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SCPA Dance Montage celebrates dance and movement at the U of C

By Gurman Sahota, November 15 2016 —

Showcasing diverse dance in the city, the University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts will host its 47th annual Dance Montage from Nov. 24–26.

The performance attracts local choreographers from around Calgary to contribute work. Ten pieces of various styles will take the stage in this year’s montage.

“There’s a huge energy behind the show and it’s a great sampling of varieties of dance [that] people may or may not be familiar with seeing,” Dance Montage artistic director Oriana Pagnotta says. “I always recommend [it to] people who are hesitant on seeing a dance show — they’re not sure on what they’re gonna get — [because] this is a great sampling. [If] you don’t like something, it’s going to switch over in about eight minutes.”

Each piece is first presented at an open call for applications from choreographers across the city. After reviewing the calls, Pagnotta, along with a panel of faculty choose what is performed in the montage. Pagnotta says the use of commissioned pieces ensures diversity in the montage.

“We have an open call for applications from choreographers in the spring, so people apply with what kind of piece they’re interested in doing,” Pagnotta says. “We’ve also been commissioning a couple [of] choreographers to make sure we’re really rounding out styles of dance and also making it a feasible option for some professional choreographers to come in as well.”

Although Dance Montage has no set theme, this year’s performance will be dedicated to Shirley C. Murray, who passed away earlier this year. Murray was a longstanding choreographer and dance educator at the U of C.

“[Dance Montage is] paying tribute to her contributions and there’s also a piece that former students of hers of all ages [are putting together] because she had taught here for decades. It’s looking at some of her work and how she has sparked people’s creative expressions,” Pagnotta says.

This year’s performance features an eclectic collection of genres ranging from contemporary to experimental flamenco and Hawaiian hula. Pagnotta says the tribute piece to Murray highlights the montage.

“The tribute piece will be special to see how dance lives on in our bodies and how we pass this on from our teachers,” Pagnotta says. ”There’s this very beautiful, organic thing that happens. It’s in your body and it moves forward in your life with you.”

Pagnotta says the energy an audience creates plays an integral part in Dance Montage.

“Come with an open mind and see what the artists are offering. You don’t need to know about dance to watch a dance show,” Pagnotta says. “This show in particular is about short pieces that allow you to experience what there is and your experience of the show is totally valid. If there is something that really moves you, it’s okay to show your appreciation. It’s pretty open to you sharing how you’re feeling about the pieces.”

Admission to Dance Montage is free with your Student ID through the Claim Your Seat program.

For more information, visit scpa.ucalgary.ca

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