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The Creative Gesture - Dramaturgy for Dance 2018

Movement and Meaning: Dramaturgy of Living Systems
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Program Information

Program Overview

This two-week research workshop is part of The Creative Gesture dance program. This program is led by dramaturg, curator, and writer Ruth Little alongside Liz Lerman, international guest faculty for a portion of the workshop. The program will consider dance dramaturgy as a perpetual dialogue between movement and meaning, and investigate the archetypal structures of order and disorder that underlie our relationships with one another and the world.

Life is always in motion, always responding to, creating, and dissolving rhythm and form. A performance work, like other complex biological and social systems, is a dynamic, living organism; and living systems repeat themselves and their core forms at every level of scale. This premise forms the basis of our investigation.

To make sense of a world saturated by flows of energy and information, randomness, chance, and change, the human brain has evolved extreme sensitivity to patterns and their disruption. Dramaturgy works with this innate way of perceiving and making, and can be thought of as a relational/ecological practice – a way of understanding and navigating the complexities of the creative process.

What does the program offer?

Over two weeks of immersive, embodied, and collaborative research, involving faculty members, visiting artists, and the rich physical context of Banff Centre, the workshop will explore the role of dramaturgy as the fundamental craft underlying the creation, articulation, and interpretation of dance works. 

Topics include:
•    The structures of living systems
•    Chaos and complexity
•    Establishing initial conditions
•    Resonant objects and vibrant matter
•    Extending the edge: what does permaculture have to do with dance?
•    Failing better: error and imbalance
•    Play and the trickster
•    Cold, dark matter: the underground and the horizon
•    Creativity and the adjacent possible
•    Transitions
•    Ambiguity
•    Ritual
•    4D dramaturgy
•    Necessity
•    Life craft and practice

Who should apply?

A wide range of professional artists interested in a deeper understanding of both movement and meaning are encouraged to apply for this program. We welcome artistic directors, choreographers, dancers, dance practitioners (teachers, rehearsal directors, etc.), dance writers, and professional artists of other mediums. 

Canadian and international artists are invited to apply. You may apply to more than one Creative Gesture program, however if accepted, you will only be able to participate in one program.


What's Included

Single or Shared RoomRead MoreClose

When applying, choose between staying in a single or a shared bedroom on the Banff Centre campus for the duration of your program.

Get connected with other artists on campus and focus on your projects in a creative environment while we take care of the day-to-day essentials.

Full Flex Meal PlanRead MoreClose

Using a credit-based system to dine on campus, our flexible meal plans allow you to select meals according to your own needs during your stay.

The Full Flex meal plan includes $38 credit per day, equivalent to breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Vistas Dining Room.

Gym MembershipRead MoreClose

Your program fee includes free access to the swimming pool, climbing gym, and fitness suite as well as discounted rates for classes at the Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre.

Paul D. Fleck Library and ArchivesRead MoreClose

Access a wide range of publications, books, music, and films in the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, open six days a week.

Box Office DiscountsRead MoreClose

Enjoy special artist rates for ticketed performances or complimentary access to events.

Participant ResourcesRead MoreClose

Enrich your experience and get to know other artists on campus by taking advantage of the activities and support provided by our Participant Resources team.

Showcase Your workRead MoreClose

This program offers opportunities to showcase your work-in-progress.

Fees & Financial Assistance

Program Fee (Single Room)*
$2 295.54
Program Fee with Financial Aid (Single Room)
Program Fee (Shared Room)*
$1 899.20
Program Fee with Financial Aid (Shared Room)

Application fee: $65

*Financial Aid up to 100% of the program fee is provided

Help fund your experience at Banff Centre! View a compiled list of national and international opportunities here.

How to Apply

Personal statement

A 500-word description of why you wish to attend this program, what you hope to learn, and what impact it could have on your artistic practice.


A one-page resume describing your professional training and experience, as well as other relevant experience.

Work samples

Please upload three samples of your recent artistic work.


Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. In addition to artistic merit, consideration will be given to the likelihood that the artist's work will benefit from the program. Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as adjudication is complete.



This program is open to dancers, choreographers and composers at any stage in their careers. Both Canadian and international artists are invited to apply.

Note: All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of Banff Centre.

Contact the Registrar

For questions on preparing your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

Toll Free Number (Canada + USA)