Remembering ballet’s grande dame

Celia Franca made Toronto a city where great art could thrive and be recognized internationally, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 20. While scouting talent, Franca supported herself as a file clerk at Eaton’s. Grant Strate, founding Chair of York University’s Department of Dance in the Faculty of Fine Arts, was one of her first recruits. "I was articling in law in Edmonton in 1951 and she came across Canada to audition for the new company. I met Celia at a reception. I was taken with her; she was so glamorous. She was a queen."

  • Celia Franca (LLD ’76), founder of the National Ballet of Canada and artistic director for 24 years, died in Ottawa on Monday, reported Feb. 19. She was 85. Franca served as a member of the Board of Governors of York University and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1976.

York’s Development Studies program combines issues with practical study

York University‘s master of arts in development studies will combine courses on understanding the growing issues of globalization with the practical application of real-world development work, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 20 in a feature on the coolest and quirkiest master’s degree programs being launched this fall by several universities. Students will partake in international internships, volunteer at NGOs, and develop a thesis paper or project based on their fieldwork. This is an awesome ticket to travel.

Talented Toronto trio touches down for show

The Richard Whiteman Jazz Trio is called a mainstream jazz group, but don’t confuse mainstream with middle of the road, wrote The Daily News (Kamloops) Feb. 20. Kamloops Jazz Society presents the Toronto-based trio Thursday night as its second show of the year. As the senior member of the trio, Whiteman has had a wide-ranging career. He’s played with orchestras, big bands, in new music concerts, classical crossover groups, musical theatre and countless engagements with well-known artists such as Pat Labarbera, former York student Jane Bunnett and Dee Daniels. He is a member of The Al Henderson Quintet [Henderson is an instructor at York] and teaches jazz piano and leads ensembles in York’s Department of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts.

On air

  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor and director of international business programs at York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about the rumoured purchase of Chrysler by General Motors saying he thought it was unlikely, on CKLW radio (Windsor) Feb. 19.
  • Author and York student Franky Morriello was interviewed about Quintencia: Pirates of the Montaleo Isles, the book he wrote when he was 17, on City-TV’s “Breakfast Television” Feb. 19.