Mr. Jacques has dedicated his life to dance since the age of ten when he began training at Greta Leeming Studio of Dance in Ottawa. He studied tap, jazz, and ballet and received Advanced ADAPT Certifications in jazz and tap by the time he departed the school seven years later. After receiving recognition from both local and national dance competitions, he was accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division at 17.
After graduating from the Professional Division, he continued his studies in the RWB School’s Post-Secondary Aspirant Program where he had the occasion to perform and tour internationally in many RWB Company productions, such as Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin, Galina Yordanova’s The Nutcracker and Jorden Morris’ Moulin Rouge® The Ballet. Most recently Jacques performed with the Winnipeg-based company Q Dance. While still a student, Mr. Jacques also extensively explored the realm of choreography, creating for his fellow Aspirants and for more independent projects such as X Years, a piece commissioned for the David Suzuki Blue Dot Tour and My Fair Ladies, commissioned by the University of Manitoba for the Faculty of Law’s 100thanniversary celebration.
His desire to expand his knowledge in contemporary movement has led him to participate in programs such as the Nederlands Danz Theatre Summer Program and Springboard Danse Montréal, where he had the opportunity to learn works by renowned choreographers such as Crystal Pite and Jiri Kylian.
Working as a mentor for young choreographers is very important for Mr Jacques; therefore, upon graduation from the Aspirant Program, Mr Jacques began working with the RWB as artistic coordinator for their hugely popular First Steps Choreographic competition while continuing to dance and choreograph independently. The yearly production allows him to work with the aspiring young choreographers in the RWB School Professional Division, as well as to liaise with the members of the local arts community selected as adjudicators. Mr. Jacques is also responsible for coordinating the Manitoba implementation of the massively successful Sharing Dance Day. The national initiative promotes the health and well-being of all Canadians by providing free dance classes and rehearsals to the community at large. Other mentorship projects include his role as an adjudicator for 150 & Me, where he reviewed projects submitted by young artists from across Canada for inclusion in the highly competitive national program.
Motivated creatively by the need to “speak up” and an ardent believer in dance as a medium of connection and community, Mr. Jacques has collaborated with numerous organizations in Winnipeg, most of which are non-dance oriented.
The very heart of Mr Jacques’ choreographic journey is one of collaboration. Each opportunity has further educated him and fueled his belief in the use of dance as a tool to explore humanity and create social conscience through movement. For example, in July 2015 he presented Text Me at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. It was created for Beyond Borders ECPAT Canada, to bring attention to the issue of the sexual exploitation of children. It received positive feedback from reviews and audience members, some of whom were survivors of sexual trafficking.
The year continued with the creation of another strongly themed piece, Una Vida Mejor. Mr Jacques collaborated with Armando Perla, curator for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), on a solo for Jaime Vargas, former principal dancer with the RWB, on the subject of agricultural migrant workers. The moving piece was presented at conferences in Mexico City and Malmö. His exploration of humanity continued in 2016, when, in partnership with Dr. Roberta Woodgate of the University of Manitoba, Mr. Jacques created a stigma-breaking series of dance videos on the subject of children with severe anxiety. This last process was a great learning experience in the translation of complex human emotion into movement.
Mr Jacques also continues to create pieces for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. One such piece was the one-act story ballet Little Match Girl commissioned by the RWB School for their year-end production, Spotlight.
Most recently Mr Jacques embarked on a collaboration with SESQUI, on a piece for their 360 Movie, HORIZONS, which has been created for the 150th celebrations of Canada. A new and inspiring way to see and understand Canada, SESQUI offers a revolutionary 360° cinematic experience. Mr Jacques’ piece, filmed in the Winnipeg Airport and danced by the RWB Company focuses on the subject of mobilization in Canada. HORIZON will be touring nationally throughout the year as part of the celebrations of Canada’s 150th Anniversary.
Mr Jacques is currently hard at work on the creation of a new project, for which he received a Individual Artists Grant from the Winnipeg Arts Council. The project centres on the translation of cooperatives and empowerment into movement and choreography based on research he undertook in Guatemala.
Each of these unique opportunities has fueled Mr Jacques’ belief in the use of dance as a tool for understanding concepts of social justice and human dignity. Through his work as a choreographer Mr Jacques exhibits his whole-hearted commitment to putting public art in front of the community at every opportunity and to raising awareness of prevalent social issues through movement. This prestigious award would allow him to continue along his road to development as a choreographer and artist. The development process takes time, and, in order to pursue his studies in research and choreography nationally and internationally, he relies on, and appreciates the generous support and recognition of the local arts community.