• Cohen
    Photo: Michael Slobodian
  • The Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren has just reopened to the public after a renovation designed to highlight the collection. The library is now better lit, more user-friendly and larger than before. Not only does the new space include more shelving, it features all-new sections for displaying engravings, doing group work and for welcoming children.

    A redesigned space for Canada’s largest collection of dance documents

    The new archival department is set up for the acquisition and processing of new materials and is equipped with the best possible conservation and consultation conditions for the precious documents.

    “After several decades in cramped quarters, we are proud to have a new showcase for the collections that Vincent Warren so patiently and lovingly assembled,” said head librarian Marie-Josée Lecours. The unique character of the Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren has earned it an entry in the reference work Bibliothèques québécoises remarquables, edited by Claude Corbo and recently published by Del Busso.

    The project was part of the broader renovation of the first floor of the Maison de la danse du Québec Ludmilla-Chriaeff. “This project gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the building’s great architectural potential. The structure has a soul, and it evokes a major part of L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec’ history,” said the institution’s executive director, Alix Laurent. The project was executed by Rayside Labossière, a Montreal-based firm known for its original, relevant and sustainable architecture and design work.

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  • The former lead dancer of the Grands Ballets Canadiens, professor at L'École supérieure, collector and curator of the Library of Dance that now bears his name, Vincent Warren died Wednesday at the age of 79.

    Vincent Warren (1938-2017), an iconic figure on the Québec dance scene

    “We are deeply saddened by the loss of this great man, but I am convinced that his star will continue to enlighten and inspire us, just as he did through decades of dance in Québec,” stated Anik Bissonnette, Artistic Director of l'École supérieure. “A sensitive and learned artist, he was also extremely generous. We will miss his passion, his humour and his charming accent.”

    On May 30th of this year, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec awarded Vincent Warren the Québec Order of Arts and Letters: “He generously worked to build bridges between the two solitudes, between classical ballet and contemporary dance, the European tradition and North American avant-garde, the East and the West, the world of dance, and the institutions, artists and public.”

    Born in Jacksonville, USA, Vincent Warren started dancing at the age of 11, after seeing the Movie The Red Shoes. This was also when he started collecting everything he could find on dance, a habit that would remain with him throughout his life. After starting his career in New York, where he shared the stage with Igor Stravinsky, he was recruited by Madam Ludmilla Chiriaeff in 1961. By 1965, she appointed him lead dancer of the Grands Ballets Canadiens. Until his retirement from the stage in 1979, his charisma won over critics and a broad public.

    Vincent Warren next dedicated himself to communicating his passion for dance. Among others, he taught ballet and the pas de deux at l'École supérieure. He also taught dance history, not only at l'École supérieure, but at several universities and was a sought-after speaker in Québec, the US, and as far away as India. He organized several exhibitions and wrote scholarly articles. His commitment to his peers led him to head the Dance Association of Canada (1986-1990) and the Regroupement québécois de la danse (1987-1988). He was also a member of the Montréal Urban Community’s Arts Council (1993-1999). In addition, he received a number of distinctions, including the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (1976), the Dance in Canada Service Award (1985), the Denise-Pelletier prize awarded by the Government of Québec (1992), the Order of Canada (2004) and the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec (2017).

    Mostly, Vincent Warren expended a great deal of energy on the development of the dance library founded by Ludmilla Chiriaeff in 1964, so much, in fact that the institution took his name in 2010. “It is in this historically rich universe that this philanthropist built his most tangible and enduring legacy,” noted Marie-Josée Lecours, head librarian at the Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren, which holds more than 27,000 documents making it the largest collection of dance documents in Canada.

    In 2016, the life of Vincent Warren was the subject of a full-length documentary film, Un homme de danse, produced by Marie Brodeur. The movie was honoured with the award for the best Canadian film at the Festival international du film sur l'art. In 1968, Vincent Warren also starred in Norman McLaren’s Oscar-nominated short film Pas de deux.

    Photo: Michael Slobodian

  • For Les Grands Ballets' 17-18 season launch, the very first season of Ivan Cavallari as artistic director, seven students from the professional program danced at Théâtre Maisonneuve. L’École supérieure’s artistic director, Anik Bissonnette, was also on stage to talk about strengthening artistic ties with the company.

    Hand in hand with Les Grands Ballets

    It is in this mindset that young dancers Chloé Bourdeau, Karolyn Chen, Alicia-Rose Couvrette, Maude Fleury, Juliette Foucault, Justine Grenier and Florence Hughes presented a sequence at the barre, on pointes, choreographed by Beverley Aitchison. They were accompanied on the piano by Jean-François Duchesne, with music he arranged by Brahms, Claude Léveillé and Leonard Cohen. Also included was one of his own compositions.

