Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People 2011
Meet the people who have changed the province, the country and the world you live in
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Rumour has it that Jean Grand-Maître, the artistic director of Alberta Ballet, is interested in returning to his roots as a full-time choreographer. But if that’s the case, he’s going to have to stop being so successful in his current position. Grand-Maître became the artistic director of Alberta Ballet in 2002 after a career as a dancer and independent choreographer, and under his direction the company, which operates out of both Edmonton and Calgary, has expanded its national and international profile. The secret to his success – and the company’s – has been the fusion of popular culture and professional ballet. The first such experiment was 2007’s The Fiddle and the Drum, set to the music of Joni Mitchell and performed at the Cultural Olympiad during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. He followed that up with 2010’s Love Lies Bleeding, inspired by the life of Sir Elton John. This year, Alberta Ballet is performing Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, a work that’s not just based on the music of Sarah McLachlan but also includes her active participation in the production. The idea of ballet going mainstream is hard to imagine, but if anyone can make that happen, it’s Jean Grand-Maître.