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Margie Gillis (Québec)

30e Anniversaire
December 11, 12 & 13, 2003
Place des Arts

“With Gillis, technique gives way to unadorned, unassuming, moving...truthful expression.” Tribune Jurassienne, France

Margie Gillis, the incarnation of modern dance in Canada and a perennial audience favorite, is celebrating her thirty-year career with a program made up of her favorite solos along with previously unperformed pieces. It promises to be a grand evening for an artist who, in her honesty and unique sensibility, has brought thousands of spectators around the world to love the dance.

Working from within, Margie Gillis seeks out the core of emotion the better to strive for the universal. She possess “...the fascinating ability to create individual universes, to demystify the dance while at the same time enlarging it, to combine stark simplicity with genius.” — La Presse, Québec

Did Margie Gillis foresee the meteoric career that would be hers when she first took the stage as a choreographer/interpreter in Vancouver, in 1973? It was to be a career that would take her around the world, and see her share the stage with artists of the highest calibre, including Jessye Norman. Whatever the answer, the determined young artist with her abiding passion for the dance threw herself into esthetic innovation with the same intensity she displayed on stage. Her creativity, imagination and humanism—buoyed by an uncommon energy—were to lead her to build up a repertoire of more than ninety choreographic works.

Need we remind ourselves that it was Margie Gillis, a youthful Montreal-born Canadian, who introduced modern dance into China as the first lecturer and professor to deal with the dance since the revolution? After China, she traveled in India, the Middle East and Europe, as well as both North and South America. Gillis has been recognized as Quebec’s and Canada’s Cultural Ambassador, and was the first modern dance interpreter to be awarded the Order of Canada for “her outstanding achievements as a solo interpreter and choreographer.”

Margie Gillis has been a guest dancer with many companies, including the Grands Ballets Canadiens, the National Ballet of Canada, Momix, the Bruce Wood Dance Company and the Paul Taylor Company, for which she danced two pieces choreographed by her brother, Christopher Gillis. She has also participated in television programs, galas, not to mention fund-raising and prestige events in several countries.

As a politically active artist, she has become the spokesperson for a variety of causes, including the fight against AIDS via the Friends in Deed initiative, Dancers for Life, the Farha Foundation and DIFA. She is also a supporter of Planned Parenthood and OXFAM.

April 2003

Photos: Annie Leibovitz + Jack Udashkin, Michael Slobodian