Animals of Distinction, founded in 2006 as a satellite company of The Holy Body Tattoo, is the multi-media dance company of choreographer and dancer Dana Gingras
Photograph: Gilles Berquet
Dana Gingras is a choreographer, film-maker, performer and teacher. Her 25 year career has moved across mediums and artistic practices and has established her has a game-changing, boundary-pushing artist. Gingras is drawn to amplifying the sense of physical possibility, what bodies are capable of and allowing that to become manifold and present in the most innovative fashion possible. She has worked on collaborations with cultural icons like William Gibson and Jenny Holzer. Musical collaborators include underground legends like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Tindersticks, Warren Ellis (Dirty Three, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Tiger Lillies, Roger Tellier-Craig (Fly Pan Am, Le Révélateur and Steve Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Multi-media works have been co-created with animators and programmers James Paterson and Amit Pitaru and directors William Morrison and Vincent Morriset on the award winning music video for Arcade Fire’s Sprawl II.
In 1993, she co-founded The Holy Body Tattoo (with Noam Gagnon). The company changed the landscape of Canadian dance, earning numerous awards and honours for its stage and film work. our brief eternity, premiered in 1996, won The Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Ensemble Performance. The work has been performed more than 100 times in Canada, Europe, USA, and was performed for the last time in Australia at the Sydney Opera House in 2007. Circa (2000), was the recipient of the inaugural Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award. The piece has been performed around the world, including at Ein Fest in Wuppertal, Germany at the invitation of Pina Bausch, and at London’s Barbican Theatre. In 2005 the company created its last work monumental.
Founded in 2006, Animals of Distinction functions as a type of framework for contemporary practice, as a point of intersection where the social kinaesthetic, and the possibilities of physical thinking can be visualized in choreographic ideas with different collaborations and with other art forms.
The work of AoD has been presented nationally and internationally across many different platforms including live performance, film, design, visual art and new media. Works include Smash Up (2008), Heart As Arena (2011) which were both co-produced by the Festival TransAmériques (FTA) and Somewhere Between Maybe (2015) in conjunction with L’Agora de la Danse. In addition Dana has created several commissions including New Animal (2012) for Vancouver’s 605 Collective, What Is Mine Is Yours (2011) a video/performance installation for Fallen Fruit’s event Let them Eat LACMA at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Gingras has also directed numerous short films funded by the Bravo!Fact film program and in 2014 filmed Chainreaction (2014) as part of a residency at EMPAC in Troy NY. The film premiered at TIFF in Toronto (2015) and has since been screened at numerous festivals world wide. FREE FALL, her new immersive dance film is being created in residency at the SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques) and will focus on stimulating viewers’ senses in unexpected ways within the Satosphère’s full-dome theatre.
In 2016 under the direction of Gingras, AoD produced The Holy Body Tattoo’s last work monumental (2005), this time with Godspeed You! Black Emperor playing live. This expanded version of the piece premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver as part of the PuSh Festival on January 28th 2016. Since it has been performed at the Adelaide Festival, Montreal Place des Arts, Grand Théâtre Quebec, as part of Luminato Festival at The Hearn Generating Station in Toronto, Edinburgh International Festival, Next Wave Festival at BAM and the ROMAEUROPA Festival in Italy.
In 2017 Dana Gingras/Animals of Distinction was granted the long term residency at the CCOV (Le Centre de Création O Vertigo) at Montreal’s Place des Arts and through this will produce a new large scale work that will premiere in 2019.
The Animals of Distinction Arts Society is a registered non-profit society, and is directed (in its activities and mandate) by artistic director Dana Gingras. AoD is produced and represented by international agent Sarah Rogers.