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Robert Desrosiers is well known as one of Canada's most innovative and imaginative choreographers. He was born in Montr éal and was accepted to the National Ballet School when he was twelve years old. He was briefly a member of the National Ballet of Canada during the 1971-1972 season before pursuing a career as an independent dance artist. In this capacity he has worked with numerous other artists and companies, including Felix Blaska, Hugo Romeo, Ballet Y's, Dancemakers, Toronto Dance Theatre and Lindsay Kemp. Desrosiers also has collaborated with several Canadian artists, including Leonard Cohen, Toller Cranston and Bruce Cockburn.
In 1980, Desrosiers formed Desrosiers Dance Theatre in Toronto. During the 1980-1981, he was awarded the first Jacqueline Lemieux Prize for his innovative choreography, which is defined by its theatricality and powerful imagery.
His early choreographic works include Brass Fountain (1980), Bad Weather (1982) and Ultracity (1984). One of his most famous works is Blue Snake, which was commissioned by the National Ballet of Canada in 1985. Blue Snake won the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Choreography. The work premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1988 and was later featured in the film, The Company.
His full-length, mult-media spectacle, Lumiere premiered in 1986 and was followed the next year by Concerto in Earth Major. Also in 1987, The Calgary Olympic Arts Festival commissioned Desrosiers to create a full-length work for the Calgary Winter Olympics. His work Incognito was a critical and financial success as part of the Canadian Stage Company's inaugural season in 1988-1989 and later was remounted in New York.
His choreography in the 1990s included Full Moon (1991) for the Glory of Mozart Festival in Toronto; Black & White (1991), a collaboration with painter Dan Solomon; and In Colour (1993) another work created with Solomon. His White Clouds (1994) was commissioned by the National Arts. Desrosiers Dance Theatre disbanded in 2000.
Citron, Paula. “Robert Desrosiers.” Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse théâtrale au Canada. Ed. Susan Macpherson. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 2000: 152-153.