Dance Dance Revolution

By Daorcey Le Bray

Dawn Dymond not only produces Dance Montage, she might as well be a poster child for the annual mixture of movement.

Some time ago, as she describes it, when Dymond was a student at the University of Calgary, her friends told her she should get involved in an eclectic program featuring amateur and professional choreographers and dancers from diverse disciplines.

“I came from a competitive [roller] skating background and I had never danced before,” says Dymond. “Dance Montage was my very first audition, so I was one of those beginner dancers. I got a couple of pieces and I absolutely fell in love. I remember to this day that experience of getting out there with that whole cast of people.”

Since that first taste, she continued dance and eventually became a choreographer. When she came back to the U of C to teach part-time in the Dance department, Dymond was asked if she wanted to produce the show that first whet her appetite.

“I jumped at it. It means so much to me.”

Begun in 1969 by Dr. Sylvia Shaw, a professor of Dance Education in the Faculty of Kinesiology, as a “grass roots” initiative to bring together beginning dancers, serious students and local professionals, Dance Montage has been performed every year since with almost fanatical support.

“It has an incredible following,” says Dymond. “We have people who haven’t missed a year. We haven’t had a Saturday night not sell out in the past 10 years.”

This time around, Dance Montage builds on its successful formula of showcasing new and experienced talent, with over 90 dancers making up the cast.

“A lot of our choreographers this year are from [various disciplines] such as Social Sciences, Dance and Kinesiology,” she explains. “We also have some professionals such as Michele Moss from Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.”

Dymond stresses that Montage is not just for dance aficionados, but lives up to its name as being an accessible mix of 10 mid-length pieces ranging in style from jazz to African to ballet to hip hop.

“This year we even have a dance piece that is a ballet with Harley-Davidson bikers,” she says. “It’s so huge.”


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