Jacques Gorrissen (1945-2012)

By Naomi Brand
  • Jacques Gorrissen (1996) / Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Jacques Gorrissen, Belgian-born dancer and longtime National Ballet principal character artist died on January 20th, 2012, at the age of sixty-six. Born in Ghent, Belgium, Gorrissen studied dance at the Royal Flemish Opera School and upon graduation joined the Royal Flemish Opera Ballet in Antwerp. In 1968 he joined The National Ballet of Canada, was promoted to soloist in 1972, and was a principal character artist from 1985 until 1998. Gorrissen’s range as a character dancer extended from the comic to the tragic. He earned both critical and audience acclaim in such roles as Dr. Coppelius in Coppélia, Friar Laurence and the Duke of Verona in Romeo and Juliet, the Master of Ceremonies and the Tutor in Swan Lake, the Catalabutte in The Sleeping Beauty, and Gamache and Sancho Panza in Don Quixote, among others. Gorrissen also danced several roles in works by James Kudelka including The Four Seasons (1997), a featured role in Pastorale (1990), Tesman in Hedda (1983) and The Balloon Seller in Washington Square (1979).

Condolences can be sent to Morley Bedford Funeral Home.

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