Jeanne Renaud - Dance Collection Danse

Jeanne Renaud - Dance Collection Danse

Jeanne Renaud

Dear Friends,

Dance Collection Danse is launching its annual fundraising campaign.

Taking the lead from the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation who,

this year, recognized DCD’s activities with two

grants (see Opening Remarks, opposite page)

we encourage you to support the organization

and its important programmes by increasing

your annual donation or becoming a new

donor. Your contribution assures that

collection, preservation and research

into Canada’s theatrical dance

past can continue, and that

our national dance stories

can be brought back to

life through DCD’s


and book


DCD is partially

supported by public funds

and we must balance those dollars

with cash donations, which demonstrate

that individuals from across the country

support and value our ongoing work.

We know that you understand the

importance of maintaining the

histories of those who have and

continue to dedicate their lives to

the artform. We invite you to

travel with us through the many

adventures of Canada’s theatrical

dance legacy.

Make your contribution today.

Miriam Adams


Samuel Titchener-Smith (1885-1980)

Born in Toronto, Titchener-Smith began teaching dance at The Grange in 1912. In 1920, he

opened the Apollo School of Dancing at Yonge and Bloor and in 1925 moved to 731 Yonge Street.

Many of his dancers performed at the Uptown Theatre – immediately across the street – from 1926

to 1930 where Jack Arthur produced live stage shows, featuring the Uptown Ballet.

Dance Collection Danse is a federally

registered charity under the corporate name:

Arts Inter-Media Canada/Dance Collection

Danse. Please make donation cheques

payable to Dance Collection Danse and use

the enclosed postage paid return envelope to

mail your donation.

An official receipt for Income Tax purposes

will be issued in your name.

Charitable Registration No. 86553 1727 RR0001

Board of Directors

Pamela Grundy, Chair

Brian Gold, Secretary/Treasurer

Charlotte Norcop, Vice-Chair

Selma Odom

Strachan Bongard

Louise Garfield

Miriam Adams


145 George Street

Toronto, Ontario

Canada M5A 2M6

In the Archives

Amy Bowring .................................................................... 4

Boris Volkoff: The Beginnings

John Ayre ............................................................................ 6

Excerpt from Fifteen Heterosexual Duets by James Kudelka

Laurence Lemieux .......................................................... 12

As 2006 is DCD’s 20 th anniversary, I must brag … in spite

of the fact that we Canadians have a reputation for being

nice – humble, polite, unassuming. We are not demonstrative,

rude nor boastful; we never blow our own horns – in

fact we don’t even have any. So, given the nature of our

beast, I will trumpet DCD’s successes knowing that there

will be no repercussions. Besides … DCD is doing really

great things! And in celebration of our past, which leads

into our future, I am very proud to report that we received

notification of TWO grants from the George Cedric Metcalf

Foundation this past summer. One to employ an intern

who will learn all aspects of the organization’s programming,

and a three-year grant to contract a revenue development

person to assist DCD in designing and implementing

a fundraising plan. All of this is a giant step in the right

direction for us as we build towards the future to accommodate

a larger staff, more space, and a greater efficiency

in our activities. This acknowledgement from the Metcalf

Foundation is a generous vote of support for our achievements

and our mission.

And just to remind you … before DCD’s existence,

there was little knowledge of the breadth and depth of the

Canadian dance legacy – the artists, the organizations, the

art works themselves. When, in 1986, we began the reconstruction

of Canadian dance works created during 1930s-

1950s, our mission became one that would enlighten and

inform the dance profession and general public about the

country’s theatrical dance heritage. Since then, Dance

Collection Danse has:

● discovered hundreds of dance artists working in

Canada prior to 1950

● reconstructed and notated early Canadian choreographic


● founded Canada’s first archives dedicated to Canadian

theatrical dance

● produced a monthly newsletter, and a semi-annual

magazine on Canadian dance history

● designed and implemented the Desktop Archives System

Jeanne Renaud

NUMBER 62, FALL 2006

Opening Remarks



Jeanne Renaud: In Her Own Time

Ray Ellenwood ................................................................ 16

Moving Mountains: Banff School of Fine Arts, 1933-1967

Amy Bowring....................................................................23

David Earle Wins Walter Carsen Prize; Joysanne Sidimus

Recipient of Governor General’s Award ....................................31

● recorded over 500 hours of oral histories with Canadian

dance artists

● collected approximately 500 portfolios of Canadian

dance artists, companies and organizations

● published Canada’s first dance encyclopedia

● promoted public awareness of the importance for preserving

the Canadian theatrical dance story

● designed and published dance history materials for

public education

● encouraged and supported numerous emerging and

established dance writers and researchers

● encouraged the use of DanceForms for recording choreography

● began the discussion for identifying master works by

Canadian choreographers

● published 32 books on dance

● initiated the Grassroots Archiving Workshops for the


Not bad for a twenty-year-old.

So thanks to all who have nourished us over the years –

the artists, volunteers, funders, donors – we need your continuing

support more than ever. And thanks to the Metcalf

Foundation for providing a solid jumping off point for the

next stages in DCD’s life.

The Magazine is published by Dance Collection Danse

and is freely distributed.

ISSN 0 849-0708

Dance Collection Danse

145 George Street Toronto, ON M5A 2M6

Tel. 416-365-3233 Fax 416-365-3169

E-mail Web site

Design by Michael Caplan 416-323-9270

Cover Photo by Ed Kostiner

No. 62, Fall 2006 3




4 Dance Collection Danse





It’s not unusual for the artistic gene to be passed from one

generation to the next. A recent visit to Dance Collection

Danse by Sheila (Milsom) Wilde and Anne (Hoban) Wilde

revealed just that. What started as a simple research

request grew into a new electronic portfolio at DCD.

As DCD’s Research Coordinator, one of my jobs is to

fulfill requests for archival materials, which come to us

from all over Canada and from individuals in the United

States, Britain and Europe. When people can’t visit DCD in

person, we duplicate materials and send them by mail or

over the Internet. While most requests are from scholars,

students, writers and the media, there are also enquiries

from people who are trying to learn more about their

ancestors. Having read about Alison Sutcliffe in a previous

issue of the DCD Magazine, dancer and teacher Anne Wilde

called to see if we had any house programmes from the

1930s for Dorothy Goulding’s Toronto Children Players.

Sutcliffe had done the choreography for a number of

Goulding’s productions and her archives contains house

programmes for these shows. Anne Wilde’s mother, Sheila

Milsom, performed leading roles in a number of

Goulding’s productions; however, Milsom’s mother was

strict and, not wanting her daughter to become vain, never

allowed her to look at the programmes or photographs

from these performances.

Anne and Sheila came to DCD and revisited their

pasts. Sheila was able to conjure some memories after seeing

her name listed in performances of Alice Johnstone

Walker’s “The Thursday” A Brittany Legend (1931), Frances

Helen Harris’ Franchette From France (1933), M. Jagendorf’s

The Gnomes’ Workshop – Mortals Repaired (1935), and

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer-Night’s Dream (1938).

During their visit, we learned that while Sheila had not

made performing a career, daughter Anne had. Anne

donated items from her dance career and also loaned materials

that she wasn’t ready to part with. DCD scanned the

items and they now make up the Anne Hoban Wilde

Electronic Archives.

Performing in the 1960s and 1970s, Anne’s career has

connected her to a variety of personalities in Canadian

dance history including Norbert Vesak, Josephine Slater,

Ellen Andrews and the Canadian Dance World Studios in

New Westminster, B.C.; Gweneth Lloyd, Betty Farrally and

the Banff Festival Touring Company; Ottawa’s Nesta

Toumine and Ballet Imperial of Canada; the Toronto com-

House programme from the Toronto Children Players’ 1933 production of

Frances Helen Harris’ Franchette from France. Staged at Toronto’s Hart

House Theatre, the play featured Sheila Milsom as “Mademoiselle Franchette,

a French doll”. Sheila’s brother, John, was in charge of properties.

panies of Bianca Rogge and Marijan Bayer; and Montreal’s

Michel Cartier and Les Feux-Follets.

Anne has since transitioned into a career in education

and currently teaches for the York Region District School

Board where she is a teacher librarian and drama/dance

teacher. She produces, directs and choreographs various

theatre works with students from Kindergarten to Grade 8,

is involved in a Hand Drumming Club, and works collaboratively

with staff members on cross-grade integrated arts

projects. She co-wrote the Drama Dance Curriculum

Document for the school board and has given numerous

workshops in dance, drama and integrated arts to educators

throughout the province. She has also maintained her

interest in performing as a member of the On Stage

Uxbridge Committee through which she has performed

as a singer, actor and dancer.

Anne Hoban Wilde's collection included a

couple of items from her work with German Expressionist

choreographer Bianca Rogge including

this image from a house programme for

a Hart House Theatre concert in 1969. There

is still much to be revealed about Bianca

Rogge’s contribution to the early modern dance

scene in Toronto. We know that she was a Lithuanian

émigré and contributed to the organization

of the Toronto modern dance festivals between

1960 and 1964. Among her students and dancers

was modern dance choreographer Judy Jarvis.

Anne’s association with the Canadian Dance

World Studios led her to have a copy of one of the

five issues of Canadian Dance World Magazine

published by Norbert Vesak and Josephine Slater in

1962/63. This now means that DCD has a complete

set of these rare hand-made magazines.

Other editions are found in DCD’s Harry Locke


In the Archives Continues

In the last issue of DCD Magazine, we presented a series of telegrams from

the collection. While harvesting the Gweneth Lloyd Portfolio to produce a

new edition of “Pages in History” on DCD’s web site, two more telegrams of

note emerged.

1953 APR 1 PM 7:17 – Famous British ballet dancer Adeline Genée sends her congratulations

to the Winnipeg Ballet after it became the first ballet company in the British commonwealth to

receive a royal title.

1954 JUN 8 AM 9 38 – Royal Winnipeg Ballet co-founder Betty Farrally sends an urgent

telegram to her friend and co-founder Gweneth Lloyd about the fire that destroyed the

company’s Winnipeg studio including costumes, sets, business records and Lloyd’s

choreographic notes. At the time, Lloyd was teaching in Toronto.

No. 62, Fall 2006 5

Boris Volkoff

The Beginnings


Mushka Fanova

and Boris Volkoff in

a Charleston number

at the Carlton

Café, Shanghai

Photo: From Boris

Volkoff Collection,

Toronto Public Library (TRL)

When Boris Volkoff arrived in Toronto

from Chicago in September 1929, he

gave every appearance of being just

another rootless White Russian on his

way to somewhere else. For the past

five years, he had wandered over east

Asia and then the United States performing

wherever and however he

could. Dancing with a touring company

of the Moscow State Ballet in eastern

Siberia in 1924, he defected in

China and danced the Charleston in

tuxedo and slicked hair in Shanghai’s

famous nightclub, the Carlton Cafe.

