University of Calgary

Anne Flynn

  • Professor Emerita of Kinesiology

Research Interests

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Anne Flynn is a dancer, teacher, writer, and dance education advocate. She is Professor of Dance in the Faculties of Kinesiology and Fine Arts with a wide range of experience across diverse aspects of the dance discipline. As a dancer, she performed and choreographed with partner Denise Clarke for most of the 1980's appearing in Canada and abroad. She trained at the studios of Merce Cunningham, Erik Hawkins and Viola Farber, and worked with Richard Bull's Improvisational Dance Ensemble, earning degrees from SUNY Brockport and Wesleyan University. In 1987 she co-founded Dance Connection magazine and her eclectic writing about dance has been published in numerous books and periodicals. She is co-editor with Lisa Doolittle of Dancing Bodies, Living Histories: New Writing about Dance and Culture (2000) and co-creator of the dance education advocacy video Dance: For Our Children (1998). She has won several awards for her writing and advocacy work, and has served on the boards of local, provincial and national dance organizations. She was instrumental in the creation of the B.A. Dance degree and is Manager of the Department's Urban Dance Connect, a community dance project. She has organized conferences at the national and international level, most recently for the Society of Dance History Scholars (Banff 2006) and the Society for Canadian Dance Studies (Calgary 2009). Flynn teaches in the areas of Dance Studies, Dance Improvisation and Dance Pedagogy.


My research has been composed of both creation/performance and research/writing. In the earlier stages of my career I collaborated with Canadian dancer/actor Denise Clarke from 1981 to 1988. Clarke/Flynn produced a number of evening length concerts in addition to many other individual works that were performed in Calgary, in other national venues, and internationally. In 1987, Lisa Doolittle and I co-founded Dance Connection magazine with editor Heather Elton. Dance Connection was a blend of critical writing and in-depth articles on different aspects of dance published bi-monthly in Calgary, and was the first dance magazine in Canada to regularly include the work of multicultural artists. Dance Connection explored the relationship between dance and cultural studies and promoted a dance studies perspective in its editorial choices. From 1987-1996 I served as President of the board of directors, content specialist, editorial consultant, and writer.

Since the late 1980s I have focused on Alberta dance history, conducting oral history interviews with key figures in the Alberta dance community and publishing the work in various anthologies. In 1998 I produced the Dance Education advocacy video Dance: For Our Children, which summarizes the research on the value of lifelong participation in dance. The video won two top awards from the Association for Media and Technology in Education in Canada, and was part of an advocacy project to include dance in the public school system in Alberta.

Teaching Philosophy and Areas of Specialization

My first dance teacher was my dad. We spent many hours tap dancing and singing in the kitchen and these early dance experiences, characterized by playfulness and joy, have remained the cornerstone of my approach to teaching.

I have been drawn to dance in part because of its potential to transform us. The act of dancing requires a particular type of concentration/participation and the result is often a heightened awareness in all of our senses. Dancing wakes us up and attunes us to the people and things around us. People consistently report that they feel better when they walk out of a dance studio than they did when they walked in. The simple outcome of dancing, a robust movement activity, is that it can help us feel well.

My main area of focus in the studio has been Contemporary dance technique and improvisation, though I have also taught a wide range of social dance forms. I have taught structured improvisation to professional dancers, beginning dancers, and non-dancers from all walks of life; I have been teaching improvisation to cancer patients since 2003. In all of these settings the consistent element is working with simple ideas about paying attention to our movement choices and probing the relationship between thinking, sensing and feeling. I also teach introduction to dance and dance pedagogy for Kinesiology students, as well as Dance Studies and conditioning for dancers. Since 2005 I have helped coordinate a weekly dance program for senior citizens living in downtown Calgary.

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