Edmonton Chamber Ballet

In 1982 took time out to experiment with running his own company, Chamber Dance Theatre which performed Woman and Time. More importantly, it raised the interesting challenge of chamber ballet, which has not yet been fully explored.

EDMONTON (CP) — David Adams could be called the grandfather of Canadian Ballet.

Adams was a charter member of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet during its start-up years between 1938 and 1946. While with that company, he joined the first-ever Canadian tour by a Canadian company.

At 53, Adams is still teaching classes in the dance and theatre arts departments at Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan College and at private studios in the city.

He recently went to Toronto where he danced with Lois Smith, his former wife and ballet partner, for the first time in 18 years, in a benefit gala for Actors’ Equity and the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists.

Adams also recently formed the Chamber Dance Theatre. It is to remain a small company, with perhaps only as many as seven dancers, and is to being public performances, including childrens’ programs, in the spring.

The dance theatre is affiliated with the college and involves some students in addition to trained dancers no longer associated with professional companies.

Adams said the dance theatre is intended to provide more performing opportunities for these people.

“I want the ensemble to be small and I want it be a stepping stone for the members,” he said in an interview.

Forming the company does not stem from feelings as a frustrated performer, he said, adding he is anything but.

“I’m 53 years old and I’ve spent 40 years in the business. I’ve done all the politicking and toured this country back and forth,” he said.

Toured countries

“I’ve toured through dozens of other coutnries. I’ve played in all the lovely theatres and all the grotty ones too.”

Since his Winnipeg ballet days he has danced with such companies as Metropolitan Ballet in London, Vancouver’s Theatre Under the Stars, Civic Light Orchestra in Los Angeles, The Alberta Ballet Company, the National Ballet of Canada, London’s Festival Ballet and Palladium Theatre, also in London.

The Winnipeg-born dancer also danced in two Ken Russel films and directed a small touring company. He taught at George Brown College in Toronto and Toronto Dance Theatre. He appeared in nightclub performances and took a one-shot job as co-director of a television opera.

Why Edmonton?

With a background like that, it’s natural to wonder what brought and keeps Adams in Edmonton.

He said the atraction in Edmonton was an offer to become a man-for-all-seasons — ballet master choreographer, dancer, lecturer and technical director — for the Alberta Ballet Company in 1976.

“A lot of people think it’s deflating to come from London to here. But it depends on what you’re looking for.

“I have had chances to go to Toronto, but I’ve turned them down. I have a lot of firends here and there have been a lot of opportuntities here.

He said he thought of going on to become an artistic director after his performing career was over, but when he realized it was more of an administrative job than an artistic one, he changed his mind.

Instead he wants to keep on teaching and creating.

“I love what I’m doing. I don’t ever want to face the day and say ‘Oh God, I have to teach another class.’ “

This entry was posted in Canada 1977-2007. Bookmark the permalink.