Margaret Dragu

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Margaret Dragu
Born1953 (age 64–65)
Regina, Saskatchewan
AwardsGovernor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts(2012)

Margaret Dragu (born 1953) is a Canadian dancer, writer, performance artist and feminist.


Dragu was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1953.[1][2] Growing up she was influenced by traditional Romanian folk dancing.[3] As an adult she spent time in New York, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.[4][5] She began her dance career in Calgary in 1969, studying under Yone Kvietys Young, who was an instructor of movement using elements of Dada.[5] From Calgary, Dragu moved to New York in 1971, where she began working with Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, and the Laura Foreman dance company, as well as members of the Judson Church.[5] Her work with movement evolved to include elements of "burlesque, tap dancing, flamenco, and theatre."[5] In 1973 Dragu moved to Montreal where she began a lengthy career as a striptease artist.

In 1975 Dragu moved to Toronto and became affiliated with artist-run collectives including A Space and 15 Dance Lab. She taught classes in aerobics and strip at the A Space gallery. In Toronto Dragu attempted to organize around strippers' rights with the help of the Canadian Labour Congress and the Association of Canadian Radio and Television Artists. The short lived strippers' union was called the Canadian Association for Burlesque Entertainers.

In 1988 Dragu co-wrote Revelations: Essays on Striptease and Sexuality with A. S. A. Harrison, a collection of essays on the topics of striptease and sexual entertainment.

Dragu has stated that she has a "multi-personnae" disorder, becoming Lady Justice, Verb Woman, Art Cinderella, and Nuestra Señora del Pan.[5] For a performance at Edmonton's Vision of Hope monument, with a sword, salt, wine and scales that viewers associate with Lady Justice, she honored the women killed in the massacre at Montreal's École Polytechnique.[5]

She has collaborated with artists such as Tom Dean, members of General Idea, Rodney Werden and Kate Craig, and members of the communities in which she performs.[4]

In 2012, Dragu won the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.[4]

Dragu resides in East Vancouver. She created a radio show, Momz Radio which focused on interviewing mothers about their experiences with motherhood. Through this research, she wrote a book by the same name, Momz Radio: Mothers Talkback. Dragu has created video art for YouTube, and writes two blogs, which she updates as Lady Justice and Verb Woman respectively.

Choreographic works[edit]

Dragu’s work is known for being interdisciplinary and site specific. She collaborates with other artists and sometimes, the public. Her work is often based strongly in activism, whether feminist, environmental, social or otherwise.

  • Slits (performance art group show; title of Dragu's performance: "Der Blaue Engel"; curator: Victoria Singh)

Western Front, Vancouver, BC, January 25, 2003[6]

  • Pie Performances

Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, BC, January 2003 grunt gallery, Vancouver, BC, January 2003 Hamilton Art Gallery, Hamilton, BC, November 2002

  • Casting (group improvisation with Reciprocity/cite)

7a*11d Performance Art Festival, Toronto, Ontario, November 2002

  • The Wall is In My Head/le mur est dans ma tete/

Ich Habe Die Mauer in Meinem Kopf/lu muro e dentra mi testa (with ReciproCity/cite) Elle Corazon, Montreal, Quebec, October 2001 Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, November 2001

  • Living Art

Cosmo Mall, Richmond, BC, November 2000 Cleaning and Loving (It) Queen’s Park/V Tape, FADO, Toronto, Ontario, July 2000

  • Conscious Corpus: Corp Domestique & Corpus Delicious

Western Front, Vancouver, BC, May 7–10, 2000

  • Improvisation for X’s and O’s

(with 25 lb. of potatoes) Grunt Gallery/Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Oct.1999 (with guitarist Brian Krocher) Niagara Artists’ Centre, St. Catharines, Ont., June 1999 (with violinist Jim Munro) Grunt Gallery, Vancouver, BC, February 1999

  • Eine Kleine Nacht Radio/a little night radio

Niagara Artists’ Centre, St. Catharines, Ontario, June 1999 Artword Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, June 1999 grunt Gallery, Vancouver, BC, February 1999 (German Tour by Canadian Dept. of Foreign Affairs & International Trade with Hessiche Ministerium fur Wissenschaft und Kunst of Germany & Cultural Dept. of Netherlands) Moltkerei Werkstadt, Koln, Germany darK.-Halle, Mainz, Germany c.u.b.a., Munster, Germany Carl Stipendium, Essen, Germany Artis, s’Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, June 1998

