Mission of the company
RUBBERBAND is an organization dedicated to creation and production with the mission of supporting the research of choreographer Victor Quijada, disseminating his works, and ensuring the transmission and impact of his practice.
RUBBERBAND wishes to be recognized worldwide for its innovation, its significant contribution in dance, and for its role in the development of a new style inspired by breakdancing, classical ballet, and dance theatre.
Founded in 2002 by Victor Quijada, RUBBERBAND immediately imposed itself in Canada and abroad as an explosive one-of-a-kind troupe. In its very first year of activity, RUBBERBAND brought well-honed forms that deconstructed several principles of urban dance to the stage of Tangente. The company’s work quickly won over audiences and critics: in its end-of-season review, the Montreal daily Le Devoir included both Tender Loving Care and Hasta La Próxima in its pick of the five best dance productions of the year. A second creation cycle followed in 2003 when the company presented Reflections on Movement Particles with the support of Théâtre de L’L in Brussels and the MAI in Montreal. The same year, RUBBERBAND presented Elastic Perspective, a grouping of pieces which highlighted the choreographer’s ability to exploit the rebellious aspect of Hip Hop and the richness of narrative movement. This work toured for six years and was performed more than a hundred times.
In 2004, Usine C hosted Quijada and his dancers in a residency which resulted in Slicing Static, a work that was named best dance production of the year by the Montreal cultural weekly, Hour (now Cult MTL). The following year, Anne Plamondon joined Quijada as artistic co-director and occupied this position until 2015. Also in 2005, the company performed in Japan, representing Canada at Expo 2005. RBDG’s renown continued to increase after that and touring opportunities multiplied, with as many performances in the United States as in Canada, along with frequent tours to Holland, Belgium, and England, where, among other works, sHip sHop Shape Shifting (2005) was presented.
From 2007 to 2011, the Cinquième Salle of Place des Arts hosted RUBBERBAND in a residency. Four new works were created during that period: Punto Ciego (2008), AV Input/Output (2008), Loan Sharking (2009), and Gravity of Center (2011). During this period, the company gave an average of 40 performances annually. Lecture-demonstrations were developed and instituted as cultural mediation activities following the presentation of each new work. The sessions have been highly successful among presenters who take advantage of this tool to develop their audiences. In parallel, the company supports the emerging generation of dancers by mentoring and through initiatives such as the Post-Hip-Hop Project, which, in its three successive editions, gave some twenty young artists from the hip-hop scene a first experience of creation and dissemination in a professional framework.
In 2013, RUBBERBAND presented Empirical Quotient, giving six dancers the opportunity to prove themselves in a complex, very physically demanding choreography — a demonstrable culmination of the RUBBERBAND Method. In 2016, the company brought Vic’s Mix to the stage, a work composed of highlights from its repertoire, a kind of “best-of” encapsulating the organization’s sizzling trajectory from its beginnings.
Along with its many short pieces and special projects, RUBBERBAND has staged 14 full-length productions, tours intensively in Quebec and the rest of Canada, and presents its works on a regular basis in several European countries, Mexico, and the U.S.A. Since 2017, the troupe has comprised 10 dancers from diverse backgrounds. Currently, RUBBERBAND is touring locally and internationally with Vic’s Mix and is adapting City Threads, its outdoor ambulatory piece for 40 dancers, for presentation in a number of cities. Since 2018, the company is also touring Ever So Slightly, its first production for a vast performance space, with a battalion of ten dancers and 2 live musicians.
Artistic director and choreographer
In 17 years, Victor Quijada and his RUBBERBAND have not only redefined breakdance codes within an institutional context and enlivened the Quebec dance scene, but have opened the way for new creators fascinated by this dance form. Armed with a technique he conceived for dancers, the RUBBERBAND Method – an electrifying vocabulary combining the energy of Hip Hop, the refinement of classical ballet, and the angular quality of contemporary dance – and some 40 creations and collaborations in Canada and abroad behind him, Quijada has always continued to evolve and innovate throughout his prolific career.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, the child of Mexican parents, Quijada first danced in the b-boying circles and hip-hop clubs of his native city. He trained with Rudy Perez from 1994 to 1996, then moved to New York City to join THARP! After spending three years with that company and following a stint with Ballets Tech, in 1999, he came to Montreal to join Les Grands Ballets canadiens in 2000. In 2002, he founded RUBBERBAND, throwing himself into deconstructing the choreographic principles he had learned by blending them with the raw ideology of his street dance origins. His creations – numerous short works and 14 full-length productions – are distinguished by a powerful theatricality, the energy of improvisation, and certain codes of film language, the whole sculpted with an incomparable precision of movement.
