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Born: October 22, 1919, Toronto
Birth Name: Nancy Lima
Married Name: Nancy Lima Dent

Dance Teachers
Ballet: Rita Warne, Boris Volkoff
Modern: Elizabeth Leese, Martha Graham, José Limón, Hanya Holm, Alwin Nikolais, Nona Shurman, Eva Desca, Beatrice Seckler
Primitive: Pearl Primus, Katherine Dunham
Mime: Pierre Sonnier
Eurhythmics: Madeleine Boss Lasserre
Composition: Doris Humphrey, Lucas Hoving, Louis Horst

Other Education
Courses in Orff music, painting, drawing, sculpting, ceramics, design, psychology, acting, TV production and Gestalt Therapy

 

1930s

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attends Toronto Conservatory of Music for seven years

1944

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properties manager for the Belmont Theatre Group's Watch on the Rhine

1946

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February 6 & 8: performs in Rita Warne's The Snow Queen ballet pantomime

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June 26-27: choreographs and performs in Set Your Clock at U235 presented at Central High School of Commerce; show is seen by Jewish Folk Choir conductor Emil Gartner who informs Nancy about the Neo Dance Theatre

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Fall: joins Neo Dance Theatre

1947

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September: open house presentation in an unidentified gymnasium where she performs Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child with dancers Shirley Fields, Sylvia Lerman and Gussie Feldman

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Fall: begins teaching a Children's Creative Dance Group at Holy Blossom Temple which she continues through 1949

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October: presents Motherless Child again at Roberts Gallery

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December 16: Y Christmas Fireside Lounge where she presents Accordian Polka

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December 24: presents a solo work, Chee Lai, at a Christmas party at 585 Bathurst St.

1948

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February 3: Y Branch membership meeting where she presents a group work called Late Date

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February 10: YWCA Creative Dance Club presents a social evening of Dance Group Selections (Chee Lai, Late Date, Awakening of Man), as well as an art exhibit and films on Creative Dance, Leningrad Music Hall and AY Jackson (Note: Awakening of Man inspired by Primus and Dunham work)

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Holy Blossom Junior Creative Dance Group presents The Story of Moses, a dance pantomime in five acts

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Spring: teaches creative dance at the McGill St. YWCA and ballroom at the College St. YMCA

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Summer: teaches at the UJPO's Camp Naivelt presenting three performances, work(s) unknown

1949

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March 1-5: Second Canadian Ballet Festival at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre where Neo Dance Theatre performs Cynthia Barrett's Song of David

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March 22: gives a concert in Toronto attended by St. Andrew MPP J.B. Salsberg who writes a letter of congratulations

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April 13-14: Nancy and Neo Dance Theatre perform as guests for Lawrence Hindle's dance recital of pupils from Riverside and Forest Avenue Schools in Port Credit (west of Toronto); Hindle is an associate of Neo Dance Theatre; Neo Dance Theatre performs Nancy's Dark Cry as well as Experiment on a Theme co-choreographed by Nancy and Jack Medhurst

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begins teaching folk and social dance for the YM-YWHA as well as taking over Rhea Shulman's Modern Dance Group

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October 14: dance school season begins at UJPO with folk dance taught by Ivy Krehm, ballet by Betty Oliphant, modern by Cynthia Barrett and Nancy Lima; Neo Dance Theatre's name has changed to New Dance Theatre (NDT)

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December 20: YMHA Modern Dance Group lecture demonstration and film presentation

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1950

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May 1: Massey Hall Benefit where NDT performs with Jewish Folk Choir and Negro Choral Society in Di Naye Hagode and The Lonesome Train, choreography by Saida Gerrard (Gerrard is supposed to perform but an injury prevents her and Nancy dances the role instead)

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May 28: New Dance Theatre school recital at UJPO auditorium

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October 14: Ballet Panorama fundraiser organized by Ontario Division of Canadian Ballet Festival Association, New Dance Theatre presents a section of That We May Live co-choreographed by Nancy and Alec Rubin

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November 20-25: Third Canadian Ballet Festival at Montreal's His Majesty's Theatre where New Dance Theatre performs That We May Live

1951

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Nancy's son Christopher is born this year

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May 17: NDT gives first annual spring concert at Hart House Theatre presenting Tsung Ko Sun Ho by Nancy Lima, Spanish Suite by Theresa Chapman, Introduction and Fugato by Tom Lima, Hearts and Flowers by Laya Lieberman, El Yunah by Ivy Krehm, Salud by Nancy Lima, Oh Fickle Love by Nancy Lima and Credo by Nancy Lima

1952

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May 5-8: Fourth Canadian Ballet Festival at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre where New Dance Theatre performs the collective work Heroes of Our Time, choreography credits given to Nancy Lima Dent, Laya Lieberman and Marcel Chojnacki

1953

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May 22-23: New Dance Theatre performs with The Montreal Jewish Folk Choir at Mount Royal High School where they present Lysistrata by Nancy Lima and Marcel Chojnacki

1955

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April 9: NDT presents Indian Woman's Lament at Hart House, commissioned by New Frontiers Concert

