Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal dancers Céline Cassone and Christian Denice in "Rouge." (Raphaëlle Bob Garcia)
With its mission being to use dance as a means to provoke emotions, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM) will be returning to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for only three performances.
Show-goers will be able to catch the performances at the famous Bram Goldsmith Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif., April 16-18.
Having previously sold out their performances last season, audiences can expect a new program, including “Zero in On” choreographed by Cayetano Soto, “Kosmos” choreographed by Andonis Foniadakis, and “Rouge” choreographed by Rodrigo Pederneiras.
“We feel very honored to return to Los Angeles,” says Artistic Director Louis Robitaille. “The challenge is even bigger this time but we are taking it with a lot of joy.”
Founded in 1972 by Geneviève Salbaing, Eva Von Gencsy, and Eddy Toussaint, BJM is renowned internationally and has worked with numerous prestigious figures from the world of dance.
Nominated as Artistic Director in 1998, Robitaille first encountered Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal in 1972.
Robitaille acknowledges he was attracted to dance, in part, because it helped him focus and express himself.
He recalls taking a ballet class to further his skills and laughs at the thought of being a young man. He says, “To put on tights and ballet shoes was not my cup of tea but somehow in the environment of the school, I did it.”
As Artistic Director, Robitaille is in charge of “being a problem solver,” he says. Whether it be from visuals to choreography, schedules to training and rehearsals, he is aware of everything going on around him.
“It’s a race against the clock,” he says. “It’s never quiet when you’re responsible for so many people and so many artistic dimensions.”
“Zero In On” features dancers with fluid-like movements and incorporates a reduced stage in order to have the focus purely on the two dancers, a male and female. Robitaille describes it as very athletic and demanding as well as very unique in its movement.
Soto began his dance education in his hometown Barcelona at the Instituto del Teatro and continued his studies at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague. He has created works like “M/C,” about the relationship of Marilyn Monroe and Truman Capote. As well as “Two at a Time,” and “Kiss Me Goodnight.”
Foniadakis drew on inspiration from every day urban life for his piece, “Kosmos.” The work displays a big city and the challenges people face and is described as organized chaos by Robitaille. “Kosmos” features music by Julien Tarride.
Having studied at the State Dance School of Athens, Foniadakis has presented full evening works with his own company, Apotosoma, including “USE,” “Rite of Spring,” and “All Things Are Quite Silent.” Foniadakis has previously choreographed three operas.
He has shown his work in France, Greece, Italy, Finland, Luxembourg, England, and the U.S.
As for “Rouge,” choreographed by Pederneiras of the Brazilian company Grupo Corpo, which has created 35 choreographies and more than 2,300 pieces, and features music by The Grand Brothers, it centers on themes of confrontation and clash of cultures.
Robitaille urges audiences to go to the performances as it aims to motivate others and expose them to the beauty of dance and provide them with an experience unlike anything they’ve seen before. He says the goal of BJM is to make dance accessible and to reach as many people as possible.
Ticket prices range from $39-$99 and can be purchased at www.thewallis.com or by calling (310) 746-4000. Tickets may also be purchased in person at The Wallis ticket services located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
BJM performance schedule is as follows:
Thursday, April 16 at 8 p.m.
Friday, April 17 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 18 at 8 p.m.