Founded at St. Paul in 1973, the folk dance troupe, Les Blés
d’Or was the first of its kind in Alberta, teaching traditional
French-Canadian styles of dancing to both children and adults.
Thanks to their enthusiasm for dance, the group has presented
high calibre shows, and offered lessons and workshops which have
trained many dancers. The group has been a kind of a hothouse
for traditional dance and many of the troupes which have been
subsequently established in Alberta have been inspired by them.
In addition to offering dance lessons and presenting shows in
their region, the troupe has travelled abroad many times. Their
shows often feature live music, with musicians from their home
region playing fiddle, guitar, or accordion.
A second dance troupe, Les Tourbillons, was established in
1979, by a group of older dancers. Their shows have specialized
in popular dances which were previously known in Western Canada,
and were probably brought to the Prairies by European emigrants.
The Blés d’Or also began cultural research during the 1970s,
and has collected life histories of Franco-Albertans. This work
has become known as the Héritage Franco-Albertain project. The
collection of tapes, photos, and documents is housed at the
Faculté Saint-Jean and available for consultation.