Chi Long, Brianna Lombardo, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Mélanie Demers, MAYDAY remix © Mathieu Doyon
Marc Boivin is a performer, improviser, teacher, and choreographer. He began his dance career with Le Groupe de la Place Royale under the direction of Peter Boneham before joining Ginette Laurin and her company O Vertigo Danse in 1985. Since 1991, he has worked as an independent dancer, performing mainly for Louise Bédard, Sylvain Emard, Jean-Pierre Perreault, Catherine Tardif, Tedd Robinson and, since 2007, in some of his own original works. He has been affiliated with the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal since 1987, and he regularly features as a guest teacher and choreographer in schools and companies across Canada. For his performance in WOULD, choreographed by Mélanie Demers, Marc Boivin received the Dora Mavor Moore Award in the summer of 2014.
Laïla Diallo has been creating internationally-performed dance works since 2005. Current pieces include Edge and Shore and a new performance work, Countless Yellow Chairs. In 2017 Laïla was commissioned to co-create a new work for the Skanes Dance Theatre (Malmö, Sweden) with Mélanie Demers. In addition to working regularly in opera, theatre, and television, she frequently teaches in both university and professional settings, offering classes, workshops, talks, and mentoring sessions to both emerging and established artists. A recipient of a Rayne Fellowship for Choreographers in 2006, between 2009 and 2012 Laïla was also an Associate Artist at ROH2, Royal Opera House.
A performance graduate of the theatre program at Collège Lionel-Groulx, Francis Ducharme has built up a multifaceted career performing in theatre, film, and dance. He has performed in fifteen theatrical productions under directors such as Alice Ronfard, Claude Poissant, Brigitte Haentjens, Serge Denoncourt, Lorraine Pintale, Brigitte Poupard, and Catherine Bourgeois. On the big screen, he has acted in the following films: Chasse Galerie (J.P Duval), Corbo (M. Denis), Les Signes Vitaux (S. Deraspe), La Capture (C. Laure), and C.R.A.Z.Y. (J.-M. Vallée). A convention-defying artist, he has worked with the choreographer Dave St-Pierre as well as with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, most notably during the filming of Babel, directed by Damien Jalet. As a dancer he can be seen performing in works by Frédérick Gravel/Grouped’ArtGravel, by MAYDAY/Mélanie Demers, by Catherine Gaudet.
An alumnus of the National Ballet School of Canada, since 1998 James Gnam has worked with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Ballet BC, EDAM dance, Grand Poney and MAYDAY. He has had the pleasure of creating, collaborating, and performing in works by Crystal Pite, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Jiri Kylian, Peter Bingham, Thomas Lehman, Lee Su-Feh, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Barak Marshall, and Mélanie Demers. James is the artistic director of plastic orchid factory and a founding member of Vancouver’s only artist-run dance centre, Left of Main. As the director of plastic orchid factory he takes a collaborative approach, creating interdisciplinary works focussing on the body as a site of social commentary.
An award-winning dance artist, Kate Holden has had the pleasure of interpreting the works of many esteemed Canadian choreographers, including Peggy Baker, Roberto Campanella, Robert Desrosiers, David Earle, Sylvain Émard, Sasha Ivanochko, James Kudelka, Laurence Lemieux, Emily Molnar, Mélanie Demers, and Yvonne Ng. She spent five seasons as a company member of Dancemakers under the artistic direction of Michael Trent and was also a dancer with the Danny Grossman Dance Company for two seasons. With Kate Franklin, she founded firstthingsfirst productions to commission and produce new contemporary dance works by Canadian choreographers. She has been nominated in NOW Magazine’s reader poll as best female dancer in Toronto.
Anne-Marie Jourdenais has worked in the Montréal dance scene since leaving the EDCM in 1996. Her association with Mélanie Demers dates back over twenty years. She started out as a performer, discovering and creating with Marie-Pascale Bélanger, Julie Boisvert, Estelle Clareton, Mélanie Demers, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Harold Rhéaume, and Tassy Teekman. She then steadily developed an interest in the bigger picture and became a rehearsal director. Over the years, she has exchanged questions, recommendations, and intuitions with, among others: Alan Lake, Mélanie Demers, Ginette Laurin, Manon Oligny, Marie-Claude Rodrigue, and Dave St-Pierre. Fascinated by everything the body can feel and express, she devotes a large portion of her time and energy to the practice and teaching of Qi Gong.
