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The Choreographer’s Circle: Celebrating a Decade of Support

This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Choreographer’s Circle, a group of dance lovers and donors who have collectively raised $3.5 million to support The Dance Centre over the last decade. We sat down with one of the founding members, Canadian dance icon Jean Orr, to find out more:

What is the Choreographer’s Circle?

The Choreographer’s Circle is a group of interesting people WHO LOVE DANCE. The camaraderie of this group of people is unique and every event is a learning experience.

Members make a minimum three-year financial commitment to support The Dance Centre. This commitment is crucial because it gives the organization financial stability, and I think it also helps philanthropists to plan.

I love the diversity of our members. We have writers, doctors, academics, artists, people in business, lawyers… I would love to see more young members join. Young people are helpful in moving the Circle forward.

When and why did you join?

I joined with great enthusiasm at the very beginning, in 2010, primarily to support The Dance Centre. Now for me, through the dedication of Sheri Urquhart, Development Director of The Dance Centre, it has become THE group to be part of.

Sheri has been responsible for the Circle’s growth. She organizes a series of diverse and engaging social events each season, and that is what keeps the Circle so interesting.

How have you seen it evolve over the last ten years?

The Choreographer’s Circle continues to grow in members and events. Events are there for members to attend and include dance chats, performances and social evenings, which give members an opportunity to learn more about past and present dance history. The Circle now has over 60 members and offers at least five events a year.

What has been your favourite event so far?

I have enjoyed them all, taking something special from each opportunity. I particularly enjoy going to events at Scotiabank Dance Centre. Members have reserved seating which means we can sit and enjoy dance together as a group – it makes us feel special!

The Circle also offers experiences outside of dance for members to get together. Chef Denis Blais did a wonderful cooking demonstration at the home of Marnie Carter, who is another longstanding member.

What is your favourite part of being a Choreographer’s Circle member?

My favourite part of being a member is the flexibility to choose between so many different types of events. I can attend as my time permits and if I miss one, the next is just as exciting.

One thing I particularly love is that membership is not laborious. It feels natural and welcoming to be part of the Circle. Sheri makes possible unique opportunities that are welcoming. The events are well organized.

Why do you think people should consider joining?

The Choreographer’s Circle is a vibrant group to be part of. Joining it has enriched my life and will enrich yours. Please support this GEM.

A much-loved figure on the Vancouver dance scene, Jean Orr was Canada’s first Giselle. A former principal dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, she was also one of the founders of Ballet BC, and is a longstanding board member at the Vancouver Ballet Society.


To learn more about the Choreographer’s Circle click here or call 604.606.6407.

Photos: Jean Orr/The Dance Centre; V’ni Dansi/Chris Randle