In 1964, Ludmilla Chiriaeff announced the establishment of a “National Dance Library.” Two documentary collections left as bequests by dance critic Marcel Valois and by Montreal contemporary dance pioneer Elizabeth Leese served as the basis of the library project. The two collections contained some 300 documents.
In 1979, there were only 358 documents in the collection. Vincent Warren’s arrival at the school breathed new life into the project, as he was an insatiable collector, passionate about dance history. Vincent Warren’s presence also coincided with the school’s move to its new location at the Maison de la danse Ludmilla-Chiriaeff, where the library now has its own space.
In November 2009, the school’s Board of Directors decided to commemorate the remarkable contribution of the man who has been the supporter, promoter and the very soul of the library, by naming it La Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Vincent Warren started dancing at the age of 17 on a scholarship with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York. During the 1960 tour of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, he met Ludmilla Chiriaeff and joined the Montreal company becoming the principal dancer. He also performed with the Groupe de la Place Royale and danced in the United States and Europe.
Warren retired from the stage in 1979 to devote himself to teaching dance history at university and at L’École supérieure. He donated his entire collection of documents on the subject of dance to the library, and was its official curator until 2008.
Vincent Warren has continued to be involved in the dance community, as President of the Dance in Canada Association and of the Regroupement québécois de la danse.
His career has been marked by numerous distinctions, including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (1976), the Dance in Canada Service Award (1985), the Quebec government’s Prix Denise-Pelletier (1992) and the Order of Canada (2004). In 2010, L’École supérieure’s Board of Directors named the school’s dance library La Bibliothèque de la danse Vincent-Warren in his honour.