An interest in performing arts curation has been an integral part of my practice since I finished my post-secondary school studies. In 2004 I co-founded
the organization Wants&Needs danse (with Montreal choreographer Sasha Kleinplatz). The following are my main curatorial interests/pre-occupations:
1. To provide innovative platforms for dance artists to show their work outside of the often limiting confines of the traditional theatre context.
2. to create links between artists of all kinds, bridging the gaps of language, experience, and artistic aesthetics
3. To challenge the choreographic process with guidelines for creation that force choreographers to examine their practice and question the audiences relationship to performance.
4 (possibly most importantly) To expose a new audience to contemporary dance work and re-contextualize the dance experience as something that can be fun and un-pretentious
As the co-artistic director of Wants&Needs danse I have been responsible for curating 4 major initiatives: Piss in the Pool, Short&Sweet The Total Space Party and Involved.
I view much of the work I do as a curator to be a form of activism: A continual discourse and questioning that implicates the public, artists and the community at large. Creating these events has kept me steadily involved in the Montreal dance community, and become one of the more active artists of my generation. It has also
brought me to consider / re-consider ideas of dance community both nationally and internationally.
As a curator, I like to think about the social implications which are an integral part of the dance event. I try to find conditions that encourage a festive atmosphere in both the public and the artists that are implicated. This is true in all respects, from the way the event is promoted (specially designed printed flyers, heavy social media) to the more casual type of the engagement that is created in the audience (the public stays to drink and dance hours after the performances). I envision the events that I curate to be not only a great place to discover new works but a dynamic space for exchange (and socializing) centered around dance making.
As the events have grown, I have gone on to program not only dance artists, but filmakers, scientists and even chefs. Because of this, our events have created a rare space for artists of all disciplines to discuss their craft with one another, mobilizing the artistic scene and creating a dialogue between many who would not normally have the chance to meet each other. It is my aim to foster an environment which encourages artists to take risks and have the opportunity to fail. This is achieved partly due to the context of the festive atmosphere mentioned above, but also in the consideration of the types of artists that are programmed. I give artists who have never presented their work before the chance to perform alongside the most established artists and companies. By leveling the playing field, I create an “anything can happen” kind of energy - which is exciting for both the public and the artists participating in the event. The audience is an integral part in establishing this climate of risk taking, and I have worked hard on cultivating a public that is curious, supportive and looking to discover new ideas.
This has made the Wants&Needs events an important part of the dance eco-system, and a breeding ground for new works and talent. We have programmed hundreds of artists over the last 12 years, and ideas which have been presented at our events have gone on to become part of full productions at Studio 303, Espace Tangente,Theatre Lachapelle, the Festival Trans-Ameriques and international productions.