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CSDS and CanDance Collaborate for International Dance Day 2004
By Kate Cornell, IDD Project Coordinator, CSDS

 

International Dance Day is a UNESCO-sponsored event held every April 29 to celebrate dance in all its forms around the world. The Society for Canadian Dance Studies (CSDS) and the Canadian Network of Dance Presenters (CanDance) joined forces again this year to make this little-known day more significant in the eyes of Canadians.

 

By collaborating with CanDance, the Society could create a project in which elected officials in municipal, provincial and federal governments were invited to attend a dance performance in March and April accompanied by an CSDS member as a host. The project first began in 2003 and is funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Federal and provincial ministers whose portfolios have an impact on dance artists such as heritage, culture, seniors, housing, education, finance, labour and women's issues were invited. In the second year of this project, we decided to broaden our invitations to include arts council board members and media personnel such as newspaper editors and television and radio producers. Like the invited political guests, these individuals affect the work of dance artists. By having a dance-knowledgeable host accompany them to a performance, our guests were provided with a unique opportunity to ask questions about the performance or about other aspects of dance in Canada. The hosts were drawn from membership of CSDS, which consists of a diverse range of professionals working in the dance milieu such as dancers, choreographers, presenters, educators, ethnographers, writers, historians, notators, animateurs and publishers.

 

The scope and impact of the project expanded significantly in this second season. This year the project included over 100 invitations to politicians, arts council boards, and media; fourteen civic leaders expressed serious interest in the project; five CanDance members participated (and two other Canadian dance presenters); five CSDS members hosted six guests who attended local dance events in four different provinces. This year, events took place in Victoria, Calgary, St. Catharines, Toronto and St. John’s. Many of the politicians who could not attend commended the initiative and hoped to be invited again next year.

 

CSDS member in Victoria, Anne Russo, summarized her experience as an International Dance Day project host, “The evening was a grand success. Thank you very much for the opportunity to take part in this innovative and worthwhile advocacy effort. Karel Roessingh is a key member of the Regional (political) Arts Committee of the Capital Regional District in Victoria (and his wife is a visual artist of note). Karel was an ideal and receptive candidate to learn more about the dance sector in Canada. I know the opportunity raised Karel's understanding of the ecology of the dance world. Like me, he also found this to be a strategic and effective way - with a 'host' - to raise awareness of dance in general.”

 

The International Dance Day project increases understanding of dance and arts advocacy, raises the public profile of both organizations, and offers unique opportunities for the individual CanDance and Society members to network with civic leaders. It is a positive experience for all involved.

 

The Society for Canadian Dance Studies would like to thank Kate Cornell for coordinating the project, Mimi Beck and the CanDance Network of Presenters for their administrative support and enthusiastic cooperation, and Dance Collection Danse and The Dance Current for their contributions, and all the members who volunteered to be hosts.

 

International Dance Day Guests:

 

Councillor Karel Roessingh
Victoria, BC (March 5)
Attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s
The Magic Flute (Victoria Dance Series)

 

Alderman Druh Farrell
Calgary, AB (March 27)
Attended Alberta Ballet’s
Cinderella

 

Councillor Brian Dorsey
St. Catharines, ON (March 27)
Attended Sinha Danse (Brock Centre for the Arts)

 

Mr. Paul Bowding, Board Member, Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
St. John’s, NF (March 30)
Attended Ballet Jorgen’s
Coppélia (Arts and Culture Centre)

 

Councillor Carol Pickup
Victoria, BC (April 2)
Attended Crystal Pite and Lynda Raino performance (Victoria Dance Series)

 

Catherine Longfield, Ontario Ministry of Culture
Toronto, ON (May 8)
Attended Sarah Chase performance (DanceWorks)

 

 

 

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