Renowned Canadian dancer Margie Gillis will be the featured speaker at LFAS on Nov. 18. For tickets call 604-888-3113.

Renowned Canadian dancer Margie Gillis will be the featured speaker at LFAS on Nov. 18. For tickets call 604-888-3113.

Dance matters

Choreographer and dancer Margie Gillis to speak Nov. 18 as part of The Arts Matter lecture series at Langley Fine Arts School

Margie Gillis will be sharing some of her considerable experience with young dance students at Langley Fine Arts School (LFAS) later this month.

The renowned Canadian choreographer and dancer, who normally teaches elite students at such august educational institutions Harvard and Juilliard, is looking forward to her one-day visit to the Fort Langley school on Nov. 18 in the Chief Sepass Theatre.

“It’s delicious to work with young people,” Gillis told The Times.

“It’s incredibly satisfying. I love connecting to that sense of hope and possibility.”

For the now-veteran dancer, the opportunity to encourage bright-eyed novices completes a circle that began when the young Gillis, an aspiring dancer who did not fit the standard mold, needed a little encouragement.

“I was pigeon-toed and had what’s been called an ample body,” Gillis recalls.

She is grateful for the support she received early on from some more experienced dancers in New York.

Gillis went on to forge an international reputation for her solo dancing, performances notable for their sheer physical joy of movement and her trademark long mane of hair.

She turned out to be something different and unique, not a misfit, and she will not be surprised if she comes across someone just as unusual and interesting when she visits the Fort Langley school.

“I think that not everything has been discovered yet.”

She plans to tell the youngsters, nicely, that dance is a rewarding career, but not in a strictly financial sense.

“Canada does not value dance the same way some other countries do. So it’s a hard road.”

In May of this year, Gillis was awarded the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award from the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award Foundation

The Quebec-born Gillis is a member of the Order of Canada and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec.

Gillis is one of several Canadian artists scheduled to speak at LFAS between October 2011 and June 2013.

During the day each artist will work with the students, followed by an evening presentation open to the community that includes a question and answer session.

Among the other notable names are painter Tony Scherman (Feb. 3) and VSO music director Bramwell Tovey (Feb. 24).

The lecture series opened on Oct. 14, with a presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation.

The Arts Matter Lecture Series is a partnership of LFAS, Research for Youth, Music and Education (RYME), and the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.

Tickets to each presentation are $30 ($15 for students) and are available online. They may also be purchased at the Langley Fine Arts School Office during school hours.

For more information, call 604-888-3113 or visit