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applause please

Miriam Adams.

With the series Applause, Please, The Globe and Mail recognizes the efforts of dedicated citizens and those behind the scenes who make a difference in arts and cultural programs and institutions.

It was recently announced that a crew of Canadian dance champions would be inducted into the Encore! Dance Hall of Fame in Toronto on March 25. Big names they are, spread across dance disciplines, history and country. Among them are Veronica Tennant, Danny Grossman, Karen Jamieson, Rina Singha, René Highway, Jeanne Renaud, Ola Skanks and Alan and Blanche Lund.

Some would say Miriam Adams belongs in this class. More to the en pointe, some would say that without Adams, there would be no hall at all. Some would say those things, because it is all true. But what does Adams herself say?

"No, that's okay. There are too many people who aren't there. Maybe they'll catch me at the next one or the one after."

The Globe and Mail caught Adams on the phone, from her office at Dance Collection Danse – for more than 30 years a research centre and excellent repository for Canadian dance archives.

Adams co-founded the museum in the 1980s with her husband, Lawrence Adams, a onetime principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada who died in 2003.

Adams is the director of Dance Collection Danse and the key figure behind the resurrection of the Encore! Dance Hall of Fame.

"We launched Encore in 1986 at Casa Loma, where we celebrated nine dance artists, all over the age of 80," says Adams, herself a dancer with the National Ballet during the Lester Pearson era. "Now we're reigniting the concept."

The Hall of Fame will be housed as a virtual, online museum that will be archived and replenished yearly with new inductees.

Asked about the work she is most proud of, Adams speaks about travelling across the country in the 1970s with her husband, discovering dancers, teachers and choreographers. "We were overly impressed with the heart and soul of it," Adams says. "We were thinking, 'Why can't we make this public and why can't we find a way to make a place in history for these phenomenal artists and bring it forward to the current generation?' "

There were probably plenty of reasons why they couldn't – financial, mostly – but not enough reasons why they shouldn't and wouldn't. And, now, the hall calls for Miriam Adams.

The Encore! Dance Hall of Fame induction event happens March 25 at The Globe and Mail Centre (encoredancehalloffame.com).

Know of an unsung arts and culture hero who deserves wider acclaim? Send suggestions to bwheeler@globeandmail.com

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