“I want highly trained dancers, technically strong but also kindhearted” Marie Chouinard, award-winning choreographer

Multi-award winning Marie Chouinard has been described as one of the most daring and exciting choreographers. And after speaking with her from Canada, I can also say that she’s one of the most passionate, exuberant and kindhearted artist who has an endless fountain of creativity.

Marie has so much natural, bubbling inspiration that I was left wondering how she manages to sleep at night, as every waking minute seems filled with new ideas, new projects and new creations. 

What struck me most about Marie is the goodness in her heart and her positivity. Her tone is soft but the words spill out of her so fast, so light with so much joy that I’m totally captivated by everything she says, not wanting to miss a comment, a thought, a vision.

Marie has created over 50 solo and group works and Sadler’s Wells is this month presenting her latest creation Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge, with HENRI MICHAUX : MOUVEMENTS. 

Inspired by dancers’ bodies, Marie transforms the dancer’s body from what is normally expected, she’s interested in how we walk, how we construct our bodies, how limitations affect how the body moves.

When I ask Marie where she finds inspiration, she seems almost amused by the question, “I don’t look for inspiration, it’s there, it’s bursting, it’s flowing, I have too much inspiration – like my life is too short for me to create all the pieces I want to create! I find the idea of inspiration very funny, for me it’s the way I see the world, it’s the same as breathing.”

Intrigued by Marie’s creative mind, I ask her to explain how she approaches creating new works and she describes it as a mysterious process where her body and heart are tuned, “it’s like tuning the heart and mind, then I start working in the studio with the dancers and create the material on their bodies.”

Marie’s creativity knowns almost no bounds, and she’s recently created an app ‘Cantique’ based on one of her museum installations. The app allows you to take command of two dancers and choreograph your own image – I’m definitely going to try it out!

Marie established her company COMPAGNIE MARIE CHOUINARD over 25 years ago and I ask Marie what she looks for in dancers to join her company and I’m not at all surprised that her answer is an emotionally-based one, “I want highly trained dancers who are very strong technically, but I also look for special people, who have a special way of being. I look for different artists, different people. I look for people who are truly kind and good hearted – it’s part of my screening. It’s quite a complex nature that I look for!”

And finally, when I ask Marie what advice she would give other aspiring choreographers her words come like a glorious waterfall, “Work, work, work and have fun. And work, work, work, and love work. Love to work and work more and then work more and love it and then love to work and work! And share, and share, and love it and have fun sharing and just work and love it!”

What a lovely woman and an intriguing artist and choreographer!

You can see Marie Chouinard’s her latest creation Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge, with HENRI MICHAUX : MOUVEMENTS at Sadler’s Wells on 20 & 21 June.