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Anik Bissonnette - A world-class ballerina

Anik Bissonnette, ballerina (born at Montréal 9 Feb 1962). Petite and perfectly proportioned, Anik is Québec's best-known ballerina. Her exceptional musicality, purity of line and extraordinary balances were recognized during her training at the École de danse Eddy Toussaint in Montréal, where she began studies in classical ballet at the age of 12. She joined Le Ballet de Montréal Eddy Toussaint 5 years later along with her identical twin, Sophie.

Immediately paired with Toussaint's star, Louis Robitaile, she began dancing leading roles. Critical praise for her sensitivity and technique quickly followed. Her cool, unruffled plasticity was a perfect foil for Robitaille's visceral partnering. The 2 became celebrated in Québec, especially for their interpretations of ballets with folk themes like Rose Latulippe.

Until she joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (LGBC) in 1989, her career was almost inseparable from that of Robitaille. With him in 1986-87, Bissonnette began her career as an independent guest artist with appearances at Spoleto Festival galas in Charleston, US, Spoleto, Italy, and Melbourne, Australia. In 1988, again with Robitaille, she danced Giselle with the Odessa Ballet in Odessa, Ukraine. By 1989, she was performing with other international stars. That year she partnered with the Paris Opera's Laurent Hilaire in Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet with Robitaille at the Ballets du Capitol in Toulouse, France. She returned to Toulouse in 1992 to dance with another Paris Opera étoile, Eric Vu An.

From 1983 to 2006, Bissonnette made 22 annual appearances at Montréal's Gala des Étoiles. She also toured the world with this company of international stars. As a principal dancer with LGBC she had a broad repertoire that included La Chatte (George Balanchine), The Nutcracker (Fernand Nault), Coppelia (Enrique Martinez), Allegro Brillante and Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Balanchine), Urlicht (William Forsythe), Without Words (Nacho Duato) and Stepping Stones (Jirí Kylián). She originated one of the leading roles in James Kudelka's Désir (1991) and in 2001 originated the role of Lisa in Kim Brandstrup's The Queen of Spades. As the company's reigning prima in this ballet, she used her technical assurance to plumb exciting emotional depths with a new partner, Mário Radacovský, with whom she performed favourite works. Invited by ballet legend Carla Fracci, Bissonnette and Radacovský danced La Chatte at the Rome Opera in 2005.

Although she retired from LGBC in 2007, Bissonnette continues to dance at galas throughout the world. Since 2005 she has been president of the Regroupement québecois de la danse, an organization representing all professional dance in the province. In 2005 she was appointed artistic director of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur where, the following year, she produced Kylian Le Grand, a unique evening of filmed interviews and dance along with live dance honouring Czechoslovakian-born choreographer-director Jirí Kylián.

Anik Bissonnette received the Order of Canada in 1995. The same year she was featured in a book about 4 notable young Québeckers, En Plein Coeur by Yvon Brochu. In 1996 she received Québec's highest honour, the National Order of Québec.

Linde Howe-Beck

Acclaimed by critics as a world-class ballerina, she has become a Quebec cultural icon - a homegrown artist who has impressed audiences on the biggest international stages.


Anik you are with Evelyn Hart and Karen Kaine one of the three most important ballerinas. When did you find out that dance is in your body in your hart?

I find that I cannot leave without dance when I was around 15 years old and when I realize that I was not able for my head and body to leave without it.

In which kind of family you grow up plus did you have anybody who look up to any dancers or ballerina from past?

I am from a family very artistic but nobody was around dancing that where probably I find my difference.

In 2007 you stopped your career with Les Grands, you are director of festival and mother. Is it possible to do all these things at once?

It is hard for me now because I have probably 4 jobs in the same time but I chose what I want and feel very lucky to be able to touch a lot of things.

Does your daughter Sandrine like ballet?

Sandrine want to be a teacher when she will be older but she has a lot of time to change a mind the only important thing for me it that she find her own passion.

Do you have any  professional dreams?

My only dream is to feel that I did a good job with my daughter.

You have been dancing in many festivals around the world? Which country where you danced impresses you?

I think my best memory was when I have the chance to dance in the Festival of Spoleto the Festival des 3 mondes so in USA, Australia and Italy.

What do you think about Russian and French ballet technique?

Both technique are so different but both of them have they own qualities but imagine a dancer with both technique WOW!

Which is your life philosophy what do you thing about life?

My philosophy of life is very simple don't go again your destine.