Chi Long studied dance in Australia, where she performed for several years with Canberra Dance Theatre. She moved to Montreal in 1990 and joined O Vertigo the next year. She participated in the creation of La Chambre blanche, Déluge, La Bête (The Beast Within), En Dedans, La Vie qui bat, and Luna. In 2002, she joined the Compagnie Marie Chouinard, performing in The Rite of Spring, 24 Preludes by Chopin, Le Cri du Monde, Chorale and Body Remix/Goldberg Variations. Chi Long returned to O Vertigo in 2008 to dance in a remount of La Chambre blanche, as well as in Onde de choc (2010). Her performance in Goodbye in 2012 marked her debut working with MAYDAY.
Brianna Lombardo completed her professional training at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and then worked with various international artists in Europe on a Chalmers Arts Fellowship. As an independent dancer, she worked in Toronto with Michael Trent and Matjash Mrozewski and in Montreal with Isabelle Van Grimde and Jean-Pierre Perreault before a stint with O Vertigo from 2004 to 2010. After six years with the company, she became a freelancer again and worked closely with Mélanie Demers (MAYDAY), Jacques Poulin-Denis (Grand Poney), Frédérick Gravel (Grouped’ArtGravelArtGoup), Caroline Laurin-Beaucage, Martin Messier and Sasha Ivanochko. In addition to working as a dancer, she has been teaching the O Vertigo and MAYDAY repertoires since 2010.
After graduating from College Lionel-Groulx in 2003, Alexandre Pilon-Guay found work in the circus scene with Cirque Eloize. He then became technical director for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens of Montreal, before making lighting design his sole focus. He has collaborated with choreographers Mélanie Demers, Virginia Brunelle, Frédérick Gravel, Lynda Gaudreau and Antonija Livingstone. In theatre, Alexandre has worked with Catherine Vidal, Emmanuel Schwartz, Alice Ronfard, Jérémie Niel, Justin Laramée, Momentum and Transthéâtre. An artist with a sensibility in constant evolution, Alexandre Pilon-Guay finds inspiration in examining the relationship between light, the body, and surrounding space. This perspective underlays his photographic work as well.
A composer, choreographer, director, and performer, the oeuvre of Jacques Poulin-Denis blurs the lines between dance, music and theatre. His work has been performed in over twenty cities across Canada, as well as in the United States, Europe and Asia. An artist-in-residence at Agora de la danse in Montréal, he was awarded a two-month residency in Berlin during the Tanz Im August Festival, as well as several choreographic research periods in Montreal, Victoria, Vancouver, Bassano and Seoul. Since 2006 he has worked closely with Mélanie Demers as a composer and performer. Jacques Poulin-Denis is a winner of an Isadora Duncan Dance Award, San Francisco (2004), and a Saskatoon Area Theatre Award (2009).
A graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Program in Contemporary Dance and the Wexford School for the Arts Musical Theatre program, Sims has worked with: Tedd Robinson, Mélanie Demers, Frédérik Gravel, Ann Van den Broek (NL) Ann Liv Young (USA), Kettly Noël (WAFR), Noam Gagnon, Michael Trent, and Allison Cummings. From 2012 – 2014, Sims spent three seasons as a company member of Ottawa Dance Directive (‘ODD’) with Artistic Director Yvonne Coutts. Sims is the Artistic Director of Social Growl Dance, established in 2012. The company has presented contemporary dance creations at festivals and venues including; The Citadel: The Ross Centre for Dance, the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, the SummerWorks Performance Festival, Dark Horse Dance Projects Festival, The Alumnae Theatre, and Gallery 1313.
Angélique Willkie is an artist active in the dance, music, theatre, and circus communities. Trained at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, she has danced in works by Ballets C de la B, company Karin Vyncke, and Needcompany. As a singer, she has collaborated with, among others, Zap Mama, dEUS, DAAU, and Zita Swoon Group. Alongside her career as a performing artist, Angélique Willkie has taught at the École Supérieure des Arts du Cirque in Brussels and at the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal. She has been teaching in the contemporary dance department at Concordia University for several years now.