Founded by choreographer Hélène Blackburn in
1989, Cas Public is dedicated mainly to creating and producing choreographic works in the
contemporary dance segment for young audiences. After more than 25 years of research, the company’s work manifests as a condensed series of observations on the
enigma that is the human condition. Hélène Blackburn’s fiery choreographic language, where intense physical engagement meets an innate theatrical sense, breaks intentionally from established
codes and brings a critical yet compassionate eye to bear on humanity.
Cas Public is recognized for the intensity of its dance and its virtuosity. Its
team practices a demanding dance that questions the role and renewal of creative techniques used in classical and contemporary dance. Keeping a distance from conceptual currents, Hélène Blackburn
and her collaborators endeavour to create a vibrant art fully invested in the dancing body. This bias is rooted in a desire to keep the art accessible, intelligent and intelligible. Cas Public
has earned widespread recognition both in Canada and on the international stage. The company gives more than 100 shows per year, half of which are presented internationally. Cas Public has also
developed a vast expertise in cultural mediation.
“I believe the creator’s approach revolves around one or two obsessions. From my beginnings as a choreographer, the notion of testing physical limitations and the issue of virtuosity and its effects on the audience member’s
perception have always gone to the heart of my artistic approach. Articulating this guiding principle drives my research on movement via dance technique. My choreographic approach is to question
the dancing body’s limitations and expressive abilities based on the mechanics of danced movement. This anchoring in technique can defy classification; neo-classical for a contemporary
perspective, contemporary from a classical perspective. Steeped in the contemporary, at first, I gradually gravitated back to the classical roots of my training, developing a language that blends
classical and contemporary dance techniques.
Conversely, it seemed necessary, from the outset, to mark this clear difference between my works for adults and those for children. With time and practice, however, I was able to
forge a different path, that of inclusion. Cas Public found a unique path where dance for the greater public meets dance for children and youth. We advocate for a shared art for adults and children alike. In articulating this
principle, our dance has taken on its shape and meaning. Our intention is to venture out and meet new audiences at the local level and put forward innovative projects that promote the development
of dance. Drawing on these principles, therefore, my next creative cycle, for the first time since the company was founded, will be dedicated entirely to childhood and youth, albeit within this
broader inclusive vision that allows me to appeal to young and adult audiences alike.”
— Hélène Blackburn