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2012 Grant Recipient

Contemporary Dance Winner
Colby McGovern

Colby McGovernGrande Prairie, AB native Colby McGovern is a 19-year-old student who has just completed his first year of the Professional Training Program at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. A graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Colby has participated in numerous summer training intensives as well as having received training in musical theatre, voice piano, pilates and yoga.

In submitting the nomination for The Hnatyshyn Foundation contemporary dance grant, the School of Toronto Dance Theatre artistic staff said of Colby, “As well as abundant talent, this young artist has determination, focus, drive, and a wonderful positive energy that will take him far. He definitely has the potential for a stellar career in dance, as well as the capacity to influence the art form of contemporary dance through his stature as an interpreter.”

In adjudicating Mr. McGoverns’ performance submissions, the jury for contemporary dance commented, “The candidate is strong, fluid and clear with excellent technical facility for his age and experience. He is a promising young artist... He is a natural mover, a gifted dance and is passionately committed to the art form. His technique is very, very good with excellent control… He seems to be very well trained on technique and he seems passionate about his desire to dance. I think he will certainly become a professional and fulfill his dreams, his passion.”

The jury included:
Karen Jamieson, Founder, Karen Jamieson Dance
Davida Monk, Dance Artist, Choreographer, Teacher, Associate Professor Emeritus of Dance (University of Calgary) the Artistic Director of the Calgary dance company M-Body: mind and music in motion, and Artistic Director of Dancers’ Studio West
Tedd Robinson, Choreographer, Performer, Artistic Director, 10 Gates Dancing

Artist's Statement

Coming from a ballet school, where most refered to me as a “mover’. I labeled myself as just that, thinking that I had movement in my bones. I know that I do, but at that time I did not know how much that movement could fulfill my whole being; how something could take over and make the whole world dissolve around you and nothing else matters, until you are forced to stop, either from the music, choreography, exhaustion, or time itself. It is so amazing to experience the feeling of completing a truly stimulating piece of work, and dropping to the floor, dripping of sweat with eyes closed trying to hold on to the place you just were in your mind, the mentality of pure bliss (even if you are gasping for oxygen). Since my departure from the ballet school, I have experienced these feelings a handful of times, each a treasure I cherish. These moments are what I strive for in work, and when I achieve one, it is a personal uplift in my drive to progress and to keep growing as a dancer and as a person.

Coming to my new school, the positive atmosphere was incredibly welcoming. I feel honoured to have the privilege to grow with the amazing faculty and my wonderful peers, and to be surrounded by people that understand the feeling of dance in one of it purest forms, and how it has the possibility to open people’s minds, eyes, and hearts. Also to have the opportunity to work with some of Canada’s finest choreographers is a privilege I take to heart. I have also participated in student-run shows that allow students the chance to explore their creativity with choreography at both of my schools thus far; this has given me a taste of what is possible, and I have many creative ideas that excite me to one day bring to the stage.

In the future, I aspire to dance in other parts of the world, possibly with The Netherlands Dance Theatre. Coming from a ballet school to the summer program at NDT, I was not prepared for how much the people and their own love of dance would affect me. Also getting my first taste there of some of Crystal Pite’s work was a real treat. Pite’s creations have made me excited to become a part of other people’s visions and creations, as well as to some day work with Crystal Pite herself, as she is a role model for me. Going abroad for The Netherlands Dance Theatre Summer Intensive opened my eyes to how some other countries view dance, and how differently they value performing art as compared to North America. Also it has made me value the opportunities here in Canada, such as working with Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Kidd Pivot, La La La Human Steps, and Toronto Dance Theatre, to name a few.

In order for me to be prepared for work I need to continue training my instrument and growing my body and mind. I have practiced yoga and Pilates, and I am conscious of my health, and how the body, like a piano if finely tuned, and with a skillful brain, can make beautiful music. Other goals of mine include training with and meeting with as many people as possible, to give me a broad view of the possibilities, of creations, and of professional relationships. To take part in the transfer of other artists’ views and sense of movement is the greatest gift I could ask to receive.

Lastly, my love for creation, to have the chance to touch someone with something that comes from the purest place in the heart, means the world to me. To know that the feeling I have when dancing could transcend to someone watching, pleases me to my core. Dance is my form of release, my affirmation, my inspiration, and my way to find myself in the world. But most importantly to me, it is my way to connect with people in the deepest and most honest way.






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