Veronica Tennant and Crystal Pite to Take Part in First Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Mentorship Programme

    MONTREAL, March 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Governor General's Performing Arts
Awards Foundation today announced the creation of a unique Mentorship
Programme designed to bring together past Governor General's Lifetime Artistic
Achievement Award recipients and talented mid-career artists, helping them to
develop their work and encouraging them to think about their art in new and
challenging ways.
    For this inaugural year of the Mentorship Programme, legendary prima
ballerina, filmmaker and 2004 Award laureate Veronica Tennant has chosen to
mentor Crystal Pite, a dynamic young dancer/choreographer with an explosive
international career.
    Ms. Pite, who will receive an honorarium as part of the Programme, will
also showcase a solo work at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards
Gala on May 3 at the National Arts Centre.
    "Crystal Pite's work epitomizes everything the Governor General's Awards
stand for: she is daring, creative and innovative," said Veronica Tennant. "I
had the privilege to witness her creative process and found her work to be
beautiful, arresting and soulful. I am honoured to be connected with Crystal
through this initiative."
    The Programme is the result of a new partnership between the Governor
General's Performing Awards Foundation and the National Arts Centre.
    "The Mentorship Programme adds a powerful legacy element to the Governor
General's Performing Arts Awards and serves as a creative catalyst and as an
investment in future Canadian artistic achievement," said Peter Herrndorf, the
NAC's president and CEO. "This is a fantastic opportunity for the laureates of
tomorrow to benefit from the creativity and experience of icons who have
blazed the trail before them."

    (See attached biographies)


                               Veronica Tennant

    As Prima Ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada for 25 years,
Veronica Tennant won international accolades for her extraordinary versatility
and dramatic power, on stage and on screen. She has continued to distinguish
herself as an award-winning filmmaker, director/producer, choreographer,
actor, writer and lecturer.
    Forming Veronica Tennant Productions in 1998 she has created a significant
body of arts performance work for CBC TV and Bravo!, including The Dancers'
Story, Karen Kain: Dancing in the Moment (International Emmy Award), a pairing
of Swans, Shadow Pleasures (7 Golden Sheaf Awards) and Celia Franca: Tour de
Force. In 2007, Veronica Tennant was Movement Director for the RSC/NAC co-
production of The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.
    Her honours include Officer of the Order of Canada (1975), elevated to
Companion in 2004; Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime
Artistic Achievement (2004); Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the
Performing Arts (2004); and five honorary doctorates. She has written two
books for young people, and is Canada's ambassador for UNICEF.

                                 Crystal Pite

    Vancouver-based choreographer and performer Crystal Pite has created works
for Cullberg Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theatre 1, Ballett Frankfurt, Les
Ballets Jazz de Montréal (Resident Choreographer 2001-04), Cedar Lake, Ballet
British Columbia, the Alberta Ballet, Ballet Jorgen, and several independent
dance artists; most recently Louise Lecavalier.
    She is a former member of Ballet British Columbia and Ballett Frankfurt.
Pite formed her own company, Kidd Pivot, in 2001. The company received the
Alcan Performing Arts Award for 2006 and continues to tour nationally and
internationally with productions that include Lost Action (2006), Uncollected
Work (2002), and Double Story (2004), created with Richard Siegal.
    Crystal Pite is the recipient of the Banff Centre's Clifford E. Lee Award
(1995), the Bonnie Bird North American Choreography Award (2004), and the
Isadora Award (2005). Her work has been nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award
(2006) and a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award (2006).

For further information:

For further information: Jayne Watson, Director of Communications, (613)
947-7000, ext. 260

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