José Navas, dancer, choreographer, director (b Domingo Navas Martinez at Caracas, Venezuela 10 Jan 1965). From his base in Montréal, where he settled in 1991, Navas has established himself as an internationally acclaimed dancer-choreographer. He is noted as a charismatic performer of strong and expressionistic theatricality. His imaginative use of decor, costuming and lighting gives his work a distinct texture. Either as a solo artist, or with his company, Compagnie Flak, Navas has toured Canada and abroad to some 40 countries.
Navas was studying literature at the University of Venezuela when he took his first dance class, in the technique of American modern-dance luminary Merce Cunningham, at age 17. He soon also began studying classical ballet. In 1987 he was accepted into the Cunningham School in New York. A year later he was hired into Lucinda Child's modern dance company where he continued to perform until 1990. Simultaneously he worked with the company of British dancer-choreographer Michael Clark and with the New York company of expatriate Canadian dancer-choreographer William DOUGLAS. In 1991 Navas and Douglas decided to move to Canada, where Douglas had been offered a teaching post at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Navas danced for 2½ years with the company of Marie CHOUINARD while still continuing to appear with Douglas. In 1992, with Douglas's support, Navas presented his first solo performance and soon after began to tour independently. Navas incorporated as Compagnie Flak in 1996, the year Douglas died, and began choreographing group works two years later. His choreography is focused on pure movement and has been described as highly sensual.
José Navas has commissioned work for himself from other choreographers. His work has also been performed by several companies, including MONTRÉAL DANSE and LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS DE MONTRÉAL. Navas and his choreography have also been seen on screen, notably in an award-winning duet he created for Philippe Baylaucq's NATIONAL FILM BOARD short, Lodela.
In September 1995 Navas was co-recipient with Douglas of a prestigious New York Off-Broadway "Bessie" award (dance and performance) for his interpretation of Douglas's moving solo, While Waiting. In 1999, Navas was nominated for a GEMINI AWARD for his performance in Moze Mossanen's film The Golden City. In 2000, José Navas was called one of the "100 personnalités qui font bouger le Québec" (100 people who make Quebec tick) by the magazine L'Express.
Notably in 2010, José Navas became the choreographer in residence at BALLET BRITISH COLUMBIA, in addition to his contemporary work with Compagnie Flak.