Anik Bissonnette

Anik Bissonnette, ballerina (born at Montréal 9 Feb 1962). Petite and perfectly proportioned, Anik Bissonnette 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 Robitaille, 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. In 1984 at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition, they won a gold medal for choreographer Toussaint by dancing his Un Simple Moment.

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 Radakovský, with whom she performed favourite works. Invited by ballet legend Carla Fracci, Bissonnette and Radakovský danced La Chatte at the Rome Opera in 2005.

Although she retired from LGBC in 2007, Bissonnette continued 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. In 2008 she joined Édouard Lock of La La La Human Steps as company director. After spending a year as general director of La La La Human Steps, she was appointed co-director and artistic and pedagogical director of the École supérière de ballet contemporain de Montréal in 2010.

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. The Prix Denise Pelletier, Québec's prestigious performing arts award, was given to Bissonnette in 2008.