Retired Oak Bay dancer finds new legs in theatre

Sarah Murphy-Dyson performs at Centennial Square Friday, July 29

Submitted photo After a decade off the dance stage

After nearly a decade, Sarah Murphy-Dyson returns to the stage a newly developed hybrid – actor/dancer.

A former dancer trained with Maureen Eastick, artistic director at Pacific Dance, Murphy-Dyson has performed on Victoria-area stages before with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Today, Centennial Square forms her spotlight as she dances alongside a pair of free performances by Calgary singer songwriter Evan Freeman.

“I retired from the ballet to study acting full time,” said Murphy-Dyson, who grew up in Oak Bay.

“I really focused on acting for five years, to prove myself as an actor. I thought I was finished (dancing). I thought that part of my life was over.”

The universe had another thought.

She found herself listening to a favoured late-night CBC radio program, The Signal with Laurie Brown.

“It’s all amazing music, I fall in love with 90 per cent of the stuff she plays. It got me dancing in my living room at midnight,” Murphy-Dyson said.

“It hit me, I don’t have to be finished with dance. It can feel good.”

Then, through a series of connections that included a fundraising gala, Andy Kim (think The Archies’ Sugar Sugar) and Facebook, she discovered  Freeman’s music.

“The hook for me was (Kim) described it as ‘dreamy space pop.’ I thought ‘I don’t know what that is but I have to hear it,’” she said. “I listened to it. I loved it. I bought it.”

Then she emailed the singer-songwriter the equivalent of a video dance resume and threw the idea of collaboration into the cosmos.

“I’ve never done anything like that before. It’s so ballsy,” said Murphy-Dyson.

Kismet ensued. Freeman was keen and they shot a video that dropped last week. Then he was doing a tour, with a stop in her hometown.

Friday, she’ll dance barefoot and in shoes, point shoes, boots and heels for two 40-minute sets, embracing the dancer in the actor.

“We’re doing a free show and it’s going to be super fun. I honestly think it could be the beginning of bigger things. He is a super talent,” she said.

The two perform two 40-minute sets in Centennial Square at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“I definitely use my acting in the dance now; I always have, I’m just more aware of it now. It’s fun to be back dancing in this new form,” Murphy-Dyson said.

“My main focus I would say is acting, but to still be able to access my dancing this way, and still perform, it’s such a gift,”

Visit for a taste of the music.


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