Shelagh McKenna was the youngest person ever to receive an arts grant from the province of Ontario, Canada, and became the youngest student and youngest scholarship student of the National Ballet of Canada, touring with the company as a child. She completed her training at Rambert and American Ballet Theatre, soon afterward appearing in a program for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and in the Broadway Dance Festival at the Bijou Theatre. She toured with American Chamber Ballet, financed by the New Repertory Dance Foundation and the Cultural Council Foundation. A Moving Experience, a documentary featuring her performances in classical roles, is included in the permanent collection of the Jerome Robbins Dance Archive at Lincoln Centre.
Videos of Ms. McKenna's choreography have been screened at fifteen festivals in Canada, the U.S.A., Portugal, Malta, France and Germany. These include the I.M.Z. Dance Screen and International Dance Video Grand Prix, the American Film and Video Festival, Danceworks and the Canada Dance Festival. Her work is included in the archives of the National Resource Centre for Dance in Surrey, England, Dance Collection Danse in Toronto, Dance Camera West in Los Angeles, and the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. It has also been selected for broadcast by the Bravo! network. She won a bronze medal at the International Film and Video Festival in New York, honourable mention at the Algarve Film Festival, and the experimental award at the American International Film and Video Festival.
Ms. McKenna was invited by the American Dance Guild to speak on choreography for the camera at the International Dance Conference in Hong Kong, financed by the Asian Cultural Council and the government of Hong Kong. She was subsequently invited by Selma Jeanne Cohen to speak with dancers from the Kirov Ballet and administrators of the Bolshoi school for the Citizen Ambassador Program of People to People International. Ms. McKenna is a member of the UNESCO International Dance Council, and last year her paper 'Choreography and the Camera' was presented in Athens at the Council's World Congress on Dance Research.
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