University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

Shirley C. Murray Scholarship helps launch new combined dance degree

Named in honour of influential choreographer and dance expert

The Division of Dance in the School of Creative and Performing Arts has announced the creation of the Shirley C. Murray Scholarship. The annual scholarship is designated for a student in the new five-year combined Bachelor of Arts Dance/Bachelor of Kinesiology degree, which commences in fall 2014.

Funds to create the scholarship came from Dance Montage, now in its 44th year, which Murray has been involved with since its inception in 1969. Naming the scholarship for Murray is a way of recognizing and honouring her significant contributions to dance education in Calgary and around the world during her 38-year career in the Faculty of Kinesiology.

“There are few people in Calgary who have championed and nurtured dance in this city like Shirley Murray,” says Dean of Kinesiology Penny Werthner. “Her legacy is numbered in the hundreds of lives she has shaped through teaching and mentoring and her artistic vision, which has shaped dance in this community. This scholarship is a fitting way to celebrate her legacy, and the Faculty of Kinesiology is proud to be a part of it.”

Highlights from Murray’s storied career include choreographing 1,200 children in Olympic Images, the youth dance featured in the Opening Ceremonies of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games. Murray was also invited as a guest instructor to the Oprah Winfrey Academy for girls in South Africa in 2007.

Besides her international reputation as a choreographer, Murray has trained in and taught many forms of dance including: folk, historical, ballroom, ballet, tap, and creative. Her special expertise is in Laban Analyses and its application to creative dance, sport, the choreographic process, and to musical productions. She has given papers, workshops, and lecture/demonstrations in a total of 30 countries.

Murray was awarded the 1997 Distinguished Service Award by the Canadian Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; the University of Calgary Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award in 2000, the inaugural Kinesiology Award of Excellence in 2000, and the Community Achievement Award for Education 2002, an honour from the City of Calgary.

Murray is professor emeritus in dance education in the Faculty of Kinesiology.