The dance sector remembers Jeanne Renaud
September 16th, 2022 – The Regroupement québécois de la danse (RQD) and Circuit-Est are saddened to announce the death of Jeanne Renaud, honorary member of the Regroupement with an unparalleled artistic career.
A letter written by Claude Gosselin and signed by her son, her family, her friends and many artists attests to the legacy left by Jeanne Renaud on the dance scene.
“We regret to announce the death of our friend Jeanne Renaud, a great artist, choreographer, dancer, teacher and artistic director, who passed away on September 15 at the age of 94.
Born in Montreal on August 27, 1928, Jeanne Renaud, along with her two sisters, the late poet Thérèse Renaud and the late painter Louise Renaud, formed a sibling group of three women artists who had a profound impact on the art world in Quebec. She was also the sister of the late Louis Renaud, photographer who died in a plane crash. She was the spouse of the late Dr. Jean-Pierre Labrecque and the late photographer Ed Kostiner. She is survived by her son Sylvain Labrecque (Sophie Lebeau) – her daughter Michelle Labrecque preceded her in death -, her goddaughter Isabelle Leduc, daughter of Thérèse Renaud and Fernand Leduc, her niece Barbara Kloeppel, daughter of Louise Renaud and Francis Kloeppel, Lolly Renaud, daughter of Louis Renaud, her grandchildren Renaud and Vincent Bégin, her great-grandson Guillaume as well as many friends.
Alongside Françoise Sullivan and Françoise Riopelle, Jeanne Renaud was one of the pioneers of modern dance in Quebec. She began her dance training with Elizabeth Leese and Gérald Crevier in Montreal, then with Merce Cunningham, Hanya Holm and Mary Anthony in New York in 1946. With Françoise Sullivan, she presented her first choreographies in Montreal in 1948. An artist closely linked to the Automatistes, but a minor in 1948, she was not invited to sign the Refus global manifesto as her sisters Louise and Thérèse had done.
Jeanne Renaud lived in Paris from 1949 to 1952, where she joined Fernand Leduc and his sisters Thérèse and Louise, Jean Paul Riopelle and Françoise Lespérance-Riopelle. She taught dance and presented a show on March 3, 1950 at the American Student’s and Artists’ Center in Paris, in collaboration with painter Jean Paul Riopelle and composers Pierre Mercure and Gabriel Charpentier. In Montreal, in 1965, she presented the show Expression 65 whose great success encouraged her to found, in 1966, the Groupe de la place Royale, assisted by Peter Boneham. She was a successful choreographer, dancer and artistic director until 1972. During the 1970s and 1980s, Jeanne held several administrative and artistic positions: in 1970-1971, she was a teacher at the National Theatre School and at the Lionel-Groulx CEGEP. From 1972 to 1975, she founded and directed with Ed Kostiner Galerie III, dedicated to contemporary art; then she was an arts officer at the Canada Council for the Arts from 1975 to 1979 and at the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec from 1979 to 1985, where she was Director of the Dance Section and attached to the General Management of the Conservatories of Dramatic Art in Quebec. From 1985 to 1987, she was the co-artistic director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens with Linda Stearns. She ended her career as a professor at the Faculty of Arts at the Université du Québec à Montréal, from 1987 to 1989.
Most recently, Jeanne Renaud choreographed for director Mario Côté’s film Brèves histoires de pierres muettes (2018) and the Feldman/Renaud Project at Salle Bourgie in 2021, with dancers Louise Bédard and Marc Boivin.
Throughout her exceptional career, Jeanne has had stimulating encounters with some of the most influential Quebec artists of their time. Her track record includes more than 40 choreographies in which she helped transform dance into a contemporary artistic discipline. Her great achievements have earned her prestigious awards, including the Prix Denise-Pelletier (1989) and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (1995), as well as being named a member of the Order of Canada (1998) and a Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec (2018).
Quebec will remember Jeanne Renaud as a great pioneer of the arts and a great stimulator and mentor to many creators – the late Jean-Pierre Perreault, Sylvain Émard, Louise Bédard, Marc Boivin, and many others. As a choreographer, Jeanne Renaud has always encouraged a fruitful dialogue with visual artists by integrating into her shows creations by Françoise Sullivan, Fernand Leduc, Jean Paul Riopelle, Bruce Parsons, John Heward, among others, as well as with contemporary composers, notably Serge Garant, Gilles Tremblay and Walter Boudreau.
The influence of Jeanne Renaud on our personal and professional lives will long be remembered. We are very grateful to her.
Signed by: Her son Sylvain Labrecque. Her niece Isabelle Leduc. Her friends, Rose-Marie Arbour, Michel Batlle, Marc Boivin, Louise Bédard, Mario Côté, Sylvain Émard, Cyrille Girard, Claude Gosselin, Laurier Lacroix, Jean Logan, Pierre Pilotte, Sylvia Safdie, Danielle Sauvage, Suzanne Sauvage, Richard Simas, Françoise Sullivan, Anne Viau, René Viau.
Many other people could have joined us if we had had the time to contact them. We apologize to them.
A tribute will be paid to Jeanne Renaud in a few weeks. Parents and friends will be notified.”