People

James Gnam

i. I work as a: dancer, choreographer, producer and artistic director of plastic orchid factory, an interdisciplinary performance company. 
 
ii. I do this creative work because:
It’s the clearest and most precise way for me to feel, connect, engage and respond to the world around me. Dancing is my life’s work.
.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Empathy, courage, determination and patience. 
 
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Defining clear personal boundaries in creative practices and processes.
 
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
I had aspirations to be a dinosaur vet. But, clearly that didn’t pan out. As a child, I painted and drew and was quite serious about track and field. However, in gr. 4, I found dance and by gr. 5, I had  moved away from my family in Victoria BC to attend Canada’s National Ballet School full-time in Toronto.
 
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
Su-Feh Lee’s of battery opera performance makes work that always inspires me. The inclusive, porous and personal nature of what she does has  allowed me to see and feel things and perspectives that I had not considered. Hong Kong Exile is a Vancouver collective that continuously blows me away with the power and clarity of their work.
••
vii. Training that has helped me in this career:
Pilates and running 
 
viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Pushing through injury and getting caught up in other artists’ successes. 
 
ix. Some proud career moments:
Performing with my partner Natalie and our son Finn in plastic orchid factory’s last large ensemble piece “Digital Folk” as we toured across BC and Alberta last Fall. Performing with MAYDAY in Stockholm, Marseilles,Toronto and Jerusalem this past year.   
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Need to do it. You will not get rich or famous being a dancer. So the drive needs to come from a deep-routed personal desire.  
 
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
To stay open to wonder and surprise.
 
xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
Most immediately, I will be performing in Vancouver October 3, 4 and 5 at Performance Works on Granville Island. The work is called I Care What You Think and it is the collaborative result of working with long-time artists and friends Vanessa Goodman, Jane Osborne and James Proudfoot. We will be using wishes, those of the audience and our own, to generate a physical poem that oscillates between observation and action to ask how we can be together better. 
I will also be performing with Montreal’s Grand Poney in Jacques Poulin Denis’ Running Piece. The work is a solo where the I essentially run and dance on a giant treadmill for 55 minutes or 11.5 kilometres! We will be going to Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Ottawa this Fall. Then I’ll pick up performing Animal Triste with MAYDAY in France, New York and Winnipeg in the Spring. 
To complement all of this, is a whole season of diverse programming offered by plastic orchid factory. There are over 10 original works, including pieces by local and national artists, that will be shown between October and June at our performance-studio Left of Main, in Historic Chinatown. Anyone interested in seeing world-class live arts in a relaxed setting should definitely come check it out. Most events are by donation. The season is up on our website at: http://www.plasticorchidfactory.com Have a look! We’d love to see you!
Previous

Kelly Deck, Tommy Smythe + IDS

Next

The Dominion Building

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton