After performing at Centre culturel Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, in Montreal, on 3 March, José Navas will continue his tour in Europe in the weeks following! The choreographer and dancer will be travelling in Belgium and the Netherlands, from 15 March to 1 April, to present his solo Rites. Last September the show was a huge success at its European avant-premiere in Münster, Germany.

The media on Rites

“A lone figure, torn between aggression, shame and despair – modern dance at its best.” Westfälische Nachrichten, Münster.

“[…] the vulnerability of the continuous movement goes hand-in-hand with the grace of a creator at the height of his artistic powers.” Cinéma Le clap, Québec, 2016.

Tour of Rites in Europe
March 15, 2017, Stadsschouwburg, Brugge, Belgium
March 17, 2017, De Werf, Aalst, Belgium
March 22, 2017, Stadsschouwburg Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
March 24, 2017, Schouwburg Kortrijk, Courtrai, Belgium
April 1st, 2017, Parktheater, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

The new season for Rites began with a bang, as José Navas earned ovations and cheering for his sold-out performances at the Theater im Pumpenhaus in Münster, Germany, on 9 & 10 September. In the coming months, the choreographer will continue his 2016-2017 tour in Quebec, dancing in Jonquière, Quebec, Sainte-Thérèse and Montreal. The solo Rites, recently described by the Westfälische Nachrichten as “modern dance at its best”, will also electrify theatres in Belgium and The Netherlands in March and April 2017 (more details to come).

A few words about the show

José Navas celebrates turning fifty with a rite of passage. Once again he is an open, unpretentious presence onstage, revealing the fragility of a man aware of his finite existence. In a series of solos performed to the music of Dvořák, Schubert, Nina Simone, and finishing with a flourish to the music of Stravinsky, he reflects on the road travelled thus far as he reaps the fruits of maturity.

Tour of Rites in Quebec
November 26, 2016, Théâtre La Rubrique, Jonquière
Nov. 30 and December 1st, 2016, La Rotonde, Théâtre de la Bordée, Quebec
January 8, 2017, Odyscène, Théâtre Lionel-Groulx, Sainte-Thérèse
March 3rd, 2017, Centre culturel de Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal


Choreographer and dancer José Navas is keen to teach excerpts from his solo show Miniatures to second-year students at the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal (EDCMTL). The coaching will take place from January 24 to February 10, 2017, at the school’s premises in the new Espace Danse, in the Wilder Building. The results of this collaboration will be performed for an audience at EDCMTL on February 15 at 6 p.m.

About Miniatures
In painting, miniatures are fastidiously small, highly detailed representations of reality. At first the naked eye sees a tangle of colours on the tiny surface. But if you look closely, the details reveal a surprising landscape and a whole reality. Miniatures consists of movement landscapes, translations into movement of José Navas’s fields of memories. They are short glimpses of love stories and of carnal desire.

Miniatures had its world premiere at Montreal’s Agora de la danse on October 23, 2008.

The inspiration for Dénouement/Auflösung was Montreal. In this new piece created for the dancers of the German company tanzmainz, José Navas gives us his abstract vision of a city that’s always in movement.

Constructed in three parts, the piece opens with a section that illustrates the tumult and effervescence of morning rushhour in Quebec’s metropolis. Movements of incredible rapidity and precision arise from the rhythm of music composed by Alexander MacSween. This longtime collaborator used the special sounds of the Quebec accent to create a fascinating brouhaha of voices mixed with instruments such as piano and cello. The second part, more sensual and carnal, throws us into the heart of passion of two couples. Strength and poetry rise and resonate to the words of the Montreal poet and singer Leonard Cohen, whose song Suzanne opens and closes the piece. In a third part, which brings together the company’s 19 virtuosic dancers, the movement’s organic fluidity opens into a highly architectural structure. Echoing Montreal’s architecture and the its various and colourful neighbourhoods, the costumes by Sonya Bayer elegantly reveal the dancers’ bodies in a rainbow of festive, springtime colours.

The portrait of a vibrant, effervescent, and passionate city, Dénouement/Auflösung sends a message of humanity and bears the imprint of a tenderness that goes straight to the heart.


Critical acclaims

  • “With the piece’s repeated comings and goings between softness and silence, fire and noise, anguish and confusion, José Navas knows how to delight the audience of his new show. Enchantment and fascination are working from the opening sequence of Dénouement[…].”Allgemeine Zeitung, Mainz
  • “José Navas […] offers moments of jubilation. Here, turns, jumps, lifts and multiple dynamic variations unfold with virtuosity.” Die deutsche Bühne, Mainz
  • “The piece opens with a couple standing, holding, lifting, embracing each other in a voluptuous surrendering […]; at the end, the two dancers no longer touch but still exert on each other their influence, only with their gesture. It is as if one breathed into the other a movement and as if the other let himself be carried away by this breath. By combining pas de deux – which frame the piece – and Leonard Cohen’s famous song, Suzanne[…], José Navas shows great refinement.”Frankfurter Rundschau, Mainz
  • “In the duo is enshrined a development that, almost following in the footsteps of the form of classical ballet,suggests a dream or a memory – play that is sometimes satirical, sometimes athletic, and sometimes poetic. The movement is propelled by the gazes of the group of dancers who sit in a row of chairs placed upstage, who follow and replace one another in the relay of successive sequences of movement.” Rhein-Zeitung, Mainz