He got back into ballet with the tiny

Stavrinaki Ballet, which performed

6 Dance Collection Danse

throughout eastern Asia. He arrived in

Hawaii with another troupe, the Royal

Russian Sextette, perhaps the remains

of the Stavrinaki. Once the sextette

arrived in the continental United

States, it didn’t last very long. To put

food on the table Volkoff ended up

dancing as Baskakoff, “whirlwind of

motion”, on the Orpheum vaudeville

circuit in the mid-West. He wore a

peasant costume and leapt and brandished

a narrow sword. Audiences

loved his act. Volkoff did not.

Mercifully he soon caught up with

Adolph Bolm’s ballet troupe in

Chicago in 1928 at the time when

dancers Agnes de Mille and Berenice

Holmes were performing with Bolm.

Volkoff had come to Toronto to

replace Leon Leonidoff as dancer and

choreographer for live intermission

shows at the Uptown cinema palace.

He also ran a ballet school for impresario

Jack Arthur. The Depression

quickly put an end to live shows in

the cinemas and Volkoff set up his

own school at 771 Yonge Street just

north of Bloor, with Evelyn Geary and

Jack Lemen teaching musical comedy

and tap dancing. There was nothing

unusual about this. Even during the

Depression, the middle class was still

dance mad and willing to fork out

money to learn. Still, the studio barely

survived at first. Volkoff himself lived

in a small space behind a curtain in

the studio.

Despite his nightclub career,

Volkoff’s true obsession was now the

ballet. He quickly developed the idea

that if he could attract some of the

best students in Toronto, he could

build a repertory company. In a 1932

issue of Mayfair magazine, his photo

appeared featuring him wearing just

silken dance briefs and extending a

large Eurhythmics hoop to make a

pattern of light. The photo showed

why he had never been a ballet prince

and why, besides strong affinity for

pantomime, he had to specialize in

character roles. His body was a bit on

the blocky side and neither his chest

nor his head were particularly elegant.

But the caption was interesting. Here

was Volkoff who “hopes to establish a

permanent Canadian ballet”.

He had already been working to

improve the image of ballet in Toronto

through his school. His first recital

was in Hart House Theatre on May 16,

1931. When he mounted two performances

in 1932, local newspaper critics

started reviewing them as serious

entertainment. In May 1934, critics

were noticing “large audiences” for

his two performances. The Star commented:

“The dancing was splendid,

and Boris Volkoff’s numbers were met

with cheers.”

In his search for audiences,

Volkoff received a real break in 1934

when the Promenade Concerts at

Varsity Arena were instituted under

conductor Reginald Stewart. In the

summer and early fall the concerts ran

every week offering orchestral music

with affordable ticket prices. While

these performances were usually popular,

it was the single concert of the

year featuring the Volkoff dancers that

not only sold out but attracted hordes

of people. With 4,800 seats, Varsity

Arena actually held 7,580 people at

Volkoff’s first Promenade Concert

appearance on October 18, 1934.

Although scheduled for 8:30 p.m., the

arena was completely full by 8:00 p.m.

Once the seats ran out, people sat on

the floor of the arena. No one seemed

to care about the discomfort. The

Telegram reported, “The audience

wanted more and yet more of this

characteristic and beautiful work of

Boris Volkoff and his students.” This

instant popularity clearly contradicted

the later myth that Toronto audiences

were so stodgy and puritanical that

interest in dance had to be painfully

developed over years if not decades.

Admittedly, one of the major reasons

people flocked to see the Volkoff

dancers was to see Volkoff himself. In

early years, his photos as a boisterous

Russian peasant appeared in Toronto

newspapers. Volkoff strutted in his

embroidered ethnic costumes and soft

boots and thrilled audiences all the way

from the Russian Charity Ball to Sir

Ernest MacMillan’s

children’s concerts.

His specialty was

the gopak, the

Ukrainian men’s

dance which featured

wild leaps

and spins. It was a

chronic crowd

pleaser and usually

ended in cheers

and calls for an

encore. He also

shamelessly dabbled

in schlock. In

a June 1935 Prom

concert, he took

Russian sentimentality

to its limits

in a dance comedy

with “the Shirley

Temple of dance”,

Irma Dorfman.

But Volkoff did

balance his programs.

There were almost always two

classical pieces for each presentation

and he did try experimenting with

modern dance as early as his 1932

concerts. In the 1935 shows, he had

his dancers wear black sheeny costumes,

while patterns created by

designer Fred Coates on a “colour

organ” rippled on a white backdrop.

From the start, Volkoff choreographed

Pauline Sullivan in Volkoff’s Mala, 1936 Berlin Olympics

all his own dances and always used

serious music: Chopin, Schubert,

Sibelius, Bach, even the sometimes

dissonant and abstract Bartok.

As his company was now the only

fully established dance group in

Canada, he was able to take advantage

of an invitation to the Internationale

Tanzwettspiele in July 1936,

which was directly tied to the Berlin

Volkoff students in recital at Hart House Theatre, 1933

Photo: From Boris Volkoff Collection, Toronto Public

Library (TRL)

No. 62, Fall 2006 7

House program for dance performances at the

1936 Berlin Olympics from Mary Bosley's

scrapbook; Bosley was one of the dancers

who travelled to Berlin with Volkoff

Olympics. Although being organized

by the major German dance figure,

Rudolph von Laban, who was not

Nazi, there were growing suspicions

early on about Nazi meddling. Dance

groups in the United States, Britain

and western Europe boycotted the

Volkoff Canadian Ballet listed inside of the house program for 1936

Berlin Olympics

8 Dance Collection Danse

event. Martha Graham, anxious about

her Jewish dancers, was especially

vociferous in turning down an invitation

in a statement published in The

New York Times on March 13, 1936.

While most of Volkoff’s dancers

seemed naive, it’s not known how far

this naivety extended to Volkoff himself.

It is possible that he was simply

willing to ignore political repercussions

to take advantage of what could

capture major publicity

for his group.

Following a set

formula, he choreographed

a balanced

program for

Berlin that included

two established

company pieces,

Ecstasy and Petit-

Polka. More perplexing

was how

to provide an

image of Canadian

“national” dances.

In direct reference

to the Berlin competition,

a Toronto

newspaper editorial considered the

dance theme problem. The Highland

Fling and and Irish

Jig were not ours

and the Red River

Jig had “gone out

of style.” There

was the possibility

of a native theme

too, which Volkoff

embraced. Following

the deep interest

at the time in

native culture,

shared by artists

and choreographers

alike, he created

an impressionistic


solo, Mala, inspired

by a Rockwell

Kent print of an

old inuk woman.

A longer piece,

Mon-Ka-Ta, a native

Orpheus and Eurydice

story, seems

to have been interesting

if badly

flawed with Hollywood-style Indian


When they arrived in Berlin, the

group was shocked to find that

besides small, mostly folkloric dance

groups from Germany and central

Europe, there were dance greats like

Mary Wigman and Harald Kreutzberg.

In Toronto, the German representative

of the Olympics had told the

Volkoff group that there would be an

Volkoff Canadian Ballet in Volkoff’s Mon-Ka-Ta, 1936 Berlin Olympics

amateur category in the dance competition.

This is what they had prepared

for. But when they got to Berlin, they

found that the amateur classification

had been abolished. They had the

choice of competing with the professionals

or going home. They of course

chose to perform. To beef up their program,

Volkoff, the only real professional

in the group, hastily put together

a solo based on composer

Moritsevich Gliere’s The Red Poppy in

which he wore soft boots and an

embroidered tunic that he fortunately

happened to pack. This work displayed

his dynamic and polished abilities

as a performer.

Although the write-up in Der Tanz

magazine explicitly mentions an initial

plan for adjudication, this plan fell

apart and the competition turned itself

into a festival. Laban apparently

decided that it was unfair and in fact

impossible to compare apples and

oranges. Certainly no ranking was

ever published and the archival files

do not include adjudication papers.

An enterprising Volkoff was nevertheless

believed to have asked Laban

(L-R) George Moran, Clifford Toner, James Pape, Lloyd Thornton, Carl Balmer (kneeling) in

“Polovetsian Dances” from Volkoff’s Prince Igor

Photo: From Boris Volkoff Collection, Toronto Public Library (TRL)

what standing they would have

received had there been adjudication.

Laban was supposed to have answered

“fifth”. Volkoff grabbed onto this and

rather mercilessly spread it around in

Canadian newspapers. When he got

home, he further expressed his confidence

about going to the 1940

Olympics in Japan, assuming there

would be a dance festival connected

with it. As a promotional device this

worked extremely well. At the

Promenade Concert in the fall, the

group repeated their Berlin program

before another overcapacity audience

of 6,849.

Clearly Volkoff sensed he was

building momentum and again

reminded everyone after Berlin of the

idea of a national ballet company.

While he couldn’t realize his dream of

a real tour, Volkoff’s wife, dancer Janet

Baldwin, managed to pull some

strings with her prominent uncle,

Harry Baldwin, for an appearance at

Ottawa’s Little Theatre. The result was

a successful concert under the patronage

of the Governor-General, Lord

Tweedsmuir, in which the company

mostly repeated their Olympics program.

Volkoff received seven curtain

calls for his own Red Poppy solo and

was forced to repeat it before the audience

was satisfied.

He again pressed his idea of a

national company in an interview for

Curtain Call, and at a performance at

Toronto’s Heliconian Club he made a

personal appeal to the gathered artists

and musicians in the audience. This of

course was talking to the converted

and must have produced only the

usual statements of verbal support.

He obviously needed more. On the

principle that if he built it they will

come, Volkoff presented an evening of

dance at Massey Hall on May 19, 1939

to launch a ballet company, the Boris

Volkoff Ballet. There was a clear elevation

of purpose. The first page of the

program announced, “Boris Volkoff

presents First Canadian Ballet”. Critic

Augustus Bridle viewed Volkoff as a

wunderkind who managed to pull

together the local geniuses to do his

bidding. Volkoff was really employing

the people he had used for his earlier

concerts. He rounded up his old collaborator,

conductor Ettore Mazzoleni.

For lighting, he involved Herman

Voaden, a pioneering playwright who

had been exploring theatre techniques

that he called Symphonic Expressionism.

For costuming he engaged

designers Ron Rae and Edgar Noffke.

In one ballet, Caprices d’ Amour,

Volkoff managed to use fifty-one

dancers. The finale featured the

Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor,

which required a lot of expert dancing

and the critics noted that the Volkoff

dancers could now handle the

demands. Pushing forty Volkoff was

the warrior chief but he could ably

Volkoff Canadian Ballet dancers in Exstase at the 1936 Berlin

Olympics, performed to music by Tchaikovsky

Photo: From Boris Volkoff Collection, Toronto Public Library (TRL)

No. 62, Fall 2006 9

dance with his own student Patricia

Drylie who went on to a significant

dance career in New York and


Critic Augustus Bridle was happy

to pronounce that “Canada now has

the germ of a national ballet, with

Toronto as its logical birthplace. Three

years ago we caught the opera germ.

Years ago we got orchestra. Before that

we had string quartet. If the ballet last

night is what we are to grow out of

into something better, let’s hang on to

it.” Implicitly, of course, he was saying

that while it was not quite there, it

was getting close.

