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Meagan O'Shea


Working across forms and borders, contemporary dance-theatre artist Meagan O’Shea activates people individually and collectively. Devising “Uplifting, energetic and totally out of the ordinary” performances for living rooms, theatres, public spaces – real and imagined, Meagan examines ideas from unexpected angles engaging audiences on multiple levels. She creates content-driven, problem-finding, contemporary dance-theatre solo work using an array of improvisation techniques and performance strategies to discover new movement vocabulary and physical expression that reflect and elucidate the ideas she is investigating. Treating the process like a science experiment, she uses her body and the interaction with the audience as test site. Her metier has been called “Stream of Consciousness”, she jumps between forms as she seeks to unite disparate ideas, both creating and connecting dots. O’Shea has created a number of solo works in this signature mash-up and teaches DIY Interdisciplinary Solo Making workshops across Canada.

O’Shea has also created a number of ensemble, participatory and in-situ performances, including her dance like no one is watching improv project which animates/disrupts public space. 

“I am influenced by what I see and experience in the world and the relationship between ideas and action. I often translate these ideas into the physical realm to explore them on a different plane with the hope of applying some of the information back to society. Treating the studio and stage as an R&D lab for society, I work with the ‘third impulse’ in improvisation. The desire to reach beyond the 1st/obvious and 2nd/opposite impulses to discover the oblique, has the potential to disrupt the dominant paradigm, and offer an alternative to binary systems. I do this in both my practices.”

Off the wall, impossible to categorize, fun” Montreal Gazette

Meagan teaches improvisation and creative process in art, education and social change contexts in North America and Europe. Meagan founded Stand Up Dance in 2007 to umbrella all her activities. She is co-founder of hub14 creation and performance space in Toronto, was International Associate Artist at Dance Ireland for three seasons, Associate Artist at Theatre Direct Canada, Artistic Collaborator with Barcelona International Dance Exchange from 2012 - 15 and partner for BIDE-NYC in 2017. O’Shea has researched and created many works as Artist in Residence at Dance Atelier/Iceland, fabrik Potsdam/ Germany, Faber/Spain Firkin Crane/Ireland, Earthdance and New Dance Alliance/USA and The Banff Centre, Toronto Dance Theatre, Dance Victoria, Le Groupe Dance Lab/Canada. She is a recipient of the KM Hunter Award in Dance, and nominated for the Ontario Arts Foundation’s Artist Educator award. 

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