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The Ludmilla Chiriaeff Memorial Sculpture

  On the grounds of the multiethnic center of Rawdon, stands a sculpture commemorating the life of Ludmilla Otzoup-Gorny, better known as Ludmilla Chiriaeff. Arriving in Canada in 1952, this dancer and choreographer founded Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec in the late 1950s and during the following decade.  From her earliest years in Canada, she visited Rawdon in the summers and shared her family life with the municipality's residents.

  Madame Chiriaeff and her husband Alexis collaborated in the development of the Russian church of the parish of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Rawdon. She is buried in the Russian cemetery alongside her mother, Catherine Otzoup-Gorny, and her son, Gleb, not far from her first husband, Alexis Chiriaeff.

  In memory of her contribution to our community and to the arts in Canada, the commemorative monument was erected in 2011 on the grounds of the Centre d'Interprétation Multiethnique.

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  This sculpture, created by artists Nina Galitskaia and Vitaly Gambarov, highlights the aspirations of an immigrant who came to Quebec in the 1950s with a big dream: to make the art of dance accessible.

 

  Artist Nina Galitskaia explains:

 

  “In 2011, we devoted a lot of effort and time to creating this monument. The initiator of this project was the President of the International Maple Leaves Arts Festival, Arnold Rozhinsky. He was personally acquainted with Madame Chiriaeff.  Maria Levchinskaya also played a big part, as she headed the Centre mulltiethnique at that time. The Russian-speaking community, which then united many people of different nationalities, collected funds over several months for the purchase of materials.  Vitaly Gambarov and I created the monument as a donation, and we also restored it in April 2024 with the same intention. I have dreamed of ballet since childhood, and creating a monument to the ballerina was a dream for me. Especially for such a wonderful, multifaceted personality as Ludmilla Chiriaeff.” 

 

  This is in addition to the many other distinctions received by this dance pioneer, including Compagon of the Order of Canada, the highest degree of merit in Canada, Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, the Nijinsky Medal, awarded by the Polish government to artists of international stature in recognition of their contribution to the world of dance, "the Governor General's Performing Arts Award", and in 2022, she was designated a Historical Figure by "Le Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec", among other recognitions.

 

  To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ludmilla Chiriaeff's birth year, the Centre d'interprétation multiethnique collaborated in organizing a lecture by dance historian Marie Beaulieu, followed by a discussion with Madame Chiriaeff's daughter Anastasie (Nastia) Chiriaeff, Father Irénée Rochon and France Desjarlais, one of Madame's first students, who went on to become a ballet teacher and later an actress.

 

  On the Rawdon's historical society's website, Nastia, along with her sister Katia and brother Avdé, describes their life in Rawdon with their mother.

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