Some exciting new opportunities have emerged for people working in movement-related fields, as the University of Calgary unveils the first combined degree between Dance and Kinesiology in Canada.

Uniting science and arts in this kind of way helps to ignite each with the strengths of the other. The therapeutic side of dance becomes emphasized under this influence, while also helping to educate more science-minded people of the value of this type of art form. It was revealed with November’s Dance Montage, which showcased 10 choreographies presented by artists, including students, graduates, dancers from Pulse hip hop studios, O2 Dance company, MoMo Dance and faculty.

To help further enable access to this kind of education, the new Shirley C. Murray scholarship has been created, named after the professor emeritus in Dance Education at the Faculty of Kinesiology, where she has taught for 38 years. She has spoken and taught workshops worldwide, receiving many awards, and gaining further recognition for her choreography of the piece “Olympic Images” in which 1,200 youth performed for Calgary’s 1988 Winter Games. To honour her significant contributions, the funding for that scholarship came from Dance Montage, which is now in its 44th year.

Another dance instalment that has been gaining great accolades in the city is Alberta Ballet, who are excited to be presenting “The Nutcracker” this month in Edmonton Dec. 12-15 at Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, followed by Calgary’s Southern Jubilee Dec. 19-24, and before moving on to a tour of this production into British Columbia. Set to Tchaikovsky’s score, it is a multimillion-dollar show of lavish costume design, 32 dancers, 80 children from the community of that night’s performance, and a whole lot of all kinds of sparkle. Before each show, kids and their families are allowed to try on the costumes, make crafts and enjoy the Storybook Corner. Edmund Stripe choreographed this piece in 2008, and now we see his return, taking over as artistic director of the School of Alberta Ballet. Tickets start at a considerably affordable $29.

By Cait Lepla

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