Grant Strate, one of Canada’s most accomplished
dance artists and a charter member of The National Ballet of Canada, passed away in February 2015 in his Vancouver home at age 87. Strate danced with the National Ballet from 1951 to 1962, appearing with them at Jacob’s Pillow when the company made its U.S. debut in 1953. In that engagement, two of his remarkably dissimilar roles were the Faun in Afternoon of a Faun and Dr. Coppelius in Coppelia. He became the company’s first resident choreographer, creating more than a dozen ballets between 1964 and 1970. The follow year, Strate created Canada’s first university dance program at Toronto’s York University and a decade later, he joined Simon Fraser University in British Columbia as director for their Centre for the Arts. After retiring in 1994, he remained active as a teacher and choreographer, and in 2002 he published Grant Strate: A Memoir. He was a recipient of the Order of Canada and was also awarded the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.