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We are proud to announce the recipients of two awards that acknowledge the achievements of British Columbia’s choreographers. Anya Saugstad is the recipient of the biennial Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award; and Raven Spirit Dance receives the Isadora Award for Excellence in Choreography.
Our Executive Director Mirna Zagar said: “We are very pleased to have the opportunity both to support the work of younger artists whose careers are just starting to take flight, and to acknowledge the achievements of more established artists. These awards illustrate the depth of artistry in British Columbia’s dance community.”
The Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award was established in memory of the pioneering educator who developed Simon Fraser University’s dance program. It provides $5000 to assist an emerging artist between 19 and 35 years of age who demonstrates exceptional choreographic potential, to produce their work at Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver. Previous recipients are Amber Funk Barton (2005), Chengxin Wei (2007), Sara Coffin (2009), Shannon Moreno (2011), Vanessa Goodman (2013), Deanna Peters (2015), Julianne Chapple (2017) Jamie Robinson (2019) and Shion Skye Carter (2021).
Through the Award, Anya Saugstad will present the premiere of her first full-length work, Paper Mountains. Initiated during the early stages of the pandemic, the work will explore loneliness, using choreography created during many months in solitude, with an ensemble of dancers, live sound, and 600 paper planes.
The Isadora Award, named after the great dance pioneer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927), was instituted by The Dance Centre in 1999 to recognize the achievements of BC’s dance professionals. An independent jury of professionals working in the field selects recipients based on specific criteria. This year’s Award acknowledges the creation by Raven Spirit Dance of an outstanding full-length choreographic work, Confluence. Weaving perspectives, histories and bodies to create a somatic tapestry that speaks to the resilience of Indigenous women, Confluence premiered at last year’s Dancing on the Edge Festival. The work was co-created by Raven Spirit’s Co-Artistic Directors Michelle Olson and Starr Muranko and Artistic Associate Jeanette Kotowich, in collaboration with co-performers Tasha Faye Evans and Emily Solstice.
The company will receive a cash award of $2,500, access to studio time at Scotiabank Dance Centre towards the creation of a new work, and a specially-designed award created by renowned glass sculptor Mary Filer. Previous recipients have included Peter Bingham, Crystal Pite, Wen Wei Wang, Jennifer Mascall, Helen Walkley, Julia Taffe, and Gabrielle Martin and Jeremiah Hughes of Corporeal Imago, amongst others.
Congratulations to all the artists!
Read about Dance Centre Awards here
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Photos: Raven Spirit Dance by Erik Zennström; Anya Saugstad by Micah Henry