  • X’s & O’s for the Rites/Right of May

Richmond Cultural Centre, Richmond, BC, May Day, 1999

  • Otzenrath Stipendium

Otzenrath, Bonn, Germany, June 1998

  • A Deconstructed Dollhouse/une maison de poupees en deconstruction

The @ Gallery, Vancouver, BC, April 1997 Theatre, Toronto, Ontario Niagara Artists' Collective, St. Catharines, Ontario Le Lieu's rencontre intern. d'art performance et multimedia, Quebec City, PQ, Oct.1996

  • Secret Kitchen

Richmond Public Library/Cultural Building, Richmond, BC; March 1998 Silverton Art Gallery, Silverton, BC, July 1995 Women in View Festival, Station Arts Theatre, Vancouver, BC, January 1995 New Performance Festival, Hornby Island, BC, May 1992 Festival, grunt gallery, Vancouver, BC, September 1991 Artspace, Peterborough, Ontario, August 1990

  • The Bardo Gap

Western Front, Vancouver, BC, September 1994 Nine Suits with Paul Gibbons and Jim Munro Silverton Art Gallery, Silverton, BC, July 1995 with Jim Munro, Bill Smith, Dana Inglis and David Lee Mayworks Arts Festival, Hornby Island, BC, May 1994

  • Sliced Bread -with Jim Munro, Roy Kiyooka, Bill Smith and Dana Inglis

Mayworks Arts Festival, Hornby Island, BC, May 1993 EDAM Dance Studio, Western Front, Vancouver, BC, February 1993

  • Square Foot Real/realite au metre carre - with Jim Munro

Niagara Artists' Centre, St. Catharines, Ontario Music Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, with guest artist David Prentice Artspace, Peterborough, Ontario Oboro, Montreal, Quebec; October 1992

  • Pheromones - with Billy Little, Bill Smith, Jim Munro & Joey Meyer

Artropolis, Vancouver, BC, November 1990

  • Original X's & O's Series

X's & O's for the Canadian Pavilion Expo '86, Vancouver, BC, August 1986 X's & O's for Friday the Thirteenth Western Front, Vancouver, BC, November 1985 X's & O's in the Dead of Winter Off Centre Centre, Calgary, Alberta, January 1984 X's & O's on the Shortest Day of the Year Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, Dec. 21/83 X's & O's on the Longest Day of the Year Art Gallery of Hamilton's Artworks in the Garden, Royal Botanical Garden of Burlington, Ontario, June 21/83 JOY OF MULTIDICIPLINE Artspace, Peterborough, Ontario, March 1986 Emily Carr School of Art, Vancouver, BC, November 1985 Artcite Gallery, Windsor, Ontario, December 1984 Niagara Artists' Centre, St. Catharines, Ontario, May 1984 Banff School of Fine Arts, Banff, Alberta, January 1984 Alberta School of Art, Calgary, Alberta, January 1984 Articule, Montreal, Quebec, November 1983

  • My Wireless is Running- with Colin Campbell

Toronto Dance Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, May–June 1984

  • I’m Already Chaning my Mind – with Colin Campbell

Harbourfront Studio Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, June 1982 Fear of Blue/angst vor blau - with Tom Dean Akademie der Kunste, Berlin, Germany, January 1983 London Art Gallery, London, Ontario, November 1982 Artspace, Peterborough, Ontario, October 1982

  • Her Majesty/sa majeste - with Tom Dean

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, March 1981 Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium, February 1981

  • D.W.I. Strike and Public Parade Event

Queen's Park Parade Route, Toronto, Ontario, September 1984

  • Unfit for Paradise

Rivoli, Toronto, Ontario, Sept. - Oct. 1983 Western Front, Vancouver, BC, September 1981

  • The AM Show with Guy Allen & Arnie Achtman

Simon Fraser University Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Sept, 1981 Erindale Theatre (University of Toronto), March 1981 Artspace, Peterborough, Ontario, July 1981 and June 1980 Vehicle, Montreal, Quebec, June 1980 University of Ottawa Theatre, Ottawa, Ontario, May 1980

