Created in 2019, LES ARCHIPELS emanate from the meeting between two dancers and choreographers from traditional dance with the desire to create a more contemporary language. As their approaches gradually took a common direction, the two naturally became inseparable collaborators. They are joined by several collaborators, regular and occasional, who feed LES ARCHIPELS’ ecosystem.
LES ARCHIPELS allows choreographers Philippe Meunier and Ian Yaworski to work together to further research, creation, and production in contemporary dance. Like a group of islands, LES ARCHIPELS brings together different creators and artists who join forces while each retaining their individuality and singularity. Taking the jig as a starting point, LES ARCHIPELS wants to create innovative and accessible works with a resolutely contemporary vision.
LES ARCHIPELS, through the combined strengths of its individuals, wants to contribute to the energizing of the contemporary dance milieu and become a production company by promoting artists and creators in all their originality, beyond its founders.
LES ARCHIPELS advocates collaboration and transparency. By letting talents shine and listening to the particularities of each one, LES ARCHIPELS relies on the strength of the team, in all transparency. In order to facilitate the transition from the individual to the collective, LES ARCHIPELS adopts an approach where authenticity, humanism, and integrity are put forward.
LES ARCHIPELS allows us to join forces to further research, creation, and production in contemporary dance. Coming from a traditional dance background, we wish to share our contemporary vision of Quebec folklore by creating innovative and accessible dance works.
The jig, which we are constantly seeking to democratize, remains the raw material of our work. We observe what emerges from this base material during our research process: the aesthetics of the leg, the way it acts or transforms the body, the agility of the feet on the ground… By moving away from its virtuosity, we explore the “invisible jig” to retain only its essence, orchestrating the body, the legs, the feet in a choreographic composition where the jig is guessed, felt, or unrecognizable. The jig is not only sound but also movement, gesture, bodily vibration; it gives rhythm to the movements, leading the performers into scores that outwit the codes of representation of the traditional jig. The jig is found where one does not expect it.
By merging the rhythmic processes of the jig with the methods of contemporary dance creation, we want to create with our collaborators a complex and complete alloy of a new dance genre. Collaboration with other creators-collaborators is essential: it pushes us to deconstruct our view of jigging and to break down our barriers. The strength of LES ARCHIPELS lies in the diversity and complementarity of our approaches to dance, and the imprint of each must be reflected in the final work.
Philippe Meunier was introduced to the world of dance in 1992, whose percussive aspect fascinated him. He was part of the folk-dance troupe Les Pieds Légers de Laval, before founding with other dancers the troupe Bons Diables de Laval, with which he danced until 2000.
In 2002, he dived into the world of professional dance by joining Les Sortilèges – Danses du Monde. There he explored the virtuosity of jigging and the contemporizing of folklore through the work of inspiring choreographers such as Benjamin Hatcher, Monique Vincent, and Lük Fleury. After leaving Les Sortilèges in 2007, he joined ZØGMA, an urban folklore collective, where he was a choreographer and performer until 2016. This passage allowed him to open a door to the emotional potential of the jig.
At the same time, Philippe Meunier multiplied his collaborations (Bourask, Sandy Silva, Nancy Gloutnez) and began his career as a choreographer, jumping into the contemporary jig movement with both feet. His first solo, Répercussions, was presented at the 4th Biennale de gigue contemporaine (BIGICO).
In 2016, Philippe presented his first duet with Ian Yaworski, Prend su toé. This choreography was then declined in several forms, to become Monte-Charles for 5 dancers, then adapted in situ in Frictions, thus laying the foundations of what will become LES ARCHIPELS.
Philippe Meunier is also a video artist and has directed video projects for several artists. It was with Rétro (co-directed with Nancy Gloutnez) that he discovered editing, a tool that allows one work to emerge from another. Always guided by rhythm, he proposes an innovative and creative look at movement. His perspective as videographer colors the artistic vision of LES ARCHIPELS, notably in Monte-Charles, conceived as a choral film, or for Accolades et quiproquos, whose webcasting allowed for exploration on this level.
A dancer with the Mackinaw Folk Ensemble of Drummondville from 1993 to 2005, Ian Yaworski joined the ZØGMA collective upon his arrival in Montreal. Through workshops and collaborations, he explored the possibilities and limits of contemporary jigging, first as a performer, then as a choreographer. But it was when he worked as a performer in Thread for the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation in 2010 that he discovered the wide range of emotions that dance can express.
After working as a dancer for choreographers from many different backgrounds (Menka Nagrani, Nancy Gloutnez, Catherine Lafleur, Lük Fleury, Bourask Dance Company, and Benjamin Hatcher), Ian wanted to develop his own vocabulary. He presented With my feet firmly planted…, his first solo choreography at the Biennale de gigue contemporaine in 2011. This was followed by other personal choreographies presented at BIGICO, as well as choreographic commissions by various festivals and performers including Sandrine Martel-Laferrière, Marika D. Lafond, and Audréa Page.
In parallel to his dance career, Ian is also a lighting designer for various dance and theater productions. He is mainly interested in penumbra and the relationship between body and light.
In 2016, he collaborated for the first time with Philippe Meunier on the creation of Prend su toé. Ian then wanted to experiment and pursue his artistic exploration on his own terms. The similar desire of the two choreographers led to the creation of LES ARCHIPELS.
President: Véronique Houle, conseillère en développement stratégique
Tresurer: Alexandre Ménard, directeur comptabilité des fonds, Fierra Capital
Secretary: Marie-Laurence Rock, travailleuse culturelle
Administrator: Julie Sanogo, avocate
Administrator: Ian Yaworski, directeur artistique Les Archipels