2021 marks Denise Fujiwara's 43rd year as a dance artist. A singular voice on the Canadian dance scene; a sought-after choreographer, dancer, teacher, and impresario.
She began her interesting career in childhood, as a gymnast when she competed internationally for the Canadian Rhythmic Gymnastics team. Upon completing an Honours B.F.A. in Dance at York University, she became one of the founders of T.I.D.E. (Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise). Here she was instrumental in the creation of a diverse body of work for the now-defunct but still notorious company that danced across Canada for 10 years.
In 1991 she formed her own company, Fujiwara Dance Inventions, to house the development of her solo projects. To date, her six solo dance concerts, Spontaneous Combustion, Vanishing Acts, Sumida River, Elle Laments, Brief Incarnations, and Komachi have garnered praise across Canada and have toured to festivals in the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia.
In 2006 Fujiwara turned back to ensemble choreography resulting in Conference of the Birds, a work for 9 dancers and 3 musicians that was called, “– the best thing to premiere at the (fFIDA) festival in many a year”, and NO EXIT, “- so precisely performed it needs no words.” by the Toronto Star. International commissions include Cuenta las Estellas, for la Compania Nacional de Costa Rica in 2011 and a work for eXit’11 in Germany.
EUNOIA, her multimedia adaptation of Christian Bök’s award-winning book premiered at Harbourfront Centre's WorldStage Series, received three Dora nominations, was one of NOW’s Top 5 Dance Shows of 2014, and continues to tour nationally.
In 2015 she was a soloist in the Luminato Festival's extravaganza, Apocalypsis,
directed by Lemi Ponifasio.
Fujiwara teaches Butoh, performance, and improvisation in Toronto and abroad. In 2014 The Theatre Centre gave her a Tracy Wright Global Archive award and the opportunity to do research walking the 88 Temples Pilgrimage in Shikoku Japan.
In 2013 she received the Toronto Arts Foundation Muriel Sherrin Award for international achievement in dance.
In addition to her career as a dance artist, Ms. Fujiwara works in film and television. Walls, a CBC Television documentary about her life and work by celebrated filmmaker Jeremy Podeswa, won the 1995 Gemini Award for Best Performing Arts Program. In 1997 she co-founded CanAsian Dance where she is the Artistic Director. Her work with CanAsian promotes the work and development of dance artists from Toronto and across Canada.