Catherine Lafortune

 Catherine Lafortune, ballet dancer (b at Montréal 17 Feb 1961). At the age of seven, Catherine Lafortune enthusiastically responded to the call of dance and took courses in the Cecchetti method at the La Volière studio. Completing her examinations with distinction, she entered the dance academy of LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS. Through the years of her apprenticeship (ages 15 to 17) she undertook intensive training at York University, where her talent was noticed by the teaching staff.

Due to Lafortune's outstanding performance at the academy's annual show, Ludmilla CHIRIAEFF, founder of the Grands Ballets, with the unanimous support of the company's administration, invited the young dancer to join them without the obligatory audition.

Entering as an apprentice, Catherine Lafortune pursued an outstanding career there for 16 years, rapidly attaining the rank of soloist. Her talent and great versatility led her to dance in more than 75 ballets in the company's repertoire, and she often and brilliantly performed in major roles from the classical repertoire including Gisèle (Myrtha), Swan Lake, La Sylphide (Effie), Les Sylphides (Mazurka), Nutcracker ( in which she danced more than twelve different roles during her career), and Coppelia. In New York, she appeared as soloist in works by renowned choreographer George Balanchine. Lafortune has worked closely on many occasion with Canadian choreographers among them Christopher HOUSE, James KUDELKA, Brian McDonald, Fernand NAULT, Ginette LAURIN, Judith MARCUSE and Linda RABIN, and with those of international repute such as Kurt Joss, José Limon, Hans Van Manen, Mark Morris, Ohad Naharin, Milko Sparemblek and Paul Taylor.

On his visit to Montréal in 1986, choreographer Nacho Duato from Spain's Compania Nacional de Danza chose Lafortune as soloist in his ballet Jardi Tancat. She also took part in the premiere of Na Floresta and in the same choreographer's ballets Rassemblement and Duende.

Catherine Lafortune has had the privilege of dancing in Nijinsky's L'Après-midi d'un Faune, Nijinska's Les Noces, Fokine's Petrouchka, and Manuel de Falla's Le Tricorne from the company's restoration of Ballet Russes repertoire by the celebrated impresario Serge Diaghilev.

After her decision to leave the stage in 1995, Catherine Lafortune, was named ballet mistress for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and took charge of the graduate program at the École supérieure de danse du Québec. She completed her Bachelor's degree in dance from the Université du Québec à Montréal in only two years. Her dedication to dance motivated her to co-found the Académie de danse Regina Assumpta (Montréal, 2005), where Lafortune holds the position of pedagogical director. She remains very active in the development of dance in Québec.

Catherine Lafortune appeared in the NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA's Sur les scène de l'Orient (1984) and in the television film Na Floresta for Radio-Canada (1992).

During her 16-year career, she has travelled and danced in Canada, the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. During the summers from 2005 to 2007, she was a member of the dance faculty as ballet specialist at the BANFF CENTRE FOR THE ARTS, under the direction of Annette AV PAUL.

Throughout her prodigious career, Catherine Lafortune, acclaimed for her outstanding technique, great sensitivity, flexibility and musicality, has regularly been distinguished by the precision of her performances.