A Festival for the Emerging

Bouge d’ici Sees Dancers and Choreographers Create Their Own Opportunitites

  • Bouge d’ici Dance Festival

Bouge d’ici is back for its fourth season and is the answer to the prayers of strapped-for-cash dance lovers. Born in Montreal, Bouge d’ici: dance.moves.art is a dance festival with a focus on emerging local talent.

“Emerging can mean someone in their 60s coming back to dance, or a performer crossing over from theatre,” said Amy Blackmore, artistic director and founder of the festival. “The focus of Bouge d’ici is to create a platform where these artists can bring out choreographic works with help of a mentor. It’s all about mentorship and community.”

In 2007, during her second year in Concordia’s Department of Contemporary Dance program, Blackmore started to ask herself some important questions as an emerging choreographer. At Concordia, students have three months to put together a choreography with only a few opportunities to show this piece to the public. Blackmore was unsatisfied.

She had the desire to show her pieces again and have them evolve. She quickly realized she needed to create those opportunities herself.

“Dancers and choreographers are a dime a dozen and, yes, there are great institutions and resource centres but ultimately there are not a lot of realistic performance opportunities. I thought it was time for another generation to step up and start creating their own opportunities,” she said.

What started with dialogue between colleagues quickly grew into the volunteer-run festival that exists today.

“I remember being in school and realizing there are only so many grants and so many parts at auditions. I realized I had to be realistic about my career as a choreographer and take my fate into my own hands,” said Blackmore.

“To survive as a dancer/choreographer in Quebec, there are more options than living off grants and auditioning nonstop. You can become a business person and do it your own way. A lot of artists don’t realize that.”

Bouge d’ici is a festival that is proud of its all-encompassing and all-inclusive ways. One of its goals is to bridge gaps between ages, performers and choreographers, and audience.

“It’s a great place to meet people. It is a festival for the emerging,” said Blackmore.

Anyone with a history of presentation can apply for Bouge d’ici’s main show, Common Space/L’Espace Commun. The applicant must have a desire to develop or evolve their work and be able to justify why they feel the help of a mentor would benefit them. The jury—made up of the planning committee and other festival contributors—take three or four days to discuss and debate until only 10 works are chosen.

Bouge d’ici Dance Festival

They make their decisions based on several points: the overall quality of the work, the feasibility and clear enthusiastic plan to rework the work and, finally, how the work fits into the show as a whole. A mentor is a member of the dance community or festival planning committee, and is matched with an artist and the process of evolving the work begins. Each successful applicant spends six hours with a mentor which could be over the phone, over coffee or in the studio depending on their personal creative process.

Blackmore’s job is to preserve the integrity of the festival and make the artistic choices that are in line with their mandate.

“I am the protector, “ she said.

“Our goal is to make our shows accessible. Tickets range from free to $15, which is hard to get away with nowadays. When you walk into MainLine [Theatre], the floor is flame colored, and posters are all over the bathroom. […] Dance doesn’t need to be this thing to dress up fancy and go to Place des Arts.”

This year, the festival has really expanded with applications from Concordia grads and current students, students from UQAM, the École de Danse Contemporaine de Montréal, and even applicants from Ottawa.

“Come to the festival and see who will be making work five years from now. There is so much talent in Montréal and that’s the real benefit. I believe that everybody deserves an opportunity to show their work and deserves a fair chance to do so,” said Blackmore.

Bouge d’ici Website

Festival dates:

November 30: “MASH UP” at Shift Space (1190 St. Antoine W.)
Season Launch! A multidisciplinary fundraising event to support Bouge d’ici Dance Festival. The Common Space/L’Espace Commun showcase lineup will be announced with a dance party to finish off the night. Tickets: $10 rsvp@bougedici.com

January 11 Opening night of Common Space/L’Espace Commun

January 12 2 p.m. Dr. Sketchy Montréal – live drawing class with a model/performer combining visual arts and dance. 8 p.m. Confabulation – non-fiction storytelling event. Bouge d’ici edition: Second Chances

January 13 7 p.m. CineDanse- a dance-video evening

January 16th-19th Performances of Common Space: L’Espace Commun. Jan. 16 and 17 at 8 p.m., 18 at 7 p.m., 10 p.m., 19 at 4 p.m.

January 19th: Cabaret Bouge d’ici. A casual evening at Mainline where mentors, invited guests and members of the planning committee get to perform their work. Followed by yet another dance party. Also, dance-related workshops will be held throughout the week.

More info TBA.

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