Featured: Dance Works Rotterdam/André Gingras (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Dance Works Rotterdam/André Gingras is one of the oldest, still existing modern dance companies in the Netherlands. The company was founded in 1975 by Käthy Gosschalk as Werkcentrum Dans. In 1988 Gosschalk changed the name to De Rotterdamse Dansgroep (The Rotterdam Dance Company). Gosschalk directed the company with a clearly recognizable vision for 25 years. Ton Simons was appointed artistic director in 1999 which led to Dance Works Rotterdam in 2001. Since this time the company has toured succesfully abroad to the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Cyprus, France, Romania, Russia and Indonesia.

As of 1 March 2010 Dance Works Rotterdam entered a new artistic phase with the appointment of André Gingras as artistic director. Under the leadership of Gingras, Dance Works Rotterdam/André Gingras puts contemporary dance in a social context: it brings relevant moral dilemmas into the theatre with energetic and raw dance. The company emphasizes collaboration and dialogue with other organisations and artist beyond the boundaries of contemporary dance. Gingras’ international network and experience gives the company a new impulse.

Since its inception, the company has played an important part in the development of dance as a valuable component of contemporary culture. Many renowned Dutch dance artists started their career with the company, including Anouk van Dijk, Hans Tuerlings and Ed Wubbe. Throughout its rich history, the company has danced works by major international choreographers such as Merce Cunningham, Jacopo Godani, Bill T. Jones, Amanda Miller and Stephen Petronio. The latest coproduction (LIBIDO) which exemplifies the new artistic direction of the company, is with Canadian choreographer Dave St. Pierre. In this new phase, Dance Works Rotterdam/André Gingras remains at the forefront of choreographic developments through Gingras’ repertory and dynamic new collaborations with internationally renowned artists.

photo: Valeria Cosi

About André Gingras

André Gingras was born in Canada and studied in Toronto, Montréal and New York City. His studies in Canada encompassed theatre, English literature and contemporary dance. He received a Canada Council Arts Award to pursue his dance education in New York City. In NYC he worked with Christopher Gillis, Doug Varone, and the Doris Humphrey Repertory Co. In 1996 Gingras became a regular member of Robert Wilson’s creative team, developing and performing TSE, The Days Before, Prometheus, 70 Angels on the Facade and Relative Light among others, all over the world.

Gingras began his activities as a choreographer in the Netherlands in 1999. After an extensive career in dance and theatre, his desire to explore a highly physical and visual language began to manifest itself. His exploration of movement finds its inspiration in martial arts, freerunning, the physical symptoms related to specific medical conditions, and in post-modern dance and theatre. His desire is to interface dance with the visual and digital arts and to engage audiences in a dialogue based in contemporary issues.

His first stage work, the Korzo production CYP17 premiered at the CaDance Festival 2000 and made a large impact internationally. An extensive tour throughout the Netherlands was followed by many invitations from festivals and theatres in Europe, Asia and North America, including the Rencontres Chorégraphiques de Seine-Saint Denis (Bagnolet), Bangalore Biennale, Romaeuropa Festival, Sydney Opera House, Baryshnikov Arts Center and the Biennale of Venice. Gingras was rewarded for CYP17 with the Encouragement Prize 2001 by the Amsterdam Art Fund.

In 2002, Gingras collaborated as a choreographer for Peter Stein’s production Penthesilea, which was premiered at Epidauros Amphitheater (Greece) and toured throughout Europe. In the following years, his collaboration with Korzo and other European and Asian producing partners continued with The Sweet Flesh Room, The Lindenmeyer System, Hypertopia, zeropoint, trans.form, The Autopsy Project, IDORU and Les Commerants. Gingras’ work has successfully toured through North America, Europe, Australia and Asia garnering critical acclaim throughout the years.

Since 2002 his work has been commissioned by a number of prestigious artists, organizations and companies worldwide including Netherlands Dance Theatre I Mean Free Path (2004) and excessive second body smile (2005), Robert Wilson/Les Rencontres deArles, Staatstheater Nürnberg, Iceland Dance Company, Tanztheater Beilefeld, PPS Danse, Cinedans Festival, Bangalore Biennale, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam and Rambert Dance Company.

His visionary work in community art has led him to develop projects such as Carmina Burana (2004) in collaboration with the Liverpool Symphony Orchestra and the Liverpool Cathedral and [U Bevindt Zich Hier] ([You Are Here]), a large scale work for 230 non-professional dancers and musicians, made for the closing of the Springdance Festival 2005. Since 2010, Gingras is spearheading a new initiative with choreographers from the Palestinian Occupied Territories through laboratories and exchange programs with El Funoun Dance Group. His choreography, coaching and teaching are deeply tied to the fabric of society, contemporary political questions and the aim to challenge traditional views about dance.

In 2009 André Gingras was awarded a Clore Fellowship to further his development as a leader in the arts, and in March 2010 he was appointed artistic director of Dance Works Rotterdam. In season 2010/2011 Dance Works Rotterdam/André Gingras presents LIBIDO, a new collaboration with the L’enfant terriblé of Canadian dance, Dave St. Pierre and the first production by its new artistic director, ANATOMICA.

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