Interview with Margaret Grenier and Karen Jamieson

DanceWorks upcoming CoWorks, light breaking broken, is the personal journey of two artists reconnecting with language, culture, and identity. With different cultural perspectives and individual histories, Margaret Grenier and Karen Jamieson use their distinct dance styles to push each other’s boundaries.

Here, we interview Margaret and Karen and learn more about their creation process.

DANCEWORKS: Can you talk about how you met eachother and initiated this collaboration?

MARGARET: Karen was working on a solo piece a few years ago and she invited me into her research process. It sparked an exploration of the coming together of our two perspectives and
creation processes. In the process we began to look at the concept of ‘broken’ as a paradox with both a positive, as in breaking through, and a negative, as in broken spirit. This led to the foundation of the current work.

KAREN: Margaret was one of the eight artists who partnered with me in my research for the creation of solo|soul (2012 & 2013). Our ‘danced conversation’ focused on the juxtaposition of our radically different dance traditions and perspectives, and a dialogue on post colonial dance. Our explorations resulted in a work with very strong potential so we committed to developing it further.

DANCEWORKS: How did you work through your individual creative process, while still remaining focused on the collaboration?

MARGARET: For myself, it has been a significant learning experience in understanding creative processes outside of those informed by Indigenous epistemologies and pedagogies. I feel as if the whole process has been both humbling, and also empowering, as it has further clarified my own practice and deepened my internal foundation in the coastal form. The process with Karen has evolved to find intersections that have gone beyond the relationships that were initiated a few decades ago. In this way, it has been both challenging and rewarding.

KAREN: Early in our process we had long conversations with words, identifying key issues we thought were at the centre of the work. We then explored these ideas through improvisation in movement and dance from our different traditions.  As the process evolved, the conversation shifted to become a danced conversation with movement ideas revealing the essence of the work, and informing the words we use.

DANCEWORKS: The piece explores a journey theme. How is this expressed through the movement?

MARGARET: My journey through this collaboration is founded in a training that includes narratives of our origin, where dance is central to all aspects of life, integrating authority of place in relationship to land and others. Several decades ago, there was an understanding that was reached between the two forms of dance in the collaboration that took place between the Dancers of Damelahamid and Karen Jamieson. The journey, although personal on many levels, has taken two generations of dialogue to create a space where Karen’s and my individual journey could be shared with one another.

There are parallels in our movement and Karen and I have developed an ability to dialogue with one another throughout the shared narrative. For myself, this has led me into movement and process that my body is not familiar with, and like the metaphor of ‘light breaking broken’, the movement and imagery has also led me to openings where discourse is possible.

DANCEWORKS: Thank you, Margaret and Karen.

light breaking broken (part of an INDIGENOUS DANCE DOUBLE BILL. Brian Solomon’s the NDN way will be presented at 9pm)

Mar 30-Apr 1, 2017, 7pm @ AKI Studio

Creative collaboration: Margaret Grenier and Karen Jamieson



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