Jennifer Aoki (she/her) is a fourth-generation Japanese Canadian dance maker and performer who is grateful to be living and working on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Known for her thought-provoking work and innovative vision, she has established a strong, distinct voice in the dance community.
Aoki is passionate about building community and connection through artistic practice. Her work celebrates the intersectionality of her identities and is influenced by her ongoing research into heritage, cultural loss, and ancestral teachings. Her current projects engage with community partners to uncover the history of injustice towards Japanese-Canadians during the 1940s, and blend historical material, personal reflection, and movement research to create innovative contemporary dance.
As a dancer, Aoki has worked with independent choreographers Jenn Edwards, Tomoyo Yamada, Meredith Kalaman, Jamee Valin, Philippa Myler, Patricia Alison, Carolyn Schmidt, as well as collectives such as Body Narratives and Machinenoisy. Jennifer has danced for Small Stages (Vancouver) on several projects, including Drone Dances and The Love Bubble Project. She was featured as a lead dancer in Seasons: A Magical Musical, and performed in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Her own choreography has been presented at Nah Drahn (Berlin), 12 Minutes Max (Seattle), Dancing on the Edge (Vancouver), Vines Art Festival (Vancouver), and at the Calgary and Winnipeg Fringe Festivals. Her 2022 film work, Echoes of Silence, was presented by Open Space Victoria, as well as at the Women in Dance International Festival (Japan). Jennifer has also been selected to present her work in Japan at the 2024 Women in Dance Leadership Conference.
Aoki holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University and a Diploma in Recreation Leadership from Langara College. She sits on the Artistic Advisory Committee of the Dance Centre, and is co-artistic director of Voirelia Dance Hub.
Photo: Yvonne Chew
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