Dance in Canada Magazine Number 2, Spring 1974

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Dance in Canada Magazine Number 2, Spring 1974

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Contains the following articles:
- Editorial by Susan Cohen
- Funding Dance in Quebec: A Personal View by René Picard
- After the Footlights: The Retiring Dancer in Canada by John Chapman
- Resettlement in England by Susan Cohen
- A Proposal for Ontario High Schools by Marjorie Sorrell
- Zelda Heller Talks to Dance Canada Magazine by Susan Cohen
- Noticeboard
- Letters from the Field
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Dance Canada Danse spring 1~ 14 priniemps no.2 Dance Canada Magazine Spring 1974 Number 2 $1.00 Table of Contents Editorial 2 Funding Dance in Quebec: A Personal View 3 Rene Picard After the Footlights: The Retiring Dancer in Canada John Chapman 5 Resettlement in England Susan Cohen 7 A Proposal for Ontario High Schools 10 Marjorie Sorrell Zelda Heller Talks to Dance Canada Magazine Susan Cohen 11 Not iceboard 14 Letters from the Field 18 Cred its Editor: Designer: Translators: Special thanks to: Thanks also to: Susan Cohen Da nce Canada Magazine Lawrence Finn Phyllis Cohen Lilya Prim-Chorney Mary-Elizabeth Manley Marie-El le Carrothers Catherine Lee Cliff Collier Michelle Schillaci Leslie Bowland Gail-Iris Caley 2 Editorial In this issue, Dance Canada begins the serious business of looking at idea£ proposals and events in Canadian dance. With the federal government's new incomes and finance policy for the arts stalled, the publication briefly examines the existing financial picture for dancers. John Chapmaa York University student of dance and a member of the publications committee, has written an article on the possible careers open to dancers after retirement from the three major ballet companies. Looking to othe r models for protection schemes for dancers, our editor talks to Margaret Wilson, resettlement officer in England. The whole question of financia l support comes up in Rene Picard's view of financing modern dance in Quebec. M. Picard is business consultant to the well known Montreal da :"= company, Le Groupe de la Place Roya le. In an interview with Dance Canada Magazine, Zelda Heller, Director of Performing Arts in the Offi ce of the Secretary of State, talks about the condition of the performing ar= in Canada and some areas of concern she feels Dance Canada should explore. Marjorie Sorrell, a Toronto ba llet teacher and co-ordinator of committee for the Ontario Ballet Credit, gives an outline of the proposa for a credit in the public secondary school system in Ontario. By focussing on some of the issues our new national organization will be taking up in the future, we hope to provoke thought and comment from you, the constituents of Dance Canada. We look forward to heari :: from you in person at the conference, through our Letters from the Field section and through articles. This issue also sees the initiation of a Noticeboard to keep our readers in touch with news across the country . Remember, Dance Canada represents you and it can only do so accura te and honestly if you make your views known. 3 Funding Dance in Quebec: A Personal View Rene Picard In the course of my work as business consultant for a professional dance company in Quebec, the question of financing artistic investigation is one that has become familiar to me. Among other things, it involves ensuring, with the help of the co-artistic director, the administrator and the administrative council, the coverage of operating and developing expenses necessary for a group of active artists. Administration, financing, receipts, expenses, grants, donations, publicity, profits, losses, balancing and planning: these 11 words have become very meaningful for me. In their proper proportion, they assure the survival and development of the Groupe-de la Place Royale. It was blindly idealistic on my part, a few years ago when I was only a simple spectator of the Groupe's work, to believe that talent asserted itself by itself. All things considered, on the business level you sell modern dance like anything else in the world of competition. You develop a unique image, you attract a core of customers and you expand on it. There is dance and there is dance .... At present, modern dance in Quebec is still a difficult art form to finance. However, for a few years now, some real progress has been made. On the one hand, the Canada Council has developed a more sophisticated policy concerning dance; on the other, the Minister of Cultural Affairs in Quebec is finally getting his policy underway and the Arts Council of the Metropolitan Region of Montreal is becoming more and more interested in modern dance. The art of the dance, here and now, arouses interest. If subsidies at the three levels of government as we know them in Quebec are excluded, then, to assure the financing of a modern dance company, there remains only the proceeds from its performances, from contracts signed with certain individuals, agencies and governments and from its school of dance. The last form of assistance is patronage - regulated grants from industry and spontaneous support from individuals. It is this last point, above all, that I am interested in developing here. Because the aid given by the different levels of government depends upon a complex of obligations, policies and philosophies, it would require too much space to discuss in this article. The first source of patronage which occurs to me comes from the dancers themselves. I am in a particularly good position to corroborate the statement of Monsieur Andre Fortier, director of the Canada Council, who stated at the tabling of the Council's annual report that the first people to finance the arts in Canada are the artists themselves. By accepting very difficult conditions and very low salaries, they permit research and evolution. In 1973 the Groupe de la Place Royale undertook a fund-raising campaign among industries whose headquarters are in Montreal. It sent a file, composed of a history