Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

-—Albert Einstein

*Jean-François Caissy | GINETTE LAURIN
Jean-François Caissy is a native of the town of Carleton-sur-Mer, located on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula. He is an independent filmmaker and visual artist whose feature-length documentaries Journey’s End (2009), Guidelines (2014) and First Stripes (2018) have received international acclaim and screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, MoMA and the Viennale.

Ginette Laurin

2018 Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award (Dance)

Dancer and choreographer

Hailed internationally as one of Canada’s foremost choreographers, with more than 50 works to her credit, Ginette Laurin is a pioneer of the contemporary dance movement in Quebec. She is the founding artistic director of O Vertigo, and worked with the company for over 30 years. She has also hosted numerous dance workshops and taught at several universities and theatre schools in Canada and internationally.
Born in Quebec’s Lanaudière region in 1955, Ms. Laurin trained in dance and gymnastics. She began her professional career as a member of Le Groupe Nouvelle Aire, and danced with many Montréal choreographers before establishing O Vertigo in 1984. The company quickly made its mark with exuberant large-scale productions featuring vibrant, poetic dance, cutting-edge technology, and elaborate sets. Signature works include La Chambre Blanche (1992), Luna (2001), Passare (2004), and Soif (2014).
Ms. Laurin’s early works were marked by humour, energetic physicality, and theatricality; in recent years, she has taken a more pensive, spiritual approach.
“For me, it’s important to seek out new ways of using movement to build a narrative,” she says. “There are infinite ways to combine human bodies and create a dance. I’m constantly discovering new things—it’s fascinating.”
In 2015, Ms. Laurin transformed her company and invited three acclaimed young choreographers (Mélanie Demers, Catherine Gaudet and Caroline Laurin‑Beaucage) to develop the new organization’s vision and mission. The result was the Centre de Création O Vertigo (CCOV), which offers long-term residencies to artists interested in creating large-scale works. The CCOV is also a creative laboratory that supports and promotes new compositional forms and emerging dance artists.
Ginette Laurin is a Member of the Order of Canada and a Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec. Her other honours include two Grand Prizes from the Montreal Urban Community Arts Council, Dora Mavor Moore Award, Jean A. Chalmers Award, and Reconnaissance award from the Université du Québec à Montréal.