    “Working hand in hand with Ivan and Les Grands Ballets makes good sense to me. Given my long love story (18 years and counting!) with Les Grands Ballets, it goes without saying that I am extremely pleased with this announcement. Working together, we can better prepare the next generation of dancers and continue to inspire young people here and elsewhere.” — Anik Bissonnette

    As soon as he arrived in Montreal, Ivan Cavallari announced his intention to forge closer artistic ties between les Grands Ballets and L’École supérieure. It's for this reason the two artistic directors took advantage of Wednesday's event at Place des Arts to announce that several collaborative initiatives will be taken, starting in the 2017-2018 season, to ensure a ready supply of locally sourced talent.

    New Beginning

    The two sister institutions founded by Ludmilla Chiriaeff, who have established themselves as leaders in the development of dance in Quebec for more than 50 years, have several important projects to achieve in the coming years. In 2017, while Les Grands Ballets will move to their new address in the Wilder Espace Danse Building, L’École supérieure will evaluate, among other things, the feasibility of moving into the Grand Séminaire de Montréal.

    Photos: Sarah Emily St-Gelais

  • A unique overview of dance in Québec, from 1900 to the present, is now available online in an all-new virtual space devoted to the iconographic collections of the Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren. This user-friendly space, at bibliodanse.ca, showcases a peerless set of documents.

    A new portal showcases Québec’s dance heritage

    The recent digitization of more than 4,500 photographs enriches the largest collection of dance documents in Canada. It includes, among others, posters, art prints, programs and video recordings.

    As head librarian Marie-Josée Lecours explained: “An important part of the Library’s iconographic collection remained inaccessible, yet it was the subject of countless searches, consultations and requests for use or reproduction. We felt an urgency to digitize, treat and showcase this unique collection whose fragility is palpable and whose historic importance is undeniable.”

    Brought together in this new “Digital Collection” space, these documentary treasures cover more than a century of dance in Québec, attesting to the creators and their works, dance companies, the dancers themselves, not to mention dance photographers. The digitization of this collection ensures the protection of an entire section of the history of Québec society, by avoiding the irreversible deterioration that would result from repeated handling of the originals.

    The “Digital Collection” space has been unveiled at an official launch on December 9. The Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren was able to carry out this project thanks to financial assistance from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and Library and Archives Canada as well as the support of L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec.


  • The Fondation de l’École supérieure is proud to announce the establishment of the Caisse Desjardins bursary for excellence in culture presented by the Jeune Scène d’affaires. This bursary will be awarded annually to a graduate of the School’s professional program whose performance has been outstanding.

    Creation of a new bursary for excellence

    The purpose of this $2,500 bursary is to facilitate the winner’s integration on the labour market by providing the opportunity to make the rounds of auditions with major companies at home and abroad. The winner is named by a selection committee consisting of representatives of l’École supérieure and Jeune Scène d’affaires.

    “Supporting up-and-coming artists is key to our approach, and we consider it particularly important to support the professional integration of young dancers, a process we ourselves experienced not that long ago,” noted Natacha Engel, Vice-President of the Fondation de l’École supérieure and founder of Jeune Scène d’affaires. The project’s instigator, Jeune Scène d’affaires is proud to participate, in collaboration with the Caisse Desjardins de la Culture, in the implementation of this bursary of excellence.

    Founded in 1994, the Caisse de la Culture arose from a desire to provide artists, artisans, creators and cultural undertakings with the means to express their talents and live up to their aspirations. The Caisse de la Culture has been actively involved with a number of cultural organizations and has maintained a special relationship with the world of dance since it was first established.

    The very first recipient of the Caisse de la Culture’s bursary of excellence presented by Jeune Scène d’affaires is Sarah-Maude Laliberté, a graduate of the professional program. The Fondation of l’École supérieure’s annual cocktail, held on December 2nd, provided Marie-Christine Cojocaru, General Manager of the Caisse Desjardins de la Culture, with the opportunity to officially award the bursary.

    Sarah-Maude Laliberté joined l’École supérieure’s professional program in 2009. From the outset, she displayed considerable perseverance and discipline, qualities that are essential in the professional field. She also took part in a number of student projects, reinforcing her sense of belonging to l’École supérieure and making it possible to raise funds in support of artistic and pedagogical programs.

© 2011 L'École supérieure de ballet du Québec
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