Dana Gingras spent her formative years living in South America and the United Kingdom. She moved to Canada and became involved in contemporary dance at the age of 18. Her 30-year career has moved across mediums and artistic practices and has established her has a game-changing, boundary-pushing artist. Gingras is drawn to amplifying the sense of physical possibility, what bodies are capable of and allowing that to become manifold and present in the most innovative fashion possible.
In 1993, she co-founded The Holy Body Tattoo. The company changed the landscape of Canadian dance, earning numerous awards and honours for its stage and film work. Upon moving to Montreal in 2006, she went on to form Animals of Distinction, which functions as a type of framework for contemporary practice, as a point of intersection where the social kinaesthetic, and the possibilities of physical thinking can be visualized in choreographic ideas with different collaborations and with other art forms.
The work of AoD has been presented nationally and internationally across many different platforms including live performance, film, design, visual art and new media. Works include Smash Up, Heart As Arena, Chain Reaction, What Is Mine Is Yours, Somewhere Between Maybe and anOther in collaboration with Berlin-based musicians group A and Montreal dancer/media artist Sonya Stefan.
In 2016, under the direction of Gingras, AOD produced The Holy Body Tattoo’s last work monumental (2005), this time with Godspeed You! Black Emperor playing live. The work has toured to many of the major festivals in the world including PuSh Festival, Adelaide Festival, Luminato Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, BAM’s NEXT WAVE Festival, ROMAEUROPA in Italy, the MONA FOMA Festival in Tasmania and Barbican Centre, London.
Most recently Dana created Chute Libre, an immersive film with original text and narration by Marie Brassard and commissioned music by Roger Tellier-Craig. Created through a residency at La Société des arts Technologiques, it premiered at the SATOSPHÈRE on April 2, 2019.Read full NAC bio ›
United Visual Artists (UVA) is a London-based practice founded in 2003 by British artist Matt Clark (b.1974). Their work integrates new technologies with traditional media such as painting, sculpture, performance and site-specific installation. UVA has been commissioned by numerous institutions including the Barbican Curve Gallery, London; Manchester International Festival; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Serpentine Gallery, London; The Wellcome Trust, London; Towner Gallery, East Sussex, England; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; YCAM, Tokyo, Japan, among others.
UVA has collaborated with artists including choreographer Benjamin Millepied and the Paris Opéra Ballet, filmmaker Adam Curtis, and musicians Massive Attack, Battles, and James Blake. Most recently, UVA collaborated with Christopher Bailey for the Autumn/Winter 2018 fashion runway show at Burberry.
Fly Pan Am is a Montreal-based post-rock group formed in 1996 by Roger Tellier-Craig, Jonathan Parant, J.-S. Truchy and Félix Morel. Their albums are released on the independent Constellation Records label. Fly Pan Am have toured extensively in Europe and North America, sharing the stage with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, Stereolab and Broadcast, among others. In 2006, the band announced an indefinite hiatus. In 2018, before joining the FRONTERA team, they made their comeback at Montreal’s Dazibao art centre. Their latest album, C’est ça, was launched in September 2019.
Ruth Little is a theatre and dance dramaturg, a teacher and writer. She lectured in English literature at the University of Sydney, was literary manager at Out of Joint, Soho and the Royal Court theatres, and artistic associate at the Young Vic. Ruth was associate director of Cape Farewell from 2010–2016, and has been dramaturg for Akram Khan Company since 2010 (Gnosis, Vertical Road, Desh, iTMOi, Dust, Until the Lions, Giselle, Xenos, Outwitting the Devil). She was dramaturg for Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui/Nick Cave (Shell Shock, La Monnaie De Munt), Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, Sheffield Theatres), Le Patin Libre (Vertical Influences and Threshold, Dance Umbrella), English National Ballet (Dust and Giselle).
She was dramaturg for Banff Centre/The Only Animal (Slime) and created and led Banff Centre's Dramaturgy for Dance programme in 2018 and 2019. Winner of 2012 Kenneth Tynan Award for dramaturgy. She was Festival Navigator at Perth Festival between 2016 and 2019. She has been a Research Fellow at Central School of Speech and Drama, and a director at Cove Park, Scotland. Ruth is currently co-director of Archipelago Folkschool, a community boatbuilding project based in Scotland.
Publications include The Young Vic Book (Methuen, 2004), The Royal Court Theatre Inside Out (Oberon, 2007), ‘Art, Place, Climate: Situated Ethics’ (Art and Ethics, Spring 2014), ‘Thresholding’ (Animated, Spring-Summer 2019).
Robert Abubo graduated from the Professional Section of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School where he studied with David Moroni. From 1994 to 2006, he worked for the Dance Lab Group in Ottawa, under the direction of Peter Boneham. He worked for Dancemakers in Toronto from 2008 to 2015 (under the artistic direction of Michael Trent until 2014). As an independent dancer, he has collaborated with several artists including Tedd Robinson, Sylvain Émard, Lynda Gaudreau, Shannon Conney, Bill James, Luc Dunberry, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Heidi Strauss, Kate Hilliard, Ame Henderson, Dana Gingras and Ben Kamino. He has created choreographic works for the Dance Canada Festival, Tangente, Dancer’s Studio West, Kaeja d’Dance, Dancemakers and Nuit Blanche in Toronto.
A French native, Léna began her professional training in contemporary dance at Lyon’s Conservatoire National. After graduating with honours, she chose to complete her training at the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, where she worked with many renowned choreographers. When she left in 2015, she was selected to participate in several intensive internships that confirmed her passion for the complexity of the movement, including Deltebre with Wim Vandekeybus and Akram Khan, Springboard Dance Montréal with German choreographer Johannes Wieland and dancers of the Hofesh Shechter Company. She is also a founding member of the interdisciplinary group Las Padrinas, recipient of the Sofia Borella scholarship.
