We recently learnt that Grant Strate passed away in February this year. Strate was hugely influential in the evolution of dance in Canada from the 1950s onwards. Whilst attending the University of Alberta, he began choreographing under the tutelage of Laine Metz, a proponent of Mary Wigman’s ‘German dance’ and soon joined the fledgling National Ballet of Canada for whom he created many new works throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1971 he started the dance programme at York University in Toronto where he masterminded four National Choreographic Seminars. These took place in 1978 at York, in 1980 at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and in 1985 and 1991 at Simon Fraser University and involved the gathering together of choreographers, dancers, musicians and composers in intensive creative laboratories, under the guidance of internationally known choreographic mentors like Robert Cohan and Phyllis Lamhut. These events boosted the development of choreography in Canada.
Strate is important to Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Dance (formerly the Laban Centre) as he ran a Residency here in the 1980s and was also one of the guest choreographers with Transitions Dance Company in the 1985-1986 season. He choreographed the work ‘Past Zero’, pictured below, for the Company.