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The NAC's new Arts Alive website offers engaging digital programming and free resources for schools and home learning. Visit the new website.

Welcome & About Us

Message from Peter Herrndorf,
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Arts Centre

Peter Herrndorf

Welcome to Dance. This module is the fourth component of, the National Arts Centre's performing arts education website. has grown steadily since we launched its first component, Music, in February 2002. The following March, we added English Theatre followed by the French Theatre in October 2004. We are thrilled with the audience response to, which attracts an average of 3,000 visits per day, and we anticipate that our new Dance module will attract even further interest and attention.

Thanks to generous support from the Department of Canadian Heritage we have created an innovative site: several sections of are interactive, enabling the public – and particularly students and teachers – to learn more about the performing arts in an engaging way. The NAC is committed to education and, above all, to the artistic dreams of Canada’s young people. We are pleased to be working with a partner who supports us in sharing the creativity and knowledge of our nation's artists.

The aim of Dance is to enhance your enjoyment of dance by providing the background and knowledge you seek. Maybe you want to learn how to assess and critique a performance; gain greater appreciation for the elements of dance on stage and off; find out who’s who in the world of dance – all this and more is at your fingertips, through Dance.

We invite you to explore Dance and hope to hear back from you. Enjoy!

- Peter A. Herrndorf

A Message from Cathy Levy
Producer, Dance Programming

Cathy Levy

You’ve found us – welcome! This Dance module of the NAC’s educational website,, is especially designed to help you open the doors on the fascinating world of dance.  Inside this site you’ll meet the movers and shakers of the past, present and future; discover how dance developed as an art form from the courts of Italy to the streets of New York; explore the various elements – on stage and backstage – that go into creating a dance performance; and even learn how to better watch, do, critique and design dance for yourself.

Dance can be a fleeting art form, tricky to capture on film and sometimes not accompanied by a script or score. But its magic lies in the sheer physical and emotional sensations one can experience by simply coming closer and giving it a good look. It’s like trying a new style or author or taste - once you do, you’ll likely get hooked. Dance can break down barriers of language, culture, religion and social class – it can be for everyone, a reflection of who we are and how we are growing. And dance is about today’s world, a contemporary expression of what is shaping our lives in the here and now. Whether re-interpreting Swan Lake or exploring avant-garde technology, choreographers and dancers are communicating with you, the public they are encountering now, in the present. 

So step up to Dance – explore these pages, and let them in turn take you to discover dance far and wide. We know the journey will be worthwhile, time and again.

Bon voyage!

Cathy Levy
Producer, Dance Programming


The National Arts Centre

National Arts Centre

Conceived as a major project of the Federal Government as part of the Centennial celebrations, the National Arts Centre (CNA) opened its doors on June 2, 1969. Since then, it has played an important role in the development of the performing arts in Canada.

Located in Ottawa, close to Parliament Hill, the NAC is an impressive arts complex comprising four halls: other than the afore-mentioned Théâtre, Studio, and Fourth Stage, there is also Southam Hall, with 2,300 seats. The NAC houses four artistic divisions: the National Arts Centre French Theatre, English Theatre, Dance, and Orchestra. It features local musicians in its Fourth Stage as well. The National Arts Centre also plays host to the Canada Dance Festival and Magnetic North Festival, and to the producer of the Zones Théâtrales festival.

National Arts Centre New Media

The National Arts Centre's New Media group is a small team creating online projects which help fulfill the NAC's national mandate. NAC New Media uses today's as well as tomorrow's technologies to engage, inform and entertain arts lovers across Canada and around the world.

NAC New Media works with the NAC's programming and education departments to create compelling content for the National Arts Centre's websites, among them:

Hexagon is the NAC's research and development project, which leverages next-generation broadband videoconferencing to extend the reach of the NAC's interactive outreach programmes. Tele-mentoring, education outreach, and audience development are explored using ultrafast networks like Canada's CA*net4 and Internet2 in the US.

NAC New Media acknowledges the tremendous support of the Department of Canadian Heritage and our technology partners the National Research Council.