of the company, reviews that it had received over the last few years and a description of the goals it had pursued, to 114 directors of public relations. A covering letter invited those persons responsible at the heart of the transport, oil, high finance, food, publicity, insurance and media sectors to contribute financially to our support. Of the 43 replies received, 37 expressed regrets. Almost all the refusals were explained at length. Since the majority of their funds had already been committed to the areas of health and education, these businesses could only verbally encourage the artistic work of the Groupe de la Place Royale. One positive point does emerge from all these responses, however. People 4 were becoming well acquainted with the Groupe and were recognizing its great value. To the sum total of $1500 granted by industry to the Grou pe de la Place Royale from this campaign must be added an amount of individual gifts received later. In analysis then, the results of this campa i_appear exciting. It is possible that this attitude on the part of the busine world concerning aid for the arts will grow and express itself through larger and larger donations. Certain la rge companies have converted a part of their publicity budget into annual grants for the interpretive arts. This is a most intelligent idea, but modern dance in Quebec hasn't had much success with these companies who seem unwi lling to risk funds on a more demanding art form, like modern dance. One may believe that here too, in the near future, the art of modern dance in Quebec will become eligible for these subsidies, having provided the proofs of excellence that it has already demonstrated over a number of years and the large public that it has attracted. Finally, another possibility of financing modern dance in Quebec becom" clear: the private foundations. On occasion, the Groupe de la Place Roya:' has received valuable aid from certain of them. An analysis of Quebec and Ontario foundations, based upon a recent Canadian Directory to Foundations, is very interesting in this regard. In counting the number of existing foundations, we can enumerate 47 for the whole of Quebec an d 162 for the whole of Ontario. Further, we see that a certain number w il finance only their own projects and others, as stated in their bylaws, finance many types of activities. The vagueness of the published statistics unfortunately doesn't permit refining an analysis to the level of the lump sum of money involved. But , by verifying the objectives and areas of interest that all foundations have continued to specify since their creation, it is possible to see with sufficient clarity the concerns towards which the majority of available funds are di rected. In the area of the foundations' activities and interest , we find that in Quebec not one mentions dance or ballet and only four are interested in the interpretive arts. In Ontario, out of 162 foundations not one mentions dance and only one specifies ballet; on the other hand, 14 are concerned with the interpretive arts. We can only conclude tha t art finds a very small place in the preoccupations of the wealthiest Canadians, especially if we compare the Canadian situation with that in the United States where, out of 2600 existing foundations, many strong encourage the arts. More and more Canadians are beginning to enjoy t he dance and become interested in it, but too few still grant it important financia l support. The problem of patronage is complex, implying at the same time, nati o = consciousness, national pride, a sensitivity in the very process of the creat ion of art, a profound awareness of responsibilities, a confidence in contemporary national artists and a tradition. There is one family, unquestionably, that worked to this purpose - the Medicis of Florence From 1434 to 1469, Cosimo and Pietro de Medici distributed the equivalent of more than three million pounds sterling (and that was at the 1910 value! ) of their own money to help the arts and sciences. T h i sum does not even take into account similar spending by Lorenzo the Magnificent who succeeded them . It is undeniable that if Florence sti l fascinates us as much as it does today, it is due to these three men. Eve- 5 if Quebec hasn't yet given birth to its Lucia Chase or Rebekah Harkness, it is still worth remembering that certain women, like Jeanne Renaud, have financed modern dance in Quebec by working hard, investing appreciable amounts of personal funds and not caring about salary. Even if the governments are generous in aiding modern dance in Quebec, we must aim at a greater balance in a company's budget by finding a better distribution among receipts, government subsidies at the three levels and industrial and private patronage. If the foundation doesn't come to us, we must go to it. After the Footlights: The Retiring Dancer in Canada John Chapman Young Canadians moving into the world of professional dance may anticipate a future of personal fulfillment, but the span of that future is a short one. The body all too quickly begins to lose the powers it needs to keep up the strenuous routine of the dancing profession. At any moment, an injury can inhibit or even end a career. And when that happens, what does a dancer have to look forward to? What is left of a childhood spent in training and of the years devoted to performance that will be of use to the retiring dancer? There is very little in the way of accumulated material resources to aid the dancer in preparing for a new role in life . The specific ski lls gained while dancing may not even be enough to qualify for work in a different area of dance such as teaching . Too often the retiring dancer is ill prepared to enter a new career in life, but financial necessity forces him to do so. There are no dancer pension schemes in Canada, nor any official dancer retraining programs. Still the situation is not hopeless, at least not for the dancer who is a member of one of the three major ballet companies - the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens or the National Ballet