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Digidance Presents Jean-Pierre Perreault's JOE

DigiDance combines DanceHouse (Vancouver), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), and Danse Danse (Montreal).

Harbourfront Centre, in partnership with Digidance, announces the exclusive online broadcast of Montreal choreographer Jean-Pierre Perreault's (1947-2002) milestone work Joe - streaming March 17-23, 2021. Having premiered in 1984 to critical acclaim, the visually arresting work 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.

The broadcast of Joe is due to 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.

"Digidance is about celebrating and sharing the most inspiring and groundbreaking dance with Canadian audiences," says Nathalie Bonjour, Director, Performing Arts at Harbourfront Centre and Digidance Partner. "With this broadcast of Joe, one of the aspects of the initiative we find most exciting is sharing iconic works from the Canadian dance canon. We are thrilled to introduce a new generation of audiences to the visionary and enduringly relevant work of Jean-Pierre Perrault, truly one of Canada's most influential choreographers."

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.

The upcoming 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.

As with all Digidance presentations, the screening will be supplemented with informative, additional content to contextualize and dive deeper into the work. Following the broadcast of Joe, a short documentary film, produced by Filigrane Archives, will shed light on the work's creation, significance, and legacy.

Perreault is considered one of Canada's most important choreographers. Winner of several prestigious national awards, including the Governor General's Award for the Arts, he is recognized globally for his contributions and innovations in contemporary dance. A thoroughly committed artist, Perreault was responsible for the stage design, choreography, lighting, and sound design of all his work. He placed fragile beings - intense, authentic, and "Perreault-esque" - in a world of vast architectural spaces. Racing, jumping, ruptures, sounds, and rhythms are the features of Perreault's style, a dance with deep roots in space and place and which, in part, creates its own music. Perreault's work constantly brings us face to face with human nature.


For tickets and information on Joe and Digidance, visit: harbourfrontcentre.com


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