Nov. 18, 2019
Dance Montage celebrates 50 years of dance community
Dance Montage was founded in 1968 by Dr. Sylvia Shaw, PhD, as a performance showcase for the athletes she was teaching modern dance to as part of their physical education/kinesiology degree. The first event was a hit and in 1969, Dance Montage auditions were opened to everyone, spearheaded by Shaw and Shirley Murray, professor in dance education.
Sharin Adams participated in the very first showcase and credits it for altering her perception of herself: “I’d always considered myself a jock. But after my experience in Sylvia’s modern dance class I discovered what I could do with my body outside of sports. Dance opened up a whole new genre for my body to discover.”
The original founders have both passed away now, but they laid the groundwork and established a philosophy that still holds: Dancing is good for everyone.
The tradition of Dance Montage has been passed down over the decades to younger dance faculty members, and is currently advised by Dr. Sarah Kenny, PhD, who has a joint appointment across the Faculties of Arts and Kinesiology. Under the artistic direction of Anita Miotti, BFA’96, a longtime Calgary dancer, the 50th anniversary show includes choreographies by Hailey McLeod, BA’14, with rehearsal assistant Krista White, MA’12 (dance for plus-50 years), Ishita Singla, BComm’16 (Rajasthani Indian folk dance), Julie Funk (modern dance), Morgan O’Neill-Sharp, BA’16 (jazz), Tina Guthrie, BA’01 (jazz fusion), Robyn Harris (jump rhythm-inspired jazz), and Tara Wilson (hip hop).
“The pieces in the show beautifully represent the evolution of community dance in Calgary over the past 50 years," says Miotti. “This community of movers has as its guide the wisdom of our elders, performing here this evening. And collectively, we look to our younger dancers to move this story forward.”