Daina Ashbee

Daina Ashbee, Laborious Song, performer Benjamin Kamino, photo by Vanessa Fortin

Artist, performer and choreographer based in Canada, known for her radical works at the edge of dance and performance. At the young age of 26, she had already won two awards for her choreographies. She was a double prizewinner at the Prix de la danse de Montréal, winning both the Prix du CALQ for Best Choreography of 2015-2016 for her choreographic installation When the Ice Melts, Will We Drink the Water?, and the Prix Découverte de la danse, for Unrelated (her first choreography). Daina was named by the prestigious German TANZ magazine as one of 30 promising artists for the year 2017 and named one of 25 to watch by the American publication, DANCE in 2018. In 2019, she won a New York Dance and Performance Award, Bessie, for Outstanding Choreographer. In 2020 Daina received a fellowship award from Springboard Danse Montreal.  In 2021, at the age of 30, she had two separate Retrospectives of her performance artworks; one in Montpellier, France and the second in Montreal, Canada.

Recognized as one of the most promising young choreographers of the next generation, since 2015 her work has been presented over one-hundred times in 15 countries and over 33 different cities. Her work being presented in some of the most prestigious festivals (The Venice Biennale, Oktoberdans, the Munich Dance Biennale, Montpellier Danse) and on the stages of the world (Canada, France, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Greenland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, United States, Croatia and Mexico). 

Drawing on an imagery imbued with her personal history, Canadian choreographer Daina Ashbee traces the contours of a vulnerability that transcends genders.

Laborious Song, created in 2020, explores the interstices between the angst and playful jubilation of a peripheral and naked body. Performed by Benjamin Kamino, who abandons himself to an obsessive, repetitive, and accumulative leitmotif almost like a summoning of a self-destructive violence that brings about temporary relief. Gianni Bardaro’s music infiltrates the hollow spaces of all present bodies, and its throbbing drone slowly dissipates the collective pain.

Artistic Direction & Choreography: Daina Ashbee
in collaboration w/& performed by: Benjamin Kamino
Music Composition: Gianni Bardaro
Lighting Design: Vito Walter
Produced by: Daina Ashbee and Angelica Morga
Duration: 60 minutes
Supported by: Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres de Québec,
Residencies: The Chocolate Factory, New York City – Plataforma 322, Puerto Vallarta
Premiere: March 3, 2020 – KVS, Brussels, Belgium