Paul-André Fortier | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Paul-André Fortier

In 1987 he and Daniel Jackson launched a repertory company, MONTRÉAL DANSE, where Fortier choreographed and co-directed until 1989, when he accepted a faculty position teaching choreography at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Paul-Andre Fortier, French Canadian dancer
2006 (photo by Lois Siegel).

Paul-André Fortier

Paul-André Fortier, dancer, choreographer, artistic director (b at Waterville, Qué 30 Apr 1948). Paul-André Fortier's initial fascination with themes like death, sex and violence has given way to an intense personal introspection invoking great beauty and spiritual values. He emerged from the hotbed of Montréal innovative dance, LE GROUPE NOUVELLE AIRE, in the mid-1970s. Despite a late entry into dance (with a degree in literature and teaching experience at the college level behind him), he formed his own company, FORTIER DANSE-CRÉATION - originally Danse-Théâtre Paul-André Fortier - in 1979 and 2 years later won the Jean A. Chalmers Award for choreography.

In 1987 he and Daniel Jackson launched a repertory company, MONTRÉAL DANSE, where Fortier choreographed and co-directed until 1989, when he accepted a faculty position teaching choreography at the Université du Québec à Montréal. At the same time he reactivated his own company to display his own solos. Since then he has toured broadly, an imposing presence on the international stage as well as at home.

Fortier has created some 50 works for himself and others as diverse as LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS, Danse Partout, Margie GILLIS, Susan Macpherson, Peggy BAKER, and the Ballet de Lorraine in Nancy, France. In 1989, Les Males Heures began a cycle of self-exploration. It was followed by 2 major pieces, La Tentation de la transparence (1991) and Bras de plomb (1993), both inspired by collaboration with visual artist Betty Goodwin.

In 1996, Fortier created his first group work in 8 years to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Montréal Danse. Entre la mémoire et l'oubli was performed by the Societé de musique contemporaine du Québec to live music by Luc Marcel. The same year Fortier also made a group piece for himself and 3 others - Peggy Baker, Robert Meilleur and Gioconda Barbuto. La Part des Anges, a deeply meditative work about maturity and relationships, premiered to acclaim in Montréal and led to choreographing a solo for Baker in 2000, Loin, très loin.

In 1998, after retiring from his university position to devote all his time to teaching, choreographing and performing, he made Jeux de fous, a raw, edgy work about the contradictions of youth. Always interested in audience education, Fortier and his company of 3 former students offered workshops, discussions and public rehearsals to spectators, especially to teenagers. Jeux de fous has been widely seen in France and Canada. In 2001 Fortier choreographed a second piece for youth. MVTS (pièce Urbaine) was commissioned for graduating students at the Centre national de danse contemporaine (CNDC) in Angers, France, where Fortier began teaching a series of spring residencies in 2000. Also in 2001, he premiered Tensions, an investigation into dynamics between youth and age that he danced with Meilleur.

Since the group work Lumière in 2004, Fortier has focused on his solo career. Identifying himself simply as "a man who dances," he staged Solo 1 x 60 - Un jardin d'objets in 2006, dancing alone for 60 minutes. The same year, at 58, long past most dancers' retirement age, he embarked on the even more ambitious Solo 30 x 30 - Trente minutes-trente jours, in which he performed at various international outdoor locations for 30 minutes every day at the same time for 30 consecutive days. In 2007 he travelled from England and Italy to Japan, giving these free site-specific performances. Rain or shine, in wind and hail, he appeared in urban locations like bridges, streets, vacant lots and overpasses.

In 2008, while continuing to tour 30 x 30, Paul-André Fortier premiered Cabane, a fusion of in situ and installation performance in which he and Québec visual artist/writer/musician Rober RACINE danced around a modular shed. Cabane toured Canada and Europe for several years.

Fortier has also continued to choreograph for others. In 2008 he created Spirale for 12 dancers at the Ballet de Lorraine in France. A year later he made She, an intimate solo for Canadian dancer Robin Poitras.

Paul-André Fortier was a dance consultant for the CANADA COUNCIL 1993-95 and president of the Regroupement québecois de la danse, a major Québec dance organization, 1994-95. He served as vice-president of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec 1998-2003 and was artist-in-residence at Place des Arts 2003-07. He received the DORA AWARD in 1993 and was made a knight in France's Order of Arts and Letters in 2010.