Clifford Collier (1929-2011)

By Amy Bowring
  • Cliff Collier, c. 1946 / Photo by Page Toles / Photo courtesy of Dance Collection Danse

Dancer and archivist Clifford Collier died in Toronto on February 21st of cancer. Collier started dancing in 1947 with Boris Volkoff in Toronto and performed with the Volkoff Canadian Ballet, including several appearances at the Canadian Ballet Festivals. He left the Volkoff studio in 1952 and studied for a short period with Willy Blok Hanson performing with the Willy Blok Hanson Trio on television. He also spent time in Ottawa where he performed with Nesta Toumine’s Ottawa Classical Ballet. In 1953, Collier moved to Montréal where he danced in television productions choreographed by Brian Macdonald, Heino Heiden and Elizabeth Leese. After sustaining an injury, he returned to Toronto where he began to teach, first with Janet Baldwin and then Gladys Forrester. In 1960, he began to choreograph and stage high school productions of Broadway shows for several Toronto schools. Collier entered the dance program at York University when it opened in 1971. He then devoted his energies to research and the development of archival resources pursuing a Masters of Library and Information Science at the University of Western Ontario. Collier developed a descriptor thesaurus for the archival software Canadian Integrated Dance Database produced by Dance Collection Danse and spent many years working with the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Lesbian and Gay Archives. A memorial will be held on March 19th at 2pm at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

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