of Canada. The companies have no official policies (which means that no money is allocated by the government for the purpose), but they are often helpfu l in r e-establishing a retired performer . The easiest and most direct assistance a company can give is to re-hire the individual in a new capacity. This way of dealing with the situation is inadequate of course, because the dancers who are retiring always outnumber the available positions within a company . Of company posts that dancers might fill, principal dancers or soloists, due to the special talents they have refined while dancing, are particularly valuable as coaches or as performers of character roles. Dancers are also absorbed into a company's administrative apparatus. For example, Richard Rutherford, former principal with the Royal Winnipeg is now the company's production co-ordinator. This type of retraining is expensive but, in the long run, administrators who are sensitive to the needs of a dance company because they once participated in its creative life are genuine assets. 6 The traditional field that most dancers enter after retirement is teaching. Ballet companies are in a good position to start dancers in the teaching profession because they usually have close ties to a school. Such a school can be a useful training-ground for a dancer who wants to teach in Canada Unfortunately, full -time teaching positions in these schools (with one exception) are as limited as jobs within the companies. In our country, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens is in an ideal position to help dancers enter the teaching profession. This company operates a system of schools tha t extends over much of the province of Quebec. Upon retiring, its dancers have the opportunity of not just teaching in one of these schools but, frequently, actually, of teaching in their own home towns. In the past, dance companies have given significant direction not only to c. dancer's life, but to the art of dance itself by creating opportunities for individuals to choreograph. Only a few dancers have the abilities to make choreography a full-time career. While it is vital that their talents should be given expression, it can be very expensive to allow a number of unproven dancers to choreograph. Time is lost that could be spent learning established repertoire; rehearsal and performance space must be supplied; and the financial returns are meagre. Despite this, companies have been willing to give their dancers the chance to choreograph. Such risks are important to ensure the expression of creative talents that wi ll enrich a dancer's personality. In workshops recently given by the Nation., Ballet, active and retired dancers alike took advantage of the opportun it) to create pieces. Although many dancers suffer injuries during their careers, the resulting layoff is usually short. Dancers enrolled in Actors' Equity or L'Union des Artistes du Quebec have helpful insurance programs in such cases. Equ it) pays 70% of a dancer's salary or $200 (whichever is least) for a period o up to two years; L'Union des Artistes has a similar scheme. Sometimes ar attempt is made to make up the difference between a dancer's active salary and what he receives through the insurance, but this can only be maintained for a short time. Equity seems to be especially eager to talk to any dancer with a prob le and will do its best to assist the retiring dancer. But there is very little either union can do right now. Their econom ic situation is as delicate as that of the companies. Po licies and programs need money to make the lT' effective, and that money just does not exist in the arts today. Yet, it m exist in the arts before it can filter down to the arts unions. A few dancers have applied for and received grants from the Canada Council to aid them in retraining. At least one injured dancer has rece ive:: money from the Council to help him in the treatment of an injury and through the recovery period. The Canada Council cou ld be utilized mor:: frequently by retiring dancers who need financial aid to get them starte in a new phase of an artistic career. A valuable resource too few dancers have taken advantage of is the Canada Manpower retraining plan. The most important thing to keep in mind when thinking about retirin dancers is that they are not really retiring at all. They are forced to ce a-::: dancing but are at an age where retirement, as we usually understand t _ word, is ridiculous. The dancer who can no longer dance professiona l! still has a great deal to contribute. Unfortunately, as things stand toda the areas in which he can make the contribution are very few. The dance companies have their hands tied by lack of money; under the 7 circumstances, they do a good job. However, their policies are unwritten ones and some dancers have faced very uncertain futures upon retiring from a company. In fact most retiring corps members face but one opportunity, teaching. Not all dancers want to teach, and why should they? Do all painters or do all doctors? No, it takes a very special type of person, with a very special ability. If the possibilities are limited for the dancer who has been a member of a large company for most of his career, then they are practically non-existent for the dancer who has spent his time in a small company or has moved from troupe to troupe. A few of these companies have no attached schools so they can do little to aid the retiring dancer. And performers in non-union companies, those which cannot afford to pay union wages, have little protection should they be injured. The overall picture is bleak. In an old Life magazine (March 1944), I recently came across an article on bal let in the United States which described the situation of the dancer quite well. "Dedication to the art is all -important in ballet because a dancer gets comparatively little pay for very hard work. A ballet dancer 's professional life starts in the teens and usually ends while the dancer is still young." Little has changed in the intervening 30 years. The product has improved greatly