The company operated for many years on a financial shoestring, presenting a repertoire created by Ross in collaboration with her dancers. Financial restraints meant the company rarely appeared outside British Columbia, though when it did tour, for example across Canada in 1978 and to San Francisco in 1980, it was warmly received. Although she received commissions to create new works for the Vancouver centennial celebrations and EXPO 86, both in 1986, financial problems forced her to close her studio and suspend company operations in 1987. She subsequently moved with her family to Vancouver Island, where she continued to teach.
Ross explored many styles in a search for a choreographic language that would best allow her to make what she called her "visual poetry," her "universal tribal metaphor." She won the Chalmers choreographic award in 1977. Her choreography often bore a strong social or environmental message. Among her most successful works were Coming Together (1975), about the effects of imprisonment on native men, Strathcona Park (1980), celebrating a provincial park on Vancouver Island, and Shades of Red (1982), about aspects of womanhood. David RIMMER'S 1982 film, Shades of Red, was built around the re-choreographing of these three dances for the camera. She remounted Coming Together in 1993 for the DANNY GROSSMAN DANCE COMPANY in Toronto for a national tour.
Ross continues to create, and in 1991 received a CANADA COUNCIL grant that allowed her to take her first trips outside Canada, to Japan and France.
Author MAX WYMAN