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Announcing BC Dance Awards Recipients

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of two awards that acknowledge the achievements of British Columbia’s choreographers. Helen Walkley receives the Isadora Award for Excellence in Dance in recognition of her contribution to BC’s dance scene; and Paras Terezakis, Artistic Director of Kinesis Dance somatheatro, is the recipient of the biennial Lola Award.

Our Executive Director Mirna Zagar said: “These are trying times for the arts and culture sector – nothing is normal and reasons to celebrate are few. So I am very pleased to have the opportunity to support and acknowledge the achievements of two exceptional artists. These awards illustrate the depth of artistry and the diversity of choreographic approaches in British Columbia today. Helen and Paras have each contributed well over two decades of dedicated commitment to the development of the art form. Each has pushed artistic boundaries and taken audiences on transformative journeys. The times we are living currently require reflection, they require care and attentiveness to the work of others, so we can hear our own voices better and see more clearly what our role may be. The arts, and artists, are more important than ever now: we hope that we will soon be able to come together, to salute them in person as well.”

Congratulations Helen and Paras!

About the Awards:

The annual Isadora Award, named after the great dance pioneer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927), was instituted by The Dance Centre in 1999 to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the dance profession in BC. Members of the dance community are invited to nominate artists for the award, and an independent jury of professionals working in the field selects recipients based on specific criteria. Helen Walkley will receive an Isadora Award sculpture which was specially designed by the eminent glass artist Mary Filer, fully subsidized rehearsal space at Scotiabank Dance Centre to the value of $1000, and $500 cash. Previous Isadora recipients have included Susan Elliott, Peter Bingham, Chick Snipper, Joe Laughlin, Wen Wei Wang, Jennifer Mascall, and Julia Taffe.

The Lola Award is designed to encourage and facilitate the work of mid-career and senior choreographers. The $10,000 award is presented every two years, through a nomination process adjudicated by a jury of peers. It is supported by the Lola McLaughlin Endowment Fund with the Vancouver Foundation and administered by The Dance Centre. The Award acknowledges Paras Terezakis’ commitment to cross-disciplinary collaboration in his work. Tony Giacinti, Lola’s husband and a major contributor to the establishment of the award, says: “We hope this Award will reflect and nurture some of the essence of Lola’s spirit, artistic approach and vision, and contribute to the growth of a Vancouver aesthetic that reaches beyond our shores.” Since its initiation the Award has been presented to Crystal Pite (2012), Lee Su-Feh (2014), Rosario Ancer (2016) and Justine A Chambers (2018).

Artist Biographies

Helen Walkley (Isadora Award)

Helen  is an independent dance artist, choreographer, improviser, performer and teacher based in Vancouver, who has also lived and worked extensively in the Netherlands, Germany and the US. Her performing has traversed the NYC Improvisation Festival and Dance Theater Workshop/NY, the American Dance Festival, On the Boards/Seattle, Danceworks/Toronto, the Edge Festival and the Dance Centre/Vancouver, Tangente/Montreal, La Rotonde/Quebec City, Danslab/Amsterdam and the Tanzfabrik/Berlin. Helen holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Simon Fraser University. She is also a certified Laban Movement Analyst and somatic movement educator. She has taught at SFU, the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, the University of Calgary, Virginia  CommonWealth University and the Laban Institute for Movement Studies/NYC.

Numerous residencies have supported the creation and dissemination of her work. Helen has always sought out diversity in work contexts: urban, rural, community-based populations, academia, and the professional milieu. This diversity informs her aesthetic and her understanding of how her work is accessible to a public.

Paras Terezakis (Lola Award)

Paraskevas (Paras) Terezakis  is the Artistic Director of Kinesis Dance somatheatro which he founded in 1986. A native of Greece, Paras began his professional training in ballet and theatre studies. Upon moving to Canada, he studied at York University, Toronto Dance Theatre and Simon Fraser University. Under Kinesis Dance somatheatro, Paras has created over 40 works, including 14 full-length pieces.  Kinesis has performed in 15 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas. In 2010, he was awarded the Isadora Award for Excellence in Choreography for his piece BOX4. Influenced by his Greek heritage, and his experiences as a Canadian, his work explores ancient myth and archetype juxtaposed with contemporary Canadian culture. Paras’ work embodies the frailty and tension which both differentiate and unite the cultures of East and West. Today, Kinesis Dance somatheatro has developed into a company known for its progressive, risk-taking approaches whose creations have pushed the boundaries of what is conventionally considered contemporary dance; especially within west-coast aesthetics, as well as within a more global context. The works are highly physical and emotional and frequently combine live performance with multimedia, text and original music.

Photos by Chris Randle