Les Ballets Jazz De Montréal Presents Leonard Cohen's DANCE ME At The Broad Stage
The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica presents Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM) performing its original work Leonard Cohen's Dance Me, a dance performance about the famed poet-singer-songwriter that evokes the grand cycles of existence in five seasons, as described in Cohen's deeply reflective work. Dance Me has two performances at The Broad Stage on Friday and Saturday, February 14 and 15 at 7:30pm.Dance Me is inspired by the rich and profound work of Montréal-based poet, artist and songwriter, Leonard Cohen. Approved by Cohen during his lifetime, and under the artistic direction of BJM Artistic Director Louis Robitaille, with the strong, bold dramaturgy of Eric Jean, this riveting homage to the famed artist evokes the grand cycles of existence in five seasons, as described in Cohen's deeply reflective music and poems. With a soundtrack of Cohen's most beloved songs, Dance Me paints a multifaceted portrait of the man who gave the world "Hallelujah" and "So Long, Marianne," his words finding profound, new meaning though dance. Three internationally renowned choreographers - Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Ihsan Rustem - who put movement to Cohen's legendary songs, which are brought to life by 14 Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM) performing artists. Dance Me, for which BJM has been granted exclusive dance rights for five years, combines scenic, visual, musical, dramaturgical and choreographic writing to honor one of Montreal's greatest ambassadors. Leonard Cohen songs included in the production include "Suzanne;" "So Long, Marianne;" "Famous Blue Raincoat;" "Lover, Lover, Lover;" "Hallelujah;" "First We Take Manhattan;" "Tower of Song;" "Everybody knows;" "Here It Is;" "Dance Me to the End of Love;" "Boogie Street;" "Nevermind;" "Steer Your Way;" "It Seemed the Better Way;" "String Reprise/Treaty;" and the poem "A Thousand Kisses Deep." Robitaille said in The Georgia Straight, "It was our luck that his last album [You Want It Darker] and songs went darker, and music critics considered it a masterpiece," Robitaille says. "We use three songs from that album, so we really use songs from the beginning, from 1967, to the very last one." The project started when Robitaille got a call from the organizers of Montréal's 375th anniversary celebrations. In the Toronto Star he said, "They wanted an integral evening, not a typical Ballets Jazz mixed program. The music of Leonard Cohen came into my mind immediately as the perfect vehicle. Although he was deeply rooted in Montréal he has touched so many people around the world, young and old, as much today as ever." The next challenge was to get Cohen's approval. Robitaille never met with the famously reclusive poet, singer and songwriter but through his manager, Robert Kory, Cohen made clear he did not want the ballet to be biographical or just a collection of his greatest hits. Nor, as it happened, had Robitaille ever envisioned it as such, so he was allowed to proceed. "He gave us his blessing," says Robitaille. "It was a great gift." Surrounded by a team of celebrated designers, Dance Me combines scenic, visual, musical, dramaturgical and choreographic writing to pay tribute to Montreal's greatest ambassador. Dance, music, lighting, scenography and videography all come together in this unforgettable show, for which BJM has been granted exclusive dance rights for five years.
Lynn Saxberg in the Ottawa Citizen wrote, "Dance Me, the riveting new Leonard Cohen-inspired piece is a grandly executed ... with a pace bustling with athletic prowess that demands every ounce of strength from the company's muscular and focused dancers [and] built on a lovingly assembled playlist of Cohen's songs, old and new, Despite the melancholy tone of much of Cohen's material, the man definitely had his own unique groove, and that's what drives this piece."Tickets starting at $69 are available at thebroadstage.org or by calling 310.434.3200, or visiting at the box office at 1310 11thSt. Santa Monica CA 90401 beginning three hours prior to performance.