The second presentation from Digidance, presented in partnership with DanceHouse, opens Wednesday, March 17th. The exclusive online broadcast of Montreal choreographer Jean-Pierre Perreault’s (1947-2002) milestone work Joe – streams March 17-23, 2021.
The visually arresting work, originally premiered in 1984 to critical acclaim, is considered one of the most iconic creations in the Canadian dance canon and showcases the brilliance and scope of Perreault’s vision, as a company of 32 power through a driving commentary on the human condition. Despite Joe’s revered status in Canadian dance, the broadcast will mark many audiences’ first opportunity to experience the massive spectacle, in particular for Vancouverites, as the work never toured to the west coast and has not been staged since 2005.
The broadcast of Joe comes to screens with the coordinated effort of Digidance, a national initiative formed in response to COVID-19 between four of Canada’s leading dance presenters: DanceHouse (Vancouver), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), and Danse Danse (Montreal), in collaboration with La Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault and Radio-Canada Archives.
This digital broadcast of Joe was produced in 1995 by Bernard Picard for Radio-Canada and features dancers from Perreault’s own company, La Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, alongside artists from Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers and Dancemakers. The film not only pays tribute to one of Canada’s greatest choreographers, but also allows the public to discover or rediscover the striking performance and its profound impact on contemporary dance. Following the broadcast, a short documentary film, produced by Filigrane Archives, will shed light on the work’s creation, significance, and legacy.
“We are thrilled to be a part of Digidance – and to join an initiative that not only celebrates the finest work happening today, but also shares historic visions like Joe,” says Jim Smith, Artistic and Executive Director of DanceHouse and Digidance Partner. “In its time, Perreault’s work marked a turning point in Canadian dance; it had an immense impact on an entire generation of young dance artists who currently define dance in Canada today – and we could not be more excited to share this iconic work with our audiences.”
Hailed “as masterpiece for all time,” “a cult piece” and “compared to a Beatles album, a book by Kundera or an Andy Warhol print,” Joe presents a rich and profound image of the human condition that is so accurate and so moving that it remains forever imprinted in the memories of those who have seen it. Driven by the percussive sound of heavy work boots pounding the floor, 32 dancers – identically garbed in overcoats and fedoras – move in a compact mass from which individuals occasionally attempt to free themselves to escape a foreordained destiny.
As with all Digidance presentations, the screening will be supplemented with informative, additional content to contextualize and dive deeper into the work.
For tickets and information on Joe and Digidance, visit: dancehouse.ca.