Grant Strate - That Elegant ManMonday, February 16, 2015
Grant Strate 1927-2015
I had the certain privilege of taking the portrait of dancer/choreographer Grant Strate twice. The first time it was in September 1998 and the second time it was December 2007. My one regret considering the pleasure he gave me in sitting for me is that I never saw him dance.
But I could almost imagine. This man, Grant Strate was the only man I ever met in Vancouver who could match the grace and laid back demeanour of Arthur Erickson. For many years I played the imaginary game of being given the task of making the invitation list for a reception for a visit by the Queen of England. Always, Strate and Erickson were first on it.Since 1998 until almost recently, at dance performances, I would notice the (always) elegantly dressed man sitting at the back of the dance hall - invariably it was with his partner and friend choreographer/dancer Wen Wai Wang. It was not coincidental to me that the latter also had (and has) elegance (an understated one) in spades. I always stopped to enquire what he (Strate) thought of the performance. He was always kind in his answers.
It was sometime in November of 2007 that I asked Wen Wai to bring Strate to my studio on Robson and Granville. At first it seemed odd to me. Wen Wai deposited Strate on the street entrance of the building and left, but not before telling me that he would be back as soon as I finished.