For several years now, Quijada has taught the RUBBERBAND Method throughout the world in workshops and internships for many dance companies, dance schools, and universities, as well as on a yearly basis in RBDG’s workshop for professional dancers; at the Académie du Domaine Forget in Charlevoix every summer; and in his classes at the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California (USC). As guest choreographer, he has created new works for dance and circus companies; notably in return commissions for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Scottish Dance Theatre.
Besides his stage productions, Quijada has been involved in almost a dozen dance films, as director, choreographer, or dramaturge. His short film, Hasta La Próxima, was a finalist at the American Choreography Awards in 2004. He also choreographed the music videos Man I Used to Be by k-os, La garde by Alexandre Désilets, and Elton John’s Blue Wonderful. His Gravity of Center – The Movie won Best Experimental Short at the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival of 2012, among other awards, and was shown at several exhibitions and national and international festivals.
In the area of peer recognition, Quijada was artist-in-residence at Usine C (2004) and at Place des Arts (2007-2011), and has won many awards, including Britain’s National Dance Award for Outstanding Modern Repertory (2003), the Bonnie Bird North American Award (2003, U.K.), the Peter Darrell Choreography Award (2003, U.K.), the International Touring Award of the Canadian Dance Alliance (2012), and two awards from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA (Choreography Fellowship, 2010; Work in Progress Residency, 2016).
In December 2017, Victor Quijada received the award for cultural diversity at the Prix de la danse de Montréal and was, in 2019, one of the finalists for the 34th Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal.
Fannie Bellefeuille’s career with RUBBERBAND began in 2010, when she was appointed the company’s administrative director, and she has been executive director since 2015. After graduating from the theatre program at UQAM in 2004, she moved toward a career in arts administration when she founded and directed her own theatre company, Collectif Ikaria. Bellefeuille proceeded to obtain a DESS diploma, followed by a master’s degree, in the management of cultural organizations at HEC Montréal, and completed a certificate program in philanthropic management at l’Université de Montréal in 2018.Parallel to her administrative activities, Bellefeuille has acted in live theatre and television plays since 1992. She also wrote and produced several plays as well as two short films. She has won several awards for her work, including a prestigious ISPA Canada Fellowship (2013-2015) and the Raymond Blais playwright’s prize for Stockholm, la nuit (2007). For Bellefeuille, it is imperative to give back to the artistic community, which she does by mentoring emerging companies and by sitting on juries for the various arts councils. In 2012, she joined the board of directors of the Regroupement québécois de la danse, becoming treasurer in 2013. She is also on the Finance Committee of ISPA, and in 2017, she was elected to the National Council of the Canadian Dance Assembly.
Artistic Coordinator and Dancer
Paco Ziel began studying music and art at age 12 at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico, his country of origin. He won a scholarship to attend Estudio Profesional de Danza Ema Pulido, where he honed his technique and performance skills. He came to Montreal in 2011 to continue training in classical ballet at l’École supérieure de ballet du Québec. His choreography, Huapango, won first prize at the 2011 Bravissimo competition, and another work, Mexica, garnered positive reviews from Mexican critics. Ziel is a co-founder of the Montreal-based dance collective, Quantum. He joined RUBBERBAND in 2015.
Amara Barner began her dance training in childhood in Minneapolis. While still an adolescent, she travelled as an assistant to several choreographers and to train in the framework of The Pulse On Tour and Intrigue Dance Convention, among other opportunities for professional development. Contracts in Los Angeles and New York opened doors for her, allowing her to perform and conduct workshops in Australia, Mexico, England, and Italy. Moving to New York City, she participated in the creation and performance of several works with Isodoc Dance Group. Barner joined RUBBERBAND in 2016.
Jean Bui studied visual art and urbanism before deciding to explore the artistic and athletic potential of the human body through parkour and the circus arts. After general training for the circus in 2011, he completed the contemporary dance program at UQAM. He has worked with George Stamos, Manuel Roque, Katya Montaignac, and Maud Saint-Germain, and has appeared in music and promotional videos, television series, and feature films. He joined RUBBERBAND in 2015.
Daniela Jezerinac grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, where she began dancing at a local studio. At the age of 15, she became a company member of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, where she stayed for three years. Upon her training there, she performed works by José Limón, Colin Connor, Kevin Wynn, Robert Glumbek, and Ofillio Sindadhino. She is currently finishing her studies at the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase College in New York. Jezerinac joined RUBBERBAND in 2018.
