Margie Gillis

Margie Gillis
...continues a full and ongoing process of discovery, transition and transformation, by constantly reinvestigating and reinterpreting the power of dance...

The Duke Dance Program is excited to host Margie Gillis, Canadian choreographer, performer, and teacher, for a week-long residency. Her time at Duke will include lecture demonstrations, visiting classes, and offering a workshop on "Reclaiming the Body" for assault and trauma victims. 

Residency Schedule

Wednesday, February 20, Noon – 1 PM:

  • Gender Wednesdays. “The Relevance of Feminism in Margie Gillis’s Work.” Gender Wednesday is an Undergraduate Speaker/Luncheon Series aimed specifically towards undergraduates and hosted by Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studiers. This series aims to build an ongoing conversation that helps us widen our sense of opportunities and explore the many and varied ways of having an impact on our world. Lunch is provided for the audience and guests. RSVP to or the DukeGSF Facebook Events page: (Blue Parlor, East Duke Building)

Thursday, February 21, 3:05-5:35 PM:

  • Course visit: Dance 390S. Creative Collaboration as Social Action A movement and dialogue session with Margie Gillis that will be integrated with her addressing the collaborative, healing nature of the connection between artist and audience, teacher and student. Margie has worked closely with specialists in conflict resolution and she will also address using movement as a critical tool in reducing conflict. Free and open to the public.  No dance experience necessary. Registration required for participation, (The Ark Dance Studio. East Campus, 14 Epworth Lane, Durham, NC 27705)

Friday, February 22, 10:00 - 11:00 AM:

  • Dialogue with Margie Gillis: “Healing Through Movement.”  A conversation geared toward facilitators, therapists and all others interested in healing through movement. Margie will speak about her experiences and about the use of healing through movement, followed by questions and dialogue with the audience. Free and open to the public. (Orange County Rape Crisis Center, 1506 East Franklin St., Suite 302, Chapel Hill, NC)

Friday, February 22, 7 PM:

  • Lecture Demonstration: Margie Gillis “Dancing from the Inside Out.” One of the iconic solo artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Canadian dancer and choreographer Margie Gillis will perform four selections and take questions from the audience. Come and experience the deep artistry  of this unique creator. "Each dance is a condensed distillation of a concept or state of being or experience. Each dance is created in its own unique manner, following the psychology of the subject to its architectural crystallization. These dances are created to support the soul’s visibility. They reflect my soul’s desire to touch." - Margie Gillis.  Free and open to the public. (Rubenstein Arts Center 224)

Sunday, February 24, 2:00 - 3:30 PM:

  • Reclaiming our Bodies Workshop. This workshop will focus on healing through movement. Facilitated by Margie Gillis (Canada), a socially committed choreographer, performer and teacher who has worked together with therapists in America and Europe to develop techniques that help survivors to somatically identify their sensations and shift them, physically and emotionally. Participants do not need any specific previous experience. Registration Required, Maximum of 20 participants. No observers, please. Co-sponsored by the Office of Gender Violence Intervention, Duke University Women's Center. (The Ark Dance Studio, East Campus)

Monday, February 25, 10:20 AM -1:20PM:

  • Course visit - Dance 370S. The Choreographic Mind. A movement and dialogue session with Margie Gillis that will be integrated with her approach to choreography, and aspects of feminism in her choreography and outlook. Free and open to the public.  Registration required for participation, (The Ark Dance Studio. East Campus)

Tuesday, February 26, 4:40-6:10 PM:

Wednesday, February 27, Noon – 1 PM:

  • Wednesdays at the Center (W@TC). Margie Gillis will be speaking on “Dancing from the Inside/Out.” Lunch is provided for the audience and guests. Free and open to the public. (Franklin Center’s Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall, room 240))  

Margie Gillis, Canadian choreographer, performer and teacher, is based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. At sixty-five years of age, she has maintained an active career that is followed with interest by audiences of all ages. She is one of a rare handful of mature artists who continues a full and ongoing process of discovery, transition and transformation, by constantly reinvestigating and reinterpreting the power of dance through her immersion in her career as creator, performer and teacher. In 1979, Margie was invited to teach and lecture in China, thus becoming the first artist from the West to introduce modern dance after the Cultural Revolution. Two years later the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation was created with the mission to present and support her work. Her repertoire now includes more than one hundred creations, which she performs as solos, duets and group works.

Teaching and mentoring are important aspects of her career. With Margie’s unique approach of “Dancing from the Inside Out”, she offers workshops for dance professionals, students, and non-dancers alike. Margie Gillis is a socially committed artist. She lectures on dance and the role of art in society. She has been spokesperson for a number of organizations dedicated to the fight against AIDS, as well as OXFAM and the Planned Parenthood Foundation. She is a fierce defender of environmental causes.

Margie has worked closely with Michelle LeBaron and Carrie McCloud, both experts in the field of conflict resolution (CR). LeBaron and McCloud created and directed Dancing at the Crossroads (DTC), a four-year project (2009-2013) that explored new approaches in conflict theory and practice. They presented case studies to Gillis and discussed how her teaching techniques might guide the subjects of these studies to identify their sensations somatically and then, to shift them, physically and emotionally, from static conflict. In 2010, LeBaron, McCloud and Gillis jointly facilitated a five-day DTC workshop to explore “the convergence of movement and conflict resolution,” and focused on “embodied conflict and emotions, safety and change, flexibility and inflexibility, and practical applications” for the field. This workshop took place at the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland, bringing together CR experts, theorists, trainers, mediators, counselors, artists and many others whose work touches on CR. There, Gillis was able to explore further her methods of teaching movement and imaging as they might apply to special situations in conflict resolution.

Touring has taken Margie to Asia, India, Europe and the Middle East, as well as North and South America. In parallel to her solo work Margie collaborates on projects initiated by her peers. She has worked with some of the most important dance artists and companies of her time such as Les Grand Ballets Canadiens, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Paul Taylor sadly died this year, but he made sure to arrange that Margie set a work on his company in 2019.