The Reluctant Writer: Something Else to do When I Should Be Writing

November 19, 2009

In Memory of Serge Lavoie

Filed under: writing — cynthiaboiter @ 14:29
Tags: , ,

I think the world of Kerrie Anne Dunn Sparks, as well as her new father-in-law, Barry Sparks, so I’m so pleased to share with you the following information about Kerrie Anne’s labour of love in honor of the late artist and educator, Serge Lavoie.

Both Annie and Bonnie took classes from Serge when they were students at Columbia Conservatory of Dance, and Bonnie took private lessons with Serge and danced in the Nutcracker as Clara when he and Mariclare were the fairytale couple of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.  I’ll never forget how thrilled she was when, during the curtain call, Serge lifted her into the air like a tiny doll.  “Point your toes!” Mariclare quickly whispered.  We all loved watching the romance between Serge and Mariclare rise and rage and flow — It was like watching a fairytale come true for all of us.  They were a beautiful couple.

Kudos to Kerrie Anne Dunn Sparks for creating such a special event Friday night.  Please read her press release below.  And here’s to Serge!

The Columbia Conservatory of Dance will present the Serge Lavoie Dance Showcase on November 20 at 7:30 pm at Drayton Hall.

The performance will raise money for the American Heart Association and will feature students of the Columbia Conservatory of Dance, as well as dancers from Columbia City Ballet.

The showcase will honor the memory of Serge Lavoie, principle instructor for the school and principle dancer and ballet master for Columbia City Ballet. Lavoie, who died in 2004 of a heart condition, trained several of the dancers who will perform in the showcase.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the students to honor their beloved teacher,” said Mariclare Miranda, co-director of the Columbia Conservatory of Dance and widow of Lavoie. “I have been so touched by the students’ excitement.”

The professional dancers of Columbia City Ballet are also excited about the show, said Regina Willoughby, principle dancer of Columbia City Ballet and colleague of Lavoie.

“Serge was such a profound artist,” said Willoughby. “He shared his talents on the stage and by passing his insight to future generations of dancers. I am thrilled to be part of this showcase honoring his life.”

Tickets for the Serge Lavoie Dance Showcase are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and $8 for students. Cash or check will be accepted. Please make all checks payable to American Heart Association. All of the proceeds from the ticket sales will go directly to the American Heart Association. Tickets may be purchased at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance at 1545 Main St., or by calling 252-0555.

The Columbia Conservatory of Dance strives to provide the highest quality dance training to young dancers, while fostering a love of dance and promoting artistic development in an environment of passion, dedication and excitement.

For more information, contact Kerrie-Anne Sparks at, or call 803-760-2925.



  1. Cindi,
    Thank you so much! What a lovely tribute! I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night!

    Comment by Kerrie-Anne Sparks — November 20, 2009 @ 00:07

  2. Serge was a mentor and role model for so many of the dancers. . .I remember getting the call that fateful Sunday morning, learning of his death. He had finally found his peace. . .in his art, in his love with Mariclare and as a teacher with the Conservatory and CCB. . .I remember dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker (opening at the Koger) the day of his wake. . .they all danced for him, in the midst of their tears.

    I am so touched by this display of his memory. . .of dance in support of the American Heart Association. . .Bravo Serge. . .you will always be our prince.

    Comment by Coralee Harris — November 20, 2009 @ 01:42

  3. Once upon a time I was a custom picture framer for the Columbia City Ballet. I framed posters and pictures in exchange for performance tickets. I did this for over two years before I gave in to my elder son’s request for dance lessons. When Mathias, then eight years old, started class….everything changed….for me, it changed for the worse. I was happy being the company’s framer; I didn’t want to be a “ballet Mom”.

    The next year, Serge Lavoie joined the company. Several of his framed photos got broken in the move; he was sent to me. Instantly, we were friends. Serge loved art….all art. He also liked to laugh a lot….and we laughed a lot. Nothing ever seemed “too serious”. Of course, my son took class with Serge and Serge encouraged us to send Mathias to the National Ballet School in Toronto where he’d been trained (and this almost happened)…..but Serge was always, first and foremost, MY FRIEND. He never considered me a “ballet Mom”; I never really considered him by son’s primary ballet teacher; we rarely talked about ballet. My husband and I witnessed Serge and Mariclare’s beautiful, happy wedding….and maintained our friendship even after Mathias no longer took lessons at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance.

    I cried on an off for at least a week after Serge died. I lost a friend.

    On Wednesday morning, before heading out to Texas to install my solo art show, my husband Steve and I went to Starbucks. I saw the poster for the Serge Lavoie Dance Showcase. How could I miss it? I remember framing the original picture….the beautifully pointed foot….that contemporary pose….the perfection of it. I remember thinking, “There’s no way Mathias will ever look like this.” Well, standing there at Starbucks on Wednesday morning was the first time I’d heard of the performance….I’m “not in the Columbia ballet loop”. I also noticed the date with sadness…I knew I couldn’t attend. I also wondered about the upcoming Youth American Grand Prix regional events scheduled for Drayton Hall….and whether this afforded some of the dancers an opportunity to dance a variation on the stage. If so….BRILLIANT! What a great plan.

    Thinking that this performance might have an added benefit to several young competitors, I decided to write a comment on this blog post….for them.

    Once upon a time, Mathias went to a regional Youth American Grand Prix competition (2004). He was fifteen years old. It was his first time dancing for a juried score….in a real competition. He was nervous. He called me for advice. (This is about the only time I can remember Mathias asking for advice….ever….on any subject!) I didn’t know what to say but asked, “What did Kuckeruk say?” (Antoli Kuckeruk was Mathias’ teacher at the Kirov Academy of Ballet for six years….his PRIMARY TEACHER). Mathias answered, “His advice doesn’t help….He told me to be perfect….that way I’ll have nothing to worry about”. Then, Mathias paused….waiting for my “words of wisdom”….only I didn’t have any. I said, “Can I call you back?” Immediately, I dialed Serge….to learn the “right thing to say”.

    So…to all those dancers who might be nervous about the upcoming competition, here are Serge’s words:

    “Be yourself. Don’t hold back. Judges can always tell.”

    Comment by Susan Lenz — November 20, 2009 @ 19:20

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