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Montreal choreographer Mélanie Demers reinvents herself with 'Goodbye' at the FTA

Artist Mélanie Demers bids au revoir as she enters a new phase in her choreographic path. “I still recognize myself in it, but it’s a direction I didn’t expect to take,” she says of her new work, Goodbye, which premieres at Festival TransAmériques this week.

“I get excited when a creation takes over. Sometimes I see myself as a slave to the material and I love this feeling that we’re creating a monster!” she says, laughing. “I had a feeling the piece was stronger than us and it brought me to a place I didn’t want!”

Demers worked on the piece during a residency in Italy last fall with collaborators Brianna Lombardo, Chi Long and Jacques Poulin-Denis, to give rise to a dance-theatre piece that looks at the losses, both big and small, that we all undergo. “All of our life, we’re saying goodbye to who we are as people, partners, parents… We say goodbye to what we were. Losing things obliges us to reinvent ourselves.”


The set, which is stripped down to a simple, yet striking, bold checkerboard floor, is a departure from her last piece Junkyard Paradise, which incorporated an elaborate décor and several props. Demers jokingly says her previous works had a “messy” look, whereas this piece has a “slick” and “beautiful” cinematographic vibe, with “its David Lynch-y kind of look”.

In an effort to break the fourth wall, Demers reveals the piece encourages a real dialogue with the spectators. “We try to answer questions like what are we doing here as performers and as an audience,” she explains. “The audience has to understand the premiere is not the end of a piece; it’s just the beginning.”

 

Goodbye
June 6-8, 8 p.m.
Agora de la Danse | 840 Cherrier | fta.qc.ca