Melissa Emblin, Marie-Élaine Patenaude and Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli received Meritorious Service Decorations from his Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada on December 11. The three co-founded Projet RAD (Réservé aux danseurs) to give people with various disabilities an opportunity to take urban dance classes. RAD also trains dance teachers, helps dance studios become more accessible to special needs clientele and delivers dance workshops in schools, youth centres and hospitals.
Odette Heyn and Faye Thomson, co-directors of the Professional Program of the School of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, were appointed as Members of the Order of Canada on December 30. The women were recognized for “their contributions to contemporary dance in Canada and to the development of the next generation of dancers.”
As of January, Montréal-based O Vertigo officially transitioned to a new company model. Founder and artistic director for more than thirty years, Ginette Laurin is stepping back to pursue personal projects, leaving in her place the new O Vertigo Creation Centre. The centre will support choreographers in research, creation and presentation.
Madison Gray won the 2016 Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award from Dance Ontario during DanceWeekend on January 17. Since 2008, eighteen-year-old Gray has been a student at Jade’s Hip Hop Academy in Brampton, where she now also teaches.
Compagnie Marie Chouinard dancer Valeria Galluccio was named Best Italian Dancer Abroad for 2015 by Italian magazine Danze&Danza. Galluccio has been dancing with the Montréal-based company since 2011.
The Réseau indépendant des diffuseurs d’événements artistiques unis (RIDEAU), a network of presenters in Québec dedicated to the promotion and support of artistic productions, has chosen Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal and its artistic director, Louis Robitaille, as the recipients of their annual honorary award. Les Ballets Jazz will receive the award at a gala event in Québec City on February 18.