Jolene Bailie is a choreographer, director and producer of contemporary dance. Her work reflects on humanness, soul and self-discovery to express a deeply human experience that is honest, complex and thorough.
Jolene Bailie photo by Kristen Sawatsky
Appointed Artistic Director, fall 2019, works by Bailie performed by WCD since appointment include: retuning, in between here and now, Modulations, The Space In Between, Last Schema, Anthem, An Aspect of Alterity, Body & Light and Covid Sonata. Full evenings of Bailie’s choreographies have also been presented for Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Calibrations of Flux, Up Close and disDANCING, Reconnect and Flight Paths for WCD’s Emerging Artist Initiative as well as for WCD’s online presentations. Additional works by Bailie, presented by WCD, include: Proximity, Lost, Dancing Through Uncertainty, Bell/Anti-Bell, Aspects of Alterity, Space or Place, Feedback and Temporal Moments in Deep Time.
Bailie’s career began with solo performance; highlights include performing and touring works by Jose Limon, Anna Sokolow, Marie-Josee Chartier, Joe Laughlin, Denise Clarke, Deborah Dunn, Marc Boivin, Bill Evans and Rachel Browne. Previous to working for WCD, Bailie was Artistic Director of Gearshifting Performance Works, a company she founded and successfully operated for 19 years, creating over 30 original works. Collaborations with Hugh Conacher, Wanda Koop and Susan Chafe have been significant to her development as an artist.
Producing shows annually in Winnipeg since 2000, Bailie has created 13 full-length works, over 30 shorter works and toured her work to national and international critical acclaim. Select credits: Today Art Museum (Beijing), Xi’an Art Museum (Xi’an), The Joyce SoHo’s Inbound Festival (New York City), Performance Mix Festival (New York City), The National Gallery of Canada, The National Arts Centre’s Prairie Scene, International Solo Dance-Theatre Festival (Stuttgart), in/future (Toronto), The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, collaborative projects with Visual Artist, Wanda Koop, dance: made in Canada (2009, 2013, 2019), The Dancing on the Edge Festival (2002, 2004, 2005, 2013, 2019), Femfest, Studio 303, Stream of Dance Festival, Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, Culture Days, Nuit Blanche, Moving Inspirations Dance Festival, numerous Canadian tours, 216 fringe festival performances, hundreds of self-produced performances and online.
Bailie came to WCD with a large body of choreographic work and an ongoing practice of creating new work annually. Bailie typically creates one new work each year, which becomes the focal point of her artistic practice. Her long history of further developing existing works has also been significant to WCD as this has supported WCD to have a broad range of repertoire available for various performance opportunities.
Bailie holds a Masters of Fine Art in Dance through The American Dance Festival/Hollins University where she focused on choreography, studied under Thomas De Frantz and received Fellowships for three consecutive years. Her thesis performance, Gloria’s Sensoria, was presented at The American Dance Festival in 2012 under thesis advisor Jeffery N. Bullock.
Bailie trained with Master Teachers all over North America, travelling annually for professional development projects, 1994-2019. The ongoing support of mentor Bill Evans has been influential to her development as an artist.
Bailie was born and raised in Winnipeg and is a graduate of The School of Contemporary Dancers, where she has worked in various capacities – teaching and choreographing, since 1997.
As an emerging dancer, Bailie earned two post secondary qualifications: a three-year Teacher’s Certificate with Distinction from The Royal Academy of Dance and a four year Bachelor of Arts Honors degree with the Gold Medal Award for Academic Excellence from The University of Winnipeg.
Prior to shifting focus to her own company, Gearshifting Performance Works, and her own choreography, Bailie danced with Ruth Cansfield Dance, Trip dance company, the Bill Evans Dance Company, with freelance choreographers and for independent projects.
As a dancer, Bailie performed in projects with WCD in 1999 and 2002. Her solo show, Rooms With a View – featuring choreography by Bailie, Jose Limon and Anna Sokolow – was presented as part of WCD’s subscription series in 2006.
Bailie’s creative practice grew out of a deep love for dance training, having taught dance since she was a teenager and creating hundreds of works for students. Bailie regularly leads company class at WCD, was a faculty member at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Professional Division, and has provided ongoing advanced/professional level classes in Winnipeg for over twenty years.
Bailie also enjoys work as a rehearsal director (previously for works by Jera Wolfe, Bill Evans, Rachel Browne and Marie-Josee Chartier), loves opportunities to collaborate and has worked in the non-profit sector since 1996.
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