Ensemble folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge
In August 1847, in St. Boniface, soon to be part of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Ensemble Folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge (EFRR) was formed. At the time, the troupe was known as “Les Gais Manitobains”. The goal of this newly formed group was to promote the Franco-Manitoban culture through dance, music, and theatre to French Canada and beyond. It was in 1971 that “ Les Gais Manitobains” added jigging to their repertoire. With this addition the popularity of the group took off.
In 1978 “Les Gais Manitobains” became “Les Danseurs de la Rivière-Rouge” to reflect a new emphasis on dance. In 1993, to incorporate its musical traditions to the Franco-Manitoban dance aspects, the group became known as “L’Ensemble Folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge.”
In 2008, l’Ensemble Folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge joined the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain [CCFM] in Winnipeg to obtain a solid administrative backing. Since then, l’Ensemble Folklorique has been part of the dance programming of the CCFM and continues to offer workshops and performances in addition to school programming. L’Ensemble now offers a dance school that includes contemporary dance such as jazz, hip-hop, and ballet in addition to its jig and folk elements.
To expand on the traditional jig components of L’Ensemble, l’EFRR has collaborated with a variety of other groups. For the past three years, l’EFRR has worked extensively with the urban folk collective [ZØGMA] from Montreal, Quebec. The collaboration has allowed the dancers of l’EFRR to expand their choreography and performance potential, a highlight of which was a cooperative show in 2013 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Since its inception, l’Ensemble Folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge has been delighting audiences around the world from Manitoba, Canada to France, Bulgaria, Turkey, Madagascar, and the United States. In addition to its international commitments, L’Ensemble participates in local festivals annually in the Festival du Voyageur and Folklorama, two Winnipeg festivals that have received international renown.
Today L’Ensemble Folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge includes both an adult and youth dance company. In 2013, the youth troupe had the honor of representing Canada at the Festival de Danse Folklorique de Gannat in France. L’Ensemble is committed to conveying the French-Canadian “Joie de Vivre” through music and dance. With L’Ensemble Folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge it is impossible to not tap you toes!
The Youth Dance Troupe
The Youth Troupe of l’Ensemble folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge is made up of young artists who want to promote their passion for French Canadian traditions through music and dance. They recognize the importance of the survival and evolution of their culture in their homeland and abroad and perform shows filled with energy and panache!
The Youth Troupe receive training in all artistic disciplines conceivable: violin, piano, guitar, bass, percussion, vocals, classical ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop, theater and music, and of course, traditional French-Canadian jig. In spite of their young age, they combine years of on-stage experience and a plethora of professional accomplishments. Since its founding in October 2011, this group of youth have participated in countless shows and are among the star performers at Folklorama and Festival du Voyageur.
The Adult Dance Troupe
The adult dance troupe of L’Ensemble Folklorique de la Rivière-Rouge is comprised of artists who are since childhood passionate about French-Canadian music and dance. The troupe presents a mix of music, song and dances from the traditional French-Canadian repertoire. While taking great care to conserve the folkloric and cultural aspect of this culture, the troupe also creates and presents original contemporary choreographies and musical arrangements.