Fernand Nault

2000 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Dance)

Dancer, choreographer and artistic director, Fernand Nault has delighted audiences, inspired and enriched the lives of hundreds of dancers, and achieved international renown during a career spanning over 50 years.

Monsieur Nault was born in Montreal in 1921 and studied dance in Montreal, New York, London and Paris. From 1944 to 1965 he was a dancer, then Ballet Master at The American Ballet Theater in New York. In 1965 he joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens as co-Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer, and in his nearly 40 years with the company has choreographed more than 30 astonishingly diverse works, ranging from classical to neoclassical by way of contemporary and theatrical dance. His creations include The Seven Deadly Sins, La Fille mal gardée, Danses concertantes, Liberté tempérée, and La Scouine. In the late 1970s, Monsieur Nault put Les Grands Ballets Canadiens on the international map with the hugely popular rock ballet Tommy, followed by the acclaimed Carmina Burana, a mystical and deeply moving work that he re-mounted for the 1994 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Fernand Nault was named Choreographer Emeritus of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in 1990 and continues to work with the company in that capacity.

Among his best-loved choreographies for Les Grands Ballets is The Nutcracker, personally cast and rehearsed by Monsieur Nault and remounted by the company each year since 1964.

Monsieur Nault has also created works for numerous other prestigious dance companies, including the Alberta Ballet, the Opéra de Montréal, The American Ballet Theater, The Joffrey Ballet, The Colorado Ballet and The Washington Ballet.

Monsieur Nault was named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1977. His many awards and honours include Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec, the Prix Denise-Pelletier, and the Centennial Medal in 1967.