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May 29: NDT gives annual school recital

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Fall: moves to Sudbury to set up schools there and in nearby Garson

1956

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May 24: Garson recital

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June 1: Sudbury recital

1957

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May 17: Garson recital

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June 7: Sudbury recital

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Summer: attends Connecticut College School of the Dance

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Fall: moves back to Toronto

1958

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January-May: teaches ballet and modern dance for the Don Mills Community Association

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June 5: Adult Demonstration Workshop for Lillian Palmer's club at Bathurst Manor

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September: re-opens a Toronto school working out of the New Play Society studio at 88 Bloor Street East

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September: begins new season of ballet and modern dance classes for the Don Mills Community Association

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plans evolve for the building of a new studio near Summerhill station; Nancy wants this to be the Lima Centre of Fine Arts with two studios, dressing rooms and a gallery for Tom Lima's paintings; she also envisions this centre to have "Sunday Evening Salons" in which experimental dance works will be performed; this building becomes Janet Baldwin's studio at 9 Price Street where Nancy Lima Dent also conducts classes

1959

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January 12: Demonstration at Faywood Home and School Association in Downsview (north of Toronto)

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January-May: continues classes for Don Mills Community Association

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February 9: Demonstration in Don Mills

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May 24: Evening of Dance at the New Play Society; first performance of the newly formed Nancy Lima Dent Dance Theatre (NLDDT); presents the following works by Nancy Lima Dent: The Magic Cup, Once Upon A Time, Ritual, Bewitched, Games, Concerto Grosso and Bedlam at Midnight; after intermission the Japanese Classical Dancers perform under the direction of Evelyn Fujimoto

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June 20-August 25: works as modern dance teacher at Camp Manitou-wabing in its inaugural year

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August 14-16: Camp Manitou-wabing performances include Nancy's The Many Faces of Man

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October 19: Demonstration at YWCA

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1960

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February 25: Festival Evening of Modern Dance at the Concert Auditorium, 1021 College Street, Toronto; NLDDT performs Walls by Nadine Hollow and the following works by Nancy Lima Dent: Bewitched, Concerto Grosso, Glory Glory Halleluja, Will No One Hear and The Planets, the Void, Man

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March 3: Nancy Lima Dent performs a solo on a programme of the Japanese Classical Dancers, venue unknown

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May 21: Nancy Lima Dent presents Modern Dance: Focus Stage at the New Play Society studio; Cliff Collier dances as a guest artist; part one is called Modern Dance and features class demonstrations by Nancy's Elementary/Intermediate class and the Intermediate/Advanced students; part two is called Focus Stage and features the following works: Heartbeat for Freedom by Catherine Sadick; Three Part Solo by Shirley Whittaker, Janice Lait and Mona King; Orbit by Nancy Lima Dent; Unity In Diversity by Sylva Spikes; Concerto Grosso by Nancy Lima Dent

1961

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April 25-26: Second Modern Dance Festival at the University of Toronto's Hart House Theatre; NLDDT performs Sonata by Sylva Spikes, Song of Faith by Merle Lister, Lullabye by Esther Taub, Shenandoah by Nadine Hollow and Merle Lister, and The Land by Nancy Lima Dent (5 sections of The Land: Land of the Silver Birch, Golden Corn, Black Fly, She's Like A Swallow, This Land Is Our Land)

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December 12: Caligula opens, Nancy choreographs this Actor's Theatre production directed by Brian Petchey

1962

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January: NLDDT begins a series of benefit performances for hospitals and retirement homes putting together a programme of modern and folk works such as Sea Maiden, Swallow, Lullabye and Goofy

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January 27: Benefit Performance at The Hospital for Sick Children

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February 11: Benefit Performance at Jewish Home for the Aged

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April 15: Benefit Performance at Hamilton Jewish Community Centre

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May 15-17: NLDDT presents the "children who wait in the dusk" at Centre Stage, 80 Bloor St. East

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July 11-21: Nancy choreographs Archibald MacLeish's JB directed by John Turnbull for Centre Stage Summer Theatre; cast includes Brian Petchey, Joyce Campion and Vivian Smith Rae who had performed in Nancy's "the children who wait in the dusk" (Vivian appears to have worked with Nancy prior to the JB performances); some of Nancy's regular dancers also perform in JB such as Patricia Illingworth and Esther Taub

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July 26-28: Nancy attends University of Toronto Orff Conference on Elementary Music Education

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August 7-12: Nancy teaches for the Nickel Belt Ballet Company in Sudbury

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Fall/Winter 1962/63: attends television course at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute

1963

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March 16-17: Canadian Modern Dance Festival at Toronto's Bloor Street Jewish Community Centre; includes an adjudication by Walter Sorrell; NLDDT does not perform

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May 26: presents a creative dance workshop at the Scarborough YWCA

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Fall/Winter 1963/64: attends second part of television production course at Ryerson

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October 22-December 10: attends "Working With Groups" course taught by her long-time friend Eleanor Dixon Reesor

