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Mourning a pioneer

By Maude Abouche
  • Florence Munger-Fourcaudot

Florence Munger-Fourcaudot, a major influence in the dance community of the Saguenay region of Québec, passed away on January 4, 2014 at the age of eighty.

Born in June 1933 in Saguenay, Munger-Fourcaudot was twelve years old when she was first taught ballet by Emma Proschek. It is following Proschek’s advice (and against her father’s wishes) that she opened the École de danse Florence Fourcaudot in the early 1950s, at a time when the Duplessis government and the Catholic Church greatly hindered any artistic pursuit.

Nevertheless, approximately 14,000 students have been taught ballet and other types of dance there. (Among them is Saguenay-born, internationally renowned Hélène Blackburn, choreographer and artistic director of contemporary dance company Cas Public. Blackburn has publically thanked Munger-Fourcaudot for instilling in her the passion of dancing). The school (which now is called École Florence Fourcaudot et Spirale Expression Danse) currently boasts 550 students. The provincial government and the city of Saguenay recently allocated $3.8M to relocate the school at the Saint-Luc Church, which will be restored to accommodate it.

In 1989, Fourcaudot-Munger retired as school director due to health issues. In 2011, she was made a member of the Ordre du Bleuet, which recognizes the artistic and cultural contributions of those who were born or live in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.

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