Founded in 1972 by Geneviève Salbaing, Eva Von Genscy and Eddy Toussaint, Ballets Jazz Montréal is a contemporary dance repertory company which, under the artistic direction of Alexandra Damiani, creates, produces, and presents on local, national, and international stages.
The company collaborates with internationally renowned choreographers who develop their own research in line with BJM’s identity to generate a repertoire that is both exclusive to the company and accessible to all audiences. The company’s impressive roster of talented and influential choreographers includes Crystal Pite, Aszure Barton, Mauro Bigonzetti, Andonis Foniadakis, Itzik Galili, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Barak Marshall, Benjamin Millepied, Ihsan Rustem, Anne Plamondon and Juliano Nunes, to name a few. As an ambassador of Quebec dance to the world, Ballets Jazz Montréal offers an artistic product that is explosive, original, accessible, and noted or the excellence of its performance.
Among the artistic directors of the company who have greatly marked its evolution, company founder Geneviève Salbaing, driven by her visceral love of dance, led Ballets Jazz Montréal with passion and determination for over 20 years. Upon his appointment as artistic director in 1998, Louis Robitaille, reoriented the company towards an audience curious to discover new choreographic forms. In June 2021, Alexandra Damiani took over the artistic direction of BJM and will carry out the company’s mission and vision into the future.
All of Ballet Jazz Montréal’s work bring an element of humanity, fearlessness, and emotion in addition to the high technical skill that each dance requires. Additionally, each piece is nuanced, multilayered and often multidisciplinary – combining other artistic disciplines such as theater, video, and music. With accessibility and quality as key values, the company successfully integrates pleasure and humanity into their strong, expressive, and demanding pieces. Moreover, the distinct personalities and high caliber of its performers further add to the quality that is expected from the company and play a key role in maintaining the company’s reputation and influence in the dance world.
Through their productions, performances, and educational activities, Ballets Jazz Montréal encourages discovery, stimulates imagination, and shares their passion for this discipline to all its audiences – both local and abroad. With more than 2,600 performances in 68 countries and an audience of over 2.8 million, Ballets Jazz Montréal is considered one of the world’s leading ambassadors of Quebec dance and artistic vitality.
In 2016, the Prix Rideau Hommage was awarded to the company and its artistic director at the time, Louis Robitaille, in recognition of the company’s impact and continued presence on Quebec stages.
In 2020, the company received the Prix de la danse de Montréal for the category of international dissemination presented by CINARS.
In 2021-2022 season, the company celebrated 50 years of creating, exploring, boundary pushing, and connecting with its audiences.