Jean-Marc Généreux has earned a reputation on So You Think You Can Dance Canada as a man who speaks from his heart. And whether the dance judge is talking to contestants on TV about their pirouettes, or speaking off-camera about his car, Genereux’s infectious enthusiasm never wavers.
“I’ve always had one luxury car and one regular car,” explains the devoted father-of-two from his home in Boucherville, Que.
A champion ballroom dancer and choreographer, who began dancing with his wife of 22 years, France Mousseau, when he was just 10 years old, Généreux recently put his luxury dreams on the backburner in order to provide his family with a what they needed most.
A few weeks ago, he traded in his Mercedes ML 320 for what he calls their Francesca-mobile, a 2009 Dodge Caravan.
The reason for the change is that Généreux’s 10-year-old daughter, Francesca, suffers from Rett Syndrome, a neuro-developmental disorder that has left her severely handicapped.
He and Mousseau, who also have a 13-year-old son, Jean-Francis, realized this year that they needed a bigger vehicle specially equipped for their growing daughter and her wheelchair.
“It’s fantastic,” says the vivacious judge, who’s also starred in Dance with Me and Shall We Dance, of their new charcoal-coloured car.
“We basically had the whole interior reconstructed. They lowered the floor and took out seats in the middle to fit her wheelchair. We can wheel Francesca in in her wheelchair and I can push her back to the position of sleeping.”
Not only does it make everyday life easier and more comfortable for everyone, but the new Caravan will also allow the family to take more trips together again.
Although they flew as a family when the kids were very young, when Francescawas about six, her seizures became more severe, thus requiring Généreux and Mousseau to bring an oxygen tank on flights along with other necessary equipment, making the process of air travel exhausting for everyone.
“It’s so much more comfortable for my daughter to travel in a vehicle,” he explains. Généreux also loves the vehicle’s flex fuel system and stereo controls on the steering wheel. With a laugh, he says, “They really pimped my ride!”
– Heather Buchan is a Toronto-based journalist whohas worked for several magazines,
includingHello! Canada, where she cut her teeth in the world of celebrities.