Under the auspices of The Margie Gillis Dance Foundation, the Legacy Project/Projet Héritage is a platform and network responding to an overwhelming demand from her many students and the dance community over the years to ensure the vibrancy of Margie Gillis’ creative legacy into the future. The project benefits from an honorary committee composed of 15 active members. 

The Legacy Project / Projet Héritage performance gathers high caliber dancers in the performance of some of Margie’s most emblematic work, alongside bold, new creations. The show premiered in March 2017 at Place des Arts (Montreal).

The mandate of the Legacy Project/Projet Héritage is to structure and support Margie Gillis’ various creative and teaching activities and involve a new generation of dancers in order to ensure her important creative legacy.

Margie believes very strongly that her work is to remain relevant to the people that she shares it with therefore the structure of the project will be horizontal, allowing participants to grow and share the work in a way that is relevant to the age and society they live in and speak to, as well as their own artistic visions. By invitation only, it is an exchange based on excellence, devoted to advancing and transforming Margie’s concepts of creation and teaching.

  • To transfer Margie’s repertoire to the next generation of dance artists;
  • To transmit Margie’s knowledge to a network of artists, ensuring that, through them, it remains accessible for the benefit of the dance milieu;
  • To support a new generation of dance artists in the growth and transformation of Margie’s concepts of creation and teaching;
  • To ensure that, through the participants, the compassion and humanity of Margie’s artistry continues to touch people’s lives in a great diversity of communities.

Margie Gillis is an internationally renowned iconic dance artist with a career spanning over four decades. Her repertoire includes over 100 creations, most of which are solos. Over the years, Margie has won over loyal audiences with her masterful interpretations of the different facets of the human soul. She has been named an Honorary Cultural Ambassador for both the Quebec and Canadian governments, is the recipient of a Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award from the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and has been appointed a Knight of the L’Ordre National du Québec and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Since 1981, The Margie Gillis Dance Foundation has existed as a not-for-profit organization to support her vision and activities, including creating, performing, teaching, and mentoring. Currently, there is no formal plan in place to preserve Margie’s important legacy.

Over the years, many dance artists have expressed the profound effect that Margie has had on them and their desire to further that impact and connection. Margie has received communications from a number of these people indicating that they wish to work with Margie not just creatively but also organizationally to ensure that this type of project would happen for themselves and for others. Additionally, in 2012, Alexandra Wells (artistic director and co-founder of Springboard Danse Montréal and a teacher at The Juilliard School in New York) approached Margie about the idea of a “legacy project”, including a tie-in with Springboard.

An initial think-tank was held at Margie’s family home in Acton Vale, Quebec, in August 2014. The participants of this original think-tank were Margie Gillis, a sampling of seven dance artists, both established and emerging and representing various aspects of interests, as well as the team from the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation. The energy and enthusiasm generated by this activity was palpable and the Legacy Project/Projet Héritage was begun.

1 : CREATION
  • REPERTOIRE: Margie will teach her repertoire to selected dance artists who are committed to preserving and continuing her legacy and who have a level of excellence that Margie believes will extend the essence of the work.
  • MENTORING: Participants will learn Margie’s methodology of creation and Margie will mentor select participants for their own creations.
  • CREATION: Participants will observe Margie in creation of her own work and Margie will create new work for select participants.
2: PERFORMANCE
  • Participants will learn how to deepen their own performance technique through observation and workshops;
  • They will learn to understand Margie’s artistry as she continues her career, challenging her, assisting her and functioning in mutual support.
3: TEACHING
  • Participants will learn to apply Margie’s teaching approaches to working with dance artists, self-identifying non-dancers, children, and community-based groups with particular focal points, such as emotional health, conflict transformation*, law, and concepts of fairness;
  • Select participants will also learn Margie’s methods of teaching to professional dancers of the highest excellence. They will dialogue with Margie and each other about Margie’s teaching methods, each developing their own personal approaches to teaching.

* A select group of astute dancers who are committed to social change and the furtherance of humanitarian endeavours will further develop the work that Margie Gillis has already started, along with Michelle LeBaron.

See videos retracing the development of The Legacy Project on the digital platform EC2_Espaces chorégraphiques 2.