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Acclaimed choreographers nurture SFU dance talent

In spring 1951, young University of Alberta law student and aspiring dancer Grant Strate made a gut decision that radically altered his life path. Upon receiving an invitation to join the new Canadian National Ballet, he opted in and soon found himself in Toronto for the company's premiere performance. 

Grant stayed on as dancer and choreographer with the National Ballet bringing an original perspective and modern dance aesthetic to the company. After his departure in 1970, he went to York University and founded Canada's first degree program in dance. Ten years later, Grant became Director of SFU's Centre for the Arts where he'd remain until 1989. Later becoming Professor Emeritus and receiving the Order of Canada in 1993.

Grant's passion for supporting future dance talent led him to create a student award recognizing a promising undergraduate from the dance program in SFU's School for the Contemporary Arts. A much-loved dancer, educator and choreographer, Grant passed away at the age of 87 in February 2015.

Grant's award was established out of a "genuine sense of caring for students and his dream that they would one day have the opportunity to make a career of their artistry," says his partner, Wen Wei Wang. A prolific dancer and choreographer himself, Wen Wei is proud to continue Grant's legacy by supporting the student award in his honour.