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REF NO.: 90

SUBJECT: On the move with Memorial’s first dancer-in-residence

DATE: Nov. 25

          Memorial University’s first dancer-in-residence, Karen Kaeja, performs in unlikely places: front porches, parks and beaches, to name a few. Soon she will add an academic library to the list-Memorial’s Queen Elizabeth II Library (QEII).

          Ms. Kaeja is an award-winning dancer and choreographer and considered one of Canada’s top 10 dance artists (Now magazine). She is also co-artistic director, along with her husband Allen Kaeja, of Kaeja d’Dance, one of Canada’s longest standing contemporary dance companies (

          According to Ms. Kaeja, collaboration and improvisation will be the guiding principles of a series of upcoming informal performances she is conducting as part of her residency. By challenging traditional concepts of performance spaces, she breaks down the divide that separates performer and spectator so that everyone becomes part of the creative act and the imprint of a live performance.

          “In my QEII Library presentation and the other performance series’ I will be integrating the public into experiential aspects of the event so if people want to join in, they can, if they don’t, they can continue to watch,” she said. “I love to be in collaboration with new people. I thrive on it actually. Now that I have been on the West Coast, I have begun my understanding of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador who are warm people that live fabulous stories.”

          The new dancer-in-residence program at Memorial, initiated in partnership with DanceNL and Creative Gros Morne, aims to explore the overlap of academia and dance and also strengthen connections with the province’s arts community. There are a number of activities planned that encompass an array of forums and approaches, such as workshops, mentoring, collaborations with local dance schools and community dance groups.

          “DanceNL is thrilled to be partnering with Memorial University and Creative Gros Morne on this inaugural dancer-in-residence program,” said Candice Pike, president, DanceNL. “The benefits of connecting our cross-provincial dance mandate with both university campuses are tremendous. Such a partnership opens the door to developing more dance activity at the post-secondary level in Newfoundland that could reflect the strong and diverse culture of dance practitioners and enthusiasts who reside here.”

 The following free events will take place in St. John’s in the coming weeks:

  • Footnotes: Dialogue and Dance with Memorial’s Artists-in-Residence, Nov. 28, 1-2 p.m., third floor, QEII Library, Memorial University, sponsor: Memorial Libraries
  • We Are Dancing: An Improvised Approach to Connectivity (participatory workshop) Dec. 2, 7 p.m., Pony Locale, 120 Lemarchant Rd., sponsor: DanceNL, for further details see
  • Improvising Spaces: An Informal Performance and Discussion, Dec. 5, 6-7 p.m., MMaP, Arts and Culture Centre, sponsor: School of Music, Memorial University,    

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For further information, please contact Kristine Power, communications co-ordinator, Queen Elizabeth II Library, at 709-864-3188, 709-770-1553 (mobile) or


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