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Yoné Kvietys (1924-2011)

By Amy Bowring

Lithuanian-born Yoné Kvietys died on July 17th in Calgary. Laban-trained, she immigrated to Canada in 1948 and began working with ballet teacher Boris Volkoff in Toronto. She soon moved to Montréal where she worked with Ruth Sorel and collaborated with fellow Lithuanian émigré Birouté Nagys; the two performed a psychological dance-drama at the 1954 Canadian Ballet Festival. Kvietys returned to Toronto in 1956 and set up a studio and company; among her dancers in the 1960s were Donald Himes, David Earle and Susan Macpherson. Kvietys was part of a team of modern dance artists who organized a series of festivals in Toronto in the early 1960s; she also presented choreographic workshops providing dancers, such as David Earle, with opportunities to stage their own works. In 1966, Kvietys moved to Calgary where she taught modern dance and developed the roots of what would become the dance program at the University of Calgary; Lisa Doolittle and Margaret Dragu were among her Calgary students. In 1972, she shifted disciplines and began a career as a visual artist eventually teaching at the Alberta College of Art.

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