Vancouver dance impresario David Lui dies

David Y.H. Lui, a producer and impresario credited with bringing dance and performing arts to Vancouver has died. He was 66.

David Y.H. Lui, a producer and impresario credited with bringing dance and performing arts to Vancouver has died. He was 66.

Lui died Wednesday, according to a statement from the National Ballet of Cuba, which he was working with at the time of his death.

Lui was a prominent member of the performing arts scene in B.C. for more than 40 years, founding Ballet BC and Dance Spectacular, later replaced by the Dance Alive series.

He also was founding artistic director of the cultural program at the Canadian International Dragon
Boat Festival and the developer behind the Scotiabank Dance Centre, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. A rooftop garden at the centre is named after him.

He had been working on the upcoming performances of the National Ballet of Cuba, scheduled to take place in February 2012 and was excited at the prospect of hosting the legendary Cuban dancer and artistic director Alicia Alonso in Vancouver.

Lui was born and raised in Vancouver, where his parents encouraged his interest in ballet by taking him to watch touring performances. In the 1960s, he attended the University of British Columbia.

He remained fascinated by dance in the 1970s and 80s, building a small black box theatre on Richards Street in Vancouver and arranging to bring top-quality international dance to Vancouver audiences.

In 1985, he worked with Jean Orr, president of the Vancouver Ballet Society, and major arts funders from Vancouver to resurrect ballet in the city after Pacific Ballet Theatre folded. The result was the founding of Ballet BC.

Lui also served on the board of the nation-wide Canada Council for the Arts and was a founding board member of the B.C. Arts Council.

He was named a member of the Order of Canada for his service to the arts in 2000.