Marie-Joëlle Tremblay, General Manager, and the entire board of directors of BJM-Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal are proud to announce the appointment of Alexandra Damiani as the company’s new Artistic Director. She succeeds Louis Robitaille, who assumed the role with rigour and passion for 23 years. She will take up the torch in June, as the company continues its artistic evolution.
By joining BJM, Damiani brings along with her a vast network of international connections and a reputation for generosity and artistic excellence
During her 10 years with New York’s Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (2005-2015), first as ballet mistress and then as artistic director, Damiani had the opportunity to work with and present a wide variety of contemporary dance languages by internationally renowned choreographers, such as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Crystal Pite and Hofesh Schecter. Damiani also presented the company in major cities and international festivals, including at the Lyon Biennale in France and at Sadler’s Wells in London.
Damiani is a multidisciplinary artist who has been sharing her expertise with the world of film, television and advertising for many years. Her credits include playing the ballet mistress in Darren Aronofsky’s cult film Black Swan and working alongside Tanisha Scott on Cardi B’s performance for the 2019 BET Awards. Damiani is also passionate about training the young dancers of tomorrow and has excellent connections with highly regarded institutions like Jacob’s Pillow and The Juilliard School.
Originally from France, Damiani trained in classical dance at the Geneva Dance Center, and later in the French capital with teachers from the Paris Opera Ballet. After winning the jeune ballet d’Aquitaine de Bordeaux competition in France, she received a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in the US. She began her career as a dancer-performer in New York where she danced as a soloist with Donald Byrd/The Group and with the company Complexions, directed by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. Her career continued in Montreal with the RUBBERBANDance company and later with the Ballets Jazz de Montreal under the direction of Louis Robitaille (2002-2005).
“I have experienced the values of this company first-hand, where the personality and individuality of each dancer is respected, and where quality of work goes hand-in-hand with a desire to make dance accessible to all.
I’m honoured to take over from Louis Robitaille and will ensure that the company is a mirror of our society today, with all its complexities, challenges and differences.”
Alexandra Damiani succeeds Louis Robitaille, who has contributed to the growth and influence of the company on the international scene for more than 20 years. Participating actively in the democratization of the art of dance by thinking outside the box is a practice that will remain at the heart of the company’s DNA with the arrival of the new artistic director:
“From our first meeting, Alexandra was able to convey an inspiring artistic vision for the company. We are very happy to have her continue the artistic mission of BJM with her great love and respect for dance, her sensitivity and her particularly human approach.”
-Marie-Joëlle Tremblay, General Manager of BJM-Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal
This is a significant nomination since the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Under the combined artistic direction of Ms. Damiani and leadership of Marie-Joëlle Tremblay, who took office last June, a multitude of projects will unfold during the 2021-2022 season.
The company will soon be unveiling a special program that will take place across the city of Montreal as well as via digital channels to mark the 50th anniversary. Following in the footsteps of its hit work Dance Me featuring the music of Leonard Cohen, the company will also be announcing in the coming weeks its newest show under the creative direction and staging of Eric Jean.
As they have been with dedication since last July, Eric Jean and Jeremy Raïa will continue to serve as the company’s interim Artistic Directors until the new Director officially assumes her new role in June.