Nobody received their national

ballet. The war soon came. In the days

before government and corporate

foundations sponsored cultural enterprises,

it was wealthy patrons who

could make it all work and they were

under no obligation to sponsor ballet

in particular. In the U.S. at this time, it

was often obsessed dancers and balletomanes,

for example Lucia Chase

and Lincoln Kirstein, who used their

own personal fortunes to create professional

companies. There were none

such as these who came forward in


Curiously the war didn’t diminish

the drive to develop the company.

While some of its male dancers joined

up for the war, the company managed

to progress. In 1941, it performed in

the tonier Royal Alexandra Theatre as

Laurie Dacuk, Alla Shishkina, Janet Baldwin, Mila Hromova (Melissa

Hayden), Patricia Drylie and Elizabeth (Johnstone) Leese, from a feature

on the Volkoff Canadian Ballet in Mayfair Magazine, June 1943

Photo: Ronny Jaques, from Boris Volkoff Collection, Toronto Public Library (TRL)

10 Dance Collection Danse

Members of the Volkoff Canadian Ballet in Berlin, 1936

the Volkoff Canadian Ballet, known

colloquially as the Canadian Ballet.

Despite the war, there was still an

eager public and Volkoff had to add a

third night to accommodate the

demand. It was now the critics who

took up the call for a national company,

always in reference to the Volkoff

company. In Saturday Night, Robertson

Davies used the Royal Alexandra performances

to pronounce that it was

now time for a national company.

While he was leery of the technical

roughness in some of the dancers,

Davies indicated that everything else

seemed in place. “There are in Britain

and in the United States several excellent


who made far

more modest

beginnings than

this. If Canada

wants a professional

ballet to

tour this country,

here is the material

for it.”

Volkoff achieved

another peak

for a program in

April 1945 at the

Eaton Auditorium,

which Hector


called “the most

distinguished program

the organization

has yet offered.”

What espe-

cially impressed Charlesworth was

the technical brilliance of Patricia

Drylie and Mildred Herman, both of

whom were trained by Volkoff. It

wouldn’t be too long though before

they departed for New York – Mildred

Herman to become Melissa Hayden of

Ballet Theatre and then the New York

City Ballet, while Drylie joined Radio

City Ballet and later performed on


In one of most bruising ironies in

Canadian dance history, Volkoff then

felt the prize of heading up a national

ballet slip away from him at precisely

the moment he appeared strongest.

The Canadian Ballet came out of the

First Canadian Ballet Festival in April

1948 in Winnipeg as the most highly

regarded of the three companies that

performed. Janet Baldwin and balletomane

Kay Ransom then proceeded

to organize a second festival in

Toronto for March 1949. Baldwin did

an astonishing job of interesting major

publications, the CBC and the National

Film Board in covering the festival.

She talked a reluctant Anatole Chujoy

of Dance News into coming up from

New York to cover the festival for the

Globe and Mail. Newsweek and The New

York Times had upbeat articles. Volkoff

received much attention for his twoact

ballet The Red Ear of Corn, which he

managed to take to New York later in

the year. The excitement and attention

the festival had generated resulted in

a lot of influential people willing, at

last, to help create a national ballet.

Elizabeth (Johnstone) Leese, from a feature on the Volkoff Canadian

Ballet in Mayfair Magazine, June 1943

Photo: Ronny Jaques, from Boris Volkoff Collection, Toronto Public

Library (TRL)

In November that year the

Canadian Ballet Festival Association

submitted a brief to the Massey

Commission on the arts calling for the

creation of a National Ballet. This was

a statement of desire and principle,

certainly not an effort to nominate

either of the two major companies, the

Winnipeg Ballet or the Volkoff Canadian

Ballet. Partly because Toronto

had been so enchanted by the appearance

of Margot Fonteyn and the

Sadler’s Wells Ballet in November

1949, the ultimate determination was

to send Volkoff’s business manager,

Stewart James, to London to find a

promising Briton to come and build a

wholly new company rather than designate

either the Winnipeg Ballet or the

Volkoff Canadian Ballet as a foundation

company. The result is well known.

Celia Franca came in 1950 to assess

the Canadian dance situation and then

in 1951 to create a new company.

At first there was the clear possibility

that these dance pioneers would

be integrated into the process. An

undated list reproduced in James

Neufeld’s history of the National

Ballet, Power to Rise, proposed that

Celia Franca would be Artistic Director,

Boris Volkoff Resident Choreographer,

Gweneth Lloyd Artistic

Consultant and Choreographer, and

Janet Baldwin Wardrobe Mistress. It’s

unlikely that such a set-up would

work given that Volkoff and Franca

had a fierce distaste

for each

other’s style of ballet

… it would

have been be the

explosive athleticism

of Volkoff’s

Russian style

against the stylistic

subtlety of Franca’s

British. Volkoff

was not asked to

join the company,

and it appears that

he was never invited

to contribute a

ballet to the new

troupe, a privilege

at least accorded

Gweneth Lloyd

who, significantly,

turned it down.

It’s ironic that Franca’s new company

made its first appearance on

June 14, 1951 for a Promenade concert

in Volkoff’s familiar territory of

Varsity Arena, just two days after

Volkoff’s Twentieth Anniversary

recital at Eaton Auditorium. The new

company’s performance engendered

none of the audience enthusiasm that

Volkoff’s dancers had always won in

Boris Volkoff, c. 1950

Photo: National Film Board of Canada

their own concerts. The National

Ballet had to work very hard in its

earliest years to try to recapture the

spirit and popularity that Volkoff’s

company had enjoyed through the

1930s and 1940s.

But it was now a fait accompli.

Volkoff’s best dancers had slipped

away to the new National Ballet

where they could at least earn a partial

living. While the Winnipeg Ballet,

officially professional, managed to

survive on its own, the Volkoff

Canadian Ballet became a diminished

entity. It participated in the annual

ballet festivals until the festivals came

to an end in 1954. Seeing two decades

of his hard work and palpable success

crudely junked, Volkoff himself became

a disappointed and bitter man.

Boris Volkoff passed away in 1974.

His work, The Red Ear of Corn, with musical

score by John Weinzweig, was reconstructed

in 1986 as part of Dance

Collection Danse’s ENCORE! ENCORE!

reconstruction project.

No. 62, Fall 2006 11


Fourteen years later [in 1991 Fifteen

Heterosexual Duets was commissioned

for Toronto Dance Theatre by David

Earle] Bill Coleman and I have chosen

to remount Fifteen Heterosexual Duets

as part of our company’s Kudelka/

Taylor project, which includes two

other Kudelka works, Soudain, l’hiver

dernier (1987) and a new work “it is as

it was” with countertenor Daniel

Taylor (2006).…Fifteen seemed the perfect

piece to complete this evening of

music and dance.

12 Dance Collection Danse

Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie

Reconstructing/La reprise de

Fifteen Heterosexual Duets

The dancers have changed for this

reconstruction, but the strength of the

work has not. The impact it has on its

performers is just as strong, the

impact on the audience just as clear.

With the idea of restaging Fifteen

came the desire to assemble a superb

group of dancers – the best we could

find in Montreal. On the one hand,

choosing the artists and imagining

them in the work was exhilarating. On

the other, it was unnerving because

Bill and I knew too well that the piece

was originally created for a group of

dancers who had been working to-

by/de James Kudelka

gether for years. During the TDT production,

there were already complicated

relationships involving power

struggles and drama, the stereotypical

intrigue that one can find in a dance

company. This chemistry between

individuals charged the process. So

the prospect of a remount was beyond

simply relearning the choreography.

We had to find people who could create

magic together without the familiarity

that comes with being a full-time

company member.

In selecting the dancers, we knew

that something had to tie them together.

Bill Coleman and Anne Plamondon

The first connection we made was the

dancer’s relationship to James, so we

started by choosing dancers with

whom he had previously worked:

Andrea Boardman, Andrew Giday,

Anik Bissonnette, Sylvain Lafortune,

Sasha Ivanochko, Bill and me. Then

we looked for others who had not

worked with James but whose musicality

and physicality we knew James

would love, and who we knew would

look fantastic in the piece. We invited

Marc Boivin, Mario Radacovsky,

Victor Quijada and Anne Plamondon.

When we premiered the work in

January 2006, many journalists commented

on the age of the dancers: “Do

you have to be over forty to dance in

that show?” they asked me. Though

more than half of the dancers are over

forty, we did not intentionally seek

older dancers. First and foremost, we

invited dancers who are talented,

mature and serious about the work.

Often these traits come with age, but

not always. We also have dancers in

their late twenties and thirties. As

well, while there are many exceptional

performers in the Montreal modern

dance community, we leaned more

towards ballet-trained dancers since

one needs to have rigorous technical

training in ballet or modern, or even

both, to be able to dance Fifteen.

James became involved when I

began casting the selected dancers in

the duets. I showed him my list. He

scratched some names and replaced

Laurence Lemieux

and Victor Quijada

them with others. Overall, I wasn’t far

off. This recasting process revealed

aspects of James’ vision that I had not

been aware of. For example, it was

very important to him that duet #10

be danced by a boyish-looking man,

Christopher House in the original version

and in this one, Andrew Giday. In

fact, I realize that my previous knowledge

of the work was very specific to

my experience as a dancer. I had witnessed

and was part of the original

creation, but I was not privy to the

complex thinking of the creator. I had

clear ideas about some of the duets,

but it had to be James who would ultimately

have the last word. Both Bill

and I were there to facilitate those


While funding for dance projects

is always hard to find, securing financial

support for our reconstruction of

Fifteen was particularly challenging.

Sasha Ivanochko

and Marc Boivin

The remounting of existing dance

works is never a thrilling prospect for

an arts council jury. They usually prefer

to gamble on new work. I understand

their position – it seems more

dynamic and current to support something

new, something fresh, in the

hope that the work will expand the art

of dance. However, I think a remount

can influence dance as well. Learning

an exceptional work such as Fifteen

has the ability to change the artistry of

14 Dance Collection Danse

the performers who will, in turn,

change the art form. Remounts also

inform us about our past, who and

where we were and how little or how

much we have progressed. I think in

contemporary dance we undervalue

the importance of great works, though

not so in the other arts. We have no

problem watching Citizen Kane, knowing

it is one of the greatest films ever

made, or acknowledging that Romeo

and Juliet is one of the most significant

plays ever written. But modern dance

was built on change, in some cases as

a reaction against classical ballet: contemporary

choreographers are constantly

seeking the new and questioning

the dance form. While innovation

is important to be sure, it should not

detract from recognizing dance’s

brightest accomplishments.

I remember seeing Bronislava

Nijinska’s Les Noces (1923) as a student.

My life was forever changed.

That experience taught me that as a

creator and a teacher I had to acknowledge

the past in order to contribute to

the art form I had chosen. The first

work I learned in ballet school was

George Balanchine’s Serenade (1934). It

is hard for me now to imagine dancing

and fully appreciating that great

work in only my second year of training.

