Dance Dance Department Chair
Ms. Josée Garant has had an active career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and administrator. Born in Canada, Ms. Garant received an MFA in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival, a BFA (honors) degree in Dance from York University in Canada, and graduated from the National Ballet School of Canada Teacher Training Program.
In 1988, following a successful career as a freelance modern dance performer, Ms. Garant was invited by Cirque du Soleil to train in Montreal under internationally renowned artistic director Franco Dragone for the project Eclipse. Ms. Garant trained in the art of the bouffon, the trapeze, the trampoline, as an acrobat, and as a Cirque du Soleil dancer.
In 1989, Ms. Garant shifted her focus to choreography and the education of young dancers by joining the faculty of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. During her long association of 16 years with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ms. Garant created the Modern Dance and Choreographic Programs and was the director of the postgraduate Aspirant Program. Ms. Garant choreographed new works for the professional division of the school and the aspirant program. Simultaneously, she collaborated with Winnipeg’s GroundSwell New Music Series as a choreographer on many productions.
From 1994 to 2004, Ms. Garant was awarded annual grants for her choreographic works from the Manitoba Arts Council and travel grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, including one that enabled Ms. Garant to travel to the Caribbean to study Afro-Caribbean dance. During these 12 weeks, she studied with the Antigua National Dance Theatre and the Grenada Dance Ensemble and visited Dominica to meet with the artistic community. She also sat as a Jury member for the City of Winnipeg’s Arts Council and the Manitoba Arts Council. In 2006 Ms. Garant sat as a Jury member for the Manitoba Arts Council’s Award of Distinction.
As a choreographer, Ms. Garant has garnered numerous awards, including the Youth America Grand Prix competition in Connecticut and the International Choreographic Competition in St-Sauveur, Québec. In 1988, Ms. Garant was nominated by l’ADISQ for a ‘Felix’ for Stage Direction and Scenographer of the Year for her work with singer-songwriter Daniel Lavoie.
Ms. Garant’s choreography has had an international influence. It has been presented on many stages worldwide, ranging from the Olympia Theatre in Paris to the New York Joyce Soho Theatre. She has created works for international dance competitions held in Istanbul, Tokyo, Jackson, Mississippi, and New York City. Her work has been produced by diverse organizations such as the Festival of Women in the Arts in North Dakota, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Du Maurier New Music Festival, and the 1999 Pan American Games. Her diverse achievements include Video-Clip Choreography for The Three Dance directed by Marc-Francois Tremblay and film choreography for Through My Eyes directed by CBC Award Winner Film scriptwriter Kathryn Martin. Through My Eyes premiered in 1997 at the Local Heroes International Screen Festival in Edmonton, Canada, and was presented at the 1997 Festival des Films du Monde in Montreal, Canada.
Before joining SCGSAH, Ms. Garant founded the Josée Garant Dance company in Miami, Florida, with a dedicated mission to educate, promote, and increase the public’s awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of contemporary dance and arts. Ms. Garant was awarded the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Choreographer Fellowship Award in 2008. While in Florida, Ms. Garant also worked at Harid Conservatory and New World School of the Arts (NWSA). Ms. Garant served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Dance Association from 2008 to 2012.
In 2011, Ms. Garant organized a retirement celebration for the internationally recognized dancer, teacher, choreographer, author, and NWSA Dean of Dance, Daniel Lewis. She created and directed Daniel Lewis: A Life of Dance, a tribute concert at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts which featured performances by world-renowned dance companies, choreographers, and dancers.
Since Joining the SCGSAH as Chair of the Dance Department in 2012, Ms. Garant has continued to dedicate her time to dance education. She developed a pre-professional ballet and modern/contemporary program that is inclusive and reflective of a diverse and fluid global dance community. Ms. Garant developed and currently directs the Lowcountry Youth Dance Academy, a SCGSAH outreach program offering free pre-professional ballet training to 5th-10th-grade students in the Lowcountry of SC. She is the Founding Executive Director of Grand Jeté; this state-wide event includes a student ballet and contemporary dance competition, dance college and trainee recruiting fair, master classes, and teacher workshops from reputable dance guest artists from across the Nation.
Ms. Garant currently teaches Senior Modern/Contemporary Techniques, Repertoire and Senior Audition Preparation, and Senior Dance Showcase and is a mentor for Junior Career Preparation.