Louise Lapierre spreading her passion for dance at 73

Louise Lapierre: spreading her passion for dance at 73

In Montreal, the journalist Louis-Philippe Messier is mainly on the run, with his office in his backpack, looking for fascinating topics and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all areas of life in this city chronicle.

1973 is the year that Louise Lapierre founded her school, which celebrated its half-century last week. 73 is also the current age of this pioneer of the democratization of dance, who sees the great-granddaughters of her first students dancing in their studios.

“She is certainly the fittest 73-year-old woman in Quebec! says Aimée Simard, director general of the Louise Lapierre school, which has taken over the helm of the establishment.

“Bof! You could say I’m 73 ½ or even 73 3/4… I’ve never been afraid of getting older and I’ve always had a tendency to give myself an extra year,” laughs Ms. Stone.

Aimée Simard, general director of the school, with Louise Lapierre.

Photo Martin Chevalier

Aimée Simard, general director of the school, with Louise Lapierre.


In 1973, few people took this frail dancer or her school project seriously.

“When you opened a grocery store, you went into business, but here, a dance school, Miss, don’t you rather go into emotions? a condescending loan officer at Desjardins once asked him.

“I demand that your father be present to discuss the lease,” said the owner of the building that his school has occupied above the former Woolworth for 47 years.

The Gazette previously published an article about her entitled “Opening a dance school with $88 in the bank”.

“There used to be a Croteau nearby before it became L’Aubainerie and I asked Pierre Croteau if I could use his disused second floor with broken tiles and pigeon nests everywhere. »

exchange and scrapping

“If you scrape that off, you can spend the summer,” he told me. And since I didn’t have any money, I swapped: I told my students you could pick up the room with me for an hour, I owed you an hour’s lesson. »

She was then able to leave the folk dance studio that she had rented for her approximately 250 students.

At a time when the dominant genres in Quebec are ballet on the one hand and folk dance and tap on the other, no one foresees the immense potential popularity of more contemporary styles.

With no money, Louise Lapierre criss-crossed the city center to distribute leaflets.

Louise Lapierre in her twenties, around 1976.

Photo provided by Louise Lapierre

Louise Lapierre in her twenties, around 1976.

Surprise: in autumn 1976 almost 2,000 students enrolled.

“It was completely unexpected and I almost didn’t fulfill the request! »

René and Nathalie Simard

Four years later, Louise Lapierre became René and Nathalie Simard’s permanent choreographer. Another flood of registrations.

And to deal with the pandemic, the school offered its students to leave their registration fees as a deposit in the form of credits for later classes. 70 percent of the customers accepted, so the safes weren’t cleared.

To commemorate the founding of her school on February 13, 1973, Ms. Lapierre gave an exceptional course, she is now retired and only dances for pleasure.

“The school still bears my name, but a new era is beginning with Aimée succeeding me,” says the pioneer, who honestly deserves a break.

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