DOI: https://doi.org/10.31500/2309-8813.13.2018.152204

Moving center stage: Dance and Modernization in Late Twentieth Century Montreal

Blair A. Ruble

Анотація


Writing about the thousands of amateur and semiprofessional dancers who were soon to descend on a local dance competition on April 26, 2016, the homegrown newspaper of the off-island Montreal bedroom community of Terrebonne, Journal La Revue de Terrebonne noted that the Montreal region of some four millions souls was home to as many dance schools — 96 — as Italy.1 That weekend, 10,000 dancers would arrive at an otherwise unremarkable suburb of about 100,000 nestled on the St. Lawrence River’s north shore, thereby confirming once more that Montreal had become one of the world’s hot spots for dance.

Homegrown dancers and choreographers were not just local, of course. At the same time as the Terrebonne dance invasion, Montreal companies were appearing on stages around the world, often to rave reviews. Performance dance has entered the soul of Quebec where, just over a half-century ago, the art form had been all but banned by the moral strictures of clerical traditionalists. The city’s and province’s explosion in all manner of dance — and other arts — tracked remarkable political, social, cultural, and spiritual transformations that swept across Quebec society throughout the mid-twentieth century. The story of dance offers one insightful piece of the larger tale of a sudden embrace of modernity.


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