Podcast, Arts & Culture, Community

Episode 62: Community-Engaged Dance — with Karen Jamieson

July 14, 2020
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On this episode of Below the Radar, our host Am Johal sits down with Karen Jamieson, Vancouver-based dancer and choreographer. Karen's company Karen Jamieson Dance works with residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside through community engagement and cross cultural dancing, and is recognized nationally as groundbreaking. Additionally, her work, "Sisyphus," was named one of the 10 Canadian choreographic masterworks of the 20th century by Dance Collection Danse. Karen has be recognized for her talent and dedication to her field, receiving the Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award in 2013, honoured with the Isadora Award in 2016, and in 2018 she was inducted into the Canadian dance hall of fame "Encore! Dance hall of Fame!" 

About Our Guest

Karen Jamieson

Karen Jamieson is a dancer, beginning her career after receiving a BA in Philosophy and Anthropology, training extensively in dance in New York.

She has created over 92 original dance works with original scores by over twenty respected Canadian composers, and performed in Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States. She has received the Chalmers award, Canada’s principal choreographic award, and her work Sisyphus was named one of the ten Canadian choreographic masterworks of the 20th century.

In 1983 she established Karen Jamieson Dance, whose vision is to reveal the power of dance as an art form with potential to transform, engage, captivate, heal, and to impart knowledge available only to the dancing body; believing the power of contemporary dance transcends cultures, languages, histories and traditions by connecting us all at a very primal level.

In 2002 she embarked on the Skidegate Project, a multi-year, cross-cultural dance project with with the Haida village of Skidegate, BC, to honour Percy Gladstone, a respected Haida elder. The project is featured in Letters to Skidegate, a short film created as part of the Documenting Engagement Project. She also leads the Dance in the Downtown Eastside Project, offering dance workshops to residents of all ages and abilities. The workshops have led to numerous performances by the Carnegie Dance Troupe that emerged from the project.



Johal, Am. “Community-Engaged Dance — with Karen Jamieson.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, July 14, 2020. 


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