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December 13, 2005

border crossings


The following may have nothing to do with New York, per se, but please read on.

Place has a lot to do with how artists function. Case in point: In 1948 Québec-based painter Paul-Emile Borduas and a group of rebel artists took the courageous step of signing a manifesto, Le Refus Global, the statement of ‘total refusal’, and a banner for individual freedom. This document is considered Quebec’s first passage into modernity, and it shifted the profile for dance in Québec (and Canada).

These artists endured in the face of huge resistance. French Canadian society was heavily influenced by Catholic thought and with it an underscoring of traditional values and way of life, and these artists demanded Québec become more secular and cast off the cultural blinders of the time.

The Refus Global prompted the seeds for the Quiet Revolution, and with it the social and political movements that galvanized Québec into the modern era.

Dancer-choreographer Françoise Sullivan was among the signatories of the Refus Global, and in the manifesto she published La danse et l’espoir (Dance and Hope), the first theoretical essay published in Québec on the nature and meaning of dance in society.

The talents of contemporary Québecois artists such as Margie Gillis, Édouard Lock, or Marie Chouinard, and the generations of innovative artists following them, arguably might not be making work if it weren’t for a few creative and bold artists who decided to redefine the landscape, and demanded that a creative environment exist. So, yes, articulating artistic principles and ideas about dance and the arts, has everything to do with territory and crossing borders.

Posted by at December 13, 2005 1:46 PM


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