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Remembering Calgary’s Shirley C. Murray

1947-2016 By Amanda Bereska

Shirley Catherine Murray devoted her life to teaching and sharing a love of dance.

Murray trained in ballet, jazz, tap and national dance as well as in Laban’s Modern Educational Dance in the UK before moving to Calgary, where in 1968 she became a member of the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary (UofC).

In her over thirty years at UofC, Murray was one of the founders of the Dance Education program and of Dance Montage, the School of Creative and Performing Arts’ annual student performance, now entering its forty-seventh consecutive year.

Outside of her work at the university, Murray followed her passion for teaching young dancers. She worked with 1200 youths as a choreographer for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.

In her self-published book, The Magic of Movement: Aesthetic Movement and Principles for Sport and Dance, Murray champions the Laban method. She called it “magic” for its ability to build self-esteem and help with social, emotional and physical development in youth through dance and sport.

Murray’s influence was felt the world over through workshops, productions, publications, presentations and adjudications in over thirty countries. In 2007, Murray was chosen to be a guest instructor at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

Her legacy will continue at UofC in the form of the Shirley C. Murray Scholarship. It is designated for a student entering the five-year combined Bachelor of Arts Dance/Bachelor of Kinesiology degree.

“There are few people in Calgary who have championed and nurtured dance in this city like Shirley Murray,” said Dean of Kinesiology Penny Werthner at the launch of the scholarship in 2013. “Her legacy is numbered in the hundreds of lives she has shaped through teaching and mentoring and her artistic vision, which has shaped dance in this community. This scholarship is a fitting way to celebrate her legacy, and the Faculty of Kinesiology is proud to be a part of it.”

MURRAY, Shirley Catherine
1947 - 2016
Shirley Catherine Murray (nee Clarke) had a heartbreaking battle with cancer that ended on March 6, 2016. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/calgaryherald/obituary.aspx?n=shirley-c…

To read a full obituary, visit legacy.com.


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