Laurence Lemieux

Laurence Lemieux, dancer, teacher, choreographer, co-artistic director born at Quebec City 30 Sept 1964). Laurence Lemieux trained as a gymnast before dancing for renowned Canadian choreographers such as Margie GILLIS, James KUDELKA, and Jean-Pierre PERREAULT.

Laurence Lemieux

Laurence Lemieux, dancer, teacher, choreographer, co-artistic director born at Quebec City 30 Sept 1964). Laurence Lemieux trained as a gymnast before dancing for renowned Canadian choreographers such as Margie GILLIS, James KUDELKA, and Jean-Pierre PERREAULT. In 1979, after 5 years of gymnastics training, she transitioned into dance by enrolling in ballet classes; a year into this new form, Ludmilla CHIRIAEFF (founder of Montréal's LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS DE MONTRÉAL) invited Lemieux to continue her training at École Pierre Laporte.

While there, she honed her skills with the help of ballet pedagogue Daniel Seillier. Seeking out further training, Lemieux attended a workshop in 1984 at the Banff School of Fine Arts (now BANFF CENTRE FOR THE ARTS), where renowned Canadian choreographer David EARLE was creating his Sacra Conversazione (1985). After meeting Earle, Lemieux began learning Graham technique (named after famed American modern dancer Martha Graham) and eventually moved to Toronto to study at the TORONTO DANCE THEATRE (TDT), joining the company in 1986.

Laurence Lemieux's time at TDT cemented her reputation as a strong technician and interpreter as she began dancing in the works of choreographers such as Christopher HOUSE and TDT's 3 co-founders: Peter RANDAZZO, Patricia BEATTY, and Earle.

TDT also allowed Lemieux the opportunity to hone her skills as a teacher and choreographer; in addition to teaching dance classes there, she began to create and showcase her own work. She presented Cortège (1991) at the Winchester Street Theatre, home of TDT, and Crosswalk (1991), a nostalgic, minimalist solo, at the Canada Dance Festival. In the late 1990s, Lemieux continued to explore the choreographic form by taking part in LE GROUPE DANCE LAB's 1996 choreographic workshop, where she developed material on DANCEMAKERS members, led by Peter BONEHAM.

As the years progressed, Lemieux looked towards different characters, texts and subject matter. In 2002 she created Varenka Varenka!, a work that drew upon Dostoevsky's Poor Folk, incorporated live accordion music and was performed in Canada and Russia. Interiors (2007), a co-production with the NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE, featured Lemieux, her husband Bill Coleman and their 2 children, and was declared one of Toronto's 10 best dance pieces that year.

As well as being an impressive technician, Laurence Lemieux's esthetic has been described as haunting, using imagery that evokes nostalgia, memory and contemplation. The co-founding of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie with her dancer husband has provided a platform for her to continue exploring this esthetic. It has also proven to be a space in which collaborations emerge. In addition to partnering with Margie Gillis and artists of the NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie collaborated with renowned ballet choreographer James Kudelka to reconstruct his famed 15 Heterosexual Duets, a project about which a photographic book was published (Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie: Reconstructing Fifteen Heterosexual Duets).

Laurence Lemieux is the recipient of a 1998 DORA AWARD for outstanding performance in dance. She has also led classes at Canada's National Ballet School, Concordia University and l'École Supérieure de Ballet Contemporain.