A leap into the future: Les Grands Ballets moving to the Quartier des spectacles in 2015

OTTAWA, May 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal enthusiastically welcome the Quebec Government's decision to provide financial support for the construction of the company's new work spaces, where it plans to move in the summer of 2015.

"The arts and culture sector is a powerful economic engine in our society, one which is often overlooked," explains Constance Pathy, Chair of the Board of Directors of Les Grands Ballets. "If Les Grands Ballets are to continue their role as cultural ambassador for a vibrant Montreal, government support is essential. The company will now be able to evolve in a space commensurate with its ambitions and international stature."

The Grands Ballets building will be constructed on the vacant lot between the Blumenthal Building (home to the Montreal International Jazz Festival) and the Wilder Building. One side will face west, onto Bleury Street, across from the Imperial Cinema, and another east, overlooking the Place des Festivals of the Quartier des spectacles.

Above all, the new building will meet the artistic needs of Les Grands Ballets, which have been confined to the second floor of a former garage on Rivard Street since 1980. The new dance studios, built to international standards, will improve rehearsal conditions for the dancers, while the production studio devoted entirely to creation will allow the company to pursue its innovative path. Performances will continue to take place at Place des Arts but the logistics will be simplified, given the proximity of the rehearsal and production spaces.

"As we wish to continue enhancing our reputation nationally and internationally, and to guarantee the best possible conditions for our dancers, the new home of Les Grands Ballets will undoubtedly stimulate the creativity of our artists and inspire the choreographers we work with," adds Gradimir Pankov, Artistic Director of Les Grands Ballets.

The new spaces will include facilities for strength training, physiotherapy and relaxation, essential to the dancers' wellbeing and professional growth. This relocation is also an opportunity for the company to broaden its vision and increase its impact and influence. The new studios, moreover, will enable the new National Centre for Dance Therapy, launched in April 2013, to develop in close collaboration with the community.

"By relocating downtown, we will be closer to the artistic community, to decision-makers in the business world and to the general public," affirms Alain Dancyger, Executive Director of Les Grands Ballets. "This strategic new location will strengthen our relationships with subscribers, audiences, donors and sponsors, in addition to facilitating new collaborations and evenlarger projects."

Les Grands Ballets are delighted with the support of the provincial and federal governments, confident that its new studios will further enhance Montreal's reputation as an international hub for creativity and innovation in dance. By moving to a larger and more accessible site, Les Grands Ballets will be better able to spotlight the skills of the dance sector (creation,presentation, promotion, training, education and research) and its protagonists (dancers, choreographers, producers, presentersand partners).

This strategic site will be named Espace Danse Québec; in addition to Les Grands Ballets, it will house Agora de la Danse,Tangente and the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal. Relying on its extensive expertise and knowledge, Les Grands Ballets decided to join forces with these three organizations to form a superior hub for dance, open to the communityand in support of the discipline. To complete the project's funding, these four organizations are working jointly on a private fundraising campaign. Already, $13 million has been raised towards their goal of $25 million. Once Espace Danse Québec is integrated into Place des Festivals, it will serve as an invaluable springboard for both local and international artists, reinforcing Montreal's position as a showcase for dance worldwide.

The relocation of Les Grands Ballets to the vibrant Quartier des spectacles is the result of a long process that involved considerable reflection and the collaboration of several institutions and individuals. The company extends its warmest thanks to the Government of Quebec; to Premier Pauline Marois; to the Minister of Culture and Communications, Maka Kotto; to the Minister of Finance and the Economy, Nicolas Marceau; to the Minister Responsible for Government Administration and Chair of the Conseil du Trésor, Stéphane Bédard; as well to the Government of Canada; Prime Minister Stephen Harper; the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, James Moore; Chantier Canada; the Société immobilière du Québec (SIQ), which will assume the project's management; TD Bank Group, which generously donated land valued at $450,000; architect Michel Lapointe from Lapointe, Magne et associés; Ædifica Architecture and Design; Mrs. Constance Pathy, Chair of the Board of Directors; members of Les Grands Ballets' Board of Directors; the company's special projects committee; all members of itspermanent staff; and lastly, all donors and sponsors, for their support, trust and generosity.

Official opening (anticipated): Summer 2015
Project management: Société immobilière du Québec (SIQ)
Architect: Michel Lapointe, Lapointe, Magne et associés
Address: 1435 de Bleury Street, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2H7
Surface area occupied by Les Grands Ballets: 5,000 sq. m.
Number of studios: 8 (3 rehearsal studios, 1 production studio, 4 studios for the National Centre for Dance Therapy)
Street-front ticket office

Founded in 1957 by Ludmilla Chiriaeff and under the artistic direction of Gradimir Pankov since 2000, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal are a non-profit organization devoted to the creation, production and presentation of world-class dance performances. Committed to developing ballet in all its forms, but with a solid foundation in classical ballet, Les Grands Ballets embody values of openness, creativity, innovation and risk-taking, grounded in a vision of society that is both inspired and generous. Reflecting current trends in dance, the company performs to audiences in Canada and abroad, from the United States to the Middle East, from Europe to Asia.


SOURCE: Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal

For further information:

Sheila Skaiem
Communications Manager
(514) 849-8681, ext. 239

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