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UCalgary Evening with Alberta Ballet honours shared 50th anniversaries, dance-science partnership

Alice in Wonderland performances well attended by university community to celebrate unique relationship
March 23, 2017
Alberta Ballet dancers Leiland Charles (Rabbit), Luna Sasaki (Alice) and Garrett Groat (Hatter) perform Alice in Wonderland in Calgary at UCalgary Evening with Alberta Ballet. Photo by Shaun Ron, for Alberta Ballet

Alberta Ballet dancers Leiland Charles (Rabbit), Luna Sasaki (Alice) and Garrett Groat (Hatter) perform Alice in Wonderland in Calgary at UCalgary Evening with Alberta Ballet. Photo by Shaun Ron, for Alberta Ballet

UCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon and Alberta Ballet Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maître describe mutual benefits of the dance-science partnership during their curtain speech at UCalgary Evening with Alberta Ballet. Photo by Mark Skogen, for the University of Calgary

UCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon and Alberta Ballet Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maître describe mutual benefits of the dance-science partnership during their curtain speech at UCalgary Evening with Alberta Ballet. Photo by Mark Skogen, for the University of Calgary

Lobby showcases provide information about the ways dance intersects with science. Photo by Mark Skogen, for the University of Calgary

Lobby showcases provide information about the ways dance intersects with science. Photo by Mark Skogen, for the University of Calgary

Winners of UCalgary's ticket draw for a backstage tour of the ballet's production in Calgary were intrigued by what they discovered behind the scenes. Photo by Lisha Hassanali, University of Calgary

Winners of UCalgary's ticket draw for a backstage tour of the ballet's production in Calgary were intrigued by what they discovered behind the scenes. Photo by Lisha Hassanali, University of Calgary

The Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary was teeming with excitement and activity on the evening of March 17 as more than 200 UCalgary community members arrived to take in a performance of Alberta Ballet’s Alice in Wonderland and experience UCalgary Evening with Alberta Ballet. This celebratory event was developed so both organizations could commemorate their 50th Anniversary milestone years together, and honour their shared dance-science partnership. Tickets for the performances in Calgary and Edmonton were offered at a reduced rate for UCalgary community members.  

Over the course of Alice in Wonderland’s Calgary run March 16-18, more than 400 UCalgary community members — including alumnus Mayor Naheed Nenshi, BComm’93 — enjoyed a performance of the classic tale told through dance.

Collaboration helps keep dancers on their toes

“Not only do we share the same 50th anniversary year, we also share the same vision of building a local community known across the country and around the world for its leadership in social, economic and cultural innovation,” said UCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon onstage before the performance. “Our united goals have helped form the basis of a strong dance-science partnership involving a number of initiatives, including a program where University of Calgary researchers work with Alberta Ballet dancers to reduce injuries and promote preventive habits in dance.”

This dance-science partnership is one of only five such programs internationally, combining diverse expertise from neuroscience, kinesiology, physiotherapy, and professional dance practice. The Faculty of Kinesiology, Cumming School of Medicine’s Department of Clinical Neurosciences, the Momentum Health Physiotherapy Clinic and Alberta Ballet provided informational showcases in the lobby during the Friday night performance of Alice, offering information about the ways in which dance intersects with science. Information about UCalgary’s combined Bachelor of Kinesiology and Bachelor of Arts (Dance) — the first program of its kind in Canada — was also available as part of the showcases.

"It's an exciting collaboration,” said Jean Grand-Maître, Alberta Ballet’s artistic director, at the event. “We have been working with the University of Calgary on preventing injuries and helping keep our dancers on their toes."

Ticket draw for backstage tour was a bonus 

Ticket purchasers in Calgary were automatically entered in a draw to take a backstage tour of the Alice in Wonderland production before the performance.

"I really enjoyed the backstage tour at Alberta Ballet," says Paulina Tse, fourth-year Haskayne School of Business student. "It was really cool to get a glimpse into how much work goes into a production like that." 

And Chi Gieng, a second-year Schulich School of Engineering student, says, "It was insightful to see how the pulleys and levers work on the stage itself to move the set and props. I was impressed by how much engineering goes into the show."

Reduced-cost tickets for Edmonton's Alice performances still available for UCalgary community

Tickets are still available for the Edmonton performances of Alice in Wonderland. Our UCalgary community, including alumni, are invited to enjoy a 25-per-cent reduction on tickets for the March 24 and 25 Edmonton performances.

These special tickets can be purchased online by entering promo code UOFCALICE25. (Purchasers will be prompted to set up an online account with Arts Commons to purchase tickets. This step will require entering contact information, but you can opt out of receiving emails.)