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New Gallery Exhibition Celebrates the Legacy of Alan Lund

September 4, 2014

‘Canada's Pre-eminent Showman' explores Lund's national contribution to dance and musical theatre

(Charlottetown, P.E.I.) - Confederation Centre's 50th anniversary events continue this fall with the opening of a landmark exhibition commemorating the career of Alan Lund. Canada's Pre-eminent Showman: The Artistry of Alan Lund explores the work of the dancer, choreographer, and director who many credit as the ‘father of the Canadian musical.'

A co-production between the Art Gallery and Dance Collection Danse (DCD), the exhibition opens September 13 in the concourse gallery. Lund (1925 - 1992) served as artistic director of The Charlottetown Festival for 20 years, the longest in Festival history. His talent and vision led him through a renowned career that spanned more than half a century.

"As dancers, Alan and Blanche Lund were household names during the golden age of variety television," states DCD's Amy Bowring, curator. "His choreography was so inventive and, as dancers, they had incredible chemistry and stage presence. All his movements were so smooth, and when he lifted Blanche, it seemed like she was made of air."

Bowring continues, "As a director and choreographer Alan's contribution to the development of original Canadian musicals is unmatched. He was a gifted mentor who believed in the talent of Canadian performing artists and in the importance of our stories and he had no qualms about putting either on stage."

This exhibition explores through photographs, maquettes, designs, and costumes Lund's national contribution to dance and musical theatre as well as his work in Charlottetown. Items from DCD and the personal collection of Blanche Lund will be on display, along with artifacts from the Centre, including works from set and costume designer, Frances Dafoe. Historic footage of Alan and Blanche dancing is featured courtesy of CBC's national archives. As well, reproductions of two rarely seen wartime sketches of Alan - created when the couple performed in the military revue ‘Meet the Navy' - will be on display courtesy of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.

Lund thrilled the masses whether they were World War II troops, Canada's first TV audiences, or a full house in Charlottetown for the premieres of now classics such as Anne of Green Gables-The MusicalTM or Johnny Belinda. However, the popularity of his work is secondary to his ability to visualize a complex integration of theatre, music, and dance. Almost 25 years after his death, Lund still carries the adoration of those who worked with him and were mentored by him, and his impact on Canadian musical theatre remains unmatched.

Canada's Pre-eminent Showman: The Artistry of Alan Lund opens September 13 at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. The exhibition will open at the DCD Gallery in Toronto on January 15, 2015.

Bowring will present a free art talk on the life and work Alan Lund at the Art Gallery, Saturday, Sept. 13 at 3 p.m. Also on September 11, Bowring will lead a grassroots archiving workshop for the general public. This workshop is designed to help teach artists the basics of archiving - what to keep and how to keep it. This will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in the small lecture theatre of Holland College's Charlottetown Centre, at the Prince of Wales campus. For more information, please visit confederationcentre.com/artgallery
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Image Cutline: An Alan and Blanche Lund promotional dance photo, 1950, courtesy of Blanche Lund. A new exhibition entitled Canada's Pre-eminent Showman: The Artistry of Alan Lund opens this month at the Art Gallery as part of Confederation Centre's 50th anniversary celebrations (submitted photo).
Media contact:
Fraser McCallum, Communications Manager, Confederation Centre of the Arts
T: 902.628.6135 (office) E: fmccallum@confederationcentre.com
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