Anne Lauren Luben's picture
  • Dish
  • 4 October 2017
photo credit: Sasha Onyshchenko

Censorship has always been a pretty hot-button topic in many artistic mediums, dance included. However, we're lucky to live in a country where it doesn't happen too frequently, and artists are free to make the work they want in whatever way they see fit. 

Sometimes, though, issues arise to bring censorship back to the debate table, and this is one of those times. Last week, it was reported that a new ad for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens upcoming season was banned from Montréal's metro system. 

The "offending" image is, admittedly, pretty gory. It features dancer Vanesa Garcia-Ribala Montoya covered in blood with a nail through her foot. It's an ad for the company's performance of Statbat Mater, which has music by Giovanni Batista Pergolesi and was reportedly inspired by the pain the Virgin Mary felt during the Biblical story of Jesus' cruxifixion. 

Montréal's transit system has banned the photo, saying that the graphic nature of the image could inspire violence.

 Sasha Onyshchenko
photo credit: Sasha Onyshchenko

The poster has been refused on the grounds that it could incite violence, according to the Société de transports de Montréal (STM), which cites the blood and the spike through the foot as key factors. The ballet's new artistic director Ivan Cavallari responded in the Montréal Gazette: 

“They speak of violence, but it’s not an image that evokes violence. If they think it’s violent, then what do they say about all the very pretty women in ads for lingerie, who are almost naked?...We’re no longer scandalized about those kinds of things...I don’t understand how in 2017 they can look at a photo like this and say it’s no good.”

What do you think - should the image be allowed to be on the public transport system, or is it not appropriate? Leave us a comment below!