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Meet The Artists

Biography

Brian Macdonald

National Ballet of Canada / Royal Winnipeg Ballet / Les Grands Ballets Canadiens

(1928-2014)

Brian Macdonald is an internationally successful Canadian choreographer. He is also an internationally respected stage and opera director. Macdonald studied dance in Montréal, Toronto and New York before becoming a charter member of the National Ballet of Canada in 1951. He performed with the company for two years before leaving to focus on choreography.

Macdonald's first successful work was My Fur Lady (1957), a musical revue staged at McGill University. He co-directed, co-choreographed and performed in the work. During the 1950s, he gained a reputation as a television choreographer and co-founded a short-lived company, the Montréal Theatre Ballet, which had a mandate to produce Canadian ballets featuring Canadian artists.

In the 1960s, Macdonald choreographed numerous works for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as the company's first resident choreographer, including his internationally successful Pointe Counterpoint (1962) (later renamed Aimez-vous Bach?). In 1966, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet premiered Macdonald's Rose Latulippe, a full-length ballet based on a Canadian theme.

From the mid-1960s until the late 1970s, Macdonald was the artistic director of several dance companies, including the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Harkness Ballet in New York, the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (later renamed Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal).

Throughout the 1980s, he served as the resident choreographer for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. From 1982 until 2001, he was also head of the professional dance division at The Banff Centre for the Arts, remaining the program's artistic advisor after he left the post.

Macdonald has been bestowed with numerous awards. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada, and, in 2001, was the inaugural winner of the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts.

Learn more:

Crabb. Michael. “Brian Macdonald.” Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse théâtrale au Canada . Ed. Susan Macpherson. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 2000: 363-365.

Wyman, Max. Dance Canada: An Illustrated History . Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1989.