Featuring more than 30 companies from here and abroad, the Festival offers bold and innovative programming in dance and theatre.
Now in its 9th year, Festival TransAmériques (FTA), May 21 to June 4, continues to meticulously curate a stellar cutting-edge program of dance, theatre and performance art from around the world – this year we’ll see 25 thought-provoking shows from Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, New York, France, Belgium, Portugal, The Netherlands, Israel and South Korea, as well as party nights, cocktail hours, film screenings and workshops.With festival ticket packages and more events in the city’s Quartier des spectacles this spring, any one of these FTA picks makes a unique cornerstone to the Montréal arts-and-culture experience.
For unconventional Korean choreographer Eun-Me Ahn, age ain’t nothing but a number – her celebratory show, Dancing Grandmothers, features 12 older women from all walks of life dancing to techno and 1960s pop alongside nine acrobatic young dancers. The colourful, kitschy show is both larger than life and true to it, bringing together generations through shared memories and heartfelt connections. (New York artist Miguel Gutierrez also plays with the passage of years in his Age and Beauty, making its Canadian premier at Festival TransAmériques.)Radical German director Michael Thalheimer and the Schaubühne Theatre of Berlin take on Molière’s Tartuffe, reinterpreting the classic comedy of hypocrisy and ideology to suit our times, complete with a tattooed titular character in the depths of religious fanaticism and seduction. (For other classics reinterpreted, see Richard Maxwell’s version of Isolde or Marlene Monteiro Freitas’s surreal reinventions of the myths of Orpheus and Pygmalion.) Look for Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven’s Ceci n’est pas… downtown in Place des Festivals – he’s created 10 glorious living tableaus in a glass-fronted box, on public display for only a day each during FTA. Darkly poking fun at an urban environment full of ads and people constantly on the go, each scene features live actors and may intrigue and delight or shock and disturb.
A festival favourite, Toronto choreographer Ame Henderson, collaborates with singer-songwriter Jennifer Castle on Voyager, a poetic, movement-based interpretation of the 1977 Voyager space program mission to explore our solar system’s far-off planets. (Similarly unconventional performances featuring big themes made personal come to the stage in Arkadi Zaides’s Archive and Nadia Ross’s What Happened to the Seeker?)
Award-winning Montréal choreographer and dancer Benoît Lachambre is a must-see for his uniquely expressive approach to the human body – in his latest work, the duo Hyperterrestres, he joins forces with French choreographer and dancer Fabrice Ramalingom. (For more Montréal-made dance creations at Festival TransAmériques, check out shows by Stéphane Gladyszewski, Christian Lapointe, Jean-Sébastien Lourdais, Daniel Léveillé, Angela Konrad, Évelyne de la Chenelière and Manuel Roque.)
And dancers drift among a sea of old clothing and elevate themselves towards the rafters in tauberbach, the newest challenging work by Belgian new-wave choreographer Alain Platel and Les Ballets C de la B. A story of human survival among depression and violence, tauberbach illuminates the possibilities for transformation and peace in critical times.
Festival TransAmériques, May 21 to June 4