Grad chooses post-secondary pas de deux
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca
For most young dancers, there comes a time when one must choose between a post-secondary education and an education in dance. But for Daphné Paquette, it was never a choice.
“I was determined to dance, to go to school, and determined to teach,” she says. Fortunately, in Grade 11, she was introduced to a Simon Fraser University program that allowed for all three.
The five-year Dance Major Program, offered in partnership with the National Ballet School (NBS) Teachers’ Training Program (TTP), gives students both an in-class and in-studio education, split with three years at SFU and two at Toronto’s NBS.
“Ballet’s like a language, there are different dialects—there are different curricula; the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is one,” she explains.
Paquette’s training at NBS earned her certification to teach the RAD style. “It’s usually a three-year program, but we fast-track it in two.”
During her three years at SFU, she spent three weeks in New York with the Merce Cunningham Trust—a network of dancers working in honour of the late Merce Cunningham, an exceptional choreographer and company leader.
Cunningham’s company disbanded in 2011, two years after his death. “So they hold workshops,” says Paquette, “where they bring in young emerging dancers, and they get to learn from company alumni.”
In New York, Paquette assisted choreographer Megan Walker-Straight, a seasonal instructor at SFU who was recreating a piece for the Trust. “It’s fascinating how they’re working,” says Paquette. “It’s something you just can’t get in a dance history book.”
Now, Paquette is graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts, a teaching diploma—and plenty of dance experience. And she has just begun her teaching career at the Vancouver-based Dance Co. where, she says, “It’s the whole gambit—from three-year-olds to aspiring professionals.”
“I’m excited,” she says, “but not ready to settle down. After a year, who knows?”
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
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