Classic Stage Work

Please click on the title of each piece to be directed to that work's page for more information, credits, photographs, reviews and video.

Solo From Chaos
Premier: National Arts Centre Dance In Canada Conference, Ottawa, 1982

In the work Solo from Chaos I was interested in finding a spatial expression for the idea of descent and ascent. I was looking for ways to create a sense of a layered universe that the dancer traveled through on her descent and a physical language to differentiate the different levels or stages of the descent. The use of the ladder was a practical way to convey the sense that the work was taking place in the vertical dimension. The other was the use of spirals – huge spirals that sucked the dancer down, spirals that shot her back up. The use of breath through Ahmed’s brilliant score was central to the work with its inside out and outside in focus.

Sisyphus was first created in 1983 as part of Vancouver Dance Week with score by David MacIntyre and later was included in the official premiere of the Karen Jamieson Dance Company in February 1984. Dance Collection Danse has named Sisyphus one of the ten choreographic masterpieces of the twentieth century. Through the Greek myth of Sisyphus this dance gives a “…unique, pared-down language that synthesizes form and idea…giving visible shape to the idea of human indomitability in the face of impossible odds. We are touched, saddened, thrilled”. Max Wyman

The Roadshow
1985 Vancouver Dance Week, Vancouver Playhouse

Who should lead and who should follow and is it necessary to have a leader? These are the questions that have haunted me throughout my dance making career. The Roadshow is an investigation into leadership, into hierarchy and dominance and the individual versus the group, and a microphone. Each time the protagonist reaches the microphone she is sucked back into the chaos of the group. Each time she is engulfed, a different energy and dynamic prevails, sometimes violent, sometimes lyric and flowing, often broken up movement phrases. The group reveals to her different answers to the central questions – sometimes she is forced to watch, sometimes she becomes a willing participant.

Premiere New Music New Dance Festival 1987

This work, for 4 women and one man, explores the relationship of energy and form. Drive investigates how energy can beget form through resistance, going against gravity, images of adversity and conflict. The work sought to give form to the energy of violence without violent action, juxtaposing simultaneously with a sense of life energy and of joyous vitality. The costumes contributed to the shaping of the work as a wild and joyous battle of energies.

Premiere Vancouver Playhouse 1990

Over the course of the performance, under the intense heat of the stage lights, a layer of wet clay on the skin of the performer. This brings into relief a myriad of lines and fissures, invisible to the eye when the clay was wet, now as clearly delineated as a dry riverbed in drought. This process resonates as metaphor for the relentless transformation of our bodies through time. Mudwoman is a meditation on the body as a temporal garment, subject to time and the transformation processes of aging.

Premiere National Gallery of Canada 1990, Canada Dance Festival

A commission from National Gallery of Canada to create a site-specific work to accompany a show on Emily Carr, lead to the creation of Passage. The goal of the work was to develop the dancers as conduits for the spirit of the architectural space by Moshe Safdie, and discover how the audience could encounter this spirit through their own bodies as they occupied the same space as the dancers. The company was given a four-week residency in the gallery to create the work on site, followed by a two-week performance run. Through the role of the guards, Passage provided the first experience of the power and potential of community dance and initiated a major shift in the focus of KJD work.

Premiere Vancouver Playhouse 1991

Mixk’ Aax was forerunner to Gawa Gyani. At the time of the premiere of the work, we had not yet received permission to name our choreography Gawa Gyani. Permission was required, by Gitksan law, from the House of G’onou and Edgar Good, who owned this hereditary name and Nox Nox spirit of the same name. The whole piece was focused on this concept of Gawa Gyani, meaning a ceremony whereby two sides come together to resolve important differences in a neutral space. But without permission, we could not use the name.

Oracles of Innocence
Premiere Vancouver Playhouse 1991

A dance work for the 8-member Karen Jamieson Dance Company, Oracles of Innocence was a visionary prelude, foretelling the Company’s collaboration with First Nations artists. It is a celebration of cultures – icons form Western, Asian and indigenous cultures appear in a space where conflict, sensuality and innocence are equally at home. Here, black humour and parody co-exist alongside a genuine spirit of play. A companion piece to Mixk"Aax, this work toured extensively on its own. Oracles of Innocence represents the first stage of a longer journey. Here, influences are felt but not yet understood; voices are heard but the speakers are not yet present. It is a premonition of change.

Man Within
Premiere May 1992 Vancouver Playhouse

The work investigates the weight of the body as a metaphor for the spirit. I was interested in the fact that one person carrying another has great emotional resonance. I wondered what would happen if a woman carried a man. After initial research with Byron Chief Moon - Catherine Lubinsky and Hiromoto Ida brought the work to completion. The piece grew to become a work of great power and toured extensively. At the Canadian Festival of Modern Dance in Winnipeg it was hailed by critics as a “brave and unforgettable dance, danced with total commitment” Winnipeg Free Press