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Remembering Martine Époque

Daniel Léveillé reflects on the life of a Canadian dance innovator By Daniel Léveillé
  • Photo by François Brunelle

On January 18, 2018 dance communities across Canada lost a founding member – Martine Époque. With a background from the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze, Epoque was integral in developing dance courses at the Université de Montréal after arriving in Canada in 1967.

Époque founded Le Groupe Nouvelle Aire, a contemporary dance company whose legacy is tied to many prominent Québec-based dancers, including Édouard Lock, Louise Lecavalier, Ginette Laurin, Louise Bédard, Paul-André Fortier and Daniel Léveillé.

The Dance Current approached Léveillé to share a memory of Époque.

~

How lucky I have been to cross paths with Martine Époque one day. She has changed my orientation and, in consequence, my life.

Talking with Edouard Lock last Sunday at the funeral home, we both agreed that we would not be in dance today without Martine having been present at the right moment and we would most certainly not be internationally recognized and acclaimed, as we are today, more than forty years later. 

There are many, many of us – choreographers, dancers and teachers – who are eternally grateful to her. Pioneering, daring, creative and above all fierce, Martine has artistically changed the face of Montréal. Among many others qualities, the most impressive to me is the place she would make for anybody working around her and her Groupe Novelle Aire. Martine was a very generous person. 

The vacuum that her death as created is immense and will take a long time to fill.

Martine should be considered forever as a monument of dance.

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