on this continent, but the remuneration and security have not kept pace. Hopefully in coming years, dancers will give more consideration to a future beyond their performing careers and companies will be able to give more care to the people who represent them so well. Resettlement in England Susan Cohen The plight of dancers is unique among artists. Unlike musicians or actors, dancers face the end of their performing careers very early. Yet they must face , as well, all the problems common to the other performing arts. Their brief and precarious careers, highly mobile and generally seasonal, have not been protected by adequate financial safeguards and their specialized training often leaves them unprepared to enter new professions when they retire or are forced to withdraw. With this in mind, British Actors' Equity and the Arts Council of Great Britain instituted a pension scheme for dancers just over a year ago. It is the first such comprehensive scheme in the performing arts in England. After contributing five per cent of their weekly salaries (the companies pay another amount equal to six and one half per cent of their salary) to the pension scheme, dancers are entitled to draw benefits at a normal retirement age of 60 for women and 65 for men. All the dancers of the seven major companies (The Royal Ballet, London Festival Ballet, Northern Dance Theatre, Bal let Rambert, Scottish Theatre Ba l let, the Sadlers' Wells Opera Movement Group and the London Contemporary Dance Theatre) participate in the plan through their membership in Actors' Equity which administers it. 8 But few dancers stay with a company to that age. Few even sta , company into their fifties - there are no Margot Fonteyns in the :...,......1111..111• ballet. The availability of even character roles for aging dancers is-::;;::•·• -• limited. In fact, according to Margaret Wilson, resettlement office· Arts Counci I, the career of a dancer is even shorter than had ge ne·a accepted. In the discussions which culminated in the establish me r: pension plan, it was assumed that dancers would retire at 35 afte r:: 15 years of performance and the pension was designed accordin g::: assumption. In practice, however, the length of a dancer's career proven to be closer to eight years. Retirement then, at 26 ... pension at 60. What happens in betwee- To help fill the gap, a resettlement fund was established at the sa r: as the pension scheme. It is a financial source which dancers can d•a to help themselves settle into new careers. In addition to giving t h • to the pension scheme, the companies pay another sum equal to f i .: cent of the dancer's weekly salary into the resettlement fund. Un i" = pension fund whose full benefits are available only at retiremen t, ....,= resettlement money can be withdrawn at any time. Since not al l da- ~ will utilize this fund, the money contributed on their behalf wil l be allowed to accumulate. This scheme is available not just to dancers who retire from active performance because of age, but also to those who are forced by i _ illness or pregnancy to withdraw from the stage. This is an excep t i insight into the previously ignored problems of women. Those who a for retraining funds after having and raising children will find no ne -the archaic their-husbands-will-take-care-of-them attitude. The trus· ~ the fund recognize that married women re-entering the career strea r face the same problems as anyone else and are therefore entitled to:same benefits. The fund is administered by a committee of 10 trustees - two fro Equ ity, two from the Arts Council, the rest representing the dance companies enrolled in the plan - but it is the resettlement officer, Margaret Wilson, who has the daily contact with and the job of loo k·after the dancers. After talking with dancers who face retirement, Ms. Wilson reports : trustees in detail, setting out the plan of the course they propose to ta ke, its costs, potential success, etc. The actual decision on the am o-of money the dancer will receive is the committee's. The decision is discretionary one; that is, it is based not just on the salary level the daattained when performing, but also on the individual needs and mer i:s _ the proposal. Her background makes Margaret Wilson especially sensitive to the ne· __ of the performer. A former dancer who married and raised a fami ly, , : Wilson, on her own, through sheer determination and persistence, re~ to school for her secondary examinations and two college degrees. the position of resettlement officer was created a year ago, she eager applied for it, hoping to smooth the way for other dancers who ha d-::: refashion their lives and careers as she did. ·~= 9 While the function of the resettlement officer was originally seen as helping dancers to utilize the fund, Ms. Wilson has found that more and more of her work involves acquainting dancers with career possibilities and making them understand the need to plan their lives after the stage. In essence, she is becoming a guidance officer. "We hope that they will know what they want to do before they come to me. We don't want crisis work, but long-range planning," Ms. Wilson explained. To that end, she sends out questionnaires, ask ing dancers to note their interests or the careers they might wish to follow. She keeps a scrapbook of advertisements for positions they could fill and another following the progression of the dancers' performing careers, so she can tell when she will be needed. In addition to the questionnaires, Ms. Wilson sends out monthly bulletins listing courses and careers open to the 250 dancers currently participating in the scheme. These are posted by the companies and dancers can take advantage of the information by applying directly or by asking Ms. Wilson's advice. A great deal of her time is now spent visiting companies to ta lk to dancers about their future and touring the country to contact various agencies and schools which might involve dancers in their programs by waivin g entrance requirements. The narrowness of educational background is one of the most