The Dance Centre Unveils BC Dance Awards Recipients

The awards will honor Lisa Mariko Gelley, Josh Martin, and Margaret Grenier for their contributions to BC's dance community. Learn more!

By: Jul. 02, 2024
The Dance Centre Unveils BC Dance Awards Recipients
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The Dance Centre has revealed the recipients of two awards that acknowledge the achievements of British Columbia's choreographers. Lisa Mariko Gelley and Josh Martin, Artistic Co-Directors of Company 605, receive the biennial Lola Award; and Margaret Grenier, Executive and Artistic Director of the Dancers of Damelahamid, receives the annual Isadora Award.

Mirna Zagar, Executive Director of The Dance Centre, said: "I am so pleased that we are able to celebrate the accomplishments of some of BC's most exciting and influential dance artists through these two awards. Lisa Mariko Gelley and Josh Martin have built a repertoire of innovative work which is deeply integrated with other disciplines. Margaret Grenier's leadership of the Dancers of Damelahamid and the Coastal Dance Festival has elevated the work of Indigenous artists and pushed the boundaries of the form. These awards, which are also supported by generous donors, illustrate the depth and diversity of artistry in BC's dance community."

The Awards

The Lola Award is designed to encourage the work of mid-career and senior choreographers. The biennial $10,000 award is supported by the Lola McLaughlin Endowment Fund with the Vancouver Foundation and administered by The Dance Centre. Tony Giacinti, Lola's husband and a major contributor to the establishment of the award, said: "We hope this Award will reflect and nurture some of the essence of Lola's spirit, artistic approach and vision, and contribute to the growth of a Vancouver aesthetic that reaches beyond our shores." Since its initiation the Award has been presented to Crystal Pite (2012), Lee Su-Feh (2014), Rosario Ancer (2016), Justine A. Chambers (2018), Paras Terezakis (2020) and Helen Walkley (2022).

The annual Isadora Award, named after the dance pioneer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927), was instituted by The Dance Centre in 1999 to recognize the achievements of BC's dance professionals. The artists receive a cash award of $5,000, access to studio time at Scotiabank Dance Centre towards the creation of a new work, and a specially-designed award created by renowned glass sculptor Mary Filer. Previous recipients have included Crystal Pite, Wen Wei Wang, Jennifer Mascall, Julia Taffe, Gabrielle Martin and Jeremiah Hughes of Corporeal Imago, and Raven Spirit Dance, amongst others.

The Artists

Lisa Mariko Gelley (she/her) is an artist and mother, dedicated to sharing experiences through dance and performance, and across generations. She is a mixed-race settler of Japanese, French, and Polish descent, living, working, and learning on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Some of Lisa's recent works include MIDORI and Furusato, created with and inspired by her grandmother, Lily Yuriko Tamoto, around intergenerational intuition and ancestral memory.

Josh Martin (he/him) is dance maker and performer born and raised in Alberta, who has been based in Vancouver, and situated alongside partner and collaborator Lisa Gelley, for nearly 20 years. Exploring multiple roles and pursuits across the performing arts community, he remains committed to both a deep and evolving movement practice and choreographic curiosity. His solo works Brimming and Leftovers follow his ongoing investigation of the body as a container of held memory and trauma.

In their ongoing careers as interpreters and collaborators, Josh and Lisa's independent practices have been connected to the works and projects of dozens of companies and independent artists. Since its inception over 15 years ago, Lisa and Josh have invested in the work and development of Company 605, an arts organization devising, producing and presenting new dance projects, and centering collaborative processes rooted in community. Together as Artistic Co-Directors, they have co-created many works including Inheritor Recordings, Vital Few, Anthem, Loop,Lull, After We Glow, Looping, and lossy. Through their work, Company 605 has built bridges with artists and audiences across the country and Internationally, reaching outward to connect and situate itself within the context of a global dance dialogue.

Margaret Grenier is of Gitxsan and Cree ancestry. She is the Executive and Artistic Director for the Dancers of Damelahamid. She has produced the Coastal Dance Festival since 2008. Margaret's multimedia choreographic works bridge Gitxsan and Cree dance forms with current expressions. Her works have toured internationally and include Setting the Path (2004) and Spirit and Tradition (2007), and Visitors Who Never Left (2009), Luu hlotitxw (2012), Flicker (2016), and Mînowin (2019). Mînowin premiered at the Mòshkamo Festival, National Arts Centre, Ottawa (2019) and at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato, Mexico. Margaret holds a M.A. from Simon Fraser University and a B.Sc. from McGill University. She was a sessional instructor for Simon Fraser (2007) and faculty at the Banff Centre (2013). She received the Reveal Award (2017) and the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts (2020).


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