Gearshifting Performance Works is a not for profit Arts Organization dedicated to contemporary dance.  Committed to contemporary dance and enriching the community, the Company has three main activities; these include the advancement of creation, education and presentation of contemporary dance.

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Enriching the Community

Gearshifting Performance Works’ core activity each season is typically a new creation project. We present a full season of activity each year and are committed to public presentation. Through new creation, commissions, re-constructions, performances, site specific work, installation work, videos, teaching, studio showings, talk back sessions, and working with guest artists, the Company makes dance available in a variety settings.

Brief History

Gearshifting Performance Works is a Winnipeg-based dance company founded by Artistic Director, Jolene Bailie. Originally founded to support the growth of Jolene Bailie’s successful career as a touring solo artist, the company has grown slowly, wisely and successfully over nineteen years, earning a reputation for presenting quality work.

The company creates for theatre productions, tours, site specific projects, installation projects, video work, and collaborations. The company features the work of Jolene Bailie, Guest Artists, Collaborators, and an ensemble of Dancers. Committed to public presentation, the company has successfully programmed a full season of activity annually since 2002.  The core project each season is  the creation and presentation of new work.

Artistic Director, Jolene Bailie, enjoyed over a decade of touring solo work. During this time she worked with leaders in the field from across Canada and The United States, performing hundreds of full length solo shows as well as over a hundred performances within shared/mixed programs, six cross Canada tours, ten international engagements, several smaller tours, two projects of historical significance in New York City, re-mounted fourteen solo works by established choreographers, commissioned eight new solo works by senior guest choreographers, as well as developed and presented her own new creations, including full-length shows, a plethora of shorter works and numerous works for bridging, emerging and pre-professional dancers, including the choreographic initiative she created for emerging dancers, Surge.

Jolene Bailie/Gearshifting Performance Works has presented shows annually in Winnipeg since 2000 and toured extensively. The work has been both self-presented and produced on over 350 occasions as well as presented by nationally and internationally recognized companies, presenters, museums, festivals and art galleries including: in/future (Art Spin, Toronto 2016), Today Art Museum (Beijing, 2015), The Xi’an Art Museum (China, 2014), The Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ RightsFest (2014), the Dancing on the Edge Festival in Vancouver (2002, 2004, 2005, 2013),  dance: made in canada (2009 and 2013), Adhere and Deny (2013), NAfro Dance Productions (2012), Savarsati Productions (2012), The American Dance Festival (Thesis Concert in conjunction with The American Dance Festival/Hollins MFA Program, 2012), The National Arts Centre (Prairie Scene, 2011), The National Gallery of Canada (in conjunction with Wanda Koop… On the Edge of Experience, 2011), The Winnipeg Art Gallery (in conjunction with Wanda Koop… On the Edge of Experience, 2010), Culture Days/The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Dance Downtown (2011), The Ignacy Jan Paderewski Polish Musical Society (2010), Bill Evans (2005-2009), Simon Fraser University (2008), the Inbound Festival at The Joyce SoHo in New York City (2008), The State University of New York at Brockport (2005, 2007), The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival (2007), Studio 303 in Montreal (2003, 2004, 2006, with the 2006 performance earning a “best of dance: 2006 year in review” top three listing in the Montreal Mirror Magazine), New Dance Alliance’s 20th Anniversary Performance Mix Festival at the Joyce SoHo in New York City (2006), Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers (2006), Perimeters Performance Symposium in Regina (2005), the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival (2005), The Limon Institute (2005), the 9th International Solo Dance-Theatre Festival in Stuttgart, Germany (2005), The Her-icane Festival of Women’s Art in Saskatoon (2004),  The Stream of Dance Festival in Regina (2002), the Girls! Girls! Girls! annual fundraiser for The Gas Station Arts Centre (annually 2005-2015), Nuit Blanche at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015), The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Gallery Ball (2010, 2015), Young Lungs Dance Exchange (New Creation for fundraiser, 2013), and at two hundred and eight fringe festival performances, earning numerous “best of fest” awards and performing to full houses, including performances in Montreal (2003), Toronto (2004, 2005, 2006), Winnipeg (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2018), Saskatoon (2003, 2004, 2007),  Calgary (2007), Edmonton (2004, 2006, 2007), Athabasca (2004), Victoria (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and Vancouver (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). Jolene’s choreography and performance for video has been presented at The Canada Dance Festival (Guest Choreographer and Performer for Kaeja d’Dance), The Winnipeg Art Gallery (2010), The National Gallery of Canada (2011), Xi’an Art Museum (2014) and Today Art Museum (2015).

Gearshifting Performance Works has a history of presenting works by Guest Artists. Guest Artists have included Marie-Josee Chartier, Bill Evans, Anna Sokolow (staging and direction by Jim May), Jose Limon (staging and direction by Nina Watt), Deborah Dunn, Joe Laughlin, Marc Boivin, Julia Sasso, Denise Clarke and Rachel Browne.  Gearshifting Performance Works has also presented the performances of Guest Artists in Winnipeg including solo shows by Bill Evans (2009, 2010, 2015) and Chartier Danse (2013). The company presented the full length presentation, petites danses, featuring an ensemble of 15 performers and the choreography of Guest Choreographer, Marie-Josee Chartier, in 2017.