serious prob lems performers confront in a search for meaningful careers after on-stage life ends - new professions demand specialized training or levels of education which the dancer hasn't had the time to acquire. In attempting to deal with this situation, Ms. Wilson encourages dancers to attend government-sponsored retraining courses and to attend higher educationa l institutions. The idea of higher education for the dancer has been scoffed at, but Ms. Wilson, having persona l ly experienced its benefits, points out that a dancer leaves a university with wider horizons, increased status and a greater chance at well paid jobs. With its wide range of cultura l activities, the university atmosphere retains a little of the dancer's old performing world and provides a good bridge to his future one. The university experience lessens the jarring impact of the transition from the old to t he new. Such bridges are essential for the retiring dancer and the English resettlement plan is building those bridges. 10 A Proposal for Ontario High Schools Marjorie Sorrell Dance has acquired a new respectability and status in higher educaf with the recent establishment in Ontario of diploma and degree co1..1= at Ryerson Institute, and Waterloo and York Universities. But, un li-<= other fields of music and visual arts, dance is still not recognized at -- _ high school level as an individual course credit for the general stude'"': Only National Ballet School pupils at present can receive high sch oo credit for ballet examinations. However, recent revision of the On ta secondary school system of required credits to one that promotes innovative courses ( 110 hours of study inside or outside a classroo rT' provided a perfect opportunity to set up a dance credit for any stu de-with ballet training. With that in mind, some interested pa rents, teachers and myself be gaprivate discussions on the possibility of a Grade 13 dance credit. Our first general meeting, held at York University in June 1973 under t he chairmanship of Grant Strate, head of York's Department of Dance , drew 70 ballet teachers from across the province and a representative the Ontario Ministry of Education. The teachers directed our ongo in~ committee, augmented by interested newcomers from this meeting,:prepare examinations in the theory and history of ballet as well as a ~ comprehensive practical examination at the elementary level that woL _ standardize three methods of training - Royal Academy of Dance , Cecchetti and Russian. So far our plans, now proceeding under the auspices of the Canadian DaTeachers Association, include the preparation of a manual to provide uniform guidelines for those preparing for the credit. It will indicat e precisely the examination procedures, fees, lists of books required for study, a dance history chart with suggested topics for student project information about the founding and history of the various societies (RAD, etc.), a glossary of dance terms and a bibliography. As we see it, the credit would be comprised of four sections: practica theoretical and historical examinations, and a final project. To meet - - requirements of the practical segment, the students, probably about ,would have studied ballet from six to ten years. During the year in they apply fo r course credit in the secondary school system, they wo~ take two to four classes (about three to ten hours) a week. During t fi: classes the students would also be receiving preparation for the wri ttetheory and terminology paper from their own ballet teacher. A sam p f question from this theoretical section would require the descriptio n c~ the postures and centres of muscular control of the body. In their own time, students would research the materials listed by the manual in order to write the history examination. Questions would c such topics as the origin of ballet, the legacies of the Romantic pe rio and the contributions of major choreographers and teachers. To co m:: the credit, students would prepare and mail in a 1000-word essay, w·:or without graphic aids, on a subject chosen from the dance histo ry c-· in the manual. For this project students could consider the develop rr1:of Russian ballet under Petipa, Ivanov and Fokine or, perhaps, Brit is ballet under Ashton and Tudor. 11 Depending on the ability and interest of the individual teenager, these examinations could be taken in si x months or over the course of two years, with provision for one re-examination if the student failed. The results would be held on file at a central office and, when all areas have been satisfactorily completed, a certificate would be added to the pupil's secondary school record. It is our intention to make examiners available to visit towns in Ontario when a full day's practical examining can be arranged, or examinations can be held at one central location. The examiners, chosen by a responsible board of governors, would mark the students in groups of up to four as they take a class, incorporating the required syllabus of steps, under their own teacher. The history and theory papers would be written under supervision at the individual's own secondary school and then mailed to our headquarters for marking. These are the essential details of the proposed Ontario ballet credit. The last hurdle remaining is to obta in the endorsement of the community through approaches to the press and by presentation of our proposa l to the school boards. We are approaching this step with confidence that our plan will be accepted within the next year. Happily, the preparation of this brief has aroused the common interest of the ballet teachers of Ontario. Through discussions, we have gained knowledge and appreciation of the various methods of training. We hope that this appreciation will be transferred to the students who wi ll in turn embrace the whole world of dance with a better understanding of the history and function of classical ballet and with recognition of many years of study. Zelda Heller Talks to Dance Canada Magazine Susan Cohen Picture a man driving a car in heavy traffic. Above him is a radio announcer in a helicopter checking traffic routes for possible collis ions. The radio announcer can help the flow of traffic, but if there is an accident, he's not involved. According to Zelda Heller, Director of Performing Arts in the Office of the Secretary of State, the radio announcer's position is somewhat analogous to her own. "Our job is not to compete with the Canada Council, but to complement it. We help them get money and develop programs by looking at the policies of the federal government from the outside. The fact that we're not involved in direct financing means we have a bird's eye view of what is going on in Canadian cu lture." 