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Meet The Artists

Biography

Jean-Pierre Perreault

Le Groupe de la Place Royale / Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault

(1947-2002)

Jean-Pierre Perreault was one of the most talented choreographers of his generation. He began his dance career as a charter member of Le Groupe de la Place Royale (later renamed Le Groupe Dance Lab). In the early 1970s, he was appointed co-artistic director of the company with Peter Boneham – a position he held until 1981. After he left Le Groupe, he was in demand as a choreographer and guest teacher at various institutions, including Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and the Laban Centre in London.

A visually oriented artist, Perreault usually began a new choreographic work by first creating the scenic design, which he frequently painted himself. His talent as a visual artist led to solo exhibitions of his drawings in New York, Antwerp, Québec City, Montréal, Glasgow and Stockholm.

Perreault choreographed Joe, a seventy-minute group piece performed by students in the Regroupement Théàtre et Danse de l'Université du Québec à Montréal in 1983. Wearing steel-toed boots and overcoats with fedoras pulled down over their eyes, the dancers created the rhythmic sound score by stomping their boots in unison. The performers in Joe represented the alienation and conformity of contemporary life – themes that recurred throughout Perreault's work. Joe was remounted using professional dancers the following year at the Théatre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts where it was a critical success. Joe has become a Canadian classic. Other significant Perreault works from the 1980s include Stella (1985), a dance for twenty-four women; Piazza (1988), which premiered in New York; and Eldorado (1987, later revised as Orénoque in 1990<

In 1984, Perreault established the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault in Montréal and was hired by the Université du Québec à Montréal where he taught until 1992.

The Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm invited Perreault to choreograph Flykt, a full-length work to celebrate the new Stockholm House of Dance in 1991. Perreault received international praise for many of his other works, including Nuit (1986), La Vita (1993), Les Années de Pèlerinage (1996) and Eironos (1996).

In 2001, La Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault moved into a new studio and production centre, Espace Chorégraphique. To celebrate Espace Chorégraphique, the company presented Perreault's L'EXIL – L'OUBIL (1999), which had a sold-out five week run. Perreault also received many honours, including a Governor-General's Performing Arts Award in 2002 just a few months prior to his death.

Websites:

Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault

Learn more:

Febvre, Michèle, ed. Jean-Pierre Perreault: Regard pluriel. Montréal: Les heures bleues, 2001.

Gélinas, Aline. Jean-Pierre Perreault, Choreographer: A Collection of Essays. Trans. Lynne Carson. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse, 1992.