Learning Serenade from Vincent

Warren laid the foundation for my

understanding of choreography. My

desire to remount Fifteen was probably

inspired by the respect for great choreography

that Vincent taught me. As

students at l’École supérieure de

danse du Québec, we learned appreciation

for art history and choreography

by learning works from classical

repertory as well as from contemporary.

Unfortunately, l’École supérieure

has followed the trend in contemporary

dance to emphasize innovation

and has abolished classical repertory

to focus on new choreography. To be

sure, we must learn about contemporary

work, but we must not be ignorant

of our past. For example, when I

talked to my modern dance technique

students at the school about our project

to remount Fifteen, I was surprised

to find that half of them did not even

know James Kudelka! I feel it is our

responsibility as artists and teachers to

inform and educate. Bill and I decided

to remount Fifteen not only to

acknowledge a masterpiece but

because we believed that this remount

and subsequent presentations would

inform dance students, the dance

audience, the dance world, as well as

the dancers and all those involved in

this project.

So, how did we make it happen?

All photographs by Michael Slobodian

What a rehearsal! James was quick,

precise, musical, very polite, but also

very demanding. I felt like I could have

done anything for him … His innate

understanding of each dancer, as if he

knew exactly what everyone could or

could not do, made being in the studio

with him very empowering.

Quelle répétition ! James était rapide,

précis, musical, très poli et très

exigeant. Je me sentais prête à tout

faire pour lui … Le temps en studio

avec lui était enrichissant puisqu'il

avait une compréhension innée de

chaque interprète, comme s'il cernait

exactement la capacité de chacun.

90 photos

ISBN 0-929003-66-7

185 pages


Laurence Lemieux

David Earle

A Choreographic Biography

by Michele Green

This book brings to life a collection of words and images that celebrate

choreographer David Earle’s monumental gifts to the art of dance in


Co-founder of Toronto Dance Theatre in 1968, he established

Dancetheatre David Earle in Guelph, Ontario in 1996. His contribution

as a mentor, teacher and creator has impacted upon tens of

thousands of modern dancers and audience members worldwide.


From Canada’s Leading

Dance Book Publisher

How To Order From DCD Press/es



Outside Canada: 416 365-3233

FAX: 416 365-3169

Prices are shown in Canadian dollars,

do not include mailing and GST,

and are subject to change

photography gallery/galerie de photographies : Michael Slobodian

David Earle: A

Choreographic Biography

encompasses a catalogue of

130 choreographic works

dating from 1963 to 2005

along with interviews,

reviews, musings excerpted

from Earle’s personal

journals and a gritty essay

by arts writer Graham


150 photos/illustrations

ISBN 0-929003-58-6

250 pages



In Her Own Time


Jeanne Renaud has been described by dance historian

Iro Tembeck as one of three great pioneers of modern

dance and choreography in Quebec. The two others

named are her friends and colleagues, Françoise Riopelle

and Françoise Sullivan. All are viewed by Tembeck as

guides, breaking with earlier traditions, opening doors and

showing the way to a generation of modernist dancers and

choreographers who would follow. The artistic context that

gave rise to this remarkable trio is a study in its own right,

but first of all a few words about Renaud’s family background

and early life.

Born in Montreal in 1928, the youngest of three sisters,

Jeanne Renaud enjoyed a life of some ease in the early

years. Her father was a successful dentist, her mother a

trained musician; they were a sophisticated couple with

friends who were active in the city’s arts community. But

the sudden death of her mother and financial difficulties of

her father soon upset this stability. As described by Jeanne

Renaud’s sister, the late poet and memoirist Thérèse

Renaud, in Une mémoire déchirée (1979), what followed were

hellish years of torment under a sadistic, hypocritical

housekeeper, exacerbated by a repressive convent education.

Jeanne Renaud’s own memories are less melodramatic,

more positive, perhaps because she was, as her sister

describes her, brilliant, highly practical and naturally diplomatic.

Jeanne is more inclined to talk about the magnificent

collection of books on art and literature their father put at

the girls’ disposal, in spite of the fact that some of the titles

were on the church’s forbidden list. In any case, both

younger sisters assert that for a number of years, an unhappy

family atmosphere was relieved by the intelligence,

enthusiasm and adventurous spirit of their elder sister,

Louise, described by Jeanne as the true mother of the family

even after their father had remarried. And though her

father may have been at times distracted and distant, he

was willing to support, often despite misgivings, the artistic

aspirations, education, and travels of his maturing daughters.

Louise became a student of visual arts at the École des

Beaux Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Montreal from 1938-1942,

and this led to the eventual encounter of all three sisters

with a community of artists that would not only affect their

own lives, but help shape the modern cultural landscape of

Montreal, and indeed of Canada.

In the last years of the Second World War, a group of

young people from a variety of artistic disciplines, including

Louise Renaud and others from the École des Beaux

Arts, began forming around the painter Paul-Émile Borduas

who was teaching at the École du meuble (School of

16 Dance Collection Danse

Jeanne Renaud, 1964

Photo: Jean-Pierre Labreque

Applied Art) in Montreal. Stimulated by Borduas, they

became increasingly active, meeting quite regularly at different

studios, organizing art shows, public forums, readings

and performances of music and dance. By 1946, they

had become known as the Montreal Surrealists because of

their obvious affiliation with the French movement, but also

because of the great emphasis they gave in all their works,

in all genres, to spontaneous, free-form expression, as

opposed to academic training and realist representation.

This group came to include some of Canada’s greatest visual

artists, Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean-Paul Riopelle being

the best known, and most challenging writers – Claude

Gauvreau, Thérèse Renaud and Gilles Hénault among

them. When the group, now dubbed the Automatists, published

its famous manifesto, Refus global, in 1948, Louise

Renaud, Thérèse Renaud, Françoise Riopelle and Françoise

Sullivan were among the sixteen signatories. Though now

considered a crucial document in the history of modern

Quebec, the manifesto was seen at the time as anticlerical

and inflamatory, and was roundly attacked from pulpit and

pressroom, eventually leading to the sacking of Borduas as

an art teacher. Jeanne Renaud agreed with Refus global’s

principles, and would have signed it, but she was in New

York when the manifesto was published. To explain this, we

need to step back a little in time.

In Montreal, Jeanne Renaud took music for three years

Françoise Sullivan and Jeanne Renaud in Sullivan’s Dualité, Montreal, 1948

at the famous Vincent d’Indy school of music, as well as

classical ballet with Gérald Crevier, a native of Quebec who

had studied and danced in England and, when he returned,

became well known as a rigorous, demanding teacher credited

by the Royal Academy of Dance. Later, she studied

modern dance with Elizabeth Leese, a Danish-born dancer

who opened a school in Montreal in 1945. It was probably

in this year that she decided to concentrate on a rigorous

modernist dance expression. Meanwhile, her sister Louise

had moved to New York and attended classes at Erwin

Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop and Studio from 1943-1945.

She also worked for a time as a French-speaking governess

for the children of gallery owner Pierre Matisse, son of the

painter, Henri, and was part of the family’s social life. From

this base, Louise not only kept her Automatist friends

aware of the avant-garde cultural scene in New York, she

was also able to help some of them visit and study in the

city. This was the case with Françoise Sullivan, who stayed

with Louise while she checked out various options before

gravitating to the studio of Franziska Boas. Jeanne Renaud

followed the same route in 1946, except that she opted for

studying and working with Hanya Holm, Mary Anthony

and Merce Cunningham. This was over a period of more

than two years, a rich experience as she described it in Les

automatistes à Paris: Actes d’un colloque:

In New York, several great modern dancers had

impressed and fascinated me – the likes of Martha

Graham, Charles Weidman, my teacher Hanya Holm,

José Limón, Merce Cunningham – but also George

Balanchine in classical ballet who was renewing all the

academic dance styles that had preceded him. I was living

with my sister Louise in Greenwich Village and we

met all kinds of artists – painters, sculptors, musicians,

poets – many of whom had left Europe during the war.

The atmosphere in New York was tremendously stimulating.

Contact between artists was easy and informal,

and we worked without counting the hours.

It was a friend of Louise, the now-famous musician

Morton Feldman, who was most important as a guide to

the city, taking Jeanne to concerts and museums, introducing

her to artists and musicians. Though her English was

not good at the time, her eyes and ears were wide open.

In the summers, she would return for holidays to

Montreal where, on more than one occasion, she took part

in recitals in collaboration with Françoise Sullivan. In 1946,

for example, they choreographed and danced the piece, Moi

je suis …, based on a poem by Thérèse Renaud. On April 3,

1948, during an ambitious programme at the Ross House in

Montreal, they performed the same dance with the text read

aloud by the poet Claude Gauvreau. Forty years later, it

would be danced again by young performers during a celebration

of Renaud and Sullivan at the Contemporary Art

Museum in Montreal, with the poem read by Thérèse

Renaud herself. For the 1948 concert at Ross House, Jeanne

Renaud danced some of Françoise Sullivan’s creations, but

also choreographed and danced her own works, Un monsieur

me suit dans la rue and Déformité. These were pieces

that dancer/writer Michèle Febvre calls Renaud’s “first

autobiographical expressionist solos,” which Febvre

describes in “Globalement nôtre” from Récital de danse de

Françoise Sullivan et Jeanne Renaud 1948-1988:

In 1948, Jeanne Renaud seemed to be most concerned

with a need to link dance with life, with her life. Déformité,

L’emprise, Un homme

me suit dans la rue are the responses

of a very young woman

who knows about solitude,

about death, about the

difficulties of living. Her

dance expresses her physical

tensions: restraining movement,

concentrating the body

before an explosive leap

releases it; obsessive turning

around a cord, a way of

playing with death that we

can both give and receive. In

Déformité, the slow move-

ment of a body full of emotional

currents that rise to

the surface and deform the

lines of the face, contorting

Jeanne Renaud in rehearsal for

her own work Déformité,

New York, 1948

Photo: Louise Renaud

No. 62, Fall 2006 17

Jeanne Renaud in rehearsal, Montreal, 1963

Photo: André Le Coz

it, opposing and twisting parts of the body to show the

unnameable; maybe that stiff, dead body of a tramp

seen one evening on the Brooklyn Bridge ...

... the last account referring to one of Jeanne Renaud’s

New York experiences.

Having worked part-time in New York as a teacher

with the New Dance Group, substituting for Mary

Anthony, Jeanne Renaud went to Paris in December

of 1948, where her new husband, Jean-Pierre Labrecque,

would study psychoanalysis with Jacques Lacan. They travelled

with Françoise and Jean-Paul Riopelle and their infant

daughter, Yseult (a future dancer), and were met in Paris by

Thérèse and Louise and their new partners. Thérèse had left

Montréal for Paris in 1947, and had recently married the

painter and signatory of Refus global, Fernand Leduc, who

had come to Paris after her. At one point all three sisters

and their partners were on three floors of the same house, a

family reunion that resulted in spirited conversations,

fuelled by their varied cultural interests, that Jeanne

Renaud still recalls with pleasure. After all, Leduc was a

philosopher of art as well as a painter, Labrecque had

turned to psychoanalysis because of his broad literary/cultural

interests and Francis Kloeppel, Louise’s future husband,

was working on a book on the French poet Gérard de

Nerval. As for the cultural atmosphere of the city, Jeanne

Renaud’s own words best describe it:

[After the stimulation of New York] in Paris, all seemed

distant, even cold. Needless to say, modern dance was

totally ignored and I felt out of place in this universe of

museums and rationality. At first, I even regretted my

decision to follow my partner, and it took me a while to

recover. But then I decided to find a studio where I

could do my own work. As chance would have it, I discovered

a fabulous space at the American Cultural

Centre on Boulevard Raspail, free in exchange for some

classes I gave to Americans and a few French neophytes.

