Mayor's Arts Award for Dance

Profile images of Artemis Gordon and Livona Ellis

2017 recipients

Artemis Gordon


An artistic and pedagogical authority in dance, Artemis Gordon was named Artistic Director of the Arts Umbrella dance program in 1992. The program is now internationally recognized for producing graduates who dance in companies around the world such as Ballet BC, Nederlands Dans Theatre I & II, and Batsheva Dance Company.

Gordon has toured the Arts Umbrella Dance Company to the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, New York, and Montreal and fostered collaborations with Nederlands Dans Theatre, Yokohama Ballet, Spellbound Contemporary Dance, Joffrey Ballet School, and L'Ecole supérieure de ballet du Québec.

In 2015, Gordon secured the affiliation between Ballet BC and Arts Umbrella, extending the impact of international choreographers in Vancouver and increasing opportunities for young dancers in Vancouver. In 2016, she won the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Arts, Culture, and Design. Her instruction prepares students to navigate their lives with discipline, rigour, and innovation.

Livona Ellis

Emerging artist

Vancouver-born Livona Ellis started dancing at the age of 11 at Arts Umbrella under the direction of Artemis Gordon. After completing the Graduate Program in 2010, Ellis was offered an apprenticeship with Ballet BC and joined as a full time member after one season. Since joining Ballet BC, Ellis has been fortunate to work with world-renowned artists such as Sharon Eyal, Crystal Pite, Medhi Walerski, Emanuel Gat, Cayetano Soto, Johan Inger, Francesca Caroti (William Forsyth), Wen Wei Wang, Lesley Telford, Doug Letheren (Sharon Eyal), and Shahar Binyamini (Ohad Naharin).

Ellis has been a part of Springboard Danse Montreal, Movement Invention Project NYC, The Banff Professional Dance Program and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance Summer Program. She has created work for Live at the Bolt' Small Stage and at Dance Deck Trois. She is on faculty at Arts Umbrella and has choreographed for their Season Finale performances.  

Past recipients

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