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Remembering Geneviève Salbaing

Co-founder of Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal By Rachel Silver Maddock
  • Geneviève Salbaing / Photo by Michel Lussier, courtesy Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal

Geneviève Salbaing was a champion of classical and jazz dance in Canada as co-founder of Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. She passed away on May 8 at the age of ninety-four.

Salbaing was born in Paris, France, and trained in ballet from a young age under several famous Russian expatriates, such as Lubov Egorova and Mathilde Kschessinska. She danced with the Municipal Theatre of Casablanca and the Washington Concert Ballet before moving with her husband to Montréal in 1946 and joining Les Ballets Chiriaeff for its 1954/55 season.

In 1972, Salbaing co-founded Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal with Eva von Gencsy and Eddy Toussaint. At the time, jazz inspired ballet coming from New York was the newest and most exciting dance style in the industry. After von Gencsy and Toussaint left to pursue their independent careers, Salbaing took over the company as artistic director and turned it into one of the first internationally touring dance companies in Canada. Under her direction, Les Ballets Jazz gave more than 1500 performances in over fifty countries on five continents.

After retiring as artistic director in 1992, Salbaing remained closely involved in the company by serving as a board member. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1987 and was received into the National Order of Quebec in 2012 for her work with the company.

The funeral service took place on June 10 in Montréal.

Learn more >> thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/genevieve-salbaing | bjmdanse.ca

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