Integrated dancer recipient of
Michael J. Fox Award
Choreographer: Estelle Clareton
Photo: Frédérick Duchesne
France Geoffroy lost the use of her legs but never gave up her passion for dance. This pioneer of integrated dance in Quebec has continued to perform for the past 20 years while living with a disability. The Canada Council for the Arts is today recognizing her remarkable work with a totally unique award.
The history of this award is directly linked to renowned Canadian actor and author Michael J. Fox, a community-minded artist who has been acclaimed in recent years for playing characters with physical disabilities. When Mr. Fox received his Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award – and a cheque for $25,000 – at the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards in 2017, he immediately chose to give the cheque back to the Canada Council with the suggestion that they make good use of it.
It is this contribution that has enabled the Canada Council to recognize France Geoffroy’s career.
This award is proof that art created by persons with disabilities is now recognized and respected. Customary ways of doing things are changing, and the place of integrated dance in the ecology of Canadian dance is now very real.
France Geoffroy practices a form of dance that includes dancers with and without disabilities who perform together in an exploration of the aesthetics and choreographic potential of atypical bodies, inspiring audiences to see beyond differences. In 2000, she cofounded Corpuscule Danse, the very first dance company in Quebec to offer integrated dance, and has remained its general and artistic director ever since. That’s not all, however – she also gives classes, creates shows with dancers of all ages, and works as a speaker, performer and consultant.
With more than 20 choreographic productions under her belt as dancer, choreographer, artistic director or various combinations of these roles, the artist relentlessly campaigns so that her discipline receives the attention it deserves.
“There is still a long way to go, but now that recognition is there, all that remains is to continue to develop these inclusive artistic practices in teaching, research, creation and dissemination,” says France Geoffroy. Dancing and helping others to dance is still her priority.
France Geoffroy will officially receive the Michael J. Fox Award during the National Ballet of Canada’s Sharing Dance Day at Émilie Gamelin Park in Montreal on June 2.