Montreal Modern Dance Company (1952–1955) By Templeton, Melissa
The Montreal Modern Dance Company (1952–1955) was an important though shortlived collaborative project between Lithuanian émigrés and dancers Yoné Kvietys (1924–2011) and Birouté Nagys (1920--). Though unacquainted prior to their arrival in Canada, they both studied movement in Lithuania with Danuté Nasvytis, a dancer who trained at the Mary Wigman School in Germany. They met while dancing in Montreal with the Wigman-influenced choreographer Ruth Sorel. The Montreal Modern Dance Company gave its first evening-length performance in early January 1954, and that same year the Company performed at the sixth annual Canadian Ballet Festival. Both performances were well received. The company disbanded in 1955 when Kvietys moved to Toronto. Kvietys and Nagys would collaborate again several years later at the 1963 Canadian Modern Dance Festival when Kvietys invited Nagys to act as guest-choreographer for her Toronto-based group, the Contemporary Dance Company.