Foolish Operation’s vision is about people of all generations discovering and creating new dance experiences together.
Our mandate is to create contemporary dance experiences with and for an audience of all ages.
The mission of our society is to create and discover new dance experiences where professionals and non-professionals, young and old alike are capable, make choices and solve problems, lead and follow, create and collaborate. Using the power of play to re-shape reality, we celebrate children, including babies, toddlers and preschoolers, as agents of their own creative choices so that, together, we can build a healthier and more connected future for all. Our work is intergenerational, inter-subjective, place-based, and involves families and participants of all ages and walks of life alongside professional artists, educators, specialists and cultural knowledge keepers to learn from each other and collaborate to the creation of new choreographic works, participatory installations, workshops, conferences and professional development initiatives. With a focus on healthy relations and environment, our process is rooted in community engaged practice. This includes respect and consideration to reduce the environmental impact of our initiatives. It also includes contributing and supporting the strategic planning of emerging artists and organizations, especially of bipoc and minority language communities, interested in performance practice with and for children and families.
Foolish Operations Society was incorporated in 2016, as a not-for-profit society, on the ancestral and unceded Indigenous territories of the xʷməθkʷəjˀəm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil Waututh) First Nations, also known as Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Board members: Brigid Portner (Chair), Adriana Contreras (Vice-Chair), Miriam Esquitín (Treasurer), Miri Alony (Secretary).
Artistic Direction: Julie Lebel
Julie Lebel is a Vancouver based choreographer invested in community engaged dance and in interactions between public space and community. She graduated from UQAM with a bachelor degree in Dance in 1998 and is based in Vancouver since 2005. Her choreography is shown across Canada in city centres and rural contexts, with dance, theatre and multi-disciplinary presenters, festivals and museums. Julie’s current touring projects are:
- Tricoter, a short form and site flexible interactive performance set within a knitting circle. This project benefited from the support of the Jouer Dehors program by La danse sur les routes du Québec. First presented at the Skampede Festival in 2016, it has been shown over 75 times in BC, NWT, ON and QC since.
- Paper Playground, a creation for the very young premiered at the Surrey Children International Festival in May 2017, touring BC, AB and NB in 2019. Presentation will resume after the pandemic.
Moving-resting-Nesting is the current research and inquiry to create a new work for and with very young children and their grownups, exploring the world of birds through dance, music and story. We expect the work to premiere in the spring of 2022. This project involves 11 interdiciplinary artists and benefits from the mentorship of Jacky Essombé (African Friendship Society), Margaret Grenier (Dancers of Damelahamid), Alvin Erasga Tolentino (Co. ERASGA) and support from many, including Still Moon Arts Society and the generous contributions of Cathy Stubington or Runaway Moon Theatre.
At the core of her practice, Julie facilitates the Foolish Operations Ensemble/Dancing the Parenting, an ongoing practice for parents dancing and performing with their young children. This project benefits from the ongoing support from The Vancouver Park Board in the form of a permanent residency since 2010, which allows for weekly practices from September to June every year. As a bilingual project, it is also supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage to allow francophone and anglophone families to collaborate and exchange. We are also deeply grateful for the support of the City of Vancouver Cultural Office who were first to recognize the value of this work and support it financially, since 2016.
In 2019, Julie obtained certification in Ensemble Thinking under Nina Martin – Texas and the Lower Left Collective. Ensemble Thinking is a set of collaborative group composition tools for ensemble improvisation. Julie is now a member of the Lower Left Collective along with members in USA, Germany and Norway and now Canada .
Her mentors are Karen Jamieson – Vancouver (embodied facilitation and Energy Body practice, since 2012) and Patricia Reedy (Luna Dance Institute, CA, for her expertise in early years relationship based dance curriculum, since 2014).
From February 2016 to August 2018, Julie was Manager of Community Engagement at Made in BC – Dance on Tour. Since 2008, Julie is active in the development of initiatives to support francophone dance artists outside of Quebec with a focs on increasing touring and presentations opportunities in francophone communities outside of Québec. Since 2005, Julie has been active as board member (until 2010), and now as a volunteer and consultant for CADA-West to improve working conditions for dance artists. She is particularly involved in the Fees and Rates and in the new Basic Dance Agreement projects.
In these documents you can find Foolish Operations’ latest COVID-19 health protocols. The Google doc format allows us to adapt them according to the latest health measures and restrictions.