Victor Quijada and RUBBERBAND Group 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...
Victor Quijada and RUBBERBAND Group 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, Victor Quijada has always continued to evolve and innovate throughout his prolific career.
Founded in 2002 by Victor Quijada, RUBBERBAND Group immediately imposed itself in Canada and abroad as an explosive one-of-a-kind troupe. In its very first year of activity, RUBBERBAND Group 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 Montréal 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 Montréal. The same year, RUBBERBAND Group 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 Montréal 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 Group 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 Group 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 Group 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 nine dancers from diverse backgrounds. Currently, RUBBERBAND Group 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.
In 2018, Ever So Slightly is the beginning of a new creative chapter for Victor Quijada. The world-premiere of this explosive work was presented at Danse Danse. The ten dancer-athletes and the 2 Live musicians explore the energy contained in urgency, revolt, chaos, and flight.
Victor Quijada, Artistic Director and Choregrapher
Born and raised in Los Angeles, the child of Mexican parents, Victor 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 Montréal to join Les Grands Ballets canadiens in 2000.
In 2002, he founded RUBBERBAND Group, 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, Victor 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, Victor 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, Victor 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.
A Boston Globe critic praised RUBBERBANDance Group as having ‘the formal clarity and controlled elegance of ballet (and) the raw, athletic exuberance of street dance.
Quijada’s impressive partnering with Plamondon is all about rigorous structured movement sequences, spontaneous precision, calm beauty and moody urban vision. Both have an incredible stage presence.
Quijada’s choreography blurs the hard edges of breaking with contemporary sensibility, boasting delectably clever partnering and buoyant musicality.