Artistic Director: Jean Grand-Maître
One of the most successful Canadian choreographers of his generation, Jean Grand-Maître assumed the artistic leadership of Alberta Ballet in 2002. Born in Hull, PQ, he began his dance training at York University in Toronto and continued at Montreal’s L’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec. He later danced with Ballet British Columbia and Theatre Ballet of Canada. After working internationally for 14 years as an independent choreographer and director, he created and staged new works for many of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies, theatre festivals, circus performers, opera companies, stage musicals, television specials, and films.
He has been commissioned by renowned ballet companies such as the Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro alla Scala, the Stuttgart Ballet, the National Norwegian Ballet, the Bavarian State National Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Ballet British Columbia, the National Ballet of Cuba, Ballet Jörgen and the Hartford Ballet. He has staged and choreographed large scale events and he collaborated with numerous renowned theatre directors such as Michel Lemieux for the street parade celebrating Montreal’s 350th anniversary. He was Director of Choreography for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
Alberta Ballet, under Grand-Maitre’s directorship, has enjoyed considerable success both artistically and financially. He has managed to build the company’s national and international profile while maintaining a strong financial position and securing some of the highest surpluses in the company’s history. He has acquired or remounted works by such renowned choreographers as George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Rudy Van Dantzig, Dominique Dumais, Christopher Wheeldon, Ali Pourfarrokh, Twyla Tharp, and Mikko Nissinen. He has commissioned new ballets by established and emerging choreographers from Canada and elsewhere such as Yukichi Hattori, Reid Bartelme, Sabrina Matthews, Emily Molnar, Edmund Stripe, Lorraine Chapman, Margie Gillis, Magdalena Popa, Reginald Amatto, Alexandrous Ballard, Denise Clarke, and Kirk Peterson. No fewer than 31 one act ballets, as well as 14 full length works have received their premiere with Alberta Ballet during his first eleven years as Artistic Director. He has also revived 21 one act ballets and nine full length ballets from the company’s repertoire. Mr. Grand-Maître has taken the company on many highly successful national and international tours and festivals to China, Egypt, Russia, Thailand, the United States and across Canada.
During his tenure with Alberta Ballet, he has set or choreographed numerous ballets of his own. All have received considerable public and critical acclaim, including Celestial Themes (2002), The Winter Room (2002), Carmen (2003), Cinderella (2004), Dangerous Liaisons (2004), Vigil of Angels (2005), Romeo and Juliet (2005), Joni Mitchell’s The Fiddle and The Drum – co-created with Joni Mitchell (2007), Mozart's Requiem (2008), Bolero (2009), Love Lies Bleeding (2010) - created with the participation of Sir Elton John, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (2011) - created with the participation of Sarah McLachlan; Chaconne (Bach) for the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon, France (2011), and Balletlujah! (2013) - created with the participation of k.d. lang. He has also initiated Up Close - a studio series with amazing success, promoting young choreographers in intimate performances.
Michael Crabb wrote in New York City’s Dance Magazine: “Rapidly emerging as the Canadian troupe to watch, the originality of its programming combined with the passionate commitment of its dancing has earned Alberta Ballet a strong following at home and growing attention abroad”.