Marcuse, Judith Rose

Judith Rose Marcuse née Margolick, dancer, choreographer, teacher, director (b at Montréal 13 Mar 1947). Her broad international background in ballet and modern dance has made Marcuse a versatile choreographer. Trained initially in Montréal, Marcuse attended Britain's Royal Ballet School (1962-65) and studied subsequently in Canada and the US. She danced with a number of leading companies, notably Les GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS (1965-68), the Bat-Dor Dance Co of Israel (1970-72), and England's Ballet Rambert (1974-76).

Since 1972 Marcuse has worked steadily as a choreographer, creating works for Canadian and foreign troupes. She has also been artistic director of a number of companies based in Vancouver, first the Judith Marcuse Dance Project Society, then Repertory Dance Company of Canada, and most recently DanceArts Vancouver.

In 1995 Marcuse devoted many of DanceArts' resources to the month-long Kiss Project, an ambitious interdisciplinary experiment culminating in a showcase of commissions from playwrights and choreographers. The project won enthusiastic support from both the artistic community and audiences, and was an annual event through 2000.

In the mid-1990s Marcuse began to widen her scope of activity in the community, embarking on a prolonged period of research on issues affecting young people. This resulted in the 1997 production of ICE: Beyond Cool, a show about teenage suicide that played in shopping malls to thousands of teenagers in a seven-city Canadian tour; the production was adapted for television in 2000.

Further prolonged collaboration with young people led to FIRE... where there's smoke (2001), a multi-media work about the effects on teens of societal violence. Integrating dance, text, music, video and stills projected on three oversize screens, as well as surround sound and moving lights, FIRE enjoyed a 44-show run and critical success. Both ICE and FIRE broke new ground for the company, allowing young people to articulate solutions to problems facing them, and involving a broad range of sponsors, government-agency collaborators, and venues not normally associated with dance presentation.

Marcuse has won both the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Choreography (1976) and the Clifford E. Lee Award for Choreography (1979). In 2000 she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Simon Fraser University in recognition of her groundbreaking redefinition of dance that combines artistic excellence with relevance to the community. The CANADA COUNCIL awarded Judith Marcuse the JACQUELINE LEMIEUX Prize in 2009.