18 Dance Collection Danse

I met a dancer from the Martha Graham company,

Helen McGeehee, who was living through much the

same experience I was. She was on holiday in Paris and

I met her during a recital-demonstration she was giving

on the “Graham technique”. She was a fabulous

technician and dancer, but she was so inhibited by the

Graham style, her own creative powers were stilted.

So I decided to give my own recital in a theatre

gladly lent to me by the American Club. I asked my

friend Pierre Mercure, who had come to Paris to study

with Nadia Boulanger, to write music for the show as

he had done earlier in Montreal. He was happy to offer

his services, along with wife and friends: Monique

Mercure played the cello, Gabriel Charpentier the

piano, Mercure the bassoon, and Jérome Rosen the clarinet.

Rosen composed a work for one of the dances on

the programme. Jean-Paul Riopelle agreed to do the

stage set. He asked me how much I could spend ... as

little as possible, as usual!

In fact, everything was pretty much spur-of-themoment.

I’d go to the Mercure’s for rehearsals and was

astonished to find the music different every time. Right

up to the last minute, I didn’t have much idea what I’d

hear at the show. Mercure glanced at the choreography

once or twice, no more. As for Jean-Paul, when I’d ask

him how preparations for the set were going, his reply

was always, “Don’t worry, I’ll tell you when the time is

ripe.” My patience was wearing thin. Françoise Riopelle,

a very good seamstress, suggested she could help with

the costumes. I finally printed a programme and sent out

invitations to people who were on the list of invitees of

the American Cultural Centre. Riopelle’s name wasn’t

on the programme (it didn’t much matter, since we were

all complete unknowns to the American Club audience)

because I didn’t know what he was going to do, if anything.

It was only later that I understood his hesitation,

given the scarce technical resources, not to mention

problems with lighting! All he had at his disposal was a

rudimentary set of footlights at the front of the stage. He

found a solution two days before the show: with a slide

projector we’d rented, he created a setting out of projected

slides which he modified by painting on them. But he

found the effect too static, so he pulled some hairs out of

his head and threw them in front of the slides. They

melted and twisted in contact with the heat of the lamp,

giving an astonishing, dynamic effect. I was completely

amazed. I wondered if my dance was still needed, but

Riopelle reminded me the set was there because of my

performance. As background for one of the dances, he’d

chosen a painting by Giorgio de Chirico showing a wide

open space. It worked perfectly because, in fact, my

dance needed a perspective much larger than the theatre

stage could offer. Riopelle found solutions for everything.

His imagination was extraordinary. My worries

vanished at the last minute, and Helen McGeehee, who

was there for the show, was astonished and enchanted.

She wrote me later to say how sorry she was for having

turned down my invitation to take part.

This type of spontaneous collaboration with artists in

various media lives in the spirit of the Automatist group

and is very typical of Jeanne Renaud’s work throughout her

career. The date of the concert was 1952. Among the works

were Emprise, with Riopelle’s modified projections of a de

Chirico painting and music by Pierre Mercure; Paysage

marin, with projections by Jean-Paul Riopelle and costumes

by Françoise Riopelle; and Rythme, accompanied by percussion

instruments. In her brief memoir about the Paris years,

Jeanne Renaud also talks about seeing Merce Cunningham

again and taking classes with him when the famous avantgarde

musician, John Cage, was acting as Cunningham’s

accompanist. “The relationship between Cage’s music,” she

writes, “and the technique taught by Cunningham was

most unusual: each provided his own emphasis. For me it

was like the freedom I’d enjoyed with the Automatist

group. I’d already taken a few classes with Cunningham in

Peter Boneham and Jeanne Renaud, 1968

Photo: Ed Kostiner

New York, but it was in Paris I discovered this marvelous

and unique connection between his dance and the music of

Cage. I think the contact brought out the energy of each,

and that was communicated to the dancers.” She writes of

having seen a recital presented by Cunningham and Cage

on June 10, 1949 in the studio of the painter Jean Hélion, on

Avenue de l’Observatoire. “But very few people in Paris

were open to these experiments in contemporary dance,”

she writes. Just as her sister Thérèse found the theatre

world in Paris uninviting, Jeanne never found a company

of dancers to work with. But the cultural world of Paris was

very rich in all the arts and provided her with a general

knowledge that would serve her well in later years. In late

1953 she left Paris, pregnant, to return to Montreal.

The years 1954 to 1958 were devoted mainly to the raising

of her two children, though she worked in a studio

space offered by the children’s school and occasionally did

intimate public performances with

Françoise Riopelle, now Pierre

Mercure’s wife, in their home. Pierre

Mercure, meanwhile, had organized

a hugely important Festival of

Contemporary Music and Dance,

with Merce Cunningham as one of

the invited guests, and Jeanne

Renaud as a participant. In this period

she was also dancing works

choreographed by Françoise

Riopelle, as well as performing her

own, at the Théâtre de l’Égrégore. In

1961 she founded, with Françoise

Riopelle, the École de danse

Moderne de Montréal, an historically

crucial, progressive school where

the Martha Graham type of emotion

was not sought, where the emphasis

was on training the body to relieve

emotional tension through sensitivity

to movement, a consciousness of

the body moving in space and time.

Renaud and Riopelle’s dance was

becoming more and more abstract,

like the painting that interested them.

This close collaboration lasted

until 1965, at which time Jeanne

Renaud’s career reached a turning

point. This came with Expression

65, six weeks of shows presented at

the Théâtre de la Place Ville-Marie,

including her own dancing and

choreography – old and new – in

collaboration with dancers such as

Vincent Warren and Jocelyne

Renaud; with visual artists Fernand

Leduc, Lise Gervais and Françoise

Sullivan (now concentrating on

sculpture rather than dance); and

with musicians Serge Garant and

No. 62, Fall 2006 19

Vincent Warren and Jeanne Renaud in Renaud’s Emarug, 1965

Photo: Ed Kostiner

Gilles Tremblay. The energy and success of this undertaking

then led to a major step: Jeanne Renaud’s founding, in 1966,

of Quebec’s first official troupe of modern dancers, Le

Groupe de la Place Royale. Artistic director, administrator,

teacher, choreographer and performer, she coached her own

dancers, but also attracted members of Les Grands Ballets

Canadiens. Some, such as Vincent Warren, Vanda Intini and

Nicole Vachon, were on loan, but Peter Boneham, originally

trained in the United States, then dancing for Les Grands

Ballets, became a permanent member of Place Royale and

was Jeanne Renaud’s assistant until, exhausted, she left the

company to his direction in 1973.

Iro Tembeck writes that the experimental qualities and

the abstraction of Jeanne Renaud’s creations in the 1960s

and 1970s were quite different from the expressionism of

her early work. Any vestiges of story or representation are

gone; sound accompaniment might be provided by objects

attached to the dancer’s costumes, or by the set itself, as in

Rideau sonore, danced in 1965 by Jeanne Renaud and Peter

Boneham through and around a décor of wire and hanging

metal (from which came the sound effects) created by

20 Dance Collection Danse

Françoise Sullivan. Movements in these dances were often

slow, controlled, linear. Some critics found this kind of

work too intellectual, others found it too audacious, as with

the filmed nude version of Renaud’s Karanas, performed by

Maria Formolo and Jean-Pierre Perreault in 1968, a remarkable

study in understated (certainly not titillating) cool sensuality.

Jeanne Renaud and Le Groupe de la Place Royale

continued to seek a difficult combination of rigour and

spontaneity, control and free expression. That having been

said, there was a major difference between herself and Peter

Boneham in that she was inclined to leave more initiative to

the dancers.

Though the response of critics and arts administrators

was often uncomprehending, Le Groupe de la Place Royale

was very successful in taking Canadian modern dance to a

wide public, with performances at the Place des Arts in

Montreal, tours in the United States, and exposure through

the new world of arts programs on television. In spite of

this artistic success, however, the group was having difficulty

getting support from the Canada Council, apparently

because of the resolute modernity of its work. It was the

beginning of a difficult period for Jeanne Renaud, financially

and emotionally, marking the end of her marriage as well

as her official connection with dance. This was in the early

1970s, but it should be remembered that a list of her dances

shows thirty-two works choreographed and performed

between 1962 and 1970. Even in 1974, after she had officially

(L-R) Jean-Pierre Perreault, Nora Hemenway, Catherine Blackburn (on

floor), Pauline Blackburn, Maria Formolo, Telepresse magazine, 1970

(L-R) First two subjects from extreme left unknown, Jeanne Renaud, Jean-Louis Morin, Catherine Blackburn, Peter Boneham, Nora Hemenway, Pauline

Blackburn, Le Groupe de la Place Royale on tour in Perce, Quebec, 1968

Photo: Ed Kostiner

left the dance scene, an article in Le Devoir shows her still

working with Le Groupe de la Place Royale through choreographing

a dance for them, Butterfly Lectures, in collaboration

with the visual artist Bruce Parsons. In her comments

she describes herself as a kind of catalyst, “hoping to trigger

the creative capacities of different kinds of artists,

dancers and others,” rather than a choreographer who simply

sets movement.

The year 1972 marked what seems to be a total change

of direction. Along with her partner, photographer Ed

Kostiner – who had been a hard-working volunteer for Le

Groupe de la Place Royale, Jeanne Renaud opened a space

in Old Montreal called Galerie III that became a major

showcase for contemporary art, theatre, music and dance,

entirely in line with her interdisciplinary and avant-garde

interests. But the gallery was not financially successful and

by 1976, while caring for two children, she found herself

looking for gainful employment. Thus began a new career

in arts administration as she started working for the

Canada Council in Ottawa vetting applications from individual

artists in dance and music. She hoped to bring more

attention to dance and especially to contemporary choreographers,

but the people around her knew of nothing but

classical ballet. After two years of frustration, she was looking

for change of atmosphere and joined the new

Explorations Program at the Canada Council which provided

grants to all artistic disciplines. In 1979, she was invited

by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Quebec to set up a

new program of assistance specifically for dance, but when

the promised budget failed to materialize – most of it having

been devoted to classical ballet – she had just enough

money to establish a few grants for young creators. Since no

one else seemed to know where to fit unusual types of performance,

she found herself giving the first grant received

by an unknown group called Cirque du Soleil.

