Grant Strate (1927-2015)

1996 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Dance)

"Fate at every turn took over," says Grant Strate modestly, referring to the brilliant career which took him from charter member of the National Ballet to become one of Canada's leading dance educators, choreographers and administrators - a self-styled "squeaky wheel" furthering the cause of dance in Canada.

Trained as a lawyer, he danced for fun but gave an instant "yes" when Celia Franca asked him in 1951 to join her fledgling ballet company. A soloist with the company and its first resident choreographer, he stayed twenty years, leaving to become the first chairman of the Department of Dance at York University. Ten years later he went West, to head the Centre of Art at Simon Fraser University.

Teaching has been "the highest order of business". He likens it to gardening: "when things grow it's magic!" Widely loved in the dance community, he's known for his rigorous but fair judgments as an adjudicator for the Canada Council and other agencies.

Contact with young people in Canada and now abroad on teaching assignments in China and elsewhere feeds his youthful spirit, essential to his own continual need to create. A Centennial Medal, the Queen's Jubilee Award and the 1979 Dance Ontario Award have all marked his success.