In this black-and-white photograph, a dancer in a sleeveless dress is performing a choreography on a riverbank, barefoot in the sand. Her legs are spread and her arms are raised wide, making her body form an “X.”

Françoise Sullivan

(b. Montréal 1923)

 

Les Saisons Sullivan (réactualisation de Été, 1947)

[The Season of Sullivan (reinterpretation of “Summer,” 1947)]

2007

Photograph
30.5 x 30.5 cm
From the album The Seasons of Sullivan, Montréal, Galerie de l’UQAM, 2007.
Collection of the Galerie de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, 2007.8.1-93
Performer: Annik Hamel
© Galerie de l’UQAM, Françoise Sullivan and Marion Landry. Photo: Marion Landry


This photograph of a dancer performing a choreography titled Été  [“Summer”] on a riverbank is from the album The Seasons of Sullivan. In the 1940s, Françoise Sullivan conceived four choreographies inspired by the cycle of the seasons and meant to be performed in natural settings, in keeping with the landscape theme central to Canadian art. Sullivan danced Été in 1947, at Les Escoumins, north of Québec City, and Danse dans la neige [“Dance in the Snow”] in February 1948, on Mont Saint-Hilaire, near Montréal. In 2007, under her supervision, four dancers performed Printemps [“Spring”] and Automne [“Autumn”] and revived Été and Danse dans la neige in preparation for the publication of the album.


Françoise Sullivan is well known as a dancer, choreographer and visual artist. After training at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, she studied modern dance in New York. On returning to Montréal, she joined the Automatistes. In 1948, she signed the group’s manifesto Refus global [Total Refusal], which includes her essay « La danse et l’espoir » [“Dance and Hope”], a landmark of modern dance history in Quebec. Around the same time, she created choreographies on the cycle of the seasons, which were reinterpreted some sixty years later for the publication of an album marking their importance in her career.

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In February 1948, Françoise Sullivan was planning to perform her choreography “Dance in the Snow” and discussed it with friends at a gathering of the Automatiste group. The painter Jean Paul Riopelle invited her to his country place near Mont-Saint-Hilaire so that she could dance in a natural setting. The very next day Sullivan performed the choreography in a snow-covered landscape, and Riopelle filmed it. The film was lost, but the photographs taken by Maurice Perron (1924-1999) helped immortalize the work, which has become an icon in the history of Canadian art.

Françoise Sullivan

(b. Montréal 1923)

 

Les Saisons Sullivan  (réactualisation de Danse dans la neige, 1948)

[The Seasons of Sullivan (reinterpretation of “Dance in the Snow,” 1948)]

2007

Photograph
30.5 x 30.5 cm
From the album The Seasons of Sullivan, Montréal, Galerie de l’UQAM, 2007.
Collection of the Galerie de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, 2007.8.1-93
Performer: Ginette Boutin
© Galerie de l’UQAM, Françoise Sullivan and Marion Landry. Photo: Marion Landry