Victor Quijada

Victor Quijada, dancer, choreographer, director (born at Los Angeles, Ca 15 Apr 1976). Victor Quijada, as a child in the barrios of Los Angeles, was deeply influenced by hip hop culture. He was introduced to formal dance at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where he studied with post-modern pioneer Rudy Perez. So great was Quijada's talent that in 1996, US dance icon Twyla Tharp invited him to join her company, Tharp!, with instructions to quickly learn ballet technique. He did so and remained with Tharp for 3 years, joining Ballet Tech/Feld Ballets in 1999, and then LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS DE MONTRÉAL from 2000-02.

A ballet dancer by day, he popped into the club scene at night. His early choreographies exposed these dual loves and he established Rubberbandance in 2002 as a tool to help achieve his goal to create a new dance form. Multi-talented Victor Quijada's quest to transform hip hop into a high art by fusing it with contemporary ballet ignites excitement wherever his company, Montréal's Rubberbandance, appears.

While his first efforts were often bumpy - street performers and trained ballet dancers had little understanding of each other - Quijada's knowledge, dedication and willingness to take risks instantly put him on the must-see map locally and, very soon, nationally and internationally.

Victor Quijada has produced 1 major work each season for Rubberbandance since its founding. Each painstakingly crafted work showed increased structural discovery and a fluid, explosive, emotionally engaging style. His dances have had wide appeal. Rubberbandance performed from Rotterdam and Helsinki to Hawaii, Japan, Kansas and the famed Jacob's Pillow Festival in Massachusetts. By 2008, with AV Input/Output and Punto Ciego, and with the help of company co-director and ballet dancer Anne Plamondon, a mature merging of hip hop, ballet and contemporary dance appeared.

By 2011, the end of Quijada's four-year stint as artist-in-residence at Cinquième Salle, PLACE DES ARTS, he had produced a watershed work, Gravity of Centre. Relentlessly physical partnerings entwined at high velocity to syncopated rhythms, displaying many of the choreographer's trademarks, including an examination of group behaviour under stress. Quijada's growing emphasis on emotional narrative drove the drama as he and 4 others displayed his quicksilver partnering.

As a dancer, Victor Quijada has loaned his rumpled, urban, boneless moves to groups like Kidd Pivot, the KUDELKA Project and Çaturn. He has choreographed for many, including Scottish Dance Theatre, Peter Boal & Co, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

His international honours include the 2010 Princess Grace Awards' choreographic fellowship, Britain's National Dance Award for best modern repertory in 2004 and the Bonnie Bird North American Award and Peter Darrell Choreography Award (UK) in 2003. Quijada's fascination with filmed dance has led to collaborations and citations. Man I Used to Be won the 2005 MuchMusic best rap video award.

Victor Quijada has made 2 short films, small explosions that are yours to keep (2006) and Secret Service (2007), and worked as dramaturge in the feature film Red Shoes (2009). Other collaborations include La symphonie éclatée, a celebration of Kent Nagano's inaugural concert with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, and Canada Day 2004, a GEMINI AWARD-nominated television film.