The Regroupement québécois de la danse (RQD) wishes first to congratulate the winner of the 30th Grand Prix of the Conseil des arts de Montréal, Lemieux Pilon 4D Art, widely known for the quality and the dissemination of its multidisciplinary productions. Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon who have been breathing life and creations into the company for 30 years — we take notice of their sensibility to dance —, are awarded a sum of $30,000. The RQD also salutes the work and commitment of choreographer-dancer-instructor Zab Maboungou and her Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata, among the eight finalists of the 30th Grand Prix. Owing to the power and depth of its production Mozongi, the company, laureate for dance, is awarded a prize of $5,000.
Taking advantage of the homage paid to Zab Maboungou today, the RQD wishes to emphasise the fact that Quebec contemporary dance has benefited from the contributions of adventurous and visionary pioneers who arrived here throughout the 20th century, many of them women. “Since the 1980s, Zab Maboungou has employed a model unlike any other in her genre that incorporates all links in the dance chain, from simple courses in recreational dance to professional training, from research-creation to audience development,” remarked Lorraine Hébert, Executive Director of RQD. “She has created a forum for transmission that welcomes all those wishing to experience a resolutely contemporary form of dance, rooted in a non-Western gestural and cultural heritage.” The first dance artist of African descent to be recognized by the arts councils, Zab Maboungou has developed a rigorous pedagogical approach and original choreographic style. Mozongi, a piece created in the late 1990s and revisited in 2014, is an eloquent example of the achievements of Zab Maboungou/Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata since its inception 25 years ago. The success and impact of this restaging of Mozongi in Montreal, as the evaluation committee of the Conseil des arts de Montréal pointed out, was also due to the technical and expressive qualities of the troupe’s new generation of dancers. Through her community involvement, her humanist values and keen insights into African dance, Zab Maboungou has contributed to the enrichment and diversity of our cultural imagination. “It is through humility and gentleness that the body can be set free,” explains wisely Zab Maboungou. “Beyond the migrations and cross-breedings, dance is both a highly intimate marker of identity and a universal form of expression.” RQD extends its warmest congratulations to the other organizations nominated for the 30th Grand Prix of the Conseil des arts de Montréal.