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Jean Grand-Maître began his career as a dancer, but early on was drawn to choreography. After becoming well established as a choreographer of theatrical works combining contemporary and classical dance, he took on the new role of artistic director.
Grand-Maître was born in Hull, Québec. After a year in the dance program at Toronto's York University, he continued training in Montréal at L'École supérieure de danse du Québec (later renamed the École supérieure de ballet contemporain de Montréal). Grand-Maître danced with Theatre Ballet of Canada in Ottawa, Ballet de Montréal Eddy Toussaint and, briefly, with Ballet British Columbia.
His breakthrough as a choreographer came with Frames of Mind (1993), a deconstruction of classical ballet created for a National Ballet of Canada choreographic workshop. Frames of Mind was taken into the company's repertoire and, following its success, Grand-Maître's career as an independent choreographer blossomed, particularly in Europe.
Commissions for important European companies include La Veglia degli Angeli (1995) for Teatro alla Scala, Exilium (1997) for Stuttgart Ballet, Eja Mater (1997) for Paris Opera Ballet and Liaisons dangereuses (2000) for the Norwegian National Ballet.
In Canada Grand-Maître has created several works, including La Mémoire de l'eau (1997) for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and a popular pas de deux, The Winter Room (1995), for Ballet British Columbia.
After 12 years as an independent choreographer, Grand-Maître became Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet in 2002. Under his direction, the company – which operates out of both Calgary and Edmonton – continues to build a strong national and international profile. Among the works Grand-Maître has created while at the helm of Alberta Ballet are the full-length Cinderella (2004) and Romeo and Juliet (2005).
Crabb, Michael. “Growing Pains”. Dance International. Fall/Winter 2002:12-15.