In 1981, the Quebec Ministry sent Jeanne Renaud to

Montreal to the Conservatory of Music and Theatre with

the intention of having her teach movement to theatre people.

When the theatre union objected to this intrusion, the

Ministry had her compile an inventory of dance teaching in

the province, an extensive piece of documentary work that

has never been published in any form. During this period,

she was approached by the Université du Québec à Montréal

(UQAM) seeking ideas for their new program in the arts.

Excited by her interdisciplinary suggestions, they were able

to hire her, first on loan from the Ministry of Cultural

No. 62, Fall 2006 21

Sylvain Émard and Louise Bédard in Renaud’s Relation Noir Blanc No.

7, 1991

Photo: Ed Kostiner

Affairs, and then through the office of the Associate Dean of

UQAM. Eventually, she went back to teaching in the dance

program at UQAM and did so for five years. For two of

those years she was actually lent by UQAM to Les Grands

Ballets Canadiens, who were having administrative difficulties.

Wanting to encourage this essentially classical company

to present more contemporary choreography – works by

22 Dance Collection Danse

artists such as Paul-André Fortier, Linda Rabin and Ginette

Laurin – she found the atmosphere occasionally tense, but

quite open, and she might have stayed longer had Les

Grands Ballets been able to pay her for a third year. She

returned to UQAM to teach for one more year and then

decided to retire.

Since 1984 Jeanne Renaud has continued to work in the

dance community as an advisor to small companies, as well

as participating on juries for various arts councils. She was,

for example, on the Arts Council of the City of Montreal for

over four years, and several times was on the committee for

the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. She herself

received the Governor General’s Award in 1995 for her

work in dance, as well as the Prix du Québec Denise-

Pelletier in 1989 and the Order of Canada in 1998. She has

an honorary doctorate from Concordia University in


Jeanne Renaud is a remarkable example of a

dancer/choreographer who made a career of stretching the

boundaries of the discipline, pushing herself and her students

to explore freely in a variety of artistic directions. An

article in the November 17, 2005 Toronto Star shows her continued

influence on the next generation of dancers. In it,

choreographer Louise Bédard (who danced Jeanne

Renaud’s early work for the 1988 celebration at the

Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art) pays hommage to

her as an inspiration and a mentor. Renaud has continued

to collaborate with Bédard and other often well-established

dancer/choreographers, offering advice and feedback on

works in progress, asking pointed questions, helping them

to clarify their intentions – all on a voluntary basis. In this

way, free and open community-based artistic enthusiasm,

the spirit of Refus global, is passed on through dance.



by Allana Lindgren

Françoise Sullivan’s desire to discover dance and life

beyond the borders of her Montreal home shows that

the longing for a “global acceptance of life and its

riches” was an Automatist tenet by which she lived.

As evidenced in her early choreography, as well as in

her essay, “Dance and Hope”, in 1946 Sullivan immersed

herself in New York’s Franziska Boas Dance

Group with an open-minded curiosity.

$28.95 (plus M&H and GST)

U.S. price: $21.95 (plus M&H)

Soft cover, 157 pages, featuring images of Dédale –

danced frame by frame

ISBN 0-929003-54-3


Moving Mountains

A History of Dance and Movement at

the Banff School of Fine Arts, 1933-1967

Combine the need for escape from the

rigours of daily survival, the need for

artistic stimulation, an immigrant

population used to cultural enrichment,

the worst economic depression,

an unprecedented environmental

drought, a university extension program

and a team of visionary educators.

These are the disparate

elements that collided and

sparked the idea for Alberta’s

Banff Centre for the Arts

(known as Banff School of

Fine Arts from 1934-1989).

Formed in 1933, the Centre

has grown from its humble

beginnings as part of the

University of Alberta’s

Extension Program to an internationally

renowned centre for creative

expression, superb training and artis-

tic rejuvenation. Among its coveted

divisions is the dance program formed

in 1947 by Gweneth Lloyd, co-founder

and artistic director of the Winnipeg

Ballet (named Royal Winnipeg Ballet

in 1953). However, the roots of movement

at Banff actually extend a little

deeper dating back to the inclusion of

pantomimic movement and Eurhythmics

classes taught within the drama

“I just remember [Gweneth and Betty] always being

elegant … being very proper and being very disciplined;

people that you looked up to … they cared

so much about the profession that it rubbed off on

the students.”

– Anna-Marie Holmes (Banff artist c. 1960/61)

department since the Centre’s inception.

And of course, there have been

major contributors to the dance pro-

Betty Farrally and Gweneth Lloyd with Banff students, c. 1955

gram following Lloyd such as Betty

Farrally, Arnold Spohr, Eva von

Gencsy, Brian Macdonald and Annette

av Paul, among others.

When one looks at the Banff

Centre’s inspiring campus nestled in

the Rocky Mountains, the obvious

question is “How?” How did such a

glorious centre for art and learning

come into existence? It began with the

University of Alberta’s

Extension Program, which

was designed to bring the

university to the people

through lectures and presentations.

By the early 1930s,

the university’s Extension

Program, then led by Ned

Corbett, had gained a reputation

for its innovation using a

team of dynamic lecturers as well as

radio programming to reach Alberta’s

citizens. Word eventually reached the

No. 62, Fall 2006 23

Grace Tinning, c. 1935

Carnegie Foundation in New York,

which encouraged the university’s

president to apply to the Foundation

for help in developing an extension

program in fine arts.

The start of the Banff School is

really about the right pieces coming

together at the right time. Many

Albertans were immigrants who had

come from centres where exposure to

the fine and performing arts was a

part of their upbringing; however,

their children, born on the prairies,

were growing up without this cultural

enrichment. Time after time, when

Extension Program instructors

returned from a teaching circuit, they

had repeatedly been asked if the university

could develop a program in

the arts. Additionally, the

Depression had caused the

closure of many small-town

movie houses. But Albertans

still needed entertainment

and escape from the Great

Depression. Consequently,

hundreds of small theatre

groups emerged but many

groups knew little about

mounting theatrical productions

or even how to go

about choosing plays.

Elizabeth Sterling Haynes,

an actress, director and producer

with the Edmonton

Little Theatre, joined the

Extension Program to assist

24 Dance Collection Danse

community theatre

groups with their

stagings. And then,

in 1932, the Carnegie


granted the university

$30,000 over

three years to further

develop extension

in the fine and

performing arts.

Haynes’ outreach

role increased but

it was soon evident

that she

couldn’t get to all

of the nearly 300

drama groups in

Alberta – a school

was needed to centralize

theatre education in Alberta.

Strangely, the Alberta Drama

League did not support the idea when

it was proposed in 1933 – they

thought it was too soon for such a

venture and would probably fail.

Corbett was undeterred and soon met

with Banff service clubs, the school

board and the Banff Advisory Council.

He found the support he needed as

well as facilities. Corbett began to

advertise his school immediately. The

first “School of the Drama” in Banff

Banff ballet students, c. 1950s

Photo: Canadian Government Travel Bureau

was held August 7-25, 1933. Hoping

to get a roster of forty students, the

new school enrolled over 100.

The first program offered courses

in staging, costuming, play production,

voice and Eurhythmics. In the

Banff School’s course calendars from

“The setting is wonderful at Banff for dance. It’s isolated so you do concentrate

on your dance because it is in a very beautiful place; you feel

the beauty around and you just want to work.”

Regina students of Grace Tinning, c. 1935. Their poses indicate the kind of

movement classes Tinning taught at the Banff School.

– Anna-Marie Holmes (Banff artist c. 1960/61)

1933 and 1934, Mary Ferguson and

Jocelyn Taylor are identified as teachers

of Eurhythmics and pantomimic

movement. Course calendars also

reveal that Regina’s Grace Tinning

taught movement at Banff in the late


Ferguson was a graduate

of Montreal’s McGill

University and the University

of Manitoba. While

at McGill, Ferguson was

exposed to Eurhythmics

through the university’s

physical education department

where, in 1929,

McGill had begun offering

credit-bearing courses in

creative and interpretative

dance, including Eurhythmics.

Before coming to

Banff, Ferguson taught

Eurhythmics at Wellesley

College in Massachusetts.

In 1933 and 1934, Ferguson cotaught

a course in “plastic” with New

York University’s Jocelyn Taylor. This

course, on “the fundamentals of theatre

gymnastic and stage movement”,

is described in the course calendar as

follows: “The course will begin with

harmonic and rhythmic relaxing exercises

used by various schools of the

theatre and proceed to the problems of

posture, walking, turning, falling and

gesture as developed in theatre practice.”

An additional paragraph indicates

that the pair also provided a

series of Eurhythmics classes taught

each weekday afternoon.

The 1937 course calendar provides

a description for a course titled,

“Training the Actor’s Body”: “This

course will begin with harmonic and

rhythmic relaxing exercises and will

“Miss Lloyd was my teacher in Toronto. She seemed

more English than anything but she had this ribald

sense too, and she teased me all the time. It was

great – it was perfect for me. She told me that I

belonged in modern dance and I said, ‘Well,

what’s that?’ You see, she had the essence of movement

in her ballet. It wasn’t the style – it was the

essence. She could make beautiful phrases.”

– Patricia Beatty (Banff student, early 1950s)

proceed to their application in theatrical

situations. The Senior class in this

course will concern itself principally

with exercises designed to stimulate

and accent sense memories, emotion

memories and creative fantasy.” No

instructor is identified; however,

Grace Tinning appears in a 1937 faculty

photograph. Tinning is also listed

as a teacher of Eurhythmics in 1936 in

Donald Cameron’s memoirs and

course calendars reveal that she

taught two levels of Eurhythmics in

1938. The course calendar describes

the class as follows: “The course in

Eurhythmics is designed to train the

body, to promote muscular control

and to achieve grace of movement.

The application of Eurhythmics to

dramatic work will be fully treated.”

In the 1930s, Tinning was the

social pages editor of the Regina

Leader-Post. She had graduated from

Rupert’s Land College in Winnipeg

and had also passed her solo performer

and piano teacher examinations

at the Toronto Conservatory of

Music. Her early dance training was

with a Dorothy Rowell and then later

at the Mary Wigman School in New

York. It is likely that her Eurhythmics

training came from the Toronto

Conservatory of Music, where, from

1927-1957, Madeleine Boss Lasserre

taught Eurhythmics.

While the original focus of the

Banff School was dramatic art, it did

not take long for the Department of

Extension to expand the mandate to

include courses in the other fine and

performing arts. The Painting Division

was added in 1935, Piano in 1936,

Creative Writing in 1937, Choral

Leadership in 1938, Oral French in

1939, Ceramics and Pottery in 1941,

Weaving in ’42,

and Children’s art

classes in ’44.

The first

inkling of a dance

program came in

1941 with a letter

dated January 31

from Gweneth

Lloyd to Donald

Cameron, who had

succeeded Corbett

in 1935. In her letter,

Lloyd, aware

of the presence of movement classes at

Banff, simply offers her services as a

teacher stating, “I understand that in

the past you have had movement or

dancing in the curriculum of your

summer school at Banff, and, in the

event of your not yet having engaged

an instructress for this subject, I wondered

if you could consider my application.”

