Dancing, with/as nature and against the grain.

Spring 2021 Events:

International Dance Day Show 2021: Into the Unknown (Walking Backwards). April 29. 8pm PST. Thank you to a wonderful zoom-crowd for supporting our work-in-progress showing of Agon and the Animal. Next one coming in June 2021, online. Live performances coming in the summer and fall of 2021.

Spring Dance Classes (Online)

Absolute Beginners’ Dance Improvisation. Wednesdays. May 5, 12, 19. 9-9:45 am PST/12pm-12:45pmEST. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/absolute-beginners-dance-improvisation-with-kristen-lewis-tickets-152599756981

Dance Improvisation–Continuing Practice. Sundays. May 2, 9, 16. 5- 6pm PST/8pm-9pmEST Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/dance-improvisation-with-kristen-lewis-continuing-practice-tickets-152606499147

K. Lewis (performance): “Homo Academicus, Shall We Dance? Dance Improvisation, New Materialism, and new activities of knowledge production.” University of Victoria Campus, May 2020.
“As counter-training, dance improvisation has the potential to undo and remake the ways people acculturated in mainstream Western environments (often unconsciously) approach the question of the ‘nature/culture’ divide.” Excerpt from the paper by the same title, by K. Lewis, that accompanied the performance, in fulfilment of the requirements for Dr. Stephen Garlick’s graduate seminar in social theory.

I am a dance artist.

My rigorous interdisciplinary practice includes a variety of activities, all of which are sourced from and return to dance as the fundamental discipline that orders my art practice and life. My practices include performance, performance-creation, dance improvisation as/and embodied theorizing, choreography, teaching, and writing.

My work moves between worlds and ways of knowing them, resulting in the creation of interdisciplinary performances that articulate multiple ways of knowing, with dance as the ground I always return to, and writing as the bridge between that ground and communicative acts.

Though my creative work grows in the fertile soil of solitary practice, deep collaboration is central to what I do. I love uncovering new kinaesthetic territory together in collaboration with dance artists with whom I share an affinity. My affinities include: a taste for undoing the habits of the usual training, and a certain sense of the way sacrifice and discipline balance with surrender and letting go to generate creative experiences whose value is measured not by the number of audience members who “see the show,” but by the intensity with which our work facilitates new modes of perception in the people we are honored to call “audience.”

I began a fruitful collaboration with Vancouver-based dance artists Avery Smith and Lucas Wilson-Bilbro in 2019; our work continues through the container of a long-range performance creation and research project called “Agon and the Animal.” Upcoming performance on April 29, 2021 at 8pm, online. Get tickets Here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/k-lewis-performance-intl-dance-day-21-into-the-unknown-tickets-152035555439

For more on Agon and the Animal, see: https://www.averymsmith.com/kristen-lewis-animal-and-the-agnon

Since 2018, my work has appeared regularly in academic settings (in dialogue with social theory, legal theory, and critical studies in improvisation), giving me space to experiment with ways to bridge theory with the practices of radical embodiment that are at the heart of my performance work. I collaborate regularly with critical legal scholar Dr. Sara Ramshaw (see here, for instance) and with Dr. Emile Fromet de Rosnay, critical theorist and experimental film-maker, with research interests in gesture, voice and film (see some of our work on the French studies scholar, literary critic, and writer Pierre-Luc Landry’s “aggregateur indiscipline” site, here). These interests have joined with the prior work I did over the course of an intensive, rich, multi-year collaboration with the elder (and my dear friend) David Westcott, beginning in 2010, integrating insights from the Lakota-Cree ceremonial tradition into performance work through the production company we founded together, Walking Bear Productions.

Law is one of the mediums I work through, as a dance artist with a law degree. I see dance as a practice of deep justice, and performance-creation and dissemination as ways of positing modes of being-otherwise than according to the profound forces of normalization that condition the social and the political (and hence also the capacity for what might be called the spiritual) in our devastatingly precarious but even-still rich-with-potential present. I see dance art as a site to enact practices of genuine freedom.

“Falling.” Text and Performance: Kristen Lewis. Film: Loumille Metros.


My first performance appeared at the Atlantic Fringe Festival in 2002, an experimental two-person dance play whose positive critical reception by performance art scholar Thomas Taylor set me on the path to a life in experimental, dance-based performance. I have since followed the current of my performative impulse through labyrinthine paths leading me through the interstices between disciplinary worlds. Many performances have resulted (past performances here), and continue to result (upcoming projects here.)


K.Lewis Performance: Summary of Activities (See also: K. Lewis Performance)

Dance Improvisation and embodied theorizing as a fundamental discipline and way of life.

Dance/performance works: creation and performance.

Thinking/Writing/Reading at the intersection of theory, art, law, and religion.

Performance art works: site specific, on the ever-evolving stage of life.

Embodied Approaches to Academic Research: ongoing investigations into how dance can help thinking remember its body.

Law as a medium for performance/Performance as a medium for embodied legal reasoning: JD (University of Victoria Faculty of Law), class of 2020. LLM Candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School. Thesis: “Law and Indigenous Religion–Theorizing a Complex Relationship.”

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