12 A former Montreal theatre and dance critic, Ms. Heller has been mainly occupied during her 18 months in office with the formation of a new long-range financial and incomes policy for the perform ing arts as a who le Only one section of that policy has come into being; that is the section concerned with capital funding, funds given to answer the housing needs of responsible arts bodies. While Ms. Heller is still intrigued with her job ("You're capable of supp ly in a lot of input when you are close to the source of political action"), she feels that in dance, more than in any other art, the greate r contribution can be made by the critic. "There's an indecisiveness in dance. The situation is similar to that in the Robert Frost poem about the crossroads. Everybody is tramping around trying to decide where to go. Governmen can 't interfere or say anything, but a critic can. In the arts, money is indispensable . However, the motor force is the artistic one. If someth ing is inordinately good, it reaches such a wide public that it has to be financed. It is artistic excellence that determines the fate of a compa ny. " That's why Ms. Heller feels that what the Canadian dance scene is missi n_ most is a genuine and influential critic. "Take the three big ballet companies and the three o r so medium-sized modern ones. They have serious financial problems, but they won't collapse. It is in the area of their artistic problems that the greatest effort should be concentrated. Granted, many critics talk nonsense, but the dance scene needs a critic with the moral authority that Nathan Cohen had in theatre . When he hollered, people listened. I've participated in many discussions and usually, after about 15 minutes, the talk turns to criticism . That is the need everybody feels . "The arts in Canada are very green. Our oldest companies have on ly bee around for 25 years. Up until recently, the whole problem was one of achieving maturity - out of the church basement, so to speak, and up to national and international status. That's easy. Not physically or financ ially, certainly, but the problems are easy to assess. But now t he major companies are on the threshhold of maturity. They aren't sure o themselves . That's why artistic problems must be the major concern . 1~ they don't know where they are going, how can they make the effo rt L get there? "I think that Dance Canada - of course, it depends on how the me m : · see it - could enter into the problems of artistic direction. They sho L.::: not dictate directives but should try to assess where dance is going . Discussions by professionals are important in the establishment of sta nca· _ This is the constant thrust within the theatre community and one wt,· doesn't happen in dance, possibly because the companies themsel ves, except for a few, are unsure of the direction in which they are deve loo - :: "There is also the problem in Canadian dance that audiences don 't k~ what they can demand of dance performance. Audiences at a pla y k v what actors are, what speech and communication are. They know they have the right to ask for, but generally in dance, they don' t. Anc they get less, they don't know it either. As audiences become ed uca e the standards will rise too ." 13 It is in the area of education, both of dancer and audience, that Ms . Heller feels Dance Canada shou ld be planning its major assaults. "The area of dance education has to be developed. It is particularly a financ ial problem . Education is hideously underfinanced. In strict theory, a great ballet company must have a school. But in Canada, we haven't been able to afford three schools. Yet it is an uncomfortable situation that Canadian dancers must train in a single school, in a single place, under a sing le influence . "Dance Canada can help here by bri nging pressure to bear on provincial governments fo r education in schools and tours by companies. They must get the provinces to take advantage of touring programs. "It is still much too soon to th ink of establishing a disti nctive Canadian style, although even in pure ballet, a national style eventually becomes definable. The Danish, New York City and Royal Bal lets all have their own. When we do Swan Lake, it can be better or worse, but not distinctive. Canadian style has nothing to do with Canadian themes or even Canadia n choreographers. It is a question of the dance's re lationship to the country . It can be encouraged, but not directly, by a climate where artistic accomplishment has importance and is honoured . "That's the most opti mistic thing about the state of Canad ian cultu re today. People are going more and more to see the performing arts . Tod ay , people are excited about the arts." 14 Noticeboard In March, just six months after receiving the Order of Canada, a long overdue recognition of his contribution to Canadian dance, Boris Valko~ died in Toronto. Born in Russia in 1902, trained at the Moscow State Ballet School, Volkoff toured the Far East and eventually arrived in the United States where he joined Adolph Balm in Chicago. He came to Toronto in 1930 to begin his Canadian career as lead dancer and choreographer at Loew's Uptown movie theatre. Shortly afterward, he opened a school and taught continuously until just before his death . When times were lean, Volkoff choreographed spectaculars on ice for the Toronto Skating Club. But he persisted in his dream for Canadian dance