Dancer & Improvisor
Based in Vancouver, on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəjˀəm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil Waututh) First Nations, I am a settler scholar, mother, and dance artist of mixed European descent. I research choreography in public spaces, asking questions about how bodies are cast into relation with natural and built environments, and with other bodies.
I am currently working on a project that combines academic and artistic research to study urban mobility and everyday choreographies. "Public Intimacy in Pandemic" is supported by a Jack and Doris Shadbolt Fellow in the Humanities (Urban Studies, SFU) and an Artist Residency at Vancouver's Dance Centre, and builds toward my book project, Moving Publics (under contract with MQUP), which takes expanded choreography as a frame through which to examine urban circulation and relation.
Formerly a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at York University (2016-19), a Trudeau Scholar, a Mellon Dance Studies scholar alumni, a Queen's Fellow, and CGS SSHRC recipient, I hold a PhD from Simon Fraser University with a specialization in dance and performance studies. My doctoral research explored the social and spatial politics of site-based dances set in public spaces throughout Vancouver, BC. This work built toward my postdoctoral focus on flash mobs, social choreography, and the politics of moving together.
I present my research both nationally and internationally, and was recently recognized with Canadian Association for Theatre Research's Robert Lawrence Prize for emerging scholars (2019). I have co-edited the first peer-reviewed journal issue on dance studies in Canada (Performance Matters 2019), and I recently co-edited an issue of Canadian Theatre Review on "Choreographies of Assembly" (2018). My research has been published in Performance Research, Dance Research Journal, Canadian Theatre Review, and The Dance Current, and in anthologies including Susan Manning, Janice Ross, and Rebecca Schneider's Futures of Dance Studies (Wisconsin 2020). I have been invited to speak in a range of events hosted by SFU Public Square, the Pandemonium speaker series (SFU, Urban Studies), the Vancouver Institute for Social Research, and as part of the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series.
A dance-maker and dance facilitator, I explore the relationships of moving bodies to their sites, to gravity, ground, and one another. I am currently Artist-In-Residence at Vancouver's Dance Centre, pursuing research on social choreography and urban mobility with a practice-based-research approach.
With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, I am currently developing a project that explores lost gestures in urban mobility with Justine A. Chambers. This project builds on a multi-year collaboration with Chambers, which has yielded a series of choreography walks, a co-written choreographic score in a recent issue of Canadian Theatre Review (2018), and a series of movement workshops with Arts Assembly and Dance Troupe Practice (2016-17). Recently, I co-facilitated a praxis-based session with Noémie Lafrance leading up to her site-based Bentway performance, Dérives (Toronto, 2019).
During my residency at Unit Pitt Gallery’s An Exact Vertigo series (2016), I brought my academic and artistic research together to explore the contours of my body as site-specific amalgam: a receptacle of spaces. I offered a public showing of my work-in-progress, Bone Song. I developed this piece into a solo for presentation at Interplay (2019).
During my postdoctoral fellowship, I co-developed performance scores with undergraduate students at York University, SFU, the University of the Fraser Valley -- where I also served as a choreographic consultant for the student Devised Theatre showcase. I have presented my choreography and structured improvisations at various venues throughout Canada, including: Unit Pitt Gallery, the CEREV space at Concordia in Montreal, Mascall Dance's Bloom choreographic series, The Firehall Arts Centre's BC Buds, Battery Opera's Bob's Lounge, among others.
I was a founding member of Behind Open Doors Arts Collective, a group of Vancouver-based performers, dancers, and thinkers who explored public space and the urban environments through danced and improvised movement (2004-2013). Together, we facilitated movement workshops for the public, and presented site-based work with Althea Thauberger (Artspeak 2008), Barbara Adler, and independently.
I teach across practice and theory. In the classroom, I teach: critical dance studies, performance studies, theatre and dance history and studies, introduction to dramatic literature and literary studies, text and performance, and introduction to university writing and research courses. In the studio, I teach: contemporary dance technique, improvisation, composition, partnering, movement for actors, and movement for everyday life courses. There is a praxis component to all of my teaching.
In my approach to the social function of performance, I introduce undergraduates to performance analysis, close-reading, contextual analysis, and composition skills. I move between theory and embodied practice to help tune students to how art shapes social spaces. With a praxis-based approach, I facilitate movement workshops in public spaces, co-curate exhibits at the intersection arts and academic methodologies, and teach dance technique, improvisation, and creative movement to movers of all ages. I started teaching and coaching a range of physical practices over two decades ago, and I've been teaching at the post-secondary level for more than a decade.
I have taught across disciplines to students at Simon Fraser University, York University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of the Fraser Valley. I am on faculty in Capilano University's English Department, where I teach strategies for university writing and research which are framed by my embodied approach to urban mobility. In addition to working with undergraduates in the classroom, studio, and remotely, I have also mentored young writers apprenticing with Canada's dance magazine of note, The Dance Current (2015-16), and I have guest taught, mentored, and formally overseen graduate students in the development of research projects, events, and academic conferences. In recent years, I been invited to present and teach in a range of venues, ranging from studios to galleries and theatres, and from conferences to festivals.
I have performed professionally for over a decade. Both federal and provincial arts councils have supported my dance career. I have danced on theatre stages and in studios, as well as in public spaces and immersive, intimate performance settings.
I launched my professional dance career as a company member with EDAM Dance (2006-13). I have danced with numerous dance makers, including Justine A. Chambers, David McIntosh and Su-Feh Lee (Battery Opera), Martin Chaput and Martial Chazallon (Project In Situ), and others. Performance highlights include EDAM's City of Crows (VIDF 2013), Life Sentences (VIDF 2011), and The Vargas Project (VIDF 2008); Battery Opera's M/Hotel (2011, 2015); and Projet In Situ's Do You See What I Mean? (PuSh Festival 2013).
My early training as a competitive gymnast and dancer -- and as a theatre and musical theatre performer -- was honed at Etobicoke School of the Arts, in Eastwood Collegiate's dance package (with Janice Price), and then in the Dance program at Simon Fraser University, in daily company classes with Peter Bingham, in regular yoga and pilates classes, and in "hops" hosted by Behind Open Doors. Among numerous others, I have also trained with Helen Walkley, taisha paggett, Angélique Willkie, Andrew Harwood, Marc Boivin, Su-Feh Lee, Susan Elliott, and at various training intensives including ImPulsTanz (Vienna).