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Meet The Artists

Biography

Grant Strate

choreography / institution building / pedagogy / dance writing

(1927- )

Albertan-born Grant Strate, who originally trained as a lawyer, is known as a judicious leader who has presided over the development of many important Canadian dance institutions. In 1951, he joined the newly formed National Ballet of Canada. During his twenty years with the company, he also served as administrative assistant to artistic director Celia Franca and as the company's first resident choreographer.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Strate choreographed numerous works for the company, including The House of Atreus (1964). He has choreographed over fifty works for companies in Europe and Canada, including the Royal Flemish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Regina Modern Dance Works, Toronto Dance Theatre and Dancemakers.

Strate became the founding chair of the dance department at York University in 1971. During the 1970s, he also became the founding chair of the Dance in Canada Association and launched the National Choreographic Seminars, to bring emerging choreographers together with composers.

In 1980, Strate was appointed director of the Centre for the Arts (later renamed The School for the Contemporary Arts) at Simon Fraser University, where he oversaw the creative disciplines of dance, theatre, music and film. Also in the 1980s, he became the founding chair of the Vancouver Dance Centre and served as a member of the British Columbia Arts Board. In the late 1990s, his influence extended over the entire continent when he was elected President of the World Dance Alliance for the Americas.

In addition to his administrative work, Strate is an internationally acclaimed teacher who has taught across Canada, the United States, South-East Asia and China, at institutions such as The Juilliard School in New York and the Beijing Dance Academy. He is also the author of several books.

Strate was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995. The following year this statesman of Canadian dance was honoured with a Governor General's Performing Arts Award.

Learn more:

Strate, Grant. China Journal. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 1997.

---. A Memoir. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 2002.