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.
“Whether it’s through her guidance in teaching, her openness while working in conflict resolution, or her presence in performance, Margie generates infinite ways for us to join her in drinking in the breath of life.” Lucy M. May, participant
“Her work and her presence have changed my perspective on what dance can offer and I can only hope that I can pass on even a fraction of what she has bestowed to me.” Susie Paulson, participant