This dear, gentle man and I were colleagues, fellow members of Dancemakers when I danced with them (1980-86). In particular I recall dancing a duet with him called Lumen, by Carol Anderson. A friend who had seen this dance with many casts over the years told Carol that Pierre and I were the best version they'd seen of this sparse, moonlit spatial duet. I don't think we ever told anyone how thrilled both he and I were by this quiet comment. I'd never have known he was gone but for Francisco Alvarez letting me know via Facebook. Thanks Cisco.
BERGERON, PIERRE Gérard June 13, 1955 - March 27, 2019
One year ago, Pierre Bergeron, loving partner, professional dancer, artist and chef, died from a heart attack at age 63 while swimming at a stunningly beautiful beach resort on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand.
Born in 1955 to Gérard Bergeron and Gilberte Lechasseur in Jonquière, Québec, Pierre set out on a remarkable journey when he was just 19. His father worked at the local pulp and paper mill, but Pierre wanted to be a dancer - and he was willing to do whatever it took to achieve his dream. So he set out on his own, travelling first to Montréal, where he received a dance scholarship in 1975 at Le Groupe Nouvelle Aire, then moving to Toronto in 1977, where he enrolled at York University, studying visual arts and dance under the renowned choreographer and dancer Grant Strate (OC).
In September 1979, he joined Dancemakers, Toronto's second-oldest contemporary dance company. Dancing under the name Pierre Le Chasseur, he toured across Canada performing in dozens of cities from coast to coast, eventually receiving a grant from the Canada Arts Council to study ballet at New York's Dancerschool.
In 1982, he was forced to stop dancing due to a serious spinal injury that put him in the hospital for months. In the ensuing years, he returned to the visual arts, producing complex, elegant sculptures and paintings. He also became a professional chef, working at Cibo, one of Toronto's most exciting restaurants during the go-go madness of the 1980s.
In October 1994, he met his long-term partner, Duncan Hood. They immediately moved in together in Toronto and were constant companions as they happily worked, played and travelled for the next 24 years.
Throughout his life, Pierre was known for his infectious and surprisingly loud laugh, his culinary skills and a deep knowledge of the arts. He was loving, often blunt, and he had an uncommon purity of heart that is most often seen in the young.
Pierre was beset by an unrelenting and unfair series of health problems starting in his 30s that would have left most despondent and defeated. He dealt with them with grace, refusing to give in, even after many long hospital stays. He continued to cook, travel and go out with his friends, determined to make his a life worth living.
And so, last March, after spending a pleasant afternoon under an azure sky on a powdery white beach in Thailand with his partner, he went for a swim, and never returned. He is still missed terribly by his partner, brothers Sylvain, Jean-François (Sophie) and Louis-Gabriel (Isabelle), step-mother Danielle Roy, nephew Eric, niece Sandra, mother-in-law Joan, father-in-law John, brother-in-law Jason (Beth) and his many other wonderful family members and friends in Québec and Ontario. Bonne nuit, mon amour.