The Montréal-Jerusalem Choreographic Exchange Project

This three-year choreographic exchange project was initiated in 2015 by way of conversations between two dance artist-curators, Elad Schechter from Jerusalem and Dena Davida from Montréal, artistic directors and founders of dance organisations c.a.t.a.m.o.n and Tangente, respectively. The former is a contemporary dance company in Jerusalem for which Schechter is artistic director, and which has also initiated the conception of a cooperative building to house several interdisciplinary artistic organisation as well as a dance festival in the local marketplace. The latter is a contemporary dance presenting organization with an ongoing season of performances which resides in a newly constructed downtown dance building in Montreal alongside other dance companies, where they will be able to offer residency space as well as programming possibilities in an intimate theatre setting.

Schechter and Davida share mutual interests as artists in fostering cross-cultural artistic and cultural exchange, offering support to emerging and mid-career choreographers, and creating opportunities for advancing trust and understanding between countries and societies. Coming from Québec and Jerusalem, they also share the importance and richness of cultural identity and history as a predominant narrative in their artistic visions, as their communities struggle to define their place in the wake of globalism.

This project is to be “artist-driven” in its emerging design, rather than confined to a prescribed set of conditions or imposed themes. This implies activities such as encounters and discussions, pedagogical experiences and sharing, the conception of written texts and blogs, studio exploration sessions, and visiting the city and its artistic and social spaces. The artists will spend time together as well as individually, and will be given occasion to meet local artists. The exchange will necessarily take different forms in each of our cities because of the vast artistic, political, economic, and social differences.
The outcome in the following period would arise from the experiences in the former, and propositions from the participating artists would also take many forms such as choreographic studies and collaborations, public performances, published essays, retreats and seminars, and so on.

The long-term project envisages an exchange over a minimum of three years in three stages:
(1) Year 1: an immersive visit by Schechter and Davida to each other’s cities (the first visit took place in June 2016 with the financial support of the Isreali Consulate in Montréal.)
(2) Year 2: a two-week expedition of a group of 8 artists who would travel to each other’s cities and accompany each other as hosts, with a schedule to be determined in light of the artists’ own interests and curiosities for discovery.
(3) Year 3: financial and material support for artistic residencies, creation projects, performances or other kinds of activities that emerge as a result of the immersive residencies in the host city abroad.

From Montréal, four choreographers have been chosen in view of their interest and background either with Judaism or with Isreal: Suzanne Miller, Sasha Kleinplatz, k.g. Guttman, and Erin Hill. They represent different generations and aesthetic outlooks. From Jerusalem, the choreographers chosen are Sophia Krantz, Ido Feder, Ruby Eidelman, and Or Ashkenazi. These groups are intergenerational, and include choreographers, interpreters, curators and scholars.

The budget will consist of airfares, artists fees, housing and per diems for directors and artists as they travel, as well as an activity budget for the second phase. The third phase of support for projects that emerge from the artist expeditions is yet to be determined, but will include financing for new productions and further creative projects that are the outcome of the second phase.

Both Tangente and c.a.t.a.m.o.n have extensive histories of organizing various kinds of artistic exchange, and are excited by this new opportunity.