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Meet The Artists


Lawrence Adams

ballet / experimental dance / dance archives / dance publishing


Lawrence Adams began his professional dance career in 1955, when he joined the National Ballet of Canada where his brother, David Adams, was a leading dancer. After two hiatuses in the 1960s, to dance with the Joffrey Ballet in New York and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (later renamed Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal), Lawrence Adams returned to the National Ballet of Canada. He rose to the rank of principal dancer and accumulated a large and loyal following of admirers. He was particularly praised for his interpretation of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet.

Independent and intellectually restless, Adams ultimately found the ballet world too confining. He left the National Ballet of Canada in 1969 with his wife, Miriam Adams, who was also a professional dancer with the company. Together they formed a small company, 15 Dancers, to encourage students to choreograph their own work. Later in the 1970s, they opened a theatre, 15 Dance Laboratorium, and became the first presenters to support experimental dance and independent dance artists in Toronto.

The Adams also launched several magazines and journals, including Spill and Canadian Dance News, often writing, editing and working the printing press themselves. In the 1980s, Lawrence Adams co-founded and administered The Arts TV Centre, a film and video production company.

Concerned by the lack of knowledge about Canadian dance history, in 1986 the Adams organized a dance reconstruction project, Encore! Encore! to document and preserve important Canadian choreographic works. From the results of their research, they created a production for Expo '86.

The success of Encore! Encore! encouraged the Adams to create Dance Collection Danse, Canada's largest dance archives. Dance Collection Danse Press/es, the publishing division of the archives, has produced over thirty books, including the Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse théâtrale au Canada.


Dance Collection Danse

Learn more:

Adams, Lawrence. Building Your Legacy: An Archiving Handbook for Dance. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 2004.

Macpherson, Susan, ed. Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse théâtrale au Canada. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press/es, 2000.