The Professional Program of the School of Contemporary Dancers is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. From May 31 – June 2 the School presented three gala performances at the Gas Station Arts Centre in Winnipeg each featuring a different program. The final evening was a special tribute to the school’s late founder Rachel Browne. Browne started the school and apprenticeship program in 1972 as a division of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers. Faye Thomson and Odette Heyn-Penner, now in their thirty-first year as directors of the school, co-founded the Professional Program in 1981. The anniversary galas featured over sixty performers including current students and graduates of the program from across Canada.
Vancouver’s Goh Ballet Academy also reached a milestone anniversary this spring. The ballet training academy and youth troupe celebrated thirty-five years with an evening gala performance entitled Dance My Dreams at the Centre for Performing Arts in Vancouver on June 1, 2013. The gala included the Canadian debut of George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht and the premiere of a commissioned called Wonderland by Macedonian choreographer Sasha Evtimova. “We take this occasion of our thirty-fifth anniversary to revitalize ourselves,” said Chan Hon Goh, director of the Goh Ballet Youth Company. “As much as it is about celebrating the past accomplishments of the Goh Ballet, it is about setting new goals and aspirations for our future.” The Goh Ballet Academy was established in 1978 by dancers Choo Chiat Goh and Lin Yee Goh, who came to Vancouver from China.