GILLES ROY (2000 Inductee)

Gilles Roy was born in Cumberland, Ontario on October 14, 1946. His French Canadian family danced to the popular fiddle players of the day and, at a very early age, he was emulating the style of his father and uncle.

At age 5, with no formal training, Gilles was entered into a competition at the Ottawa Exhibition and came away with second place. He was soon in great demand for Christmas parties, Valley fairs and festivals, and local social events. Following his win at the Ex, he began taking lessons from Donnie Gilchrist and, after two years of instruction, they became touring partners. At the age of 15, Gilles won his first international competitive championship in Pembroke, Ontario, an accomplishment he repeated in 1962 and 1963. He credits his technique to elements borrowed from dancers George McKenny, Fred St. Cyr and Gilchrist, which he blended into his own unique style.

The accomplishments and appearances of this immensely talented gentleman would fill volumes. Highlights include ten visits to the Don Messer TV show, three appearances on Heehaw, a performance on Good Morning America and a Regional Contact profile. He has been a featured entertainer at festivals in Birmingham, Alabama, the Mariposa Folk Festival, Wolf Track Virginia, the Manitoba Fiddling Championship and the World Accordion Championships in Montmagny, Quebec. An "Ambassador of Dance", Gilles toured 27 countries over three months in Centennial year, topped off with a week of appearances at Expo ’67, and danced a five-week tour of the United States during their Bicentennial celebrations. He has also been featured on a show at the National Arts Centre with Wilf Carter, toured with Tommy Hunter, Gordie Tapp and John Allen Cameron, and danced for Queen Elizabeth on Parliament Hill.

Gilles was the lead instructor for the Leahy family and, At this point in his 50-year career, is a respected judge at major international competitions and teaches in a number of Ottawa Valley communities, passing on his dance skills to a new generation.


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