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We are thrilled to announce that the recipient of the Lola Award is renowned choreographer, dancer and teacher Helen Walkley. The $10,000 award was founded in memory of the much-loved choreographer Lola MacLaughlin, and is presented to a mid-career/senior-level choreographer every two years.
Helen Walkley has been a distinctive figure in Vancouver’s dance scene for three decades. Mirna Zagar, Executive Director of The Dance Centre, said: “This Award acknowledges a body of outstanding work which spans more than 30 years, and in particular, Helen’s approach to contemporary dance which is fuelled by her unique improvisational mind and dedication to exploring somatic practices. In addition to her continually evolving and innovative choreography she brings so much to our community as a teacher and mentor, and I am thrilled that her unique contribution has been recognized.”
The Lola Award is designed to encourage and facilitate the work of senior choreographers, and is presented every two years. It is supported by the Lola McLaughlin Endowment Fund with the Vancouver Foundation and administered by The Dance Centre. 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), Justine A. Chambers (2018), and Paras Terezakis (2020).
Helen Walkley is an independent artist, choreographer, improviser, performer and teacher based in Vancouver, BC who has also lived and worked extensively in the Netherlands, Germany and the US. Her work has been presented at venues and festivals including the New York Improvisation Festival and Dance Theater Workshop/NY, the American Dance Festival, On the Boards/Seattle, Danceworks/Toronto, the Dancing on the Edge Festival and The Dance Centre/Vancouver, Tangente/Montreal, La Rotonde/Quebec City, New Dance Horizons/Regina, Dancers Studio West/Calgary, Danslab/Amsterdam, Tanz Bremen and the Tanzfabrik/Berlin.
Helen is a certified Laban Movement Analyst and somatic movement educator, and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from SFU. She has taught at Simon Fraser University, the University of Calgary, Virginia Commonwealth University, Concordia and the Laban Institute for Movement Studies/NY. She was on faculty at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam from 1991-94 and the TanzFabrik in Berlin in 1989. From 1995-2000 she was a core faculty member of the Main Dance Bridging Program in Vancouver.
Photos by Gordon Havelaar and Chris Randle