The Legacy Project by Margie Gillis

Handing Over Power: Ensuring the continuity of this great dancer’s creative heritage

By Luc Archambault

Margy Gillis WestmountMag.caThere comes a time when age catches up to the body, as well tuned as it can be. When this becomes reality, it is time to think of one’s heirs, those who will carry on the torch. Margie Gillis is a truly great artist, acclaimed both on the local and the international scenes; she is a figurehead of contemporary dance, as choreographer and as a solo dancer.

Following the creation of the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation, The Legacy Project was implemented, with its prime goal to ensure the continuity of this artist’s unique creative vision. Involving about fifty dancers from all over the world, Margie Gillis has chosen them to work with her, thus passing on her heritage. This show was one of the concretizations of this research, of this quest for understanding the creative process and the choreographical philosophy of madam Gillis. On this night, no less than eight dancers took to the stage.

Margy Gillis

Margy Gillis WestmountMag.caNarrative frame

This was a bit difficult to follow, especially since the show was based on eight short choreographies, ranging in time between 1985 and 2017. And they weren’t presented in chronological order. The accompanying booklet didn’t shed light on the choices behind this program. A bit disappointing and tousling – 15/20


The choreographies have an air-like quality, the dancers are for the most part excellent… with the exception of Gillis, who steps onto the stage to accompany her younger disciples… unfortunately to her detriment, since she doesn’t possess her former tonicity. A solo piece could, and should, have been reserved for her alone, to display her strengths, instead of calling comparison with the other dancers – 17/20


The musical environment is without faults, but at the same time not really memorable. Not a door-breaking achievement – 15/20

Margy Gillis WestmountMag.caScenography

Margy Gillis WestmountMag.caThe stage is well used, and the costumes are beautiful, giving an air of diaphaneity; the sets are minimalistic, even absent. But is this important in a spectacle meant to show off dance? 17/20

Oomph factor

Just to see and admire Margie Gillis on stage for one last time, even if her dancing capabilities are on a descending slope, was well worth the ticket. And also to get a peek into the legacy she cultivates – 19/20

Total: 83%

In short, a very beautiful show with strong reminiscences, as time passes by inexorably. Afterwards, it is difficult not to feel a bit of nostalgia, but also great hope, especially when thinking of the upcoming generation of dancers, who look promising and full of talent. All the more so under the guidance of a mentor named Margie Gillis.

Images: Michael Slobodian

Luc Archambault

Luc Archambault
Writer and journalist, globe-trotter at heart, passionate about movies, music, literature and contemporary dance, came back to Montreal to pursue his unrelenting quest for artistic meaning.

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  1. Liz

    Giving grades to live art works? Really? Here’s some feedback on your efforts.

    Understanding the art form: 7/20

    Ability to translate a performance event for the reading public: 10/20

    Good effort, but please review foundational concepts of the role of live arts and try again.

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