A Conversation with Dance Victoria GM Bernard Sauvé

By Susan Hollis • Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet

Bernard Sauvé has lived and breathed dance from a young age. Now, as Dance Victoria’s general manager, he’s helping to bring the world’s best dance to the city.

Folding his tall frame into a window seat at Veneto in the Hotel Rialto, Bernard Sauvé is a study in stage-worthy proportion. Long legs, wide-set eyes, big smile — Sauvé has all the natural assets of a professional dancer, which he was, as well as part-owner of Eponymous Inc., a company he co-founded to assist Canadian artists and dance companies.

Then there was his role as touring manager and Canadian agent for companies like Kidd Pivot, Wen Wei Dance and The Holy Body Tattoo. So by the time he became general manager of Dance Victoria in 2014, Sauvé had a perfect pirouette of dance experience. And while some dancers may covet the spotlight long after leaving the stage, Sauvé loves shining a light on others by drawing a diverse range of major performance companies to the capital.

“When I was a dancer,” he says, “the artistry of emotionally moving the public, that’s what really got me. Now, the pleasure I get out of Dance Victoria is when I sit in the audience and can feel the appreciation from the audience’s point of view — that the audience loved the show we brought in gives me great rewards.”

What’s your idea of perfect happiness? 

Being in nature — a stress-free environment — and big blue skies.

Who are your heroes in real life?

All the people who took personal risks to instigate changes to make the world a better place. I am placing my hopes in the younger generation now. They will fix what is wrong in the world.

Which historical figure do you identify with?

All the people who fought for gay rights. They made my life what it is now, where I can be myself.

Whose style do you most admire?

Barack Obama — such grace and composure in front of a mountain of adversity. He continues to be an inspiration.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

A dog — for unconditional love.

What’s your greatest fear? 

Ending up as a homeless person.

What do you admire most in your friends? 

Humility and ability to laugh at oneself.

What trait you most deplore in others? 

Liars — there are so many people in positions of power and lying. Much needs to change.

Which living person do you most admire? 

My husband Michael [Scott Curnes]. He works for the Nature Conservancy of Canada saving and protecting wild places in British Columbia.

What’s your greatest extravagance? 

OMG! Our leather sectional couch from Luxe Home Interiors — I love it.

On what occasion do you lie? 

I don’t lie; however, sometimes I go to Montreal and don’t tell anyone. Usually it’s for work and I don’t have time to see friends.

What’s your most treasured possession? 

A Tiko Kerr painting that has been with me since the early 1990s. It’s about 6 feet by 5 feet — and I love it. Tiko is a Canadian artist living in Vancouver, and is known for his painting and his HIV/AIDS advocacy.

Which book would you be if you could?

A novel by Yann Martel — Life of Pi.

What piece of technology do you wish was never invented? 

ARGH — texting!!!!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change a thing; however, a little more patience always helps.