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Meet Célestin, soloist for the Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal

3 Dec 2020

It’s a rare thing to encounter someone who’s not afraid of celebrating Christmas differently—far from parents, as intimate celebrations with yourself or your chosen family. Célestin Boutin is one of the few who welcome the holidays with the same concentrated joy and goodwill, no matter what happens.

Gone are the times when Célestin would be rapt by the idyllic cheer of Christmas movies, hoping for a big Christmas tree that never shed its needles or a family gathering in shimmering red and gold. Today, the 25-year-old Frenchman believes being festive mostly comes from within. And we wholeheartedly agree.

A dancer for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens for the past five years—soloist for the last two—Célestin takes part every year in the holiday season classic: The Nutcracker. Although he’d be delighted to celebrate with his parents, he never forgets how lucky he is to be in such great company here in Montreal. Friends: our chosen families! “This year, more than ever, I’m allowing myself to improvise,” he says. While this artist is still uncertain about his festivities in 2020, it won’t spoil his contagious and necessary need for letting go.

He admits slowly building up this detachment during this tumultuous year, after having traded a proactive routine for a slower-paced one focused on personal development. In the new normal, Célestin found himself again; sometimes in the pages of a book, other times on a mountain trail, after meditating or when creating content on his socials. That’s just what the doctor ordered to maintain a social bond and bring joy to his followers.

Far from his audience and the stage, Célestin continues to talk about dance as one would talk about a cherished lover: with charming reserve, for fear of not doing it justice. But for this young man, passion is expressed through body language. After seventeen years, dance never stopped feeding his ambitions and fuelling new dreams beyond his discipline. “Developing empathy, cultivating bonds, opening up to the truths of others, seeing outside oneself… I understood that’s what it also takes to be a good dancer. It’s about being a good person first.” 

From Cannes to Stockholm, by way of New York, Célestin’s international journey has shaped his character and individuality as a dancer: fiery, intuitive, authentic, and always in tune with the moment. With each performance, his on-stage energy is replenished, all for the audience’s delight. That same substance and overwhelming energy drove him as he danced wrapped in smoke in Diane Dufresne’s newest music video, “Comme un damné,” alongside painter Armand Vaillancourt—an iconic, multi-generational artistic fusion that the dancer won’t soon forget.

Sneak a peek at all our incredible encounters here