Photograph: Gilles Berquet


Founded in 2006, Animals of Distinction was initially formed as a satellite organization beneath the larger auspices of acclaimed company The Holy Body Tattoo, as a vehicle for the solo work of artistic director Dana Gingras.

Dance is fundamentally a condition of risk and an embrace of that risk. As a dance artist, Dana Gingras is drawn to amplifying the sense of physical possibility, what bodies are capable of and allowing that to become manifold and present in the most innovative fashion possible. 

The organizational structure of Animals of Distinction functions as a type of framework for contemporary practice, as a point of intersection where the social kinesthetic, and the possibilities of physical thinking can be visualized in choreographic ideas with different collaborations and with other art forms.

Since its inception, the company created Smash Up, a full evening presentation of solos and duets conceived as a collision between dance, animation and sound. Smash Up was commissioned by the Festival TransAmeriques and premiered at the festival in 2008. Over the past two years presentations of the work have taken place across Canada, in the US and Europe across many different platforms including live performance, film, design, and new media.

The interactive software that generates the animation of the company’s celebrated work Chain Reaction and video of the live performance have been presented at graphic design conferences, and universities around the world, In addition AoD has produced two Bravo!FACT film works Dances for Dzama, and Auralia, and most recently presented the video/performance installation What Is Mine Is Yours at Los Angeles County Museum Of Art as part of Let Them Eat LACMA. 

The Animals of Distinction Arts Society is a registered non-profit society, and is directed (in its activities and mandate) by artistic director Dana Gingras. AoD has been managed by Eponymous since 2006. AoD is represented by international agent Menno Plukker.


Dana Gingras co-founded The Holy Body Tattoo (with Noam Gagnon) in 1993 as a multimedia dance company. The company earned a number of significant awards and honours for both its stage and film work.

our brief eternity, premiered in 1996, won The Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Ensemble Performance. The work features original text by William Gibson, film elements by William Morrison and music by Jean-Yves Theriault. It has been performed more than 100 times in Canada, Europe, USA, and most recently in Australia at the Sydney Opera House.

Circa, featuring live musical accompaniment by the Tiger Lillies and additional original music by Steven Severin and Warren Ellis received the inaugural Alcan Performing Arts Award. The piece has been performed around the world, including at Ein Fest in Wuppertal, Germany at the invitation of Pina Bausch, and at London’s Barbican Theatre.

Running Wild, a duet featuring commissioned music by The Tindersticks, toured nationally and internationally.

monumental, The Holy Body Tattoo’s last work, involved the company’s largest performing ensemble to date and featured projected text by Jenny Holzer. Co-produced by the National Arts Centre, monumental premiered in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre in February 2005, toured nationally, and was presented at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles.

Dana is an Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre.