She had barely arrived in the world when her doctor was already praising her dancer’s body. She was born a star, with the soul of an as-yet-unsuspected go-getter. Because Dena Davida is an “artivist.” With ballet shoes on her feet and fire in her belly, she has been embracing dance, leading dance, and revolutionizing dance, one step at a time, for over 45 years.
Arriving in Québec at the end of the 1970s, the Californian by birth quickly stood out for her commitment to dance, co-founding Tangente, a leading dance performance venue in Québec. From Tangente’s original loft to its current home at Espace Wilder, Dena Davida has seen generations of dancers and choreographers emerge, including Hélène Blackburn, Marie Chouinard, Benoît Lachambre, Peggy Baker, and Édouard Lock. A doting mother, she has supported emerging voices and encouraged her family to join forces with her to break down barriers in her discipline.
An influential figure in Québec dance, Dena Davida has excelled as a performer, researcher, teacher, cultural mediator, and curator. With formidable energy and unfailing passion, this pioneer of contemporary dance examines her art down to its smallest movements. She is continuing her commitment by working to have performing arts curation recognized and developing a historiographical collection of writing on Québec dance.
Always one dance step at a time.
Portrait of Dena Davida and Daniel Godbout (interpretation and creation), “Chacun Pour Elle: Un pas de douze pour une femme et onze hommes” in 1988. Credit : Normand Grégoire
About the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec
The Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec is a distinction bestowed by CALQ honouring those individuals who have played a prominent role in Québec’s artistic development.
The CALQ would like to thanks its partners, the Caisse de la Culture and the newspaper Le Devoir.