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Page 16

LEONARD COHEN’S

DANCE Louis Robitaille was already a Leonard Cohen fan when he met the late Canadian poet and songwriting legend on a film set in 1984. After that encounter, though, you could have called him a super-fan. “I was struck by his presence and charisma and gentleness,” Robitaille recalled. “He came to shake hands with a lot of people. He could have sat in a corner and watched the filming. He was so kind and the impression he left me with was so much stronger than before I met him. I was a fan then, but I became a strong listener from that moment.”

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Then a dancer, Robitaille also became determined to create a performance that incorporated Cohen’s music — perhaps a pas de deux, or a one-off special event or gala. Some 30 years later, Robitaille, now the artistic director for Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM), got his chance when his and Cohen’s home city celebrated its 375th anniversary, and he was tapped to lead a project in honour of Montreal’s milestone. Robitaille channelled Cohen’s graciousness that he experienced all those years earlier and created Dance Me, a moving homage to the artist and icon with the help of

dramaturgist and stage director Eric Jean. “He’s one of the most famous artists of his generation in the world. One and one make two and that’s how we made it happen,” Robitaille said about Dance Me’s ideation. Dance Me, which comes to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre for two performances on Sunday 23 February, “evokes the grand cycles of existence in five seasons, as described in Cohen’s deeply reflective music and poems.” It puts movement choreographed by Adonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Ishan Rustem, and performed by 14 BJM dancers, to Cohen's music.

Profile for Firstontario Performing Arts Centre

CentreStage 2019/2020 Issue 2  

Take in an in-depth look at some upcoming winter performances during our 5th HOT TICKET season at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in...

CentreStage 2019/2020 Issue 2  

Take in an in-depth look at some upcoming winter performances during our 5th HOT TICKET season at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in...

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