Jan. 23, 2022

Politics: Charting Migration and Identity | Henry Daniel

Politics: Charting Migration and Identity | Henry Daniel

Jason met Henry at the 2017 IADMS conference and immediately struck an accord.


What does it mean to be a nomadic artist? What exactly is a contemporary nomad? With the increasingly globalized world we live in today, it's only natural that dance artists travel to where opportunity presents itself. However, constant migration often leads to fragmented individualities and scattered homes, which results in a recurring  process of arriving and departing in search for what hopes to be the penultimate destination.

Henry Daniel is a Distinguished SFU Professor, Professor of Dance, Performance Studies and New Technology, scholar, performer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of Full Performing Bodies. As a former dancer, he worked with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre Workshop, Pearl Primus African American Dance Company, José Limón Dance Company (USA) and Tanztheater Münster (GER)

Concluding the month of Politics, this episode explores key challenges faced by contemporary artists of past and present concerning migration and fragmented identities . Ready to fulfill your contemporary nomad's journey? Join us as we foreground dance in the background!

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Soundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle Milk

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Henry Daniel Profile Photo

Henry Daniel

Lecturer / Author / Artistic Director / Academic

Distinguished SFU Professor, Professor of Dance, Performance Studies and New Technology, scholar, performer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of Full Performing Bodies, Daniel’s research concentrates on strengthening notions of Practice-as-Research (PaR), Arts-based-Research, and Research/Creation in Canada. He leads a group of artists and scholars who help define new parameters for excellence in these areas. He has a professional background in dance, theatre, and new media with a career that started in his native Trinidad & Tobago and continued in the USA, Germany, the UK, and Canada.

Daniel began his career as an actor with James Lee Wah's San Fernando Drama Guild and continued in Port-of-Spain with Derek Walcott's Trinidad Theatre Workshop. He was also a founding member of Astor Johnson's ground-breaking company, the Repertory Dance Theatre of Trinidad and Tobago. In the USA he was a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre Workshop, Pearl Primus African American Dance Company, Frank Ashley Dance Company, Asakawalker Dance Company, the Bernhard Ballet, and soloist with the José Limón Dance Company of New York. In Germany he founded and directed Henry Daniel and Dancers while continuing to work as a member of TanzProject München, Tanztheater Freiburg, and Assistant Director, Choreographer, and Dancer for Tanztheater Münster with Birgitta Trommler. In the UK he founded and directed the performance group Full Performing Bodies, which he still maintains.

Henry attended Naparima College in Trinidad, the Boston Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School in the USA, and has an MA in Dance Studies (Sociology of Dance, Choreology, Choreography) from City University, The Laban Centre, London, as well as a Ph.D. in Dance, Performance Studies and New Technology from Bristol University's Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television in the UK. He is currently Distinguished SFU Professor, Professor of Dance, Performance Studies and New Technology at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts and Principal Investigator for a number of research projects, the latest of which is Contemporary Nomads. His impressive track record on the international scene has led and continues to lead to advances in cultural knowledge by bringing to bear the perspectives and skills of the artist/scholar. Through his collaborations with researchers from the fields of science and engineering, he enables and contributes to technological innovation. As well, his ongoing preoccupation with issues of identity and diaspora and its roots in a colonizing process begun in the late fifteenth century allows him to engage with the issue of how contemporary bodies perform, and hence transform, their sense of place, space, and identity.

Henry Daniel is a 2020 FCAT Research Excellence Award recipient and a 2021 Distinguished SFU Professor awardee.