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Modern Dance Mecca: Toronto’s Dance Scene Born at the J

By David Earle, Co-founder of Toronto Dance Theatre & Founder of Dancetheatre David Earle

My Modern Dance career began at the corner of Bloor Street and Spadina Avenue in Toronto in the late ‘60s, in what has become the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre. I created my first choreography there, danced for the first time as a modern dancer and, after my studies with Martha Graham in New York, I taught my first Graham class there.

The YMHA (Young Men’s Hebrew Association), as it was then called, was notably culturally conscious. In the dance studio Yone Kvietys was teaching Laban technique and had formed a company, which I joined.

A Canadian Modern Dance Festival took place there with Walter Sorel from New York adjudicating, and dance pioneer Charles Weidman came to Toronto to perform at the JCC.

Many of the dance artists who would play a significant role in my Life and work were discovered there. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, and presenting my work there in 2014 on International Women's Day was a return to the home that gave birth to 50 years of creation.

What was the first class you ever took at the MNjcc? Let us know on Twitter by connecting with us @BloorStCulture & @MilesNadalJCC, or use the hashtag #BCCstories.