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Tribute to the career grants recipients
2001 Career grant recipient

Margie Gillis


"You see, Gillis isn't about steps and being on the right count. She's about inner visions being made physical with searing honesty."
- Kathryn Greenaway, The Gazette

Margie Gillis was born in 1953 in Montréal in a family of accomplished athletes. She has been dancing since the age of three. A performer and choreographer, she has created more than 80 original works that have toured the world. Through natural movement, she links elements of classical, contemporary and new dance and gymnastics. Her choreographic language reflects a passion and compassion for the human condition. Her works, imbued with dramatic emotions but also humour, fluctuate between the search for self and the other in order to reveal the individual’s hopes, failures, vulnerability and grandeur.

“The starting point for each of my creations is an intellectual, kinetic, spiritual and emotional questioning,” explains Margie Gillis. “I see my dance as the outcome of the opening of channels between intelligence, emotions and the organization of images. The body possesses its own knowledge and I am seeking to serve this knowledge intelligently by combining corporeity and spirituality.”

In addition to her solo performances, Margie Gillis has been invited to appear with the leading dance companies, including Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the National Ballet of Canada and Martha Clarke’s and Bruce Wood’s companies. She has also created choreographies for other dancers. In 1981, she set up the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation in order to provide a structural framework for her artistic vision, foster projects in collaboration with other choreographers and dancers, and make the best possible use of the donations and funds she receives in order to broaden the influence of Québec modern dance abroad.

Her outstanding achievements as a performer and choreographer, her teaching and commitment to humanitarian causes (Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Planned Parenthood, OXFAM and various agencies dedicated to combating AIDS) make Margie Gillis an unrivalled cultural ambassador and a highly sought-after speaker. In 1979, she introduced modern dance to China. In 1987, she became the first modern dancer to receive the Order of Canada.

Margie Gillis intends to use her career grant to slow the frantic pace of her professional engagements, workshops, tours and speeches and to devote herself to a writing project. “My most pressing need is for time to create, do research, recharge my batteries, dream and take care of my body, which is my eternal stage companion, unavoidable interlocutor and ally.”


Selected Works
Anna; Bloom; Blue; Broken English; Clown; Desert Entrance; From Grace's Garden; George; Give Me Your Heart Tonight; Glacier; Going Back; How The Rosehips Quiver; Je t'en prie; Jersey Girl; Learning How To Die; Like The Moon Pulls The Tide; Loon; Love Song; Lullaby Lush Life; Magritte; Meditation; Meditation ; Mercy No Cure; On The Nickle; Once Upon A Time Right Now; Prison Blues; Reflections; Roots Of The Rhythm Remain; Secret Sisters Of Mercy; Slipstream Sombrero Sunday; Someone Missing; Source Sauvage; Speak; Testimony Of The Rose; The Dream The Little Animal; The Voyage; The Window; Third World Dream; Torn Roots, Broken Branches; Variations; Waltzing Matilda; Willie; With Earth; Woman La Lune ; Words




© Gouvernement du Québec, 2001