Why We Exist
I have attended lots of performances presented by DSW over the past 5 years and in that time I have witnessed many positive developments in both the dancers and the presentations. At DSW performances I am drawn irresistibly into the world of the dance through the enhanced strengths and focused intent of the dancers. I really enjoy watching the development of the young choreographers as they show their works at the beginning and then at the end of mentored workshops. Consistent hard work in the creative process has obviously translated into aesthetically rewarding performances for the dancers and for me as an audience member. As a life-long eclectic arts-lover I have seen that every art form needs individuals or organizations with the vision to expand the frontiers of that form. DSW must be commended and celebrated for doing that in Calgary.
Audience Member: Sondra Corff, PHD., life-long eclectic arts-lover
DSW is the only organization in Calgary that offers consistent professional development programs for dance professionals in contemporary dance, so I value it greatly. It is a forum where community building takes place, every experience offered by DSW helps me to connect with other artists in the community (from dance or other genres), as well as with artists outside the community. It helps me to feel a part of something greater than myself. It has always served as an important conduit for the vital transition of being a student/ emerging artist and entering phases of development that lead to becoming an established and more accomplished artist in the professional community locally and nationally. Without DSW I would not have been able to accomplish as much as I have in my professional career.
Participant Artist: Helen Husak, Lieutenant Governor’s Award Winner
I consider my varied experiences at DSW to be invaluable, there is no comparable programming available to me as a dance artist in Calgary. In 2014 I became a member of the Dance Action Group, I was mentored in a choreographic process by Davida Monk, I’ve taken morning classes through DSW, attended performances, discussed work at talk backs and at the undressing the dance series, and worked as an outside eye for the Alberta Dance Festival. These experiences have developed my technique, my choreographic eye and improved my ability to communicate verbally about the art I’m creating and viewing. Most importantly DSW has given me the chance to share my experience with other artists, be influenced by their unique perspectives and connect with artists I haven’t worked with in the past. The most significant positive aspect of my experience with DSW is constant learning and growth. Each experience at DSW is a tool that fuels me as an artist and challenges my perspective allowing me continue to develop.
Participant Artist: Catherine Hayward
What about Dancers’ Studio West?
I have been a practitioner, advocate and champion of Calgary’s arts since early 1980. During that time I have seen the remarkable growth and vitality of Calgary’s artists contribute to the quality, character and economy of our City. It makes me proud. But while other genres of arts practice have shown resilience, dance continues to lag behind its colleagues in Calgary and the Province. Dancers and dance companies seem isolated. Taken individually, the diverse work of our dance artists excels artistically, but contemporary dance has yet to take its place in the arts lexicon in the same way as theatre, music, film, and visual art. This situation became clearly evident to me while I was Managing Director at Calgary Arts Development. It was during that time that I became more acutely aware of the work being done at Dancers’ Studio West under the artistic leadership of Davida Monk. I had a few occasions to have in-depth conversations with Davida about the state of contemporary dance. I was impressed by the clarity of vision on behalf of both DSW and the contemporary dance community as a whole. With the courage and energy of the organization and with Davida’s leadership, Dancers’ Studio West is building a vision that contains the promise of propelling contemporary dance to its deserving place in the cultural life of our community. It is for this reason that I am proudly serving on the Board of Directors for Dancers’ Studio West.
Board of Director: Tom McCarthy