Podcast, Arts & Culture

Episode 124: Aerial Dance, Circus, and Artistic Production — with Gabrielle Martin

June 08, 2021
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Dancer, aerialist, choreographer and producer Gabrielle Martin joins host Am Johal on this episode of Below the Radar. Gabrielle tells us how her passion for dance has taken her from spinning fire in an East Van park, to touring the world with Cavalia and Cirque du Soleil, to choreographing and producing her own works.

In the episode, they talk about Gabrielle’s youth as an unschooler/alternative schooler, and how she developed a love for performance and dance through stilt walking, fire dancing, hula hooping and more. Gabrielle also shares her thoughts on the impact of the pandemic on the performing arts, her work as festival manager with the Vancouver International Dance Festival, and the making of Limb(e)s, a feature-length show she developed with her partner, Jeremiah Hughes.

About Our Guest

Gabrielle MARTIN

Gabrielle Martin is an aerial and dance artist, director/choreographer and an artistic producer who has performed over 1,400 shows internationally.

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she studied somatic movement and contact improvisation, and performed fire manipulation and stilt walking before obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Contemporary Dance from Concordia University (Montreal, 2009). While in Montreal, Gabrielle studied aerial arts such as aerial silks and rope. In 2010, she received a Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec Research and Creation in Dance grant for her choreography, Infractions, and from 2009-2011, she toured this as well as her other works at the following Canadian festivals: Vancouver International Dance Festival (Vancouver, Canada, 2009), Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival (Guelph, Canada, 2010 & 2011), and ROMP! A Festival of Independent Dance (Victoria, Canada, 2011).

From 2011-2015, Gabrielle toured full time with Cavalia, performing aerial rope, bungee trapeze, bungee dance and harness dance numbers. In 2015, she began working with Cirque du Soleil as part of the creation of TORUK - The First Flight.  She toured with this show until it closed in 2019, during which time she was the principal female character, Tsyal, and performed a solo aerial silks number. In 2018, Gabrielle co-founded the aerial dance-theatre company, Ci and directed it’s first show, Limb(e)s with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, creative collaborators, and residencies at Cirkör LAB (SE), L’Espace Catastrophe (BE), and Le Centre de Création (FR). In 2019, she presented Limb(e)s at Montréal Complètement Cirque (CA), La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines (CA), and Assembly Festival at Edinburgh Festival Fringe (UK). Gabrielle recently completed a certificate in Circus Dramaturgy at the Centre National des Arts du Cirque (France, 2020) and an MA in Arts and Cultural Management (Rome Business School, 2021).

Cite This Episode

Chicago Style

Johal, Am. “Aerial Dance, Circus, and Artistic Production — with Gabrielle Martin.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, June 8, 2021.


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