BAGNE is the centrepiece of a ten-year-plus collaboration between two Montreal-based choreographers and performers: Jeff Hall and Pierre-Paul Savoie.
Graduates of the Department of Contemporary Dance at Concordia University, where they met, they both had unique career trajectories: Jeff as a former Frisbee champion and Pierre-Paul as a graduate of the acting program at the National Theatre School of Canada. Their athleticism and shared taste for physical risk would form the basis of their artistic bond, embodied in eclectic choreographic writing that drew on various disciplines in order to innovate and open new avenues in dance. During their collaborative period, in the 1980s and 1990s, this incongruous pair marked the history of dance in Quebec and Canada. BAGNE, created in 1993, is the crowning achievement of their close collaboration.
In 1998, the work was transmitted to two female dancers (Sarah Williams and Carole Courtois) who performed the adaptation brilliantly. To mark the 25th anniversary of PPS Danse in 2015, BAGNE was recreated, this time for two younger male dancers (Lael Stellick and Milan Panet-Gigon). Jonathan Fortin also participated in the research for this recreation. In 2017, Oliver Koomsatira took on the role created by Milan Panet-Gigon in 2015. This recreation was co-produced by Danse Danse, in partnership with Place des Arts.
The creation of this choreographic toolkit has been an act of memory and transmission. It has taken us back to the origins of the production, writes Pierre-Paul Savoie, loosely based on the work of Jean Genet and rooted in the unique creative bond between Hall and Savoie.
The toolkit is also a tribute to a team of inspired collaborators who contributed to the exceptional and lasting success of both the original and re-created versions.
“Confined in a huge metal structure, two men embrace under the watchful eyes of captivated spectators. In this intense and moving amalgam of dance and theatre, a humanly brutal force transforms to a universal tenderness. The imprisoned beings entwine in raw and sensitive movement. It is a hymn to liberty and the power of love.” -Danse Danse