Marie Béland graduated from the University of Québec in Montreal (UQAM), where she received the William Douglas Award of Excellence as a student in dance creation. In 2005, she founded her company, maribé – sors de ce corps, that has produced her singular works where indiscipline is organized with precision and spirit. First maribé – live in Montréal (2005), created following a summer residency at Studio 303, followed by a work for teenagers Twis-manivelle (2005), which was chosen by the newspaper ICI as one of the five best works of the year. The next pieces was Dieu ne t’a pas créé juste pour danser (2008-2018) which received the prize ARRIMAGES during its tour of the Maisons de la culture of Montréal and which was completely revamped in 2018 to be toured again; RAYON X : a true decoy story (2010) co-presented by Tangente and le Festival Les Coups de Théâtre and seen nearly 25 times in Québec; BEHIND : une danse dont vous êtes le héros (2010), which was performed at Tangente, FTA, at Festival ArtDanThé in Vanves (France) then at Agora de la danse; Vie et mort de l’élégance (2012) that won the silver medal at the Jeux de la Francophonie 2013 (FR); BLEU – VERT – ROUGE (2013), presented at Agora de la danse; Révélations (2014), first presented in Spain and then at Tangente in Montréal in its final version; Persona (2015) created for EDCM graduates and presented in Ivory Coast during the Jeux de la Francophonie 2017; and finally BETWEEN (2015) in partnership with Montréal Danse, presented in a double bill with BEHIND : une danse dont vous êtes le héros at Festival ArtDanThé (FR), at Theatre 140 (BEL) at Agora de la danse and at the Festival Sounded Bodies in Zagreb (CRO). Marie then created BESIDE, which closes the B+B+B trilogy, again in partnership with Montréal Danse. Since her beginnings, she has had several residencies in Quebec and abroad (La Rotonde Québec, TanzWerkstatt Berlin, La Caldera Barcelona, Dance 4 center for choreography Nottingham, Cardiff Dance Festival, Centro per la Scena Comtemporanea Bassano del Grappa).
In addition to her work on stage, Marie Béland is interested in in situ dance, multidisciplinary work and teaching. She was a founding member of the production company La 2e Porte à Gauche, an organization that for 15 years created and produced contemporary dance events held in apartments, shops, bars, parks, and who sought to question the relationship between dance and the public, including Le Bal Moderne, 4quART, Danse à 10, Rendez-vous à l’hôtel and PLUTON. she authored in 2018 her master’s thesis entitled Cartography of the scene: the forces at play in the living spectacle (https://archipel.uqam.ca/13557/), which seeks to question the spectacle object and to understand its mechanics. She is a faculty member of the EDCM, and teaches creation to first-year students.
For 18 years, Marie Béland has choreographed works where the body goes beyond dance: dancing bodies, but also real, everyday, ordinary bodies are at the center of a fine and complex choreographic organization. Marie invites the public to reflect on live performance as a social and aesthetic phenomenon, and on the way in which our bodies are transformed when in contact with the stage. Each work is an attempt to reconcile body and mind, to show speech and the counter-discourses that appear in movements. Lately, Marie is interested in the choreography that our bodies produce in the process of speaking.
ARTISTIC DECLARATION OF MARIE BÉLAND
In my work, I invite the public to perceive art and dance as systems that respond to the same rules as those governing our society, in particular those harmonizing relations between people. My works are sometimes radical and they discipline the undisciplined with precision and finesse. Their apparent carefree spirit reveals a thoughtful reflection on human nature and social issues: I address dance, spectacle and dance performances to reveal their undersides, their mechanisms and even their failings. I question the parameters of dance: its favored codes, the way it invests the body and the stage, its clichés and its conventions, as metaphors of the codes and habits of our social fabric. What brings us together, what do we like, how do we react and why? Questioning the art of dance becomes a pretext to construct a portrait of the human being, its beauties, its desires, its failures. How dance, by its mechanisms and its trends, reflects the beings that we are and our individual, group and societal choices.
My choreographic signature combines dynamic physicality, absurd humor, popular culture and public engagement in a construction of meaning that can both unsettle and delight My movement esthetic preoccupations are focused more and more on gestures that go beyond form to become a conveyor of the piece’s meaning, its proposition, its conceptual expression. The performers use the human body in all of its senses to become the incarnation of an idea and its expression. They do actions rather than execute shapes. The body is not the ends but the means. It is important that the meaning of the work emerges from the movement. I prioritize a “hybrid language”, a diversified vocabulary where movement, words and sounds overlap. My primary tool remains body movement but to go further in the transmission of my reflections to the public, I do not hesitate to mix different elements of artistic expression that are not necessary those of dance.
In my propositions, the eventual spectators’ experience is at the heart of the choreographic choices. I like to assume confidence in the intelligence of the spectator and to leave them the choice – the right – to their own experience with an art work. My relationship with the public is frank and colored with humor. For several years now, I have shared with viewers my preoccupations about performance by using them as creative motors, either by asking about dance appreciation through a reflection on its failings (Dieu ne t’a pas créé juste pour danser, 2008), or by x-raying a show to reveal its mechanisms, its backstage actions as well as its artifices (RAYON X : a true decoy story, 2010), or by giving the spectator the liberty to reconstruct the show from visual clues with only glimpses of the body (BEHIND : une danse dont vous êtes le héros, 2010), or by questioning the influence of images and words on the mediatized body (BLEU – VERT – ROUGE, 2013) or, finally, by questioning the performers’ quest for authenticity in learning another’s role (Révélations, 2014). For each of these creations, I worked to propose a dance that was at once accessible and intelligible, one that relies as much on the entertaining aspect of performance as on its role as a mirror/critic of society.
– marie b.