Prince Rupert dance luminary Margaret Grenier has been awarded the highest level of artistic excellence in receiving the 2020 Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts, the Canada Council for Arts announced on Nov. 12.
Grenier, a choreographer, dance artist, executive and artistic director of Dancers of Damelahamid, and producer and director of the annual Coastal Dance Festival was awarded the top recognition of $50,000 for the highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievement by a Canadian professional artist in music, theatre or dance.
“I am deeply compelled as an artist by the desire to impact a shift in our collective consciousness that values and upholds all dance forms,” Grenier said. “Receiving this award, as a traditionally trained Indigenous dancer from the Northwest Coast, is a great honour and gives recognition to the depth of this art form and to the dedicated efforts that revitalized these dances.”
Born and raised in Prince Rupert to parents Kenneth and Margaret Harris, 2019 Dance Collection Dance Hall of Fame inductees, Grenier based in Gibsons B.C. is of Gitxsan and Cree ancestry.
She was trained in traditional Gitxsan dance from a very early age by her parents and has worked as a professional dancer since 1991 performing with the Dancers of Damelahamid – the company she now leads as executive and artistic director. Dancers of Damelahamid, an Indigenous dance company emerged in the 1960s out of an urgency felt by her parents to ensure that the knowledge of ancestors was not lost.
More to come in print edition of The Northern View on Nov. 19
K-J Millar | Journalist
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