Brydon Paige

Brydon Paige, professional name of Brydone James Duncan, dancer, teacher, choreographer, ballet and opera director (b at Vancouver, BC 13 Jan 1933; d at Montréal 8 Oct 2007).

Paige, Brydon

Brydon Paige, professional name of Brydone James Duncan, dancer, teacher, choreographer, ballet and opera director (b at Vancouver, BC 13 Jan 1933; d at Montréal 8 Oct 2007). Brydon Paige was part of a pioneering generation that helped lay the foundation of professional theatrical dance in Canada and played an especially important role in the development of LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS and ALBERTA BALLET COMPANY.

Paige began professionally as an actor in Vancouver and initially studied dance with noted local teacher Kay Armstrong only to enhance his stage movement skills, but in 1950 he performed with her troupe at the third Canadian Ballet Festival in Montréal. He spent a further 3 years of intensive dance training in Vancouver before joining Montréal's Les Ballets Chiriaeff, where he remained through its evolution from a television performance troupe into Les Grands Ballets. Paige became a noted character dancer and excellent partner but by the mid-1960s was mostly occupied as a ballet master and choreographer.

He left in 1969 to begin an intermittent association with the National Ballet of Guatemala as choreographer and artistic director. Returning to Les Grands Ballets in 1972, Paige became head of its apprentice troupe, Les Compangnons de la Danse. In 1974 he returned to the main company as virtual second-in-command to its new artistic director Brian MACDONALD, with whom he choreographed the much-acclaimed Lignes et Pointes (1976).

Paige became artistic director of Alberta Ballet in 1976 at a time when it was struggling to survive. During 12 years at the helm Paige successfully raised the company's dancing standards and artistic profile, nationally and internationally. Sensitive to his audience's often conservative tastes, Paige staged several classical and dramatic ballets while also featuring work by emerging choreographers. By the time he left, Alberta Ballet had become a fully professional and credible fixture on the Canadian dance map.

From 1982 to 1988 Paige served as associate head of the BANFF CENTRE's summer dance program, and in 1987 he was also acting artistic director of the National Ballet of Portugal. Over the years, Brydon Paige provided choreography for several operas, notably an arena-scaled 1988 production of Verdi's Aïda that, following its Montréal premiere in the Olympic Stadium, toured internationally with Paige as staging director. In 1994 he became artistic director of Montréal's Ballet Divertimento, a school and choreographic centre where senior students may gain college credits through an association with a local CEGEP, Le Collège Français. Declining health increasingly limited his involvement but he retained the title of artistic director emeritus.