ABout Dance Inspirations & Dance Challenge



The Moose Jaw Festival of Dance (MJFD) is a non-profit, registered charity, fully supported by a volunteer membership. MJFD is an event for the entire family. Our goal is to offer a fun, friendly competition, and to give all participants and their teachers valuable learning opportunities. In 2012 the Moose Jaw Festival of Dance was entering its 54th year and decided to name and brand their annual competition as Dance Inspirations. Dance Inspirations features a merit based marking system as well as new scholarships and awards in excess of $30,000. 

At Dance Inspirations, performers of all ages and levels are able to display their talents and use this positive experience to improve their skill and self-confidence. We want to celebrate all achievements and inspire young dancers to realize their full potential.

Dance Challenge is a finale event which showcases group performances with the highest marks from the Dance Inspirations event. These performances are displayed to the community as they compete for group scholarships. The monetary awards presented will allow for enhancement of student dance education in the form of workshops or other training activities.  The Dance Challenge event was officially approved in 2017 and also features the same merit based marking system.  

Dance Inspirations 2019 will be held May 1st to 5th. We hope to see you then!!

The History of the Moose Jaw Festival of Dance

The year was 1959 and Matt Shepperd, President of the Moose Jaw Festival of Music Association decided to present the possibilities of “Ballet” being incorporated into the Music Festival.  The first meeting was held at the home of Helen and Floyd Tait.  Frank Godley was appointed chairman of the Ballet section of the Music Festival.  Helen Tait and Betty Godley were to contact the dance teachers and get their reaction to this new venture.  Doris Sitter, a local dance teacher was instrumental in arranging meetings with the Dance teachers in the province.

Mrs. T. R. Whittet, a Saskatoon dance teacher and a member of the Saskatchewan Association of Music Festivals,  and Mr. Arnold Spohr, of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, helped set up the first dance event.

Incorporating ballet into the music festival

Group ballet dancers

At 9:00 a.m. April 4th, 1960, at the Technical High School, the Moose Jaw Festival of Music officially welcomed Ballet as part of its competitions. The program book was one sheet and sold for 10 cents.  There were 93 entries.  It was judged a complete success by all concerned and it was decided to continue the dance portion of the Music Festival.

In 1965 tap was added to the program and by 1968 we were up to five running days with 618 entries, 31 awards, and 9 scholarships.

In 1969 a category for jazz dancing was included in the program and with the addition of a variable-speed record player, directions such as “Play my music just a wee bit faster” tended to panic the sound personnel.

In 1977 the Music and Dance sections separated by mutual agreement and the Moose Jaw Festival of Dance was incorporated.  In 1984 the Dance Festival held its 25th Anniversary.  There were 1260 entries and it ran for 9 full days.  Dancers came from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and all parts of Saskatchewan

In 2006 our dance festival ran for seven days with 1,200 entries in dance categories of ballet, tap, jazz, broadway, variety & hip hop.  We had dancers participating from twenty four Dance Schools from all points of Saskatchewan plus Dance Schools from Alberta.

Jumping Dancer

Hip hop dancer jumping

The Moose Jaw Dance Festival is adjudicated by highly qualified people brought in from all over Canada and the United States.  These people have always been impressed with the quality of the dancers, the high standards and discipline of their dance training.  After seeing the talent that Saskatchewan had to offer, two of our former adjudicators put Saskatchewan on the Disney audition tour.

The Moose Jaw Festival of Dance is totally organized and operated by volunteers. The planning begins in September and culminates in May. 

Due to the magnitude of the festival and the number of volunteers that are required to keep the festival running smoothly for seven days, we have enlisted the help of various service clubs in our area.  The Prairie Edge Skate Club looks after door sales and security; the Moose Jaw Skate Club runs the concession.

In 1991 a decision was made to hire a professional to run the music system. This has greatly enhanced the quality of sound for the performers.

The Festival Committee has worked hard to build on the reputation of the Moose Jaw Festival of Dance and we are proud to offer in excess of 220 awards (including trophies and scholarships), all donated, to those who excel or show promise in each category.  In 2006 over $15,000 was awarded to dancers to help further their dance education.

Quality dance performances

Dancer in spotlight

Students are encouraged to participate in dance examinations, the festival gives them the opportunity to perform before an audience and project what they have learned.

The general purpose of the Moose Jaw Festival of Dance is “to advance, promote and to encourage generally the study and practices of the art of Dance, either alone or in conjunction with the related arts”.  The Festival spirit may be defined as the joy of participating with others in seeking the highest levels in the art of dance.

We quote from the Digest Report of the Federation of Canadian Musical Festivals: “Competition is essential in the conduct of a Festival.  No non-competitive means can raise the same standard of performance to the same degree to create the same interest in striving to attain the highest levels of performance and appreciation.

If you would like more information about the Moose Jaw Festival of Dance Committee please check out our most recent Constitution and Bylaws here:  MJFD Constitution. And remember, we always have room for new members!

Dancer with red legs