Dance artist Karen Jamieson is recognized for her contribution to BC’s dance scene. Photo by Chris Randle.
Dance artist Karen Jamieson is recognized for her contribution to BC’s dance scene. Photo by Chris Randle.

Vancouver choreographer Karen Jamieson was announced as the recipient of the 2016 Isadora Award for Excellence in Dance.  The award recognizes Jamieson’s contribution to British Columbia’s dance scene through a career spanning over forty years.

“I am deeply honoured to have received this award,” says Jamieson. “It’s a gesture of encouragement, an affirmation of the work and I feel greatly uplifted.”

After receiving a BA in Philosophy and Anthropology from the University of British Columbia, Jamieson began dancing at Simon Fraser University. In the early 70s she studied modern dance techniques in New York and upon returning to Vancouver, she co-initiated the experimental movement collective Terminal City Dance Research.  In 1983 she established Karen Jamieson Dance and is the recipient of  the Chalmers Award, Canada’s principal choreographic award and the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award in dance. Jamieson has also been acknowledged for her ground-breaking work in community-engaged and cross-cultural dance, and has created 97 original dance works so far, and continues to dance.

“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,” says Mirna Zagar, executive director of The Dance Centre.

Zagar also acknowledged Jamieson’s work in the development of community-engaged dance, which has built and expanded the understanding of dance 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,” says Zagar.

The annual Isadora Award, named after dance pioneer Isadora Duncan, was established by The Dance Centre in 1999 to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the dance profession in British Columbia. Members of the dance community nominate artists for the award, and an independent jury of professionals makes the selection.  Recipients receive a sculpture by glass artist Mary Filer, fully subsidized rehearsal space at Scotiabank Dance Centre to the value of $1000, and $500 cash.

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