their own version. Aside from a few parameters (only two performers, a limited creation period, length, etc.), each choreographer will be given free rein to concoct her own mutation of the piece by remixing, reinventing, and distorting its last version. The project culminated in Montréal in the fall of 2019 with a marathon event.


In this era of closing borders and growing migration, my intention with Danse Mutante was to observe the voyage of ideas. It took two years to prepare this off-road project, organizing and grouping a multitude of people around the issues of permeability, solidarity, and the beautiful, cruel quest for oneness. We did not imagine in the planning stages just how deeply the mutations would upset
and “provoke” us. From the gestation of ideas to the erosion of power and authority and the total loss of reference points, the very concepts of transformation and evolution have permeated this series of works’ core themes. Each of the artists involved here offers a particular slice of the wide spectrum of possible mutations. They are conceptual, aesthetic, rarely choreographic but intensely personal. I had imagined a simple group project, but instead I have seen dialoguing intimacies answer each other, contradict each other, and even demolish the premise for our being together. The Darwinian conception of evolution contains more than a bit of the idea of “every man for himself”, and Danse Mutante is not exempt from that reality. However, it is also characterized by the immensely generous act of making an offering of one’s work. Of letting a public confession become the landscape, the hinterland of someone else. Marked by a certain kind of destiny, what you will witness is without a doubt a lengthy reflexive suite of works on creation and its corollary, destruction. It is also an observation on the social and political contexts surrounding the creation of these works. From my homebase of Montreal, passing through the hubbub of New York, all the way to the culture shock of Bamako and the orderliness of Rotterdam, in Danse Mutante the clichés through which the world views us are put under the spotlight and taken apart in one fell swoop.


As the creator and initiator of this project, I chose how, where, and when we would give battle. I had the advantage. Then, I lost control of things. And that has been for the best. However, in an age when public platforms are subjected to close scrutiny and the legitimacy of those privileged enough to occupy them is questioned, I owe it to myself to own my intuitions, to endorse different approaches, and to defend my choices and theirs. I had an inkling that Ann Liv Young, Kettly Noël, and Ann Van den Broek had something to say that would shake us to our foundations. And so they have. Simultaneously stakes in a coffin and a fountain of youth, we won’t get out of Danse Mutante unscathed. And I hope you won’t either. Melanie Demers


Artistic direction Mélanie Demers
Choreography Mélanie Demers, Ann Liv Young, Kettly Noël, Ann Van den Broek, in collaboration with the performers Performers Francis Ducharme, Riley Sims
Dramaturgy Angélique Willkie
Rehearsal director Anne-Marie Jourdenais
Assistant to the choreographer Nik Rajšek (M3)
Lighting design Alexandre Pilon-Guay (V0+M1+M2+M3), Ann Van den Broek (M3)
Technical director Julien Veronneau
Sound mixing David Blouin
Original music Mykalle Bielinski (V0)
Sound environment David Blouin (V0), Olivier Girouard (V0)
Author and composer Tom Barman Live for the song Everybody’s weird (M3)
Sound advisor Nicolas Rambouts (M3)
Costumes Mélanie Demers, Ann Liv Young, Kettly Noël, Ann Van den Broek
Accessories Mélanie Demers, Ann Liv Young, Kettly Noël, Ann Van den Broek, Max-Otto Fauteux
Filmmaker Xavier Curnillon
Creation residencies Centre de Création O Vertigo (V0), Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique (V0+M1+M2), Donko Seko (M2), cultuurcentrum Berchem (M3), Theater Rotterdam (M3), Agora de la danse (V0+M1+M2+M3)
Co-production Agora de la danse, Theatrefestival Boulevard
Developed with the support of the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund (NAC)
Video clips developed with the support of la Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault
Photo: Mathieu Doyon

For pressmap or financial and technical conditions please contact Line Rousseau or Marion Gauvent


17 September 2019 Agora de la Danse, Montreal, CA (world premier)

18 September 2019 Agora de la Danse, Montreal, CA

19 September 2019 Agora de la Danse, Montreal, CA

20 September 2019 Agora de la Danse, Montreal, CA

21 September 2019 Agora de la Danse, Montreal, CA

28 November 2019 Circuit Est, Salle Jeanne Renaud, Montreal, CA