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 break, 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
Since 2002, Victor Quijada and his RUBBERBAND have not only redefined break dance 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 performed 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 2000 he came to Montreal to join Les Grands Ballets canadiens. 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 2006) 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 as well as among the four finalists for the 2019 Charles-Biddle Prize, instigated by Culture pour tous and the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation and Inclusion (MIFI).
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, born in Mexico City, began his dance training at l’École Supérieure de Ballet du Québec. An early interest in body awareness led him to discover diverse movement approaches such as Gaga, the RUBBERBAND Method, and Feldenkrais, as well as yoga and meditation. In 2014, he founded the multidisciplinary lab, Quantum Collective, whose work was presented twice by Tangente in Montreal. Paco has performed with Montreal-based artists and companies that include Edgar Zendejas, PPS Danse, Anne Plamondon, and Martin Messier. Since 2019, he has co-directed VIAS, a dance company that alternates between Montreal and Mexico City. He is a self-taught filmmaker and photographer with a main focus on the human body, movement, and natural landscapes. Paco has danced with RUBBERBAND since 2015, and is also the company’s artistic coordinator.
Amara Barner began competitive dance training at age three in Minneapolis. As a teenager, she traveled as an assistant to several choreographers of The PULSE on Tour and Intrigue Dance Convention. This professional development in Los Angeles and New York brought opportunities to perform and conduct workshops in Australia, Mexico, England, and Italy. After moving to New York City at age 15, Amara worked for television, performed in local festivals, and participated in the creation and performance of several works with Isodoc Dance Group. Featured in Dance Magazine’s July 2020 issue as an artist “On the Rise,” Amara has toured internationally with Vic’s Mix and participated in the creation process as well as in the ongoing performances of Ever So Slightly since she joined RUBBERBAND in 2016.
Jean Bui studied visual arts and earned his BA in Contemporary Dance at UQAM. Over the course of his career, Jean has had the opportunity to work with George Stamos, Katya Montaignac, and Andrea Peña, along with many appearances in music videos and commercials. Jean started a collective with Sydney in which they generate collaborative works that explore functionality. He has danced with RUBBERBAND since 2015.
Daniela Jezerinac was born in Mississauga (ON), where she began her dance training at a local studio. While continuing to pursue her artistic career at Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, she performed several works by José Limón, Colin Connor, and Robert Glumbek. In the fall of 2019, she completed her BFA in Dance at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, where she had the honour of performing pieces choreographed by Kevin Wynn, Alexandra Beller, and Hannah Garner. Daniela joined RUBBERBAND in 2018.
Sydney McManus, originally from London (ON) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Montreal. Her experience as a freelance artist includes performances with TOES for Dance, Frog in Hand, and Alysa Pires Dance Projects. She is exploring her own choreographic work together with collaborator Jean Bui. They will premiere their first full-length work in 2021-22. Besides her work in performance, Sydney is a practising visual artist and is continuing her studies at OCAD University. She has taught the RUBBERBAND Method at Springboard Danse Montréal, TransFormation Danse, and at Domaine Forget. Sydney has created, performed, and toured internationally since joining RUBBERBAND in 2016.
Jessica Joy Muszynski is a Canadian dancer and choreographer originally from Burnaby, B.C., where she trained in ballet at the Richmond Academy of Dance before moving to Calgary in 2012. In May 2019, she earned a BFA in dance from the University of Southern California, performing in excerpts of works by William Forsythe, Crystal Pite, and Victor Quijada. After graduation, Jessica starred in a music video by the band half•alive, which received over two million views. She danced with Aszure Barton & Artists during the creation process of the company’s work, Where There’s Form. Jessica moved to Montreal to dance with RUBBERBAND in 2019.
Brontë Poiré-Prest hails from Montreal. She fell in love with the art of movement at L’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, where she had the good fortune to collaborate with renowned choreographers Angélique Willkie, Hélène Blackburn, and Alan Lake, among others. After graduating, she was invited to work at several well-established companies in Montreal, including Van Grimde Corps Secrets and Le Carré des Lombes, and as a freelancer for Compagnie Marie Chouinard. Brontë 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 established his roots in dance through the hip-hop culture of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Nurtured by Bad Taste Crew, he joined Battalions Crew in 2013 and competed throughout Europe. Training under Akram Kahn with the National Youth Dance Company inspired him to continue his exploration at London Contemporary Dance School, where he worked with Hofesh Shechter, Dane Hurst, and Jeannie Steele, among other artists. At the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, he performed with the James Cousins Company in Rosalind, which won Best Moment of the Festival. Ryan is starting his third year with RUBBERBAND after joining the company in 2018.
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