Remembering Perreault

By Marc Boivin
  • Jean-Pierre Perrault / Photo by Michael Slobodian

Before Perreault: Un hommage au chorégraphe Jean-Pierre Perreault, an event held on December 4th, the 10th anniversary of his passing, Bill Coleman of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie read the following letter by President of Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, Marc Boivin.

It was ten years ago, on December 4th 2002 that Jean-Pierre Perreault passed away. The man, our friend and the artist left us all too soon. However, through evenings such as this one organized by Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, we see that his work lives on and continues to make a valuable contribution to the Canadian artistic landscape.

Since 2006, in partnership with the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, where the collection of the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault is housed, the Fondation has concentrated its efforts around the work of this great Canadian choreographer, disseminating his work and lending expertise to support research and artistic reconstructions such as this one. In 2011, the board of the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault decided to broaden its mandate to include a wider range of works created in contemporary dance in Quebec. As president of the Board of the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, I would like to thank Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Tim Southam and all of you here tonight, as we remember Jean Pierre-Perreault.

Jean-Pierre’s choreographic vision touched many; it helped shape dance in Quebec, Canada and beyond. It had a resounding impact on a whole generation of artists who came into contact with his work. In Jean-Pierre’s world weakness can be a source of strength, darkness as a canvas for light and even costumes clothing the body so as to let fleeting glimpses of skin catch light and breathe the air. We see feet running toward or away an inevitable human condition. We see hands, faces, arms, calling out the need to touch or be touched, to search for the other, to find the strength of the embrace and inhabit the duality of solitude in a society of many.

Let this evening celebrate his work, but even more so, the creative act, as he envisioned it, as Tim has captured it, as Laurence and Mark still carry within their bodies; not only as dancers but rather as people who inhabit a world, and perhaps even a better world, if only because his work has allowed us to see beneath the surface.

Marc Boivin


The Perreault tribute runs through December 8th at The Citadel in Toronto and includes the presentation of Danser Perreault a film by Tim Southam, followed by a performance of one of Perreault’s works, E.M.F. with dancers Laurence Lemieux and Mark Shaub.

In 2013, Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault is planning many events to celebrate Perreault’s life. Next year is the thirtieth anniversary of Perreault’s Joe and will is also be the anniversary of the foundation.

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