A lot of Renaud's choreographic creativity had come from her explorations of movement with her own body, but she found that as she aged, this was no longer possible. It completely changed her relationship to choreography. So when she created a dance for Gioconda Barbuto for Danse Cité, Jeanne's voice, not her body, was the conduit for the communication of her ideas.
During her retirement, Renaud had more time to volunteer for arts committees and juries. She was, for example, on the Arts Council of the City of Montreal for over four years, and several times was on the committee for the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. She also has become a respected and beloved mentor for many choreographers in Montreal, and thus she continues to have an impact on dance. Certainly her generosity is renowned across Canada. At the same time, she remains a provocateur, still capable of intellectually and artistically rattling people. As Peter Boneham has succinctly stated, with Renaud, “There was never a comfort zone, but always real support.”
Renaud received the Governor General's Award in 1995 for her work in dance, as well as the Prix du Québec Denise-Pelletier in 1989 and the Order of Canada in 1998. At the Order of Canada induction ceremony, Vincent Warren addressed her in the following words:
Your generosity in welcoming people like myself and Peter Boneham and younger dancers like Jean-Pierre Perreault into the circle of artists such as Fernand Leduc, Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, Lise Gervais, Marcelle Ferron, Françoise Sullivan … and composers like Serge Garant, Gilles Tremblay and Pierre Mercure, gave continuity to a tradition of creative collaboration which still bears fruit among the younger Québécois choreographers.
Renaud has an honorary doctorate from Concordia University in Montreal. During these years, she continued to publicly communicate her ideas about dance and the assistance necessary for its survival. For example, her archives show a letter dated April 15, 1991 written to the Director of Dance at the Quebec Ministry of Culture, reporting on the education of modern dancers at the Ateliers de danse moderne de Montréal, expressed with her usual forthrightness. In February of 1994, she acted as honorary president of Les États Généraux de la danse, an initiative by the Regroupement des professionnels de la danse du Québec to bring together dance professionals and government officials in workshops designed to make recommendations to the government for improving the situation of dancers and dance companies in the province. At this meeting, an administrative council for the new association was elected. Jeanne Renaud gave opening and closing addresses for the event. “The baby is born,” she wrote, speaking of this initiative, and of the new association, “now we have to raise it, educate it.” And more recently, from May 12-14, 2000, she was a speaker at a distinguished gathering of dance professionals and scholars during a conference entitled Estivale 2000, organized by the Dance Department of the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Jeanne Renaud is a remarkable example of a dancer/choreographer who made a career of stretching the boundaries of the discipline, pushing herself and her students to explore freely in a variety of artistic directions. An article in a 2005 edition of the Toronto Star shows her continued influence on the next generation of dancers. In it, choreographer Louise Bédard pays hommage to her as an inspiration and a mentor. Renaud has continued to collaborate with Bédard and other often well-established dancer/choreographers, offering advice and feedback on works in progress, asking pointed questions, helping them clarify their intentions, all on a voluntary basis. In this way, free and open community-based artistic enthusiasm is passed on through dance.
©2009, Dance Collection Danse
Jeanne Renaud Exhibition Curators: Ray Ellenwood and Allana Lindgren
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Louise Bédard in L'Émprise, 1988