Anik Bissonnette, (born February 9, 1962) is a Canadian ballet dancer and principal dancer, since 1990, with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Her father, Jean Bissonnette, was famous as a television director with Télévision de Radio-Canada.
Anik Bissonnette began her training at the École de danse Eddy Toussaint, primarily under Camilla Malashenko. In 1979, she joined Toussaint's troupe, Le Ballet de Montréal Eddy Toussaint. Her extraordinary physical attributes – long arms, elegant hyperextended legs and high arches, combined with her feline agility and beautiful face – set her apart from the other dancers and garnered her leading roles right from the start.
She created many leading roles in Toussaint's choreographies, including Rose La tulipe (1979), Un simple moment (1981), Requiem de Mozart (1986), New World Symphony (1987), and Bonjour Brel (1988).
Under Mr. Toussaint's artistic direction, Bissonnette formed a memorable partnership with Louis Robitaille. She starred in many televised productions with Le Ballet de Montréal Eddy Toussaint and performed in Night Magic, a film directed by Lewis Furey. Her participation in the 1984 Helsinki Ballet Competition netted Toussaint first prize for his choreography in Un simple moment.
She danced the role of Giselle for the first time in Odessa, Russia, in 1988. The following year, she was invited to Toulouse, where she danced the part of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake with Laurent Hilaire, principal dancer with the Opéra de Paris. In 1991, she resumed the role, partnered by Éric Vu An, another Paris Opera étoile. She also danced the role of Juliet in Nicholas Beriozoff's Romeo and Juliet, as well as Cinderella in the work of the same name.
In 1989, Bissonnete joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montréal and was named principal dancer the following year, thus gaining access to roles that showcased the full range of her enormous talent. Leading roles in great classics like The Nutcracker, Coppélia, La Fille Mal Gardée, Les Sylphides, Giselle and Swan Lake allowed audiences to appreciate her versatility. She performed the dramatic principal roles in Antony Tudor's Jardin aux lilas and Pillar of Fire and in José Limon's Moor's Pavane. With her flawless technique, she has also performed in some 10 ballets by George Balanchine.
Throughout her career with Les Grands, Bissonnette has been fortunate to work with some of the greatest choreographers today, including James Kudelka, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, Nils Christe, Susan Toumine and Hans van Manen. Montréal choreographer Ginette Laurin and a number of up-and-coming choreographers (including Kevin O'Day, Gioconda Barbuto, Septim Webre, Didy Veldman and Stijn Celis) have also had the pleasure of working with her. In 2001, she created the role of Lisa in Kim Brandstrup's La Dame de pique.
Bissonnette performs regularly in galas around the world: Melbourne, Athens, Prague, Budapest, Thessaloniki, Montréal, New York City, Toronto, Vienne, Spoleto (Italy), Helsinki, Bratislav and many more. In 2005, she was invited by Carla Fracci of Rome's teatro dell'Opera to revive the ballet La Chatte, which Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal had staged for her in 1990. She performed recently in Vienna for the closing of Tanz für Europa.
In tandem with her stage career, Bissonnette is Artistic Director of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur and President of the Regroupement québécois de la danse. In 1995, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1996, she was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. In 2014, Bissonnette received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts. At the Gala honouring GGPAA recipients at the National Arts Centre on May 10, Guillaume Côté, principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada performed a piece commissioned for the event.
Bissonnette's daughter currently attends l'Ecole Superieure de Ballet Contemporain de Montreal, one of the five most prestigious dance academies in Canada.
1985 : Best individual Performance at the International de Danse Porsche du Canada.
1985 : Named Personality of the week by Montréal daily newspaper La Presse.
1988 : Named personality of the year, Youth section by the Salon de la Femme de Montréal
1990 : Prix des Biches (awarded on the Radio-Canada television show La Bande des Six)
1995 : Named Officer of the Order of Canada
1996 : Named Chevalier de l'Ordre du Québec
2005 : Awarded the Prix du public at the Budapest Ballet Gala
2007 : Awarded the Prix du public at the Budapest Ballet Gala
2014 : Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement