An established performer, creator and teacher, Monk began dancing with Le Groupe de la Place Royale in Ottawa in 1985. She created work for the company, served as Assistant Artistic Director to Peter Boneham and was instrumental in the development of Le Groupe Dance Lab that was for twenty years Canada’s premiere choreographic development centre. Monk moved to Alberta in 1992 following her seminal experiences in the southern Saskatchewan prairies and she has maintained a creative connection with the landscape ever since creating and producing, in one of her choreographic themes, a great variety of landscape inspired works.
Monk’s works have been presented in major cities across Canada, and in Europe, and featured in the Canada Dance Festival and Dancing on the Edge. In 2004 Monk founded M-body: mind and music in motion, a non-profit organization and vehicle for her activities. For more information on Davida Monk’s own works please visit www.m-body.ca. Since 2008 Monk has led Dancers’ Studio West through a significant evolution. Dancers’ Studio West is a recognized and focused centre for choreographic development and presentation and critical dialogue. As well as working closely with various Canadian dance artists such as Serge Bennathan, Peter Boneham, Marc Boivin, Rachel Browne, Lee Su-Feh, and Robin Poitras, Monk is a frequent collaborator with contemporary musicians and composers. She has been most recently featured at the Sound Symposium in St. John’s Newfoundland with Seattle’s Bill Horist and the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound Ontario, and with Calgary’s Land’s End Ensemble.
The recipient of awards for choreographic development and touring from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary Arts Development and The Banff Centre, Monk is Associate Artist with Projet bk and Associate Professor Emeritus of the University of Calgary.
Techniques of Movement for Dancers
Classes begin with simple motifs that introduce ideas and warm-up the body/mind. The class proceeds through relatively more complex patterns following a conventional trajectory. From pliers to tondues, to movement through space, jumps and adagio, the class comprises short choreographed phrases that explore the elements of technical vocabulary in a contemporary aesthetic.
While progressing through material I direct dancers in complementary short studies to pursue refinements that arise from the confluence of these major influences: attack and musicality from Peter Boneham, the Artistic Director of Le Groupe Dance Lab, whose own background is with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and the American Ballet Theatre; groundedness, expansion and fluidity from Amelia Itcush, original dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre and practitioner of the Itcush Method and principles of athletic centering and elastic power from Shauna Sky, World Champion Skeleton, high performance athlete and coach.
“As a virtuosic, mature artist, Monk opens the way for the viewer to see beyond the physical movement and directly sense herself as a person and her experience as a performer. As such, Monk deepens the whole dance enterprise.” “Le Recours aux forêts”, choreography by Serge Bennathan. The Dance Current, Mary Theresa Kelly, 2010
Photo by Don Hall