and formed several companies from among his students. A pioneer in using Canadian themes, Volkoff choreographed Men-Ka-Ta, based on an Indian myth, and Mala, derived from Eskimo lore. In 1936, he took these dances to Berlin where his company won praise in the International Dance Festival held in conjunction with the Olympics. His last significant contribution in this vein was for the Canadian Ballet Festival of 1949 when, to an original score by John Weinzweig, Volkoff created a highly regarded two-act ballet, The Red Ear of Corn. It coup lec an Iroquois myth of how the red ear came into being with a French Canadian tale that the finder of the red ear in a husking bee would ma rr his beloved. Many students passed through the Volkoff studios. Some became famo _ as dancers and choreographers - Melissa Hayden of the New York City Ballet, Patricia Drylie, once lead dancer with the Radio City Music Hal l's company, and Don Gillies, later a choreographer for the CBC. Others became teachers - Mildred Wickson and Rita Warne, now retired, and Janet Baldwin, Volkoff's ex-wife who is still actively teaching in Toron to Boris Volkoff had a reputation for being outspoken and critical of those who seemed not to have his dedication to the Canadian dance, but he hac earned the right to criticize from years of stern and continuing effort anc genuine devotion to the dance in his adopted country. The Canadian Centre for Films on Art (CCFA) has just published the second edition of a listing in English and French of dance films which rT'a be borrowed by dance organizations and groups throughout the countr, The list includes films made for the l\lational Arts Centre and for the NatlGC\al f ~lm 13,<:-,~m! o<:. 'N<c~~ a<:. <:.~m<e ~'M'\eti \)\I t'ne \'..anaci'ian F1) m ) nst'itute For many people, these films will provide their first look at such artists a_ Galina Ulanova, Martha Graham and Jose Limon. The catalogue is be ing distributed free to members of Dance Canada, and university libraries anc dance companies throughout the country. Interested groups who have no: received a copy should write to the Canadian Centre for Films on Art, 150 Kent Street, Ottawa, Ontario K 1A 0M9. 15 Dance Canada has bought $2000 worth of films to be loaned to the CCFA who will distribute them throughout Canada. A small error appeared in our first issue. Apologies to Yvon DesRochers of the Canada Council Touring Office for incorrectly spelling his name. The Touring Office has a new address: 151 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5V8. Adrian Pecknold, artistic director of the Canadian Mime Theatre, is on the staff of the Canadian Mime School in Niagara-on -the -Lake. The school was established in February of this year and will run for six months. Approximately 30 students will be admitted to the full-time course and there will a lso be youth classes and a teachers' course. For applications, write to Myra Benson, Director, Canadian Mime School, Box 1102, Niagara-on -the-Lake, Ontario LOS 1J0. Dance Canada is organizing the adjudication of the new Jean A. Chalmers Award in Choreography. The winner of the $2000 prize will be announced at the annual Dance Canada meeting in Montreal on June 22. The jury includes Jean-Pierre Perrault, William Littler, John Fraser, Grant Strate and Nini Baird. The late Boris Volkoff's extensive book collection has been given to York University and his personal papers to the Theatre Section of the Toronto Public Library. The library will hold a special Volkoff exhibition in the fall of 1974. Dianne Miller, former regional representative of Dance Canada in British Columbia, has been appointed treasurer of Dance Canada. Iris Garland is now the B.C. representative. Her address is 2707 Roseberry Avenue, West Vancouver, B.C. Dance Canada's secretary, Gail Robinson, is leaving her post at York University's Department of Dance as assistant to Grant Strate. Gail will also be leaving Dance Canada. Many thanks for her invaluable service on our behalf. 16 At the University of Alberta from August 12- 23, the Faculty of Physi Education holds Dance Session '74, with university credit courses in da technique, composition and history. Bella Lewitzky and historian Juana de Laban are on the faculty. :::! The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is on a Latin American tour which is taking them to nine countries, including Cuba. York University holds a session in dance for six weeks this summer. Instructors include Nora Kiss, Helen McGehee, Yves Cousineau, Christine Hennessy and Grant Strate. The first performing company to be created by York University Dance Department graduates has been formed by Andrea Smith and Marcy Radler. The company, called Dancemakers, will give a week of performances in Toronto in early September. Just as we went to press, The Touring Office of the Canada Council announced the inauguration of a new service for artists and audiences around Canada - a directory of the performing arts available for touring the country. Anyone who wants to be included should contact Lynne Dickson, Canada Council Touring Office, 151 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario. Grants received: The National Ballet, $242,000 from the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Dance Theatre, $65,000 from the OAC, the Nationa l Ballet School, $235,750 from the OAC; Vortex, a multi -media dance company, $3,000 from Explorations, Alberta Contemporary Dance Theatre, $5,000 from the Canada Council's Explorations program; the Quebec government gave both Groupe de la Place Royale and Groupe de la Nouvel' Aire $12,000 grants. Dance Co-op and the Nova Scotia Youth Agency are sponsoring the Chance To Dance Workshop in Halifax (July 1-26) and in Sydney (July 29August 9). 