Dance Preview: Dancers of the proletariat unite

By Roxanna Pullan

As the fallen leaves become coated with their inevitable winter blanket, November marches boldly into December. For some reason, perhaps because of the coming bleakness, peoples’ minds turn to thoughts of celebration. The dance community is no different.

Every year, when heavy coats and comical toques are trundled out, Calgary dancers embrace Dance Montage, a celebration of people coming together for the enjoyment of dance and a showcase for the talents of both choreographers and dancers. Those involved in the production range from amateurs to proficient dancers, giving each audience member (except for the wholly uncoordinated) a dancer they can relate to. This year Dance Montage will have a little more to celebrate, namely its 35th anniversary. For this performance, one dancer from each of the previous 35 years will be involved, adding to the already eclectic feel of the performance.

“This year there are nine different styles of dance. Some of the works are overlapping in stylistic choices, and other works are just much more eclectic,” says the performance’s producer Dawn Dymond.

Anyone is welcome to take part in Dance Montage, needing only an interest. Each year open auditions are held and dancers need no experience. Viewing the production this year may just be the start, next year current audience members could find themselves starring in one of the mesmerizing performances.

One such performance is a work by Shelly Hering. One of the many choreographers involved this year, her piece is a contemporary exploration of the individual.

“It’s about having a unique voice amongst all the sameness,” she explains, describing the daily struggle for uniqueness among even those completely unfamiliar with the delicacies of dance face.

But Dance Montage isn’t just a celebration of dance. In an event such as this, the sheer amount of effort required by everyone involved is often forgotten. Years of practice, patience and maybe a few pirouettes have gone into the production of Dance Montage, all done outside of the classroom.

“People should come to see the accomplishments of the students,” Hering encouragingly suggests.

Dance Montage could very well be a life altering experience. Funny as it may sound, everyone involved in the show has had their lives profoundly altered by a similar experience. Attending this year’s performance could well be the missing key to a whole new world, interests, outlooks and experiences or, at very least, a neat way to spend an evening.

“Other university students should come to the performance to see how dance influences a person’s life,” recommends Hering.

Life-changing or not, Dance Montage offers the perfect escape from the day-to-day dreariness of winter and spotlights the tight knit Calgary dance community. Though the very word “dance” may scare away many, Dance Montage’s history, huge cast and incredible diversity should be able to appeal to anyone. It’s a celebration which may contain more spandex and incredibly flexible people than most of us are used to, but it’s a celebration nonetheless.

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