Born in Montreal, Canada in 1963, Marie-France Levesque started training at age seven with the School of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. She studied with Master Daniel Seillier (Principal dancer, Paris Opera) for 4 years. In 1982, she joined the company of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens where she performed several leading roles: principal ballerina in “Concerto Barocco” (Balanchine), the two lead roles in “Cappriccio” section of “Jewels” (Balanchine), “Waltz of the flowers” lead ballerina in Fernand Nault’s “The Nutcracker”, the lead role in “Findings” (Brian McDonald), and the principal part in “Carmina Burana” of Fernand Nault.
In 1982, she was awarded a grant from Canada Council of the Arts to study in New York with outstanding teachers as with David Howard, William Burmann, Robert Denvers and William Griffith. In 1985, she obtained a grant from the Quebec Government to study in Varna, Bulgaria with Mrs. Kolpakova and Mr. Semionov.
In 1985, she danced the lead role in Brian McDonald’s “The Garden of the Heart” created on her for the inauguration of the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts, and has been broadcasted on National Television (CBS, fall 1985).
In 1985, Marie-France joined the American Ballet Theatre under Mikhail Baryshnikov’s directorship. Her repertoire with the company includes several featured roles. In Sir Kenneth McMillan’s ballets, she performed the “Jewels” and “The Cat” variations in his “Sleeping Beauty”, Romeo’s harlot in his “Romeo and Juliet”. Her Tudor repertoire includes the lead role of Volupia in his “Undertow”, and the lead sexy girl in his “Pillar of Fire”. In Agnes De Mille’s ballet, she performed the Young Virgin in “Three Virgins and a Devil”, the Ranch Owner’s daughter in “Rodeo”, and the Nocturne pas-de-deux in “Fall River Legend”. She’s been performing also Effie in “La Sylphide”, and The Flower Girl in “Gaiete Parisienne” (Massine), as well as The Cat in “Peter and the Wolf” (M. Smuin) and the Mechanical Doll in “The Nutcracker” of Kevin McKenzie. Marie-France also collaborated in several ballets performed for the Television PBS specials on Dance.
Marie-France appeared as a guest artist performing the Nutcracker’s Sugar Plum Fairy with The Maryland Ballet and The Richmond Ballet. She performed as a guest artist for three consecutive years at the international gala of “Don des Etoiles” (Gifts of the Stars) in Montreal, Canada, for the handicapped children foundation along side with Sylvie Guillem, Paloma Herrera, Julio Bocca, Patricia McBride and many other famous dancers . She danced “Soiree Musicale” (John Taras) with Wes Chapman in 1986, “Romeo and Juliet” balcony scene with Ricardo Bustamante in 1987, and “Concerto” (McMillan) with Ethan Brown in 1988. She performed under John Clifford’s productions in Palm Springs in 1997, when she danced the lead Balanchine Pas-de-Deux with partner Reid Olsen and late partner Serge Lavoie in “Agon”, “Apollo”, “Who cares?” and “Four Temperaments” .
In 2013, Marie-France created and established her 12 member dance company The Los Angeles Dance Company for which she is the founder, director, choreographer and dancer. She performed in 13 pieces in her latest performance: “On Pointe” at 50, and beyond!… on November 2nd 2013 at the Scherr Forum Theatre of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
In 1982, Marie-France received and Associate Degree in Dance and Music from the Cegep-du-Vieux-Montreal College in Canada and she has since expanded her education in Business at Hunter College (NYC), Santa Monica College and Pierce College. She was awarded a grant form the Canada Council and the Quebec Government, as well as several AGMA and “Dance On” scholarships.
Marie-France continues to judge for the Spotlight Awards competition of the Music Center every year since 1997 and has judged for the Youth American Grand Prix in 1998 for which she also taught Variations and Master classes.
Marie-France also studied acting with Richard Scanlon in New York for three years. She appeared as the lead French Flight Attendant in “The Bold & the Beautiful”. She also has several Film credits (“Gattica”, “One night stand” and “Shut-up and Dance” among others), Television, Commercial, Voice-overs & Modeling credits over the past 20 years in New York and in Los Angeles. (Full list available upon request). In 1997, she has also performed for Madonna’s “Evita” Premiere Gala at the El Rey Theatre in Hollywood.
BALLET TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Marie-France has been teaching the highest level of professional instruction in classical ballet extensively since 1996 in group classes, master classes and privately at Universities and Dance Studios in Southern California such as: California State University Long Beach, Moorpark College, Westside School of Ballet, Southland Ballet Academy, California Dance Theatre, Pasadena Civic Ballet, and the list goes on.
Besides teaching Master classes at a few universities and prominent International dance competition such as “Youth American Grand Prix”, she has also coached three levels of junior Olympic team of rhythmic gymnasts for nine years at Monarch’s and Platinum Gymnastics.
Marie-France became a certified teacher for the American Ballet Theatre’s newly developed and nationally recognized training curriculum in all their Levels (1 to 7) in 2009.
Marie-France has been trained in many different international ballet techniques which she imparts to her students such as: Cechetti method, French school, Balanchine style, Bournonville style, Vaganova, Kirov and Bolshoi methods which all are part of the American Ballet Theater repertoire.
As a teacher, Marie-France’s pedagogical philosophy is to make the best of each dancer’s talent, to use and develop the qualities of each person to maximize each individual’s potential and encourage the dancer to blossom as a whole artist while managing and improving the weaknesses. As she pushes the students for a detail-oriented high level of refined technique, she emphasizes the development of artistic interpretation, imagination, acting abilities and choreographic exploration while inspiring them to believe in who they are and challenging them to always keep pushing themselves to learn and expand their limits. She also helps them prepare their minds for the very competitive environment of today’s dance world. Because of her rich and successful professional experience, Marie-France has a vast knowledge of dance, training, repertoire, choreography, pedagogy and the psychological preparation necessary to become the very best dancer they can be.
The Los Angeles Dance Company Website: theladc.com