June, 2020 – The École de danse contemporaine de Montréal announces the retirement of Hélène Leclair, after more than 40 years holding various positions, including student and graduate services director, rehearsal director and production coordinator.
A great teacher, lifeblood and living memory of the EDCM, Hélène Leclair has helped more than 350 young artists over the past four decades; students have always been her primary focus.
Since the early 1980s, shortly after founding the EDCM, Hélène has had the opportunity to wear several hats, including student and graduate services director, rehearsal director and production coordinator.
Among the major projects undertaken by the EDCM, she worked on a team to develop the contemporary dance diploma of college studies, then non-existent in Quebec; she also worked as an artistic supervisor to develop the third year of training, and occasionally as a teacher and choreographer; she helped implement all of the services offered to students and graduates (Fly, the creation laboratory, residences, health care, etc.); the development of production teams and partnerships with presenters; the advisory committee for the creation of Danse Transit; and costume design, to mention just a few projects.
Before joining the EDCM, she danced for prestigious choreographers such as Linda Rabin, Louise Bédard, Lucie Grégoire and Daniel Soulières. She choreographed several shows in collaboration with Massimo Agostinelli before creating her own company. Fascinated by improvisation and dance creation, she also created choreographic works for cinema while participating in various multidisciplinary events.
In recent years, she has been particularly committed to the development of young talent and their integration into the professional environment. With enduring passion, she has worked tirelessly to enable the next generation of dancers to flourish professionally on the world stages.
“Over the years, I hadn’t stop to count the number of students Hélène has taught, listened to, helped, supported, encouraged and tactfully pushed to nearly perfection, if not perfection itself. A few hundred individuals who still today, whether dancers or choreographers, have learned from her what excellence is and continue to draw inspiration from her expert advice on a daily basis,” said Yves Rocray, Director.
“In Hélène, I found a colleague and friend. A tireless, complex, courageous, stubborn and extremely funny person and an extraordinary speaker. Her very personal way of training young dancers-creators inspired in me the deepest admiration. She pushed them with zeal, tact and benevolence to their very limits, in search of new talents, far beyond what they had imagined they could accomplish, until the deployment of their new wings. A real magician. On behalf of all the young dancers who have had the great privilege of benefiting from her valuable teaching, a big thank you,” said Lucie Boissinot, Artistic and Academic Director.
Hélène Leclair’s testimonial: “During my career, I had the opportunity to work with dedicated, courageous and competent teams who gave their best to imagine and build the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal. I feel privileged to have helped develop this school, which has now established a worldwide reputation for contemporary dance education and with which I feel intrinsically and closely connected.
I’ve come a long way. Exceptional and inspiring encounters in all areas of my work have transformed and enriched me throughout my career. I loved teaching, I loved helping young dancers with their artistic and technical development. Demanding artists, who were thirsty for knowledge, encouraged me to give my best. It’s so inspiring to support them through their journey, so delightful to assist with their development, in finding out their true potential.
I’m proud of what I accomplished at the EDCM. Now it’s time to explore and put my energy into my new life. I’ll keenly follow the development of this school, which is dear to me, as well as the journey of all our graduates.”
Mélissa Lauzon-Carrière, Recreational and Extracurricular Activities Coordinator, will take over some of her duties. The EDCM Board of Directors and team warmly thank Hélène Leclair for her dedication and wish her the best in this new stage of life.
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