Brian Webb


Brian Webb graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. He then moved to New York City, working with Eric Hawkins who had an influence on his early dance making. During the 1970's, Brian premiered many of his first dances with the Carol Conway Company in New York.

Returning to Edmonton in 1979, he formed the Brian Webb Dance Company as "company in residence" at Grant MacEwan College, where he was the Chair of the Dance Program for ten years. The company began presenting a dance season in 1991 and is now the largest season of contemporary dance west of Toronto. Since the beginning, the BWDC has been dedicated to experimentation, the new, and a collaborative creative process. His company has commissioned over 30 musical scores, numerous installations by visual artists and scripts by writers. Brian collaborates with local artists and works to give their work a broad context by tours across Canada and abroad.

In 1986, Brian completed a master of Fine Arts degree in Choreography at the California Institute of the Arts. He returned to Edmonton and began to create a solo dance theatre repertoire that presented a series of self portraits in collaboration with composers, writers and visual artists. During this period, he created numerous works with Edmonton visual artist Blair Brennan. These works toured across Canada to Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Brian has a keen interest in working with artists from other media and believes in collaboration being the democratic exchange between individuals to make something new. This exchange includes the audience he has developed in Edmonton as a presenter of new dance and interdisciplinary art. His works tour Canada regularly. His collaboration with Jeff McMahon, The Mountains and the Plains, toured to New York and numerous Canadian centres. His newest work, The Effects of Sunlight Falling On Raw Concrete, has been performed in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Toronto and Ottawa. He toured the dance in his 58th year! The piece was created in collaboration with local artists, Dave Wall [composer] David Fraser [Designer], and Nancy Sandercock {dancer]. Eleven local artists participated in the performance.

In 1995, Brian was awarded the Syncrude Award for Innovation in Artistic Direction and in 1998 he won the Telus Award for Arts of the Future (for Project Desire: The Mountains and the Plains). He was selected as an interdisciplinary artist in the 2000 Alberta Biannual of Contemporary Art. His dance, I'm Standing Here Before You, was performed in 2005 at the National Arts Centre's Alberta Scene in Ottawa.

Brian has been inducted into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame (2002), and received the Queens Jubilee Medal (2002) and the Alberta Centennial Medal (2005). This fall, Brian was awarded a University of Alberta Alumni Honour Award.

Brian's reputation extends nationally and abroad. He is known as an artist, teacher and dance presenter. In 2009, he taught creative process to emerging contemporary South Asian dance artists from Canada, US, UK, India, Singapore and Malaysia. As Artistic Director of the Canada Dance Festival at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa from 2001 to 2011, he introduced much innovative programming. In HipHop 360 [2007], he introduced bboying [break dancing] to the NAC to huge success and impact. In 2009 he presented Dancing In, Through and Between Cultures, a festival and symposium on diversity in Canadian culture. People from Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities participated in a dialogue that was not afraid to discuss racism in Canadian arts.

Brian also works in the community as a volunteer. He was the president of Latitude 53 and PACE [locally], the Alberta Dance Alliance [provincially], and the CanDance Network [nationally]. He has served on the boards of the Compassion House Foundation [7 years] and the Nina Haggerty Centre [2 years]. He is currently co-chair of a City of Edmonton initiative which is examining the future of the arts and arts policy in Edmonton. He believes that artists must be active participants in the community at large.