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Former Ballerina Nathalie Buisson Dies

By Lucy Fandel
  • Nathalie Buisson / Photo by Michael Slobodian, courtesy of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal

Nathalie Buisson, formerly a company member with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and La Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid, passed away on July 25th after an eight-year battle with cerebral cancer. It had been several years after her retirement from dance that Nathalie learned she had a tumour in her brain. There is no cure for cerebral cancer, a fact that the courageous ballerina approached realistically though she emphasized being fiercely unresigned to her diagnosis. She wanted to be present for her two young children – “I fight because I have beautiful reasons to fight for.”

Buisson became a patient of neurosurgeon and neuro-oncologist Dr. David Fortin at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) and underwent a risky but highly successful surgery and subsequent chemotherapy in order to reduce and stabilize her tumour. Upon hearing about the need for financial support in the ongoing research for her disease, Buisson decided to return to the stage with Les Grands Ballets to organize and perform in the 2006 event Coeur en Tête, which raised over $50,000 for the innovative research at CHUS. Buisson said at the time, “Dance all of a sudden took a new meaning. It became the motivator for the cause of cerebral cancer.” After taking time to rest from her treatments and spend time with her family, Buisson organized a second edition of Coeur en Tête in 2009 – it raised $75,000.

The seemingly endless energy Nathalie Buisson devoted to everything from her children to dance to battling her sickness was testament to her awe-inspiring strength.

Buisson’s family encourages donations in her name to Dr. Fortin’s laboratory at CHUS. To make a donation please contact 1-866-820-6450 (toll free) or fondationchus.org

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