1964

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March 24: Nancy produces television project "Elements of the Dance" as part of her course at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute

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May 23-24: Creative Modern Dance Recital for Scarborough YWCA (Nancy held modern dance classes for children on Saturdays and for women on Tuesday evenings); Lorne Hall, Judy Jarvis, Alena Kogler and Sue Hubbs appeared courtesy of the Bianca Rogge Studio of Dance

1965

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Nancy begins to search for other work

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February 15: Nancy's "Elements of the Dance" airs on CBC television's Take 30

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March: gives an Orff movement class to teachers of the Scarborough Board of Education

April 1965 through
Sept. 1968

Nancy takes a sabbatical from dance due to an operation in which she received metal cartilages in the joints of both big toes. The problem with her feet had progressed to the point where she was teaching sitting down. During that time she worked as a Programme Supervisor for the Forest Hill Recreation Department and then the Canadian Red Cross as an organizer of blood donor clinics.

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December: begins searching for work in the area of educational television but nothing turns up

1966

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January 27: submits a letter of recommendation for Judy Jarvis to the Canada Council regarding the arts scholarship that allowed Jarvis to finish her Wigman School training in Germany

1968

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January 16-March 13: offers a Teachers' Course for the Metropolitan Separate School Board

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March: subbed in for Cynthia Barrett's class at the YM-YWHA

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September 7: gives a creative dance class for the B'nai Brith Youth Organization

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Fall: begins teaching again at Centennial College, Humber College, North York Parks and Recreation (Norman Ingram and Yorkview Public Schools); teaches through to the end of the 1969 school year

1969

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January: teaches during winter sessions at Centennial College, Humber College, North York Parks and Recreation (Norman Ingram and Yorkview Public Schools)

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May 12: North York Parks and Recreation presents a Dance Class Workshop at Norman Ingram Public School

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July 15-August 21: Nancy teaches at Centennial College Summer School of the Arts

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Fall: begins new session at Centennial College

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October 6-April 14, 1970: teaches courses at University Settlement House (5-year-olds to adults), which includes a small group of performers who do community performances

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December 13: Thursday night University Settlement group performs at the Bathurst and Dundas Public Library

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December 17: Thursday night University Settlement group performs at the University Settlement Music School Christmas and Hannukah party

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October 19: Demonstration at YWCA

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1970

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Winter: teaches at Centennial College and University Settlement House

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January 23: Thursday night group from University Settlement House performs at Ogden Public School

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Fall: teaches at Centennial College

1971

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teaches at University Settlement Group and Centennial College

1972

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February 11-12: gives a Modern Dance and Creative Movement Workshop at Confederation College in Thunder Bay

1973

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makes an application for a Local Initiatives Program grant for her

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October 2-December 17: "New Directions with Music, Dance and Drama" program begins with the SEED students who are given free space by the YM-YWHA on the condition the students will perform in a choral cantata the following May

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October 17-January 23, 1974: "New Directions" at Earlscourt Children's Home for Emotionally Disturbed Children

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October 19-November: "New Directions" at the Champlain School for the Retarded

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December 17: LIP grant approved

1974

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"New Directions" project continues through to June 14, 1974

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January: "New Directions" at Gateway Public School where Nancy works with remedial arts students and perceptually handicapped

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January: "New Directions" at Palmerston Public School where Nancy works with remedial arts students and perceptually handicapped

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February 5-April 6: "New Directions" at Warden Woods Community Centre where Nancy works with underprivileged children, adults and seniors

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April 26: Nancy is notified that LIP grants have been discontinued

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May 25: Toronto Jewish Folk Choir presents the cantata Oifn Fidl (The Fiddle) with Nancy Lima Dent's choreography; dancers come from Lois Smith Dance Studio, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute Dance Department, Boris Volkoff Dance Studio and York University

1976

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June: makes an application to Wintario for a theatre arts project

1977

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November: publishes "The Portrait of Cliff Collier as a Young Man" in Dance Ontario News

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October 3-December 3, 1977: Nancy conducts Valley Park Jr. High Theatre Arts Project funded by a Wintario grant

1981

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October: approached by Jill Officer of the University of Waterloo Dance Program to send information regarding Nancy's life and the Neo/New Dance Theatre for a Canadian dance database project

1984

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March 27: appears as a guest lecturer in Katie Adelman's dance history class at the University of Waterloo Dance Program

1986

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participates in the ENCORE! ENCORE! project resulting in the reconstruction of Heroes of Our Time

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©2005, Dance Collection Danse
Lima Dent Exhibition Curator: Amy Bowring
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BEGINNINGS

 

NEW DANCE THEATRE

 

NANCY LIMA DENT DANCE THEATRE

 

NEW BEGINNINGS

 

1946 TO 1955

 

1959 TO 1974

 

EDUCATION

 

1930s AND 40s

 

1950s

 

1960s

 

1970s AND 80s

 

AUDIO

 

MOVIES

 

DCD HOMEPAGE

 

ENCORE! ENCORE!

 

PAGES IN HISTORY

 

CREATIVE TEAM