Mona D’Amours is the driving force behind Canada’s dance competitions. There’s one in every province now, except for Prince Edward Island. The competitions bring together dancers in every category; from ballet to jazz, contemporary to Hip Hop, to tap and folkloric dance, the performers bring their passion and skill to these arenas.
Today in Montreal, an exciting 10 days that brought dancers and delegates from over 20 countries, such as Japan, China, Indonesia, Ecuador and Portugal to name just a few, is culminating in the medal ceremony for the Dance World Cup.
Dancers and choreographers were among the top 10 growth occupations in Canada
Back in the mid-1990’s when Mona D’Amours organized the first competition, the dance landscape in Canada was very limited. But a combination of events, beginning with an “Economic Services Bulletin” Mona saw in her position as a training consultant for Human Resources Development Canada, changed everything. The bulletin stated that dancers and choreographers were among the top 10 growth occupations in Canada.
For Mona, the seed was planted. Since then it has been a labour of love and a family affair. Mona and her husband, Desiderio Fortunato met as dance partners in Italy 34 years ago. Now they’re partners in this venture. The couple’s three children, who grew up dancing, made their contributions and have gone on to various careers in the world of dance. But it was Mona’s vision.
Diversity is the key to success today
Mona D’Amours credits the growth of dance, in its many forms, to Canada’s multi-cultural society, to more boys participating, and money! In the competitions she has organized over the years, the best performers have been awarded over C$1.5 miilion in cash. And Mona D’Amours is demanding. For the coveted Dancer of the Year award, the winner must perform well in three categories, such as ballet, hip hop and tap for example. Her motto is that ‘diversity is the key to success’ and that goes for dancers too.
This has been a special gathering in Montreal. It was the occasion of the first International Dance Council World Congress outside of Europe. But closer to home, it is the beginning of the twentieth anniversary of the 5678 Showtime in Vancouver, where it all began, and a family reunion for the D’Amours-Fortunato’s.