L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec will pay tribute to the legacy of Fernand Nault, a pioneer in the field of dance in Quebec, by renaming a dance studio in his honour on March 13. The man who choreographed the renowned Nutcracker presented by the Grands Ballets Canadiens every Christmas season since 1964, worked with several generations of dancers.
He also left his mark as Director of L’École supérieure from 1974 to 1976.
“I had the opportunity of working with this artist who was so open and generous,” states Anik Bissonnette, who is now Artistic Director of L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec. “Whenever I would take on a role in one of his ballets, he gave me the impression that he was recreating it especially for me.”
The Fernand-Nault Studio will be decorated with archival photos highlighting Mr. Nault’s career as dancer, ballet master, and choreographer. “We wish to preserve the past in order to better build the future. We are convinced that this inspiring figure will encourage our students to pursue their dream of becoming professional dancers,” asserts Alix Laurent, Executive Director of L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec.
“He always treated students like professional dancers and I think that’s why they loved him so much,” explains André Laprise, trustee of the Fonds chorégraphique Fernand Nault, a partner in this commemoration.
About Fernand Nault
Born in Montreal in 1920, Fernand Nault studied dance with Maurice Lacasse Morenoff as well as other dance masters in New York, London, and Paris. From 1944 to 1965, he was first a dancer, then a ballet master with New York’s American Ballet Theatre, and later became the director of that company’s school from 1960 to 1964. Then, in 1965, he joined the Grands Ballets Canadiens as co-artistic director and resident choreographer. His productions of Carmina Burana and Tommy earned him worldwide recognition.
Fernand Nault also choreographed works for the Joffrey Ballet, the Alberta Ballet, the Korea National Ballet, the Washington Ballet, and the Ballet Federation of the Philippines. In 1976, he received the choreography award at the International Ballet Festival in Varna, Bulgaria. He was also guest choreographer, then artistic director of the Colorado Ballet from 1978 to 1980. In addition, he collaborated with the Opéra de Montréal.
The Government of Canada awarded him the Centennial Medal (1967), the Order of Canada (1977) and the Governor General’s Performing Arts award (2000). In 1984, he received the Denise-Pelletier Award from the Government of Quebec. He was made a Knight of the Order of Quebec in 1990 and named Choreographer Emeritus of the Grands Ballets Canadiens.