Les Feux-Follets, meaning “the willow wisps,” was an acclaimed and influential folk dance troupe based in Montréal.
Les Feux-Follets was founded as an amateur folk dance ensemble by Michel Cartier in 1952. The company turned professional when it performed at the opening of the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, PEI, in 1964. It went on to perform to wide acclaim throughout North America and Europe. The troupe was recognized for its lavish costumes, set design and special effects. Its repertoire, at the insistence of Cartier, the troupe’s director for 18 years, was inspired by Indigenous ceremonies, historical events, and the various ethnic cultures in Canada, particularly French and Celtic folklore (see Franco-Canadian Folk Music; Anglo-Canadian Folk Music).
The troupe was featured in a documentary short film produced by the National Film Board in 1966 and was a fixture at Expo 67 in Montreal. They performed twice a day at the Canadian Pavillion, often accompanied by Jean Carignan, and also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1972, the troupe became associated with the Charlottetown Summer Festival under artistic director Alan Lund. Performances by the company were broadcast on CBC TV in 1973 and 1980.