In 1982, in Québec’s effervescent contemporary dance scene, Daniel Soulières founded Danse-Cité, a unique dance company without a choreographer or dancers and without a dedicated venue, staunchly open to experimentation and innovative projects, and entirely dedicated to creation in Montréal.
Over the years, Danse-Cité’s history has created different formats for presenting works and properly hosting and supporting artists, always adapting to the evolution of the Montréal dance community and its needs.
With the events Most Modern and Événements de la pleine lune, Danse-Cité makes room for a new generation of dancers: Louise Bédard, Ginette Laurin, Daniel Soulières, Monique Girard and many others. Performers and choreographers present their shows alongside composers and musicians.
Jean-Pierre Perreault is given carte blanche to create Joe et Rodolphe for fourteen dancers and four musicians.
The first Volet Chorégraphe proposes one program shared by two choreographers. Danse-Cité presents emerging artists such as Catherine Tardif, Daniel Soulières, Sylvain Émard, Danièle Desnoyers, Hélène Blackburn, Andrew Harwood and William Douglas. A two-week performance run was instituted to support artists developing their craft as performers and makers.
Two new formats appear: the Volet Intégral, an evening devoted to a single choreographer, and the Volet Interprète, in which a dancer is artistic director of their own project.
The event Most Modern continues.
Local artists begin exchanges with European artists, namely a collaboration with Berlin-based choreographer Sasha Waltz and Benoît Lachambre, and the production HAUTNAH by German artist Felix Ruckert.
Danse-Cité becomes a tenant and resident dance company of the Agora de la danse and consolidates its structure. Permanent staff is recruited to offer artistic, administrative, production and communication support.
Other art forms become integral to some productions, namely theatre and video.
Rehearsal studios are opened to the audience and post-show discussions (jeudis causeries) are established for conversations between spectators and artists.
In 2002, the Celebration formula was presented for Danse-Cité’s 20th anniversary. This project combined past and future by remounting repertoire of the Volet Interprète, transmitted by one generation of dancers to a younger one.
Danse-Cité adopted a new signature: the Trace des créateurs, divided into three distinct sections: Traces-Interprètes, Traces-Chorégraphes and Traces-Hors-Sentiers, the latter offering carte blanche to artists working in the periphery of dance.
International exchanges continue.
Art Circulation is founded, a consortium of Montréal companies supporting and promoting the work of its members nationally and internationally.
Danse-Cité begins collaborating with new faces in contemporary creation, Audrey Bergeron, David Albert-Toth and Emily Gualtieri, Eduardo Ruiz Vergara, and Milan Gervais. The company also creates more cultural animation projects (Les Impatients, La Trace de ceux qui ont marché).
Productions are presented in new and unusual venues such as a nine-story parking lot with Inscape: the other now (2019), and a former institute for the deaf and dumb with La Loba (2016). The company leads intergenerational projects (Pluto - act I, II, III); projects giving more voice to performers (Nous (ne) sommes (pas) tous des danseurs, 2016, 2018, 2019); and multiform and international collaborations (Ginette Laurin - Québec and Jens Van Daele - Netherlands, 2017; Antonija Livingstone - Canada and Nadia Lauro - France, 2019).
Daniel Soulières hands over the artistic direction and general management to artist Sophie Corriveau, leaving his role in the company March 31, 2020.
At the beginning of its 40th season (2021), Danse-Cité has presented more than 341 original choreographies, with more than 1142 performances of 151 productions, in 63 venues, bringing together more than 865 performers since 1982.