She then elaborates on her

teaching experience and qualifications.

Cameron replied on February 4

with a pretty standard response, “As

our staff is pretty well completed for

this year, I am afraid we will not be

able to make use of your services. We

shall be glad to keep your name in

mind in case we have an opening

another year.” This correspondence

debunks the myth that she actually

proposed a ballet program in 1941.

In their history of the Banff Centre

on its fiftieth anniversary, David and

Peggy Leighton state that war-time

House program for a joint performance of the

Banff School Choir and the Banff School

Ballet, Banff School Auditorium, August 12,

1952. Among the dancers are Aida Alberts,

Ruth Carse, Roger Fisher, Virginia Wakelyn

and Marilyn Young.

restrictions on funds and facilities

made it impossible to begin a new

division at this time. However, during

the war years, a new auditorium was

opened in 1940, plus divisions in

French, ceramics and pottery, weaving,

and children’s art classes were all

added. It is possible that dance simply

wasn’t a priority. Cameron, himself,

probably did not have a lot of exposure

to dance in the 1930s and 1940s.

A Regina student of Grace Tinning, c. 1935

No. 62, Fall 2006 25

Eva von Gencsy with Banff ballet students in Gweneth Lloyd's Romance, c. 1954

Photo: George Noble

While there were numerous dance and

ballet schools across Canada, the amateur

ballet companies that would turn

professional in the 1950s were just getting

started. In Vancouver,

June Roper had been producing

professional ballet

dancers since 1934 and into

the early 1940s, but with little

paid work in Canada, many

of her pupils left home to find

jobs with Ballet Theatre, the

Ballets Russes companies, in

Hollywood musicals and on

Broadway. Boris Volkoff’s fledgling

ballet company in Toronto performed

locally and at the 1936 Berlin

Olympics but did not tour to western

Canada until the 1948 Canadian Ballet

Festival in Winnipeg. Gweneth Lloyd

and Betty Farrally initiated their

Winnipeg Ballet Club in 1938, but this

group was in its early stages of development

when Lloyd wrote her letter

to Cameron. And international tours

organized by impresarios such as Sol

Hurok rarely made stops during the

inter-war years as far north as Edmonton,

where Cameron lived. Ballet

probably just wasn’t on his radar, but

by the war’s end it would be.

The course calendars from 1939

to 1946 offer no movement courses

except as a component of the acting

course, which is described as “A

course on movement, pantomime and

grouping only in so far as the actor as

26 Dance Collection Danse

an individual is concerned. Exercises

adapted from the Stanislavsky

method.” The instructor is unknown.

However, in 1946, Cameron invited

“We all ate at round tables, both the instructors and

students from all the faculties, so it was very rich

with cross-disciplinary education and interaction.”

– Judith Marcuse (Banff student, early 1960s)

Mara McBirney and Gweneth Lloyd

to visit the Banff School to assess the

possibility of developing a ballet program

there. Mara McBirney was a

Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD)

teacher and examiner whom the RAD

sent to Canada in

1946 to teach the

new children’s syllabus

and to examine

students. She

settled in Vancouver

in 1948 and

became a central

figure for the RAD

in that city, maintaining

the excellence

of the program

and offering

her studio for the

Academy’s courses

and examinations.

She was also a

major participant

in the Canadian

Ballet Festivals from 1949 to 1953 collaborating

with other Vancouver

teachers so that Vancouver dancers

always had a presence in the festivals.

McBirney seems to have acted as an

initial advisor, but it is Lloyd who is

credited with truly founding the ballet

program at Banff.

In his 1977 memoirs, Donald

Cameron writes, “One of the best investments

the school ever made was

to persuade Gweneth Lloyd … to

head the … Ballet Division. This

began a twenty-year love affair

between Miss Lloyd and the Banff

School which was to last until she

retired in 1968 [sic] after building the

Ballet School to the largest in


Gweneth Lloyd is arguably the

mother of Canadian Ballet. She was

adventurous and pioneering. There

were numerous ballet teachers in

Canada before her, but she distinguished

herself by setting in motion

the machinery that would

lead to the full professionalization

of ballet in Canada.

Born in England in 1901,

Lloyd began social and fancy

dancing at age thirteen. She

loved to dance and was determined

to make it her career.

She attended the Liverpool Physical

Training College and during her first

teaching job she reconnected with

dance when she became interested in

Ruby Ginner’s Revived Greek Dance.

Historian Anna Blewchamp argues

Banff School of Fine Arts Drama staff, 1952; (Back Row, L-R) R. Sample,

John Russell, Dr. Whiting, S.N. Karchmer; (Front Row, L-R) Esther

Nelson, Gweneth Lloyd, Leona Paterson, Mrs. McArthur

Photo: George Noble

RWB dancer Marina Katronis at the Banff


Photo: George Noble

that it was the emphasis on expressivity

and musicality in

the Revived Greek

Dance that characterized

Lloyd’s choreography.

In 1924, Lloyd left

her job to study with

Ginner full time. She

complemented this

training by studying

Cecchetti and RAD ballet

technique eventually becoming an

examiner for the RAD. In 1926, Lloyd

and a colleague opened a school in

Leeds where she befriended a student

named Betty Hey (later Farrally).

These two adventurous women immigrated

to Canada settling in Winnipeg

in 1938. Betty was twenty-three;

Gweneth, thirty-six.

Upon their arrival, the pair

opened the Canadian School of Ballet.

While there was an ample supply of

dance teachers in Winnipeg in 1938,

Lloyd and Farrally recognized how to

set themselves apart from the rest.

They realized that they needed to connect

with the public in order to foster

ballet’s development in their new

prairie home. Within months of their

arrival, they initiated the Winnipeg

Ballet Club and offered free tuition to

those accepted. They also held monthly

lecture-demonstrations. They soon

connected with a dynamic jack-of-alltrades

named David Yeddeau. This

“holy trinity”, so called by Arnold

Spohr, later to become artistic director

of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, formed

an unstoppable team that brought ballet

to new heights in Canada. Lloyd

was the choreographer, Farrally the

rehearsal director and Yeddeau added

experience in set design and construction,

wardrobe and make-up, and

stage management.

Following the programming

developed by producers such as Serge

Diaghilev, Lloyd decided she would

create programs that offered a mixture

of white ballets, comic ballets and the

avant-garde. Anna Blewchamp describes

Lloyd’s process in The Encyclopedia

of Theatre Dance in Canada,

“Lloyd was one of few choreographers

who could visualize complete

works before she began rehearsals.

She would listen to the music and

write her ballets, sometimes with casts

of over twenty dancers, with musical

measures noted against her own personal

notation of descriptions, ballet,

national and Greek dance terminology,

floor plans and figure drawings.”

Lloyd created truly Canadian ballets

using Canadian themes in such works

as Grain (1939), Kilowatt Magic (1939),

The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1950) and

Shadow on the Prairie (1952); using

Canadian designers such as Robert

Bruce (Dionysos, 1945) and Joseph

Plaskett (Visages, 1949); and using

Canadian composers such as Walter

Kauffman (Visages, 1949) and Robert

Fleming (Shadow on the Prairie, 1952).

In 1948, the “holy trinity”, along

with Toronto teacher/choreographer

Boris Volkoff, initiated the Canadian

Ballet Festivals. The six festivals, presented

in various Canadian cities

between 1948 and 1954, brought new

notoriety to dance in Canada. The

chief goal was to create an environment

in which Canadian dancers

could earn a living in their own country

and they succeeded. By 1951,

Winnipeg Ballet dancers were paid a

small wage. Later in 1951, The

National Ballet of Canada made its

debut. By 1952, dancers were making

a living performing on television in

Toronto and Montreal, and later

Vancouver. By 1957, the Canada

Council had formed and was funding

the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the

National Ballet of Canada and Les

Grands Ballets Canadiens.

Mixed in with all of this activity

was the Banff School. Lloyd was

unable to teach in the first year of the

ballet program in 1947 and instead

sent Joan Stirling, a Winnipeg Ballet

dancer and a teacher at Lloyd and

Farrally’s Canadian School of Ballet.

In 1948 and 1949, this role was filled by

Jean McKenzie – Winnipeg’s star

female dancer. Finally in 1950, Lloyd

began teaching

at Banff

herself eventuallybringing

her longtime


and colleague

Betty Farrally.

In the early

years, classes

were taught in the basement of one of

Banff’s public schools – on cement

floors! The ballet program was a part

“… And then we went on tour because there was no theatre [Author’s

note: Performances were held at the Banff Auditorium or a church hall].

We went to Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria …

We were always very welcome and I think we did a good job of promoting

the Banff School of Fine Arts.”

– Eva von Gencsy (Banff teacher, 1950s, 1960s)

Betty Farrally teaching at Banff, 1955

Photo: George Noble

No. 62, Fall 2006 27

“At the time, I think there were only 300 students on

the whole campus so it was an exclusively artsbased

situation, which meant that … you had

access to other classes … so, if you were a dance

student, you could sit in on a master class with a

pianist or you could go down to the pottery studio

and if there was a free wheel, you could go down

there and play.”

– Judith Marcuse (Banff student, early 1960s)

of the Theatre Division and included

classes in “Rhythmics” for actors. The

ballet courses were based on the RAD

technique but also included improvised

movement, Revived Greek

Dance and mime. Lloyd also staged

ballets that she had created for the

Winnipeg Ballet including Arabesque I

(1947), Romance (1949), Pleasure Cruise

(1946) and Façade Suite (1941), and she

choreographed new ballets, such as

Partita and Petite Suite.

By 1951, the ballet program had

grown from ten students in its inaugural

year to over 100. Winnipeg Ballet

dancer Eva von Gencsy joined the faculty

in 1954 to teach the children’s ballet

classes until these were cancelled a

few years later. However, von Gencsy

returned in the 1960s when Brian

Macdonald invited her to teach jazzballet;

she also led the jazz dance

department at Banff from 1966 to 1976.

Von Gencsy is notable for co-founding

Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal in 1972.

Macdonald, who had introduced jazz

to the Banff school, also founded the

musical theatre program in 1964 and

has now contributed to dance at Banff

for over forty-five years spending

“Miss Lloyd invited me for a canoe trip on Vermillion

Lake and this was where I saw the first moose in my

life. It was so beautiful the way the mountains were

reflected in the water and it was so quiet. And this

was a time when [Miss Lloyd and I] got a little bit

closer and I thought she was a very outstanding,

beautiful person. I was so happy that my arrival in

Canada took me to Winnipeg. I couldn’t have

asked for a more beautiful start to my dancing

career than to arrive in Winnipeg.”

