Laurence LemieuxCA

Laurence Lemieux is co-artistic director and co-founder of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie. Whether as a dancer or choreographer, Lemieux is a powerful and unflinching artist whose soulful work comes from the heart. Her choreographic work is informed by her experience as a dancer, and is, as such, deeply intimate, rich in emotion, and technically sophisticated.

Born in Québec City in 1964, Lemieux trained intensely as a gymnast before approaching dance. She began studying ballet in 1979 and demonstrated such promise that one year later, Ludmilla Chiriaeff, founder of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, invited her to continue her dance education at the company’s school in Montreal, where she progressed quickly under the tutelage of Ballet Master Daniel Seillier. During a summer workshop run by the Banff Centre, Lemieux met choreographer David Earle, who was working on his piece, Sacra Conversazione. Under Earle’s instruction, she began learning Graham technique, an approach well suited to the young dancer, and in 1984 she followed Earle to Toronto to study with Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT). She joined the company in 1986, dancing for founders Earle, Peter Randazzo and Patricia Beatty, and later for Christopher House. Her 1998 performance in House’s Cryptoversa earned Lemieux the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Performance in Dance. During her tenure at TDT, Lemieux taught dance and eventually began presenting her own choreographic works: Cortège in 1991 at TDT’s Winchester Street Theatre and then, at the Canada Dance Festival, the pivotal Crosswalk, a minimalist solo in a style that would become Lemieux’s choreographic signature, with tender nostalgia providing a window into the past. In 1996, Lemieux decided to deepen her investigations and participated in Le Groupe Dance Lab‘s workshop for choreographers, led by Peter Boneham. In 1997, she mounted several pieces: Amber Silence, La Mer, Les Limbes, Nuit de la Saint-Jean and Hiver Dernier, a work commissioned by TDT.

From then on, Lemieux continued to refine her choreographic vision, producing over twenty-five works.  In 2002, drawing inspiration from Dostoevsky’s first work, Poor Folk, Lemieux created the poignant Varenka Varenka!, performed to live original music for Russian accordion by Vladimir Sidorov, and presented in Canada and in Russia. Her 2005 piece, Les Paradis Perdus, explored Memory’s meanderings through an evocative palette of characters revealing themselves in a mystery-laden atmosphere, performed to poetry written and performed by Christopher Butterfield. In 2007, Lemieux presented Interiors, an unforgettable family quartet that showcased the talents of this artistic family, including her husband, Bill Coleman, and their two children, Jimmy and Juliette. Co-produced with the National Arts Centre, Interiors was named one of the ten best dance pieces of the year in Toronto.

While dancing for some of the dance world’s most prominent choreographers, such as William Douglas, Tere O’Connor, Margie Gillis, James Kudelka, Benoît Lachambre, Bill Coleman and Jean-Pierre Perreault, Laurence Lemieux has continued to pursue her career as a choreographer and artistic director, and has taught at Concordia University, the University of Quebec in Montreal, l’École Supérieure de Ballet Contemporain and Canada’s National Ballet School. Lemieux also sat on the Boards of the Regroupement Québécois de la Danse and the National Council of the Canadian Dance Assembly.

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