Dance has carried Miryam Moutillet from performing with renowned companies such as Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and The National Ballet of Canada to the co-creation of Lock Danseurs (the precursor of La La La Human Steps) with Édouard Lock to Asian art studies in Japan. Finally, it brought her to Union College, a liberal arts institute located in Schenectady, New York, where she has been the dance program director for twelve years.
This semester Moutillet and her students move into a pristine new venue with the construction and inauguration of the Henle Dance Pavilion, a 7,000-square-foot centre dedicated entirely to dance education, performance, creation and dissemination. The building, built at a cost of three million dollars (US), will provide students with a 2,200-square-foot dance studio and 1,000-square-foot lobby that will double as rehearsal space. It also includes a costume shop, faculty offices, meeting rooms and gallery.
Since joining Union’s faculty in 2000, Moutillet has built a program that includes a multitude of dance forms and cultural influences based on the wide range in styles of her students and her own far-reaching personal experiences. Moutillet and her students will now be able to welcome regular workshops and performances by guest artists with their new space. “Dance can take flight at Union for years to come,” she said during the inaugural gathering for the building this past summer, in a speech that was both gracious and optimistic about the growing presence and accessibility of the arts in the college’s community.
On April 14, Toronto’s Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT) honoured thirteen-year-old Thée Winddancer by awarding her the René Highway Scholarship to attend their school, after seeing her perform in a March Break Performance Camp led by Indigenous performing arts company Kaha:wi Dance Theatre.