The company offers open classes and company classes in conjunction with project work (2004-present) and on special occasions, presents workshops/masterclasses by Guest Artists for the Winnipeg community (2005-present).

The Company was incorporated in 2005 and gained charitable status in 2009.

Board of Directors

Gearshifting Performance Works is governed by a Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors:

Jamie Jurczak

Angela Heck

Linda Drosdowech

Jolene Bailie

Hugh Conacher

Jolene Bailie

Jolene Bailie is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and the Founding Artistic Director of Gearshifting Performance Works. Jolene’s career began with commissioning solo works and touring solo shows extensively. In 2005, after five years of immersive solo work all over Canada, she began touring her own self-created solos, most notably Bell/Anti Bell which toured across Canadaand Switchback – which toured successfully for four years. Her evening length works include: Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Inanimate Jungles Have Clocks, Sensory Life, Infinite World, Hybrid Human, Inspiro, Aspects of Alterity, Eat All You Want/The Top?, it’s further development into All You Can Eat/The Top?, Happyland, Phase Wash, and Schemas, 1-5. Additional selected works include: Game On, Dancing Bodies, Being Outer, Inner Being, A Lemon For Your Thoughts, Set and Re-Set, Gloria’s Sensoria, A Conception of Mentality, A Theory of Machines, Give and Take in the Kingdom of Love, Hybrid Xi’an, Today Solo, Are You Having Any Fun?, Lost, Hearing the Time, Mini Vignettes on Life and Love, Mapping Danger, Alex Colville and I, Feedback, and Altered Aspects. Her outdoor durational works include: Landscape Synergy (2011) and Mirage on the Muses Plateau (2015). Site specific/outdoor works include: Game On, Olympus Fanfare, Maenad for Berlin Dancer, The Judgement of Paris. Select works for bridging professionals and/or Professional Training programs include: IncantationThe Bathing Ya-Ya, The Shadow Ya-Ya, Solitude, The Heart of Wisdom, Memory Forms, Crowding, Fencing, Stop Pause Go, Gearshifting, Yo Shakespeare, Mini Vignettes from Eat All You Want/The Top?, and The Unsaid.

While deeply connected to, and based in Winnipeg, Jolene’s perspective includes a cross pollination of influences. Her collaboration with Visual Artist, Wanda Koop (2009-2015) as well as over eighteen years (and well over 400 performances) of collaborations with Hugh Conacher, have been critical components of her career. Additional collaborators include: Susan Chafe (Sound 2009-2016), Neda Vukas (Costumes 2012, 2015), Anne Armit (Costumes 2000-2010).

From 2001-2010, she worked all over North America on new creations with numerous celebrated choreographers and directors. These include: Marc Boivin, Marie-Josée Chartier, Denise Clarke, Deborah Dunn, Bill Evans, Don Halquist, Joe Laughlin, Jim May, Rachel Browne, Julia Sasso and Nina Watt. Highlights of her solo performing career includes: full length solo shows at The Joyce SoHo as well as studying, performing and touring seven historical works, including the suite of five solos, “Dances for Isadora”, by Jose Limon as well as “Escape” and “The End?” by Anna Sokolow.

Jolene received her early training, as well as gained a foundation for teaching, from Barbara Daurie at Focus Studio Dance. A graduate of The School of Contemporary Dancers, she has also trained extensively at institutions, intensives, schools and with Master Teachers all over North America, including twelve weeks at The Limon Institute, multiple weeks at The Cunningham Foundation, three summers at The American Dance Festival, annual intensives with Bill Evans (1996-2018, also serving as a demonstrator for The Bill Evans Teaching Certification Program/Summer Institutes, a teacher at the Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance, and as an Assistant and Co-Choreographer for repertoire with Bill Evans’ teaching residency) plus workshops with many iconic artists, completing professional development projects outside of Winnipeg annually from 1994-2017.

Jolene holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance through The American Dance Festival/Hollins University where she received fellowships for three years of movement research on the impact of technology on the soma self, or the feelings from within. Her accreditation also includes: a Teacher’s Certificate with Distinction from The Royal Academy of Dance, a B.A. Honors degree in Theatre (Dance Stream) and the Gold Medal Award for Academic Excellence from The University of Winnipeg.

Early in her career, Jolene also danced with Trip Dance Company, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Ruth Cansfield Dance, Kaeja d’Dance, and with Bill Evans and The Bill Evans Dance Company.

Jolene maintains an artistic practice and her work is often supported with grant awards.


Committed to education, Jolene is a faculty member of The School of Contemporary Dancers (1997-present) and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Professional Division (2001-2002 and 2013-present). Jolene teaches Company Class for Gearshifting Performance Works at select times during the season.

She seems to erase away irrelevance and is one of the few dancer/choreographers I’ve seen recently who presents an integrated, completed image of music, costume, lighting, and movement. I want to keep seeing Bailie’s work. She’s a great ambassador, for the north of the border contingent.
– Marilyn Russo, Attitude, The Dancer’s Magazine