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History of Dance on Campus

The University of Calgary is home to one of only six dance degree programs in Canada and has been offering Dance courses since 1966.   The B.A. Dance degree program was originally formed through a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the Faculties of Fine Arts and Kinesiology in 1995.  Previous to its inception, Dance existed on campus as a Dance Education major in the Faculty of Kinesiology (1976-1990), and as a Dance Minor in the Faculty of Fine Arts.   Since 2007, the B.A. Dance degree program has been offered by the Faculty of Fine Arts (now the Faculty of Arts).  Beginning in 2014, Dance is entering into a new collaboration with the Faculty of Kinesiology to offer the 5 year Combined B.A. Dance/ B.Kinesiology program.

For over forty years the Dance program has been a key partner in the development of the Calgary dance community.  The public school system is filled with University of Calgary graduates who either majored in Dance Education or completed a minor in Dance. Professional company founders and members , and a host of independent Contemporary dance artists hold degrees in Dance or are on the Dance faculty.  Over the years, the Dance program has had formal partnerships  with the School of Alberta Ballet, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, W&M Physical Theatre, Springboard Dance and Dancers’ Studio West.  In addition, the Dance program’s Urban Dance Connect initiative has developed partnerships with the Alex Seniors’ Health Centre, Art Gallery of Calgary, YWCA, City of Calgary, Calgary Board of Education, Salvation Army Centre of Hope, Golden Age Club and Parkinson Alberta.

Dance at the University of Calgary has long history of commitment to the development of creative research that focuses on choreography and performance. Over the last 25 years it has commissioned at least 200 original choreographies for its annual productions.  It has initiated a number of exchanges with internationally renowned artists including Vicki Adams Willis, Peggy Baker,Nomadi (Finland), Jojo Oulu Dance (Finland), Risa Steinberg, Stephanie Cumming,  Stephen Thompson, Johannes Randolf (Austria), Lola MacLaughlin, Jose Navas, Mark Boivan, the founders and faculty of EDGE Los Angeles,  and a long list of others. The research strength of the dance faculty members is currently in performance and choreography, but faculty also present work at scholarly conferences and publish.  Faculty work has been presented nationally and internationally and the reputation of the faculty is strong as evidenced by the number of invitations to present work, the reputations of the venues offered, and in the number and amount of successful applications for funding.  Faculty members in Dance have had research support from Canada Council, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Fulbright Foundation, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and Calgary Arts Development.

Fun Facts

Did you know that Professor Anne Flynn and One Yellow Rabbit's Denise Clarke performed and choreographed together from 1981 to 1989?

Did you know that Professor Shirley Murray choreographed the opening ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympics?

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