This exhibit creates connections to a time, and to dance and dancers, long past. The story begins in the early days of Vancouver, when dance was a small part of amateur theatrical productions. Then, with the arrival of the railway, a whole new spectrum of activity, both amateur and professional, emerged. Dance education, too, became progressively more varied. The lone clog dance by a British sailor as part of a mixed bill of entertainment in 1893 gave way to evening-long performances by well-trained local dancers, who were themselves entertained and inspired by visiting legends such as Pavlova and Nijinsky.
The actual dance works are, of course, no longer here to view and the record of events is sketchy. So, to a great extent, this tale is told through close-up views of people and places. Mabel Atlantis on her revolving globe at City Hall Theatre ... Mary Isdale performing the “Cameron an' Lochiel” to Piper MacGruer's accompaniment ... children from the Barbes School de Ballet outdoors in Stanley Park ... these are just a few of my own favourite views of dance in early Vancouver which, along with many others, are presented here.
The text for this exhibit is largely drawn from Kaija Pepper's book Theatrical Dance in Vancouver: 1880's - 1920's, published in 2000 by Dance Collection Danse Press/es. (next page)
©2006, Dance Collection Danse