Léna works as an independent performer with several choreographers in Montréal, including Mélanie Demers (La Meute) David Albert-Toth and Emily Gualtieri (HALVES project), Castel_Blast (MA(G)MA, CARCASSE), Léa Tremblay Fong (Interlope and Insomniac), Isabelle Van Grimde (Eve 2050), Stefania Skoryna (Ellipses) and, more recently, Dana Gingras with FRONTERA.
A graduate of the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, Stacey Désilier is a choreographer, but also a performer for Hélène Simard and George Stamos. Seeking to practise contemporary dance and performance abroad to gain a range of knowledge and physical abilities that will push her beyond her limits, Stacey works for Cirque Éloize and hones her hand-to-hand techniques in the Middle East. Her artistic practice and cooperative work give her an inner wealth that she wants to share with various organizations, countries and artists. In 2018, she joined Animals of Distinction to participate in their new creation FRONTERA.
Caroline Gravel is a dance artist based in Montréal. She collaborates in the creation of, takes up roles and performs in the works of Montréal choreographers including Catherine Gaudet (LORGANISME), Dana Gingras (Animals of Distinction), Frédérick Gravel, Daniel Léveillé Danse, Jean-Sébastien Lourdais, Jacques Poulin-Denis (Grand Poney), David Albert-Toth and Emily Gualtieri (Parts+Labour_Danse) and Andrew Turner. As a Master of Arts, she is interested in body states and the discourse of authorship in contemporary choreographic creation. Her recent artistic work explores the relationship of sensations to the plastic of the body and their affective and perceptive resonances. She is also a lecturer, artistic advisor and teacher in a variety of contexts.
Louise Michel Jackson has worked for various independent companies and artists in Québec, such as Cas Public, Victor Quijada, Milan Gervais, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Sasha Kleinplatz, Caroline Laurin Beaucage, Alan Lake and Frédérick Gravel. In 2007, she co-choreographed a first project directed by Hanako Hoshimi-Caines, Little Bang Theory, with the collaboration of singer Lhasa de Sela and the musicians of Plants and Animals. She immigrated to Belgium in 2010 and joined Eastman-Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui company from 2011 to 2013. She regularly teaches in Belgium, elsewhere in Europe and in Québec. She took part in Dana Gingras and Noam Gagnon (The Holy Body Tattoo)’s monumental show, touring for 2016–17 with post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Since 2013, she has devoted herself to her own research between Brussels and Montréal.
Justin de Luna is an artist that works between Toronto and Montreal. He works with dance, performance and choreography. He has interpreted and/or collaborated with Jeanine Durning, Alicia Grant, Sasha Kleinplatz, Dana Gingras, Amanda Acorn, Ame Henderson, Christopher House and Ryan McNamara, to name a few. In 2015, Justin joined Toronto Dance Theatre as the TD Bank dance intern, then joined the following season as a junior company member. Justin, alongside his collaborative partner Francesca Chudnoff, has been creating work since 2014. They have been presented at Dance Matters (TO) and the Toronto Dance Community Love-In’s p.s. we’re all here. Justin is also working alongside David Norsworthy in a co-commission for the CanAsian Dance Festival in the fall of 2018. In 2015, Justin received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance Dance from Ryerson's School of Performance. And in 2014, he received the Developing Artists Grant by The Hnayshyn Foundation allowing him to attend Impulstanz in Vienna, Austria the following summer as part of the ATLAS programme.
Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep, aka Promo, grew up immersed in Montreal’s breaking community. He becomes a member of the Sweet Technique group, with whom he participates in many competitions over the years, further developing his talents. To date, he has chalked up over 30 victories and is frequently invited to participate in competitions around the world, either as a participant or as a judge. His passion for the mastery of the body spurs him to enter the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal in 2011. Since then, he has worked with Animals of Distinction, Castel_Blast, RUBBERBANDance Group, 14 lieux and Lilith & Cie. Sovann continues to refine his approach through his own creations and the different workshop he teaches.
After many years of rigorous training in gymnastic and classical ballet, Koliane Rochon-Prom Tep began her contemporary dance studies at Peridance in New York. She trained under the guidance of renown artists such as Milton Myers, Richard Chen See, Bryan Arias, Marlena Wolfe and Jesse Zaritt. She is currently a freelance dancer, notably with Hivewild in New York and as an apprentice with Animals of Distinction | Dana Gingras.
Mark Sawh Medrano was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he graduated from the School of Contemporary Dancers in 2011. He has worked professionally with Gearshifting Performance Works, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Odette-Heyn PROJECTS, Julia Sasso (Toronto), Constance Cooke Dance (Victoria), Sasha Ivanochko (Calgary), W&M Physical Theatre (Calgary), C.Medina Dance (Austria), Bouge De La, Sinha Danse, Sylvain Émard, Paul‑André Fortier and George Stamos.
Lexi Vajda is an independent dance artist who has the privilege of living and working on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver, Canada). She has performed the works of companies and choreographers such as Shay Kuebler Radical System Art, the response., Outinnerspace Dance theatre, Action at a Distance, MACHiNENOiSY, The Party, Theatre Replacement, Company 605, plastic orchid factory, Cindy Mochizuki, Sasha Kleinplatz, Daisy Thompson and Emmalena Frederiksson. Her independent choreographies investigate expanded notions of dance, peripheral spaces for choreography, collaborative creative practices, and improvisational score making. She is also an active teacher of contemporary technique in Vancouver and was the recipient of the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for emerging dance artist.