E Annemarie@CabriCreativeDance.com T 416 656 1618
I had the majority of my formal training at The School of Dance, Ottawa, ON, and went on to graduate from The National Ballet School of Canada, Toronto, ON. Celia Franca was still involved with the school in Ottawa and it was always a thrill to have her variation class.
Miss Franca was responsible for giving me my very first paid dancing opportunity. I don’t even remember if there was an audition or how it transpired but I ended up in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Die Fledermaus with Maureen Forrester in the lead. I was the lead couple in the ballet portion Miss Franca choreographed in long romantic tutu.
We did 8 performances which allowed me to travel with pointe shoes in back pack to Europe to audition. There I was accepted into the corps of The Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam. An absolute thrill with three house choreographers, full orchestra, amazing dancers from all over the world and in a city of museums, canals, history, and joie de vie! I danced in over 30 ballets over the 7 years there, rode my bicycle, drew in the life drawing classes at the Van Gogh Museum, travelled, and met my lifetime friends including my husband.
At one point I couldn’t withstand the pointe work my feet were damaged and I leaned towards contemporary movement. I flew to Montreal where the Judith Marcuse Dance Company was touring and auditioned for this ten member repetory company from Vancouver, BC. The next day a dancer had dislocated her shoulder and couldn’t continue the tour so I was asked to join immediately. Back in Amsterdam I was about to perform one of the signets in Rudi Van Dantzig’s new Swan Lake but after much gnashing of teeth and all night turmoil I decided to try something new.
This small company with mostly seasoned dancers was in it’s hay day for touring. We went to Asia, all across Canada and up and down Canada! and the USA. It was the first time I really had any understanding of what dancers outside a big state supported company would do. Unlike the companies in Europe where we had a year round contract, paid vacation and pension, here dancers had contracts for maybe half the year and the rest made up with other jobs and short dance contracts. One such contract was when I went to Tokyo to perform in Aida at the Tokyo dome with 65,000 people in the stadium and many many in the cast including a live circus of elephants, tigers and bears.
Still dancing in a professional company with Judith Marcuse I began to teach on our touring across Canada. My first daughter was born and soon play and dance on the floor was a daily exploration and fun. Seeing the effort and joy in achieving these baby moves from the ground up led me to become fascinated in something other than the dance technique movement that I knew to be dance. I found what I was searching for in Seattle, Anne Green Gilbert, director of Creative Dance Centre. Through study at Gilbert’s Teachers Institutes I found what is now the back bone of all my teaching, directing and choreographing, called Brain-Compatible Dance Education. Together with Best Teaching Practices this method is the marrying of what we know from those who study how the brain learns, with a movement and dance class.
I now teach as a guest in the education department of The National Ballet Company with their apprentice program called YOU dance, Toronto, ON. which involves teaching in the schools and hosting performances. I continue to direct and teach with colleagues a summer arts program in Victoria, BC, involving art, music, and dance.
I am passionate to pass on what I do to teachers at conferences and workshops.
I continue to dance, study, observe, and ask questions about how each of our natural movements affects our learning, growing and socializing. I am thrilled to collaborate with the fine musicians over the years who have become friends and the privilege of dancing with children whose parents support arts and education.