Margie Gillis

Internationally acclaimed modern dance artist Margie Gillis has been performing her solo dance concerts for more than 30 years. As choreographer and performer of more than 80 original solo dance works, she has earned rave reviews throughout the world for her intimate, emotional, and intelligent portrayals of the multiple facets of the human soul.

Born in Montreal to a family of accomplished athletes, Margie Gillis could not have wished for a better environment in which to develop her talent. Showing a passion for dance early in life, she began ballet and gymnastic lessons at the age of three. She has studied with such prominent teachers as May O'Donnell, Linda Rabin, Lynda Raino, and Allan Wayne. Over the years, this charismatic dancer has forged a unique style and technique. Critics have unanimously acclaimed her intricate yet larger-than-life expression of the complex human heart.

In 1979 Ms. Gillis introduced modern dance to China, being the first performer, teacher, and lecturer in that art since that country’s cultural revolution. Two years later she founded her own company, the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation, to support and promote her work. Ms. Gillis’s international tours have since taken her to India, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as across North and South America.

Ms. Gillis also collaborates with other artists in various productions of interest. She was in the original cast and involved in the creation of two of Martha Clarke's major works. She has performed twice with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in pieces by her brother, the late dancer-choreographer Christopher Gillis. With Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, she danced the role of Miss Lucy in James Kudelka's Dracula. She has been a guest artist with The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet British Columbia, Momix, and the Bruce Wood Dance Company. She has also collaborated with many important figures in the world of dance, most notably John Butler, Paul-André Fortier, Christopher Gillis, Pauline Koner, James Kudelka, Peggy Baker, Robbie LaFosse, Joao Mauricio, Tedd Robinson, Rina Schenfeld, Paola Styron, Rex Harrington, and Emily Molnar. She was recently part of the Sacred Ellington tour with Jessye Norman, and danced in Adela, a film choreographed by José Navas.

Ms. Gillis is an Honorary Cultural Ambassador for both the Québec and Canadian governments. In 1988 she became the first modern dance artist to be appointed to the Order of Canada. In 2001 she received a Career Grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for her exceptional contribution to Québec culture. She has also lent her voice to a number of organizations dedicated to the fight against AIDS.

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Jessye Norman