Jontae McCrory, originally from Detroit, Michigan, started his training at Western Michigan University at the age of 19. In 2017, McCrory attended the year-long Dancers Course with BalletBoyz in London, England. Throughout his training, he has had the privilege of learning works by Kyle Abraham, James Gregg, Frank Chaves, and Azure Barton. As a choreographer, McCrory has had works featured in the 2017 American College Dance Association Gala Concert, Festival Chéries-Chéris-Paris Film Festival, and BBC Network London. McCrory joined RUBBERBAND in 2019.
Sydney McManus, originally from London Ontario, is a multidisciplinary artist working between Montreal and Toronto. As a freelance artist her experience includes performances with TOES for Dance, Fog in Hand, Alysa Pires Dance Projects, among others. Besides her work in performance, she is also a practising visual artist with continued studies at OCAD University. She joined RUBBERBAND in 2016.
Jessica Muszynski is born in Burnaby, BC, where she began training in ballet at the Richmond Academy of Dance. Her curiosity led her to become self-taught in Hip Hop and Contemporary by mimicking YouTube videos. In May 2019 she graduated from University of Southern California with a BFA in Dance. During her time at school she had the opportunity to dance in excerpts of works by William Forsythe, Crystal Pite and Victor Quijada. Post-graduation you can find Jessica in a music video for a popular band called half•alive and in Germany performing with Aszure Barton & Artists. She joined RUBBERBAND in September 2019.
Brontë Poiré-Prest hails from Montreal, Quebec. She fell in love with the art of movement at Ballet Divertimento, where she started her classical dance training in 2010. She then continued her studies at L’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, where she had the fortune to work and collaborate with renowned choreographers such as Angélique Willkie, Hélène Blackburn and Alan Lake. Upon leaving school, she was invited to work with several well-established companies from Montreal such as Van Grimde Corps Secrets, Le Carré des Lombes and as a freelancer for Compagnie Marie Chouinard. Poiré-Prest joined RUBBERBAND in 2018.
Jerimy Rivera, a native of New York City, practised gymnastics from an early age, but after several experiences with New York City Ballet, he decided to dedicate himself exclusively to dance. After training with Steps on Broadway, he broadened his stylistic reach to contemporary dance, Hip Hop, jazz ballet, and musical theatre dance. While an adolescent, he studied for two years at the JKO School at American Ballet Theatre under Franco Devita and Raymond Lukens before joining Manhattan Youth Ballet. Rivera continued his training at The French Academie of Ballet under François Perron and Nadège Hottier; in 2012, he toured with West Side Story – The Musical. In 2013, he moved to Montreal, where he danced with Les Grands Ballets canadiens for four years. Rivera joined RUBBERBAND in 2017.
Ryan Taylor, originally from Colchester, England, was introduced to dance via Hip Hop and breakdancing, joining Battalions Crew and participating frequently in European competitions. Training under Akram Kahn at the National Youth Dance Company inspired him to continue his dance studies at the London Contemporary Dance School where he was taught by Hofesh Shechter, Dane Hurst, and Sasha Roubicek, among other artists. In 2017, dancing in Rosalind by James Cousins Company at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, he won the award for Best Moment of the Festival. Taylor joined RUBBERBAND in 2017.
Man i used to be
Made in 2004
Prize-winner at the MuchMusic Video Awards in 2005 (MuchVibe Best Rap Video).
Artist : k-os
Lyrics and music : Kevin Brereton
Director : Micah Meisner
Choreography : Victor Quijada
Dancers : Victor Quijada, Jayko Eloï
Made in 2011
Artist : Alexandre Désilets
Lyrics and music : Alexandre Désilets
Director : Mathieu Grimard
Choreography : Victor Quijada
Dancers : Elon Höglund, Emmanuelle Lê Phan, Daniel Mayo, and Lila Mae G.Talbot
Made in 2016
Artist : Elton John
Lyrics and music : Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Director : Thibaut Duverneix
Choreography : Victor Quijada
Dancers : Lydia Bouchard and James Gregg
Prix de la Diversité culturelle en danse aux Prix de la Danse de Montréal (CAN)
Princess Grace Foundation Award /
Works in Progress Residency (US)
Princess Grace Foundation Award /
Choreography Fellowship (US)
Prix OQAJ/Rideau (CAN)
National Dance Award /
Best Modern Repertory (UK)
Bonnie Bird North American Award /
New Choreography (US)
Peter Darrell Choreography Award /
Self Observation Without Judgement (UK)
Caisse Desjardins de la Culture
Some of the talented dancers that contributed to RUBBERBAND’s success over the years:
Elon Höglund – Tentacle Tribe
Louise Michel Jackson – Animals of Distinction
Béatrice Larrivée – Batsheva Dance Company
Emmanuelle Lê Phan – Tentacle Tribe
Daniel Mayo – BalletX
Dana Pajarillaga – Staatsballett Berlin
Lea Ved – NDT