17 Fifteen, the Toronto company, is touring Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal under a small grant from the Canada Council Touring Office. The Anna Wyman Dance Theatre will be in residence at the Shawnigan Lake International Summer School of the Arts during July and August. Anna Wyman is the head of the dance department there. Merce Cunningham is looking for summer dance programs where he might give his workshop , TV Rerun. Anyone interested should contact Jean Rigg, The Cunningham Dance Foundation, Inc., 463 West Street, New York, N.Y. 10014. Toronto Regional Ballet holds its summer school of the dance at Branksome Hall between July 8 and August 3. Applications should be sent to 15 Armour Blvd., Toronto, Ontario M5M 389. Both the Toronto Regional Ballet, under Diana Jablakova-Vorps, and Nesta Toumine's Ottawa Imperial Ballet participated in the gala festival opening the Northeast Regional Festival in Dayton, Ohio in May. Toronto Dance Theatre gave four performances at the St. Lawrence Centre in May. Two new works, Bugs, by David Earle, and Peter Randazzo's Mythic Journey were presented. The company leaves on June 18 for their second European tour of England, France and Portugal. 18 Letters from the field Jock Abra Calgary, Alberta Calgary's dance scene, which previously has ranged from the do r ma -: the comatose, has been almost unbearably lively during the past sea T he Royal Winnipeg and Alberta Ballets, Toronto Dance Theatre a-:: Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers have all presented demonstratio s Albe rta Co llege of Art. Whether this hea lthy situation is only a terr : phenomenon, like Centennial, or the herald of a permanent awa ke r -: remains t o be seen. Hopefully, the major companies have at last accep::, _ thei r o b ligat ion to tour, and often, through the boondocks ou t h ere. T hey have a cri t ical role to play in overcoming t he reg ional isolatio n an:: narrow provinc ial ism wh ich pers istently threatens to tear ou r co un • apart . Furthermore, Western tax dolla rs have also contr ib uted t o the large government grants they rece ive. Instead of be ing a unify ing fo r "" the companies become a divisive one when they seem mo re in te restec playing Lon d on, New York and even Galvesto n T e xas, t ha n F lin FloRegina and yes, Calga ry . =· We a ll know touring across Canada is horribly expensi ve. But it m us·~:pa rt of t he mandate of any major company. And th ey now know, if:--= d id n 't before , that a la rge and hu ngry dance au di e nce e xi sts in t he · They can clearly bring their admirable products regula rly t o us. Ot er we'll tu rn off the oil! Undoubted ly, the local companies have suffered financia lly fr o m th ·~ in vasion . For example, Calgary Dance Theatre's ann ua l Chri stmas seas- ha d much smaller houses than in past years. Yet no one is more e nth us·a-: : t han loca l dance people about the increased appea ra nces of t he tour·.,; grou ps. It simp ly means that they must reth ink t he ir o w n rol e, so t he complement, rather than compete, with ma jo r groups. Conseq uen tl y, Calgary Dance Theatre, for exa mple, has in creasi ng ly emphasized it s missionary role, bringing da nce (vi a schoo l de mo nstra· :::banquets, tours to small ru ral centres, etc.) t o people wh o wo u ld no ot herwise be exposed to it, or even be awa re of it . Pub li c interest in a c demand fo r dance in genera l can only incre ase as a result. 19 Mary-Elizabeth Manley Toronto, Ontario Aims and objectives are always nice to read, but if no concrete steps are taken, they remain empty phrases. I would like to suggest several practical moves Dance Canada could make to achieve its goals. Research, for example has not been a part of dance activity in Canada. Now however, with degrees in dance being granted from Canadian universities, interest in research is an increasing reality. Dance, being the art of movement, offers a broad base for research topics from the historical to the notational, the kineseological to the physiological. Recently, I have seen sound research proposals fizzle due to a lack of interest in the funding of such projects. It is imperative that Dance-Canada take up the cudgels for dance research. The organization should set up a central bureau through which researchers could receive information about approaching agencies for funds. It should also compile a list of dance research projects, completed or proposed. Although there are many who have been working at the grass roots level to bring dance into elementary and secondary education, this activity is sporadic and is often a provincial rather than national concern. I believe that dance could be a va lid subject within the school systems and Dance Canada shou Id be the catalyst to bring about national consideration of this issue. Granted, the problems in each province are unique, but surely some direction could be gained in co-operatively designing coherent curricula for elementary and secondary schools. Students would therefore have a meaningful body of knowledge, which would serve, in part, as logical preparation for dance study at a higher institution. On a more practical level, Dance Canada should set up a series of workshop performing tours similar to the programs arranged by the Ontario Prologue to the Performing Arts, in which dance troupes visit schools in the province during the academic year. The projected goals of such tours would be to expose young audiences to dance and to involve them actively in workshops. Emphasis would be placed on the adaptation and integration of workshop and performing materials into the regular school curriculum, so that the companies' visits would not exist in a vacuum . This type of program would help promote interest and enthusiasm for dance, and could provide a basic training-ground for a young company to refine multiple skills such as teaching, performing and administration. As an educator interested in these issues, I see Dance Canada as an organization that could encompass the goals of researchers and dance educators in a helpful and encouraging manner. All letters should be sent to: Editor Dance Canada Magazine c/o York University Faculty of Fine Arts Department of Dance 4700 Keele Street Downsview, Ontario M3J 1P3 Please make all contributions as concise as possible. The magazine reserves the right to edit all material for space and grammar.