Nancy presented her last original choreographic work May 25, 1974. The Toronto Jewish Folk Choir commissioned her to choreograph the cantata Oifn Fidle (The Fiddle). Nancy had returned to the organization where she had begun her choreographic and teaching career nearly thirty years earlier.
Heroes of Our Time, which the New Dance Theatre had presented at the 1952 Canadian Ballet Festival, was reconstructed in 1986 through the ENCORE! ENCORE! Project. For this reconstruction, Nancy worked with a small group of contemporary dancers as well as her own former colleagues Marcel Chojnacki and Vera Davis. This work has been videotaped and notated and is in the Dance Collection Danse archives along with Nancy Lima Dent's personal collection.
Major change occurred in Nancy's life in 1965. She underwent operations on both feet and was forced to stop teaching and choreographing. She searched for television work but was unsuccessful; however, during the next three years she worked as a programme supervisor for the Forest Hill Recreation Department and, after downsizing occurred there, went to work for the Canadian Red Cross as a blood donor clinic organizer. After running into Cynthia Barrett in early 1968 she began to teach again when Barrett asked Nancy to come in and instruct one of her classes at the YM-YWHA. By the fall of 1968, Nancy had managed to set up dance courses at Centennial College, Humber College and the North York Parks and Recreation Department. She added University Settlement House to this list by the next fall.
In 1973 she applied for and received a Local Initiatives grant for her New Directions project. New Directions proposed to "meet the needs of citizens of lower socio-economic status, the handicapped, and under-privileged, in the areas of Music, Dance and Drama, with a therapeutic orientation." She hoped this programme would develop into a centre to continue New Directions' work or that the schools involved would find money to continue the work. However, the project only lasted one year.
As the 1960s progressed, the foot problems that Nancy had been experiencing were growing steadily worse. She decided to take a course in television production at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute perhaps seeing this as a second career if she were forced to stop teaching and choreographing. There is no evidence that she intended to perform after the 1961 Modern Dance Festival. According to a letter of recommendation from her television instructor Sydney Perlmutter, she excelled in her class. Her final class project, a television show titled "Elements of the Dance" was picked up by the CBC and aired on Take 30, February 15, 1965. The show looked at components of modern dance such as unity, dynamics, rhythm and design and featured well-known CBC dancer Don Gillies as well as members of Nancy's and Bianca Rogge's companies including Judy Jarvis. Jarvis became a well-known modern dance choreographer and teacher in the 1970s. To view the ENCORE! ENCORE! EXHIBITION for Judy Jarvis, click here.
Nancy Lima Dent was an artist ahead of her time. She persevered in modern dance at a time when dance audiences didn't seem ready to embrace it. Like many Canadians, she was affected by her own personal trauma during World War II and the ideals she developed at this time permeated her work throughout the decades. In the first few years after she left home to pursue a dance career, she opted to pay for dance classes before buying food. She is a true pioneer and helped to lay the groundwork for the modern dance community that flourished in Toronto during the 1970s.
©2005, Dance Collection Danse
Lima Dent Exhibition Curator: Amy Bowring
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