– Eva von Gencsy (Banff teacher, 1950s, 1960s)

28 Dance Collection Danse

much of that time

as head of various


Ballet became

its own division in

1958 and really

began to grow at

this point. Lloyd

invited guest instructors

from the

Royal Academy of

Dancing such as

Louise Brown and

Sonia Chamberlain,

and her own student

and Royal

Winnipeg Ballet

dancer Arnold

Spohr. By the time

Lloyd retired as

Ballet Division

head in 1967, the program had grown

to include over 200 students. There

was always a strong connection to the

Royal Winnipeg Ballet even after

Lloyd had resigned as its artistic

director in 1957. Banff provided teaching

opportunities and summer training

for RWB dancers and also provided

future dancers to the RWB. With

David Holmes, Judith Marcuse and Anna-Marie Holmes, Banff, c. 1961

Photo: Cascade Cameras

the production

experience gained

and the chance to

work with choreographers

such as

Macdonald, students


superb professional

training at Banff.

Furthermore, many

of Macdonald’s

works that began

at Banff later made

their way into the

RWB repertoire.

By the time Gweneth Lloyd left

Banff, she and Farrally had resettled

in Kelowna, British Columbia, having

opened a new branch of the Canadian

School of Ballet. Lloyd received

numerous awards for her contribution

to Canadian culture including the

Order of Canada in 1969 and the

Governor General’s Performing Arts

Award for Lifetime Achievement just

months before she died in 1993. This

mother of Canadian ballet has left us

an internationally renowned ballet

company in Winnipeg approaching its

seventieth anniversary, and a highly

sought-after training program in Banff

that will be sixty in 2007. Not bad for

someone who was just seeking a new

adventure on the Canadian prairie.

Choreographer David Earle wins Walter Carsen

Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts

David Earle, choreographer and founder of Dancetheatre

David Earle and co-founder of the Toronto Dance Theatre, is

the winner of the 2006 Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in

the Performing Arts. Administered and presented by the

Canada Council for the Arts, the $30,000 prize recognizes the

highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career

achievement by Canadian artists who have spent the major

part of their careers in Canada in dance, theatre or music.

Photo: Mike Moore

The Walter Carsen peer assessment committee said of

Earle: “Over a forty-year career of outstanding achievement,

David Earle’s choreography and teaching have consistently celebrated

both the expressive potential of the physical body and

a humanism that connects body and spirit. At the heart of his

art is a profound sensitivity to the human condition.”

David Earle, born in 1939, was raised in Toronto where he

began dance training at the age of five. He acted for eleven

years with director Dorothy Goulding’s Toronto Children’s

Players and studied modern dance with Yoné Kvietys in

Toronto. Earle spent two years on a scholarship at the Martha

Graham School in New York. Returning to Toronto in 1968, he

co-founded Toronto Dance Theatre with Patricia Beatty and

Peter Randazzo. He was appointed sole artistic director in

1987, taking the company to its first two triumphant seasons in

New York and on tour in Europe and Asia. Earle created the

School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training

Program in 1979.

In December 1996, Earle left the Toronto Dance Theatre to

pursue an independent career and launched Dancetheatre

David Earle (DtDE), located in Guelph, Ontario. Since then, he

has choreographed forty-one new works – mostly commissions

for performances with choirs, orchestras and chamber musicians,

notably the Penderecki String Quartet. In his forty years

as a choreographer, Earle has created over 130 works.

Among numerous honours, David Earle has received the

Clifford E. Lee and Dora Mavor Moore Awards (1987), the Jean

A. Chalmers Award for Distinction in Choreography (1994),

the Order of Canada (1996), and in 2005 was awarded a Doctor

of Laws by Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

In March 2006 Dance Collection Danse published David

Earle: A Choreographic Biography, written by Michele Green.

Joysanne Sidimus: Recipient of 2006

Governor General’s Performing Arts Award

Joysanne Sidimus, founder of the Dancer Transition Resource

Centre (DTRC), has been named one of the recipients of a 2006

Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, which recognizes

a lifetime of commitment to the cultural life of Canada. As a

dancer, writer and arts activist, Sidimus is one of contemporary

ballet’s most respected artists and a passionate advocate for the

rights of artists.

Ms. Sidimus began her career in her native New York City,

training at the School of American Ballet. She is a Repetiteur

for The George Balanchine Trust, staging the legendary choreographer’s

works for over twenty years for The National Ballet

of Canada and internationally. She performed with

Balanchine’s New York City Ballet, was a soloist with London’s

Festival Ballet and a principal dancer with the Pennsylvania

Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada. Sidimus has taught

internationally including at Canada’s National Ballet School,

the School of American Ballet Theatre, and spent seven years

on the faculty of the North Carolina School of the Arts.

In 1985, she founded the Dancer Transition Resource

Centre and remained its executive director until December

2005. The DTRC has helped over 10,000 dancers make necessary

transitions into, within and from professional performing

careers through a program of education, counselling and grants

for retraining and subsistence. Joysanne Sidimus was also the

driving force behind the establishment of the Al and Malka

Green Artists’ Health Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital.

Amanda Hancox, current executive director of the DTRC,

comments: “Joysanne is a rare combination of creative visionary

and leader, who also has the courage, compassion and determination

to bring her visions to life. Her work to improve the

lives of artists in Canada is an inspiration to all in the field.”

She is the author of two books: Reflections in a Dancing Eye:

The Role of the Artist in Contemporary Canadian Society (cowritten

with Carol

Anderson) and

Exchanges: Life After


Awards and

honours include

the Governor

General’s Meritorious

Service Medal

(2003) for her significantcontribution

to Canada’s

cultural life in

founding the Dancer

Transition Resource

Centre; the Canada

Council for the

Arts’ Jacqueline

Lemieux Prize

(1999); and the

Dance Ontario

Award (1989).

No. 62, Fall 2006 29




In August 2005, DCD Cofounder/Director


Adams and Research

Coordinator Amy Bowring

began drafting a document titled

Grassroots Archiving: A

National Preservation Strategy

for Dance. Focussed on preserving

the documentation side of

our dance history (as opposed to

performed choreographic

works), the Grassroots Archiving

Strategy (dubbed “GAS”) consists

of three main components:

workshops to train Collections

Coordinators, a national

database, and a playbill deposit

program with presenters.

In the last issue of the Magazine,

our readers were informed about

the Canadian Integrated Dance

Database (CIDD), which had

received a project grant from the

Canada Council for the Arts to

help with its development. We

have been working with

database programmer and

dancer Eddie Kastrau and the

CIDD is nearly complete. It

should be available for release

by December. This software can

be used by anyone who needs to

catalogue the contents of a dance

collection. The ultimate goal is

that the information from

databases for different dance collections

across Canada will be

uploaded to a central database

on the Dance Collection Danse

web site. This national database

will become a fantastic source

for researchers around the world

and will help to increase the

exposure of dance in Canada on

a global level.

30 Dance Collection Danse

Led by Amy Bowring, the workshop

component of the Grassroots Archiving

Strategy was held in the boardroom of

The National Ballet of Canada on

September 28 and 29, 2006. Demand

was so high among faculty and graduate

students in the Dance Department

at York University that a scaled-down

version of the workshop was

given at York on September 21.

DCD provided basic archiving

how-to lessons to over 60 people

through these workshops.

With assistance from the Canada

Council Flying Squad program,

we were able to subsidize the

travel of several participants and

ended up with representation

from Vancouver, Calgary,

Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg,

Guelph, Oakville, Toronto,

Thornhill (ON), Mansfield (ON),

Montreal, Charlottetown and St.

John’s. The workshop provided

information on preventive conservation,

proper storage, handling

artifacts, organizing methods,

digitization, making inventories

and catalogues, budgets,

and a tutorial on the Canadian

Integrated Dance Database.

Participants visited Dance

Collection Danse and also toured

the archives of The National

Ballet of Canada. The National

Ballet’s Sharon Vanderlinde,

Manager of Archives and

Education, and Adrienne Nevile,

Archives Coordinator, were on

hand to provide additional

expertise and advice.

Once a new section of the DCD

web site has been developed for

the GAS and the CIDD, we will

post the contact information for

the first group of Collections

Coordinators on our web site.

Dance artists and companies can

then contact a Collections

Coordinator from various cities

to help them with their archival

needs. DCD plans to hold archiving

workshops in the future.



Canadians want to hear stories about their country and the

personalities who have forged a path to the present day.

Now there is finally a collection of intriguing tales that

spans Canadian dance from the 1850s to the new


Read about the reconstruction of a lost ballet

first staged in Winnipeg in the 1940s; discover

how experimental dance was introduced

to Toronto audiences by two

former National Ballet of Canada

dancers; encounter the rocky saga


of finding a foothold for theatrical

dance in Nova Scotia; expe-

YOUR LEGACY rience Françoise Sullivan’s

essay, “Dance and Hope,”

one of the first political

AN ARCHIVING HANDBOOK treatises about dance


written in Canada.

by Lawrence Adams

Lawrence Adams approaches the task of

archiving for dance artists with clarity and humour.

He presents instructions for different personality

types, and answers questions about what to keep

and how it should be handled.

30 writers from across Canada

Over 100 photos and illustrations

454 pages

Softcover $48.95

Also covered in BUILDING YOUR LEGACY ...

➤ creating inventories

➤ types of containers

➤ avoiding mould & damage

Softcover $8.00

Other Releases ...

From DCD Press/es

➤ film and video

➤ digitization

➤ handling the “lumpy stuff”

This project has been generously supported by the Laidlaw Foundation


Betty Oliphant, one of the world’s great teachers, trained some

of today’s finest artists: Karen Kain, Veronica Tennant, James

Kudelka and Rex Harrington, among many others.

For this book, Oliphant spent 5 years recording her approach to

training in collaboration with Nadia Potts. Descriptions of the

classes are accompanied by Rhonda Ryman’s DanceForms figures,

which serve to clearly illustrate the exercises. Also included

are Oliphant’s unique views, observations and insights about


Nadia Potts studied with Oliphant, joining The National Ballet of

Canada, where she was a principal dancer for seventeen years.

Appearing throughout the world as a guest artist, Potts was partnered

by many renowned dancers to include Mikhail Baryshnikov

and Rudolph Nureyev. She is currently a professor and director of

the Dance program at Ryerson University’s Theatre School.

Dance Collection Danse Press/es

225 pages to include illustrations and photographs

$60.00 retail ISBN 0-929003-62-4

Recent Donors

Stephanie Ballard

Nova Bhattacharya

Iris Bliss

Karen R. Cann

Elizabeth Chitty

Michael Crabb

Credo Interactive

Kathleen Fraser

Kay Fujiwara

Margaret Genovese

Amanda Hancox

Maxine Heppner

Mary Hughesman

Allana Lindgren

Sheila Milsom

James Neufeld

Selma Odom

Kenny Pearl

Brenda Rasky

Irina Reid

The Robinsons

In honour of Lawrence Gradus

In Memory of

Lawrence Adams

Sylvia Palmer

Joysanne Sidimus

Judith Scherer

Sékaï Sékaï

Lois Smith

Robert Steiner

Janet Wason

Anne Wilde

Claire Wootten

Dance Collection Danse gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, City of Toronto through the

Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation, all the individual donors, and the late

Nick Laidlaw. Dance Collection Danse extends lasting gratitude for the kind bequest from the Linda Stearns Estate.



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