Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal - To conquer Paris from July 21 to August 9, 2008

    MONTREAL, July 3 /CNW Telbec/ - The countdown has begun for Les Grands
Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, which is feverishly preparing for its visit to
the Les étés de la danse de Paris festival. Thirty-four years after the
stunning success of Tommy in 1974, the company's long-awaited return to the
French capital will occur as part of the official events the celebration of
Québec City's 400th anniversary. From July 21 to August 9, Paris will move to
the beat of Québec!
    "Youth, passion, the cultural diversity of the dancers, their artistic
quality and the eclecticism of their choreographic choices are all elements
that led me to choose Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal as the guest
company for Les étés de la danse," says event Director Valéry Colin. "I am
certain that Paris will give Les Grands the welcome that such a strong
international company deserves."
    Following in the footsteps of the San Francisco Ballet, Alvin Ailey
American Dance Theater and Ballet Nacional de Cuba - respectively guest
artists of the festival's last three editions - Les Grands Ballets, under its
Artistic Director Gradimir Pankov, will fly our country's colours at the Grand
Palais. The company will give a total of 16 performances in three different
programs that bring together the recent creations in its repertoire by Ohad
Naharin, Didy Veldman, Stijn Celis, Jiri Kylian and Mauro Bigonzetti. In so
doing, the company will underscore its raison d'être: to introduce the public
(approximately 45,000 spectators attend Les étés de la danse!) to new facets
of contemporary ballet in all its diversity. A number of these works will
première in France on this occasion.
    Minus One by Ohad Naharin, a phenomenal hit in the Grands Ballets
repertoire since its première in 2002, will open the gala on July 21. This
frenzied patchwork of dance and performance, featuring song, movement and
cabaret, showcases the incredible variety of the renowned Israeli
choreographer's style. Parisian audiences won't fail to catch his contagious
enthusiasm! Performances will take place at 9:30 p.m. on July 21, 22, 23, 24,
25 and 26.
    The second program comprises TooT, Noces and Six Dances. TooT, a piece
for 15 dancers by Dutch choreographer Veldman, was inspired by Shostakovich's
Suite No 2 for jazz bands. With a humorous and derisive tone, Veldman poses
questions about identity and the relationships between the individual and
society. Noces was created by Belgian choreographer Celis to the enchanting
notes of Stravinsky. This delirious Balkan country wedding, which calls on the
talents of 24 performers, takes a critical look at the institution of
marriage. Six Dances, by Kylian, choreographed for eight dancers to the piece
Six German Dances by Mozart, is, according to Kylian, "an absurd poetic flood
in six acts," whose humour should "point out the relativity of our values."
The three choreographies will be performed at 9:30 p.m. on July 29, 30 and 31,
and August 1 and 2.
    The third program includes The Four Seasons and Cantata by Italian
choreographer Bigonzetti. With The Four Seasons, created in 2007 for Les
Grands Ballets and set to the widely known music of Vivaldi, Bigonzetti has
carried off the challenge of expressing something different through pieces
that have been interpreted thousands of times, bringing forth "people's
internal seasons, our states of mind and our changes of mind." Lastly,
Cantata, commissioned by Ballet Gulbenkian in 2001, was added to the Grands
Ballets repertoire last year. With traditional music from southern Italy,
performed live by the singers of Gruppo Musicale Assurd, Cantata uses
instinctive, vital dance to explore the multiple facets of relations between
men and women. The piece is passionately Mediterranean! Performances take
place at 9:30 p.m. on August 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

    Surrounding Les Grands Ballets

    Satellite activities showcasing various aspects of contemporary Québec
creative work will take place every day the company performs at the Grand
Palais, starting at 7 p.m., with the support of the Government of Québec. The
public will be able to discover Occidents, a photographic installation by
photographer, sculptor and conceptual artist Jocelyne Alloucherie. Throughout
the festival, Les Grand Ballets' performances will be followed by DJ/VJ
"after-shows." From July 21 to 26, the Elektra international digital arts
festival will feature DJ/VJ performances by Montréal artists Baya
(Jean-Sébastien Baillat, DJ and VJ), Poison Arrow (Alain Thibault, DJ), DelRay
(Mathew Biederman, VJ) and Soul Sista (Marie-France Paquin, DJ). From July 21
to 23, they will be accompanied by Les Cubes volants, an arts and new
technologies performance by artist, architect and designer Nicolas Reeves,
made up of three flying cubes, or "aerobots," upon which VJs will project
video images in real time and to which spectators can send text messages using
a Palmtop or cellular phone. From July 27 until the Festival ends on August 9,
Soul Sista will take over the after-show events with a panorama program of
Québec music and song created especially for this occasion.


    His Excellency Marc Lortie, Ambassador of Canada, and Wilfrid-Guy Licari,
Québec's Delegate General in Paris, will serve as Honorary Chairs of a gala
evening to mark the Grands Ballets première and the Festival opening on July
21, to be attended by Christine Saint-Pierre, Québec Minister of Culture,
Communications and the Status of Women.

    Classes for the public

    The dancers of Les Grands Ballets will also give six classes open to the
public at 3 p.m. on July 23, 26 and 30 and August 2, 6 and 9.

    Supporting partners and organizations

    Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal is pleased to be associated with
the following prestigious partners: GE Capital Solutions, production and
opening gala sponsor; Air Canada, official carrier; the Ministère du Tourisme
du Québec, evening sponsor; and Global Jump, opening gala partner. Les Grands
is also benefiting from the generous cooperation of the Canadian Embassy and
the Délégation générale du Québec in Paris.
    Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal enjoys the financial support of
the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the
Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, Foreign Affairs and International
Trade Canada and Heritage Canada.
    The company would like to thank the Ministère de la Culture, des
Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec and the Ministère des
Relations internationales du Québec for their special support.

For further information:

For further information: Francine Arsenault, Communications, (514)
849-8681, ext. 227, farsenault@grandsballets.com; www.grandsballets.com

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