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News (National): Daina Ashbee Recipient of the 2022 Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Clifford E. Lee Award

News (National): Daina Ashbee Recipient of the 2022 Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Clifford E. Lee Award

The biennial Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is awarded to an emerging Canadian dance choreographer or company demonstrating exceptional talent. Established in 1978 by the Clifford E. Lee Foundation, the award was created to encourage the development of Canadian choreographers. Recipients are recognized for work that explores a contemporary approach to dance through any style.

Artist, performer, and choreographer Daina Ashbee was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and is known for her radical works at the edge of dance and performance. Recognized as one of the most prolific choreographers of her generation, her work has won numerous international awards and has been presented over one hundred times in 40 cities across 16 countries. Daina’s work has been presented at some of the most prestigious festivals around the world.

“I would like to thank Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for this incredible honour and opportunity. I am thrilled to be able to use their wonderful support structure and resources in the hope of making a work that is profound, impactful, and supernatural. I will use the award and its two residencies in the development of my new group piece, entitled My Tale on a Fish’s Body.”

Daina will receive a $14,000 cash prize, a creation residency, and a production residency at Banff Centre. Through these immersive experiences and ongoing support, Banff Centre will champion Daina in her vision and realization of her new piece to be released in 2023.

“We are thrilled to recognize and support the work of Daina Ashbee with the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award,” says Mark Wold, Dean of Arts and Leadership at Banff Centre. “Daina’s work is intense, intimate, vulnerable, and courageous. She inspires her dancers and audiences alike, and we know her work will continue the tradition of this award in elevating and shining a spotlight on Canadian choreographers. We look forward to seeing a new group piece from Daina come to life at Banff Centre!”

Now residing on Gabriola Island, (unceded territory of Snuneymuxw Nation), Daina re-sources her creative and energetic practices close to the rain forest on the west coast of Canada while she is not touring or creating abroad. Daina’s new creations include another group piece My Tale on a Fish’s Body which will premiere in 2023, and a small group piece titled We Learned A Lot at Our Own Funeral which is choreographed on breakers, Bboys and BGirls in 2024.

“Each dance piece that I make launches me into a vortex of transformation and growth, and that is why I can stand tall today and say thank you for all of the wonders this world has brought to me. So I express my gratitude to be the recipient of the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award 2022, as well as for all the resources that have been shared with me over the years to enable me to be a creative and productive artist.”

Past recipients of the Clifford E. Lee Award include: Crazy Smooth (2020), Andrea Peña, Allen Kaeja, Andrew Giday, Bengt Jörgen, Benjamin Hatcher, Christopher House, Constantine Patsalis, Crystal Pite, D.A. Hoskins, David Earle, Donald Sales, Edward Hillyer, Gabrielle Lamb, Gaetan Gingras, Gioconda Barbuto, Heather Myer, Howard Richard, Jennifer Mascall, Joe Laughlin, Judith Marcuse, Lola MacLaughlin, Mark Godden, Martine Epoque, Mauryne Allan, Michael Downing, Peter Quanz, Randy Glynn, Renald Rabu, Robert Glumbek, Robert Stephen, Sabrina Matthews, Shaun Hounsell, Simone Orlando, Stephanie Ballard, and Wen Wei Wang.

More information on Daina Ashbee can be found at

For Media Inquiries Please Contact
Casey Peirce
Communications Director

Banff Centre acknowledges with deep respect and gratitude, our home on the side of Sacred Buffalo Guardian Mountain. In the spirit of respect and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Banff area, known as “Minhrpa” (translated in Stoney Nakoda as “the waterfalls”) and the Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) – comprised of the Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Goodstoney Nations – as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Shuswap Nations, Ktunaxa Nations, and Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. We acknowledge all Nations who live, work, and play here, help us steward this land, and honour and celebrate this place.

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