The UW Dance Program may be Gone but it Lives On

Blue Ceiling Dance Performance

I started at the University of Waterloo in the fall of 1992 as a young woman who had planned most of her life to become “an artist” and throughout high school had been focused on becoming a concert pianist. Secretly though, I wanted to be a dancer.

It was in the last months of high school that my secret dreams became my pursuit.

By Thanksgiving of my first year at the University of Waterloo, the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, which housed the Dance Department, decided to cut dance altogether. The program was weaned out of the university. Each year the department shrank by about 20 people until there were 12 dance majors left in my final year.

The Faculty’s harsh decision set me up for a career as a dance artist – choreographing, dancing in, producing, doing the administration and the books for all my projects. It takes perseverance and grit to sustain a career in the arts. You have to be ready for those big rejections, to fight disbelief and cynicism.

It is with great pleasure that 20 years after my graduation from the University of Waterloo (class of ’96, Joint Honours B.A. Dance and Music, Dean’s Honour Roll), that I return to Kitchener-Waterloo with my company Blue Ceiling dance, performing our haunting work “dead reckoning” at the Registry Theatre, January 20th.

Two dancers from Blue Ceiling Dance

Despite the closure of the dance program, it was absolutely the right place for me. The department was small enough that I could carve my own path to become an educated, thoughtful performing artist. Coming from an academic family, I was inspired, challenged and enthralled with my academic classes, discovering passions for research and a drive to find connections between disparate ideas.

These passions stay with me. All of my creations for Blue Ceiling dance are rooted in research and ideas. I am currently grappling with ecology, cosmology and physics as sources of inspiration, finding the poetry inherent in science and the humanity in its efforts, then giving it a visceral, dynamic form through dance.

“dead reckoning” is no exception. It is an interpretation of the ‘third man factor’, a phenomena experienced by people in life or death situations in extreme environments where they feel the presence of a disembodied other which accompanies them to safety. We looked specifically at Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to Antarctica when he and his crew were stranded without a ship for 18 months. We are embodying and playing with vantage points on this phenomena from the religious or mystical to the frontiers of neuroscience. We aim to create links between scientific and artistic processes, between mystery and explanation.

Please come and be moved.

The Registry Theatre presents

Blue Ceiling dance in

“dead reckoning”

122 Frederick Street

January 20, 2017

7:30pm

Tickets $25 or pay as you leave for the enjoyment you received

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