At the end of his teenage years, José Montalvo began studying history of art and plastic arts. He was fascinated by the Dada period and its countless inventions. Whilst continuing his university studies, he took dance classes with Jerome Andrews and Françoise and Dominique Dupuy – and joined their company, the Ballets Modernes de Paris – and continued his dance training with Carolyn Carlson, Lucinda Childs, Alwin Nikolais and Merce Cunningham.
José Montalvo's first creations were short fun-filled pieces, types of choreographic aphorisms, mini danced novels filled with emotions, for which he was honoured with a variety of international awards. One of his performers was called Dominique Hervieu: it was the beginning of an artistic adventure and profound complicity that would result in the creation of the compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu in 1988. In 1989, José Montalvo moved on to an innovational path with the creation of “in situ” events: Dances to see and to dance. In July 1993, invited to the Paris Quartier d'été Festival, he was one of the first choreographers to be associated with the Bal Moderne which was created at the Théâtre National de Chaillot at this time.
Another decisive moment the same year: “Double Trouble”, created with the complicity of the video artist Michel Coste, inaugurated a cycle of works where technological images and the physical presence of dancers were confronted with each other. This period led to the creation of a series of works that intertwine with each other and that, whilst being self-sufficient, could, one day, be applied together, like a great baroque-style fresco. This led to great success. In 1998, José Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu were appointed as directors of the Centre chorégraphique national (National Choreographic Centre) in Creteil, Val de Marne. In 2000, José Montalvo was also appointed as dance director of the Théâtre National de Chaillot which was then directed by Ariel Goldenberg.
In 2001, “Le Jardin io io ito ito” was awarded the Laurence Olivier Prize. In 2004, the choreography and the production of Jean-Philippe Rameau's opera “Les Paladins” won unanimous critical acclaim. The performance was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Prize and obtained the prize for the best live recording of an opera for the film produced by François Roussillon. It was also shown in Shanghai, Athens, Paris and Tokyo. Next followed “On danse”(2005) and a diptych devoted to George Gershwin in 2008, with a production of “Porgy and Bess”for the Opéra de Lyon and, echoing this, a luminous choreographic work created for the Biennale de la danse in Lyon: “Good Morning, Mr. Gershwin”.
In 2006, he was awarded the SACD Prize for all of his works. In June 2008, José Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu accepted the proposal to direct the Théâtre National de Chaillot. “Orphée” and “Lalala Gershwin” were created in 2010 and sealed their last joint creations before Dominique Hervieu left to become director of the Maison de la Danse and the Biennale de la danse in Lyon. José Montalvo continues his missions at the Théâtre National de Chaillot alongside Didier Deschamps, around his own creations and privileges events that contribute to renewing the relationship of the theatre with the public. In June 2013, he will be, in particular, the creator and coordinator of an event focusing on amateur activities.
Sources: Théâtre National de Chaillot ; Maison de la Danse show program