Posted on April 28th, 2011 by .

Now in its fifth year, the Festival Transamériques, May 26 to June 11, showcases a creatively curated, cutting-edge array of theatre, dance and performance art in 31 shows from Canada, the U.S., Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, England, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland…

The FTA is a perfect example of why Montreal is often called “very European” by visitors, and rightly so – our cultural connection to “the continent” is strong and always has been – but the unique fabric of Montreal is woven from influences both closer to home and on the other side of the globe.

Shows that make it to the FTA push the boundaries of what we expect to see on stage – last year’s biggest thrill (and surprise) for me was a transfixing six-hour performance of Shakespeare’s Roman Tragedies – and over the past few years, the things I’ve seen on FTA stages have soothed as much as they’ve shocked. All have stuck with me in some way, as great art does. This year, I expect my perspective on the world to to be shifted by any number of FTA shows, many of which make their North American premiers (with subtitles in almost all cases, thankfully!):

Falk Richter and Anouk Van Dijk open the fest with Trust, wherein dance meets theatre to dissect the disenchantment with the West and maybe discover love in the process.

-From Mexico, El Rumor del Incendio questions guerrillos’ real reasons for revolution and its impact on future generations.

-New York’s Miguel Gutierrez debunks James Dean as myth and legend in Last Meadow.

-The humourous Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech, from Japan, gives voice to a younger generation feeling lost in a business-minded, air-conditioned culture

-Also from Japan, Yume No Shiro takes place in a tiny, chaotic apartment populated by eight young people.

-Controversial Montreal dancer-choreographer David St-Pierre teams up with Brigitte Poupart in the provocative What’s Next. While Montreal’s Estelle Clareton and agile dancers celebrate spring and new life in S’Envoler.

-Always a sight to behold, choreographer and dancer Crystal Pite laughs in the face of unhappiness and self-image in The You Show.

-Closing the festival is Polynesian choreographer Lemi Ponifasio’s Tempest: Without a Body, an exploration of freedom in a globalized, post-9/11 culture.

Other unmissable shows include the free public-space performances of Sylvain Emard’s Le continental XL () (over 200 pros and non-pros dance a wild routine at Place des Festivals), Bodies in Urban Spaces (performers install their bodies in sculptural, unexpected ways in urban spaces – performance art meets a bit of parcours), and Solenoid mixes music, robotics and tap dancing! And following almost every FTA show, the audience has a chance to meet and talk with the artists.

Read more about these and other shows as well as the symposium and film selections – and buy tickets! – at Festival Transamériques.

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