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Honouring Canada’s music, dance and theatre artists

By Sanita Fejzić on May 12, 2014

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala honoured the country’s best artists in music, dance and theatre at the National Arts Centre this Saturday, May 10.

Honouring Albert Schultz for his work as theatre artistic director.

Honouring Albert Schultz for his work as theatre artistic director.

In alphabetical order, the 2014 laureates are Anik Bissonette for her career as a dancer, teacher and artistic director; Canada’s most travelled rock band, Blue Rodeo; Brent Carver for his acting and singing career; actor, singer-songwriter and humanitarian Tom Jackson; Louise Lecavalier for her dance and choreography; actress and teacher Janine Sutto; Jean Giguère, Winnipeg arts patron, received the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts; and last but not least, Albert Schultz for his work as theatre artistic director. Check out the video presented at the Awards here.

Unless you are a huge fan of theatre, music, dance or Broadway, this list might leave you feeling like you can only recognize a name or two. The events included short films created by the National Film Board for each one of the laureates, making it easy to get to know them, their careers and their passions. You can watch them all here; check out the one made on Jean Giguère—the filmmaking is creative and stands out.

The evening included speeches from the likes of author Joseph Boyden and tributes from the jaw-dropping dancer Guillaume Côté (whose opening and closing act made you feel like you were watching the back of a muscular swan, so graceful and beautiful) as well as Kathleen Edwards, who interpreted one of Blue Rodeo’s songs.

Many of the speeches about the laureates provoked tears from the winners and possibly even from audience members. I was particularly moved by the video and talk on Anik Bissonnette’s career.

Overall, even though I wished there was more performances and less speeches (especially from sponsors and so on), the whole evening was immensely powerful—it pulled on my emotional strings more than once—and left me in awe at the talented artists whose passion, hard work and commitment landed them the recognition they rightfully deserve.