  • Choreography and stage design: José Navas
  • Assistant to the Choreographer: Lars Anderstram
  • Female dancers: Mariya Bushuyeva, Alessandra Corti, Ada Daniele, Gili Goverman, Amy Josh, Bojana Mitrović, Charlotte Petersen, Tijana Prendović, Maasa Sakano, Lena Schattenberg, Giulia Torri
  • Male dancers: Rueben Albelda Giner, Marc Borràs, Zachary Chant, Marin Lemić, Cornelius Mickel, Thomas Van Preat,Mattia De Salve, Lewis Seivwright
  • Music: Alexander MacSween, Leonard Cohen
  • Lighting: Philipp Wiechert
  • Costumes: Sonya Bayer
  • Length: 40 minutes
  • World premiere: May 16, 2015, Staatstheater Mainz, Mainz

Dénouement/Auflösung is a production of the Staatstheater Mainz..


Dates Country City Venue
July 3 & 12, 2015 Germany Mainz Staatstheater Mainz.
September 6 & 13, 2015 Germany Mainz Staatstheater Mainz.
October 14, 2015 Germany Mainz Staatstheater Mainz.
Apris 5, 2016 Germany Ludwigshafen Staatstheater Mainz.


Choreography for a soloist and 16 singers

Peace, hope, openness… These are some of the keywords that guided José Navas for the creation of a solo in which he dances in dialogue with the young women of Concerto Della Donna. The women perform an excerpt from the New World Symphony that Anton Dvořák composed after his first visit to New York. Together, they commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War in a short film by Ian Cameron, introduced by a message of peace from Venezuelan-born pianist Gabriela Montero and commissioned byICI Musique.

The dancer described the experience as “like dancing inside an instrument.” The camera captured the emotion on their faces and in their bodies, while the images multiply in the spectator’s eye. Is it a soldier at a moment of farewell or a ship leaving port to discover the new continent? An angel carrying the memory of the dead or a bird flying over the ocean? The art direction is beautiful and the performance, a testimony to freedom.

To learn more about this project, visit ICI Musique.


  • Choreography: José Navas
  • Dancer: José Navas
  • Rehearsal Director: Lauren Semeschuk
  • Music: Anton Dvořák/Margaret Dryburgh, Symphony No 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “From the New World”
    – Largo (excerpt from the 2nd movement)
    interpreted by the Concerto Della Donna under the direction of Iwan Edwards
  • Concerto Della Donna:Kate Bevan-Baker, Katherine Black, Sandra Dakdouk Isidean, Katherine Dosman, Sarah Dowd, Emma Elbourne-Weinstock, Lindsey German, Caitlin Gordon, Caitlin Keenan, Julia King, Amy Norman, Julie Maisonneuve-Laforest, Amelia McMahon, Virginie Pacheco, Sara Robichaud Rousseau, Marie-Claire Sandon, Naomi Shin, Erika Wood
  • Executive Producer: Guylaine Picard
  • Video Producer: Ian Cameron
  • Coordination Assistant: Lydie Lacroix
  • Sound Engineer: François Goupil
  • Director of Photography: Jean-Yves Levac
  • Camera Operators: Denis Christopherson, Nicolas St-Germain
  • Technical Assistant: Alain Régimbald
  • Packaging Editor, Photographer: Mathieu Lavoie
  • Special Effects: Sébastien Dubois
  • Stage Hands: Claude Beyries, Luc Limoges, Stanislaw Majka
  • Makeup Artist: France Signori
  • RecordedJune 5, 2014 at studio 44, CBC/Radio-Canada, Montreal

Invited to Belgium as part of the festival Chacun son Sacre, José Navas celebrated the centenary of The Rite of Spring by taking up the challenge of tackling this legendary music as a solo, accompanied by nearly a hundred musicians of the Brussels Philharmonic. Developing an organic connection with Stravinsky’s music, he offered his vision of the figure of the Chosen One, who dances to death. From the iconic figure he made garbed in a long black dress to the fragility of his naked body at the end, he danced to the point of physical and mental exhaustion, in symbiosis with the orchestra and its maestro, Michel Tabachnik. Utterly seduced, the 1,200 audience members of the Concertgebouw of Bruges leapt to their feet, greeting this world premiere with a long ovation. Fulfilled and excited, the dancer and choreographer is eager to repeat this experience in Montreal and elsewhere. Meanwhile, you can steal a glance of the experience in Bruges via our Facebook album and enjoy this excerpt from that powerful and memorable performance.

Director Arno Faure was struck with artistic inspiration when he discovered José Navas dancing his solo show Miniatures at Agora de la danse. The result is a superb portrait in images and music that offers an insider’s view of the dancer-choreographer’s daily life and work in the studio. In particular, the video shows never-before-seen images of Navas rehearsing The Rite of Spring. Check out the video on The Art of Doing, which depicts impassioned creators of all kinds under the slogan “Be inspired.” How can one not fall for it?

The Art of Doing © Arno Faure

images: Arno Faure