Vancouver choreographer Karen Jamieson has received this year’s Isadora Award for Excellence in Dance.
The award recognizes her 40-year contribution to B.C.’s dance scene through community-engaged and cross-cultural work, as well as creation and performance.
Jamieson has created some 97 dance works, including Gawa Gyani, a collaboration with Gitk’san chief, Kenneth Harris, in the 1990s, and the recent solo for herself Solo/Soul. She has spearheaded ongoing creation work with residents of the Downtown Eastside since 2006 and has recently established a mentorship program for a new generation of dancers and choreographers.
In a press statement today, Mirna Zagar, executive director of The Dance Centre, which gives out the award, said: “Karen is renowned as a choreographer and dance artist, and also as a mentor to many in our dance community, and an inspiring and generous artist.
“The emotional power of her work is acknowledged by critics and audiences alike, and she is recognized through this award for her contribution to the overall development of dance in British Columbia and Canada. Her ability to bridge traditions, and the awareness and appreciation she has nurtured through her many collaborations with First Nations dance, have helped empower others to embrace cultural diversity and appreciate the differences which enrich our dance culture.
“The Award also acknowledges her work in the development of community-engaged dance, through which she has invited people to engage in the practice of art-making, building up and expanding the understanding of the art form among the public. Constantly challenging the boundaries of the art form and her own artistic practice, as well as encouraging others to tread the path into unexplored territories, Karen continues to be a significant force in Canada’s dance landscape.”
Recipients are chosen by an independent jury and receive an Isadora Award sculpture created by the eminent glass artist Mary Filer, fully subsidized rehearsal space at Scotiabank Dance Centre to the value of $1,000, and $500 cash. Previous Isadora recipients have included Jennifer Mascall, Susan Elliott, Peter Bingham, Chick Snipper, Crystal Pite, Joe Laughlin, Wen Wei Wang, Judith Garay, Paras Terezakis, and Lee Su-Feh.