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Brydon Paige

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Brydon Paige passed away on October 9, 2007 after a long illness. Born in Vancouver, Brydon Paige joined Ballet Chiriaeff in 1953, which later became Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. He stayed with the Company for 20 years as character dancer, and later ballet master and choreographer.

He wrote choreographies for companies such as Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Banff Centre of the Arts, National Ballet of Guatemala, National Ballet of Portugal, Opéra de Montréal and Edmonton, Ottawa, Calgary and Québec Operas. He staged ballets for the Louisville Ballet, Baltimore Ballet and Ballet Nacional of Cuba, and choreographed for the Aida opera presented at the International Opera Festival at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal and in Australia, en Europe and Asia.

He was artistic director of the Alberta Ballet from 1976 until 1988. He created the Snow Maiden ballet commissioned by the International Olympic Committee and presented during Calgary's Olympic Games, for which he was granted a scholarship to go to Russia.

Brydon Paige also taught at the Banff Centre of the Arts and directed the Ballet Academy in Guatemala as well as the Les Compagnons de la Danse, a sister company of the Grands Ballets Canadiens. He was also director of the dance department at École secondaire Pierre-Laporte in Montréal. He was artistic director of Ballet Divertimento since 1996.

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This is sad news. When Alberta Ballet marked its 40th anniversary a year ago, its former artistic directors came to join the celebrations. I imagine the experience was somewhat bittersweet for Mr. Paige, as none of his ballets was in the company's repertoire any longer, and his big-ticket productions of The Nutcracker and Cinderella had long since been replaced with newer ones, in part to accommodate the company's increased size. Still, it was lovely to see Mr. Paige, though he was wheelchair-bound and very frail.

Requiescat in pace.

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Brydon had one of those wonderfully contradictory reputations. Outside of the "circle" he was seen as a party animal; within he was seen as a hard-working popularizer of ballet, touring small communities and mixing up the repertoire. It's a pity that contemporary technical requirements make touring too expensive.

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The Edmonton Journal has an obituary:

Former Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet Mourned

I am impressed by his commitment to tourning the smaller towns. Ballet peole of that generation had an admirable commitment to "bringing ballet" to the people. It's sad that this has become financially impossible for all but the smallest companies. Paige sounds like a fascinating personality, one who created a great deal and lived a full life.

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