  • No Nonsense Black and White and Color

Le Groupe de la Place Royale, Ottawa, Ontario, October 1982

  • T.V Hertz

Alberta College of Art, Calgary, Alberta, April 1979 (with Enrico Campana) Musee des Beaux Arts, Montreal, Quebec, March 1979 Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, March 1979

  • Canajan Burgers with Enrico Campana

Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia CEAC, Toronto, Ontario; Arton's, Calgary, Alberta Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba Regina Modern Dance Works, Regina, Saskatchewan Paula Ross Studio, Vancouver, BC Espace Tournesol, Edmonton, Alberta, June–August 1977

  • 33 1/3 Double Live: Sunset Strippers, Beauty & the Beast with Enrico Campana and Terry Crack

Factory Theatre Lab, Toronto, Ontario, Jan.-March 1979 TWP Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, September 1979 The Funnel, Toronto, Ontario, March 1978

  • Pick Up

TWP Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, November 1976

  • Oh True Oh Real Oh Helpless Love with Redlight Theatre

Bathurst Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, February 1976

  • Queens of the Silver Blades with Susan Swan and Mary Canary

Cinema Lumiere, Toronto, Ontario, October 1975 St. Paul's Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, June 1975

  • Try Leather

Fifteen Dance Lab, Toronto, Ontario, November 1975

  • Kresges & Woolyworths

Fifteen Dance Lab, Toronto, Ontario, September 1975

  • Canadian Folk Danse

A Space, Toronto, Ontario, May 1975


I Vant to be Alone (co-director, co-writer, choreographer & performer) also starring Jackie Burroughs, Robert des Rosiers, & Claudia Moore Breakthrough Films/T.V. Ontario/Telefilm/OFDC production, half-hour, 1988

Conserving Kingdom (half-hour pilot Dudley the Dragon TV series) (choreographer) Breakthrough Films/T.V. Ontario/Ontario Hydro production, 1987

Memories of Paradise (co-writer, choreographer, performer) Breakthrough Films,/T.V. Ontario production, half-hour, 1985


"Breath" Video Out Distribution/Western Front Video, 16:00, 1985 (

"Dance Reading" (with Susan Swan / Lawrence Adams) Video Out Distribution, 23:00, 1985 (

"Yo Soy Eine Kleine Shopkeeper" Video In/Video Out Distribution, 10:00, 1993 (

"Sleeping Tape" Banff School of Fine Arts, 13:00, 1985 (

"Bardo Gap" (With Bobbi Kozinuk) Video Out/Western Front Video, 18:00, 1994 (

"Deconstructed Dollhouse" Video Out Distribution, 20:00, 1996 (

"Living Art" Video Out Distribution, 7:00, 2001 (

"Lady of Shallot - A Surveillance Player" Video Out Distribution, 3:30, 2002 (

"More Cleaning and loving It" Video Out Distribution, 13:00, 2002 (

"Lady Justice and the Epic Burden" (With Moira Simpson) Video Out Distribution, 5:28, 2013 (

"Portals" Video Out Distribution, 13:43, 2013 (


[7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

  1. ^ "Margaret Dragu". Canadian Art. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Margaret Dragu". Media Queer. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  3. ^ Forkert, Kirsten (2006). Householder, Johanna; Mars, Tanya, eds. Caught in the act : an anthology of performance art by Canadian women. Toronto: YYZ Books. pp. 206–215. ISBN 9780920397848.
  4. ^ a b c "Nouvelles Brèves: Prix du Gouverneur général en arts visuels et en arts médiatiques 2012". Vie des Arts (226): 21. Spring 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Ireland, Ann (2013). "Margaret Dragu and the Drama of Performance". Canadian Art. 30 (1): 104–107. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "Artist-run Culture: A Portfolio of Recent and Upcoming Work from Across the Country". Mix. 28 (4): 6. Spring 2003.
  7. ^ Dragu, Margaret, ASA Harrison. Revelations: Essays on Striptease and Sexuality. London Nightwood Editions. 1989
  8. ^ Dragu, Margaret and Susan Swan and Sarah Sheard. Mothers Talk Back: Momz Radio. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1991
  9. ^ Brown, Brenda Lee. Ed. Bringing it Home: Women Talk about Feminism in their Lives. Vancouver Arsenal Pulp Press, 1996
  10. ^ Anderson, Carol. Ed. This Passion: For the Love of Dance. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse Press. 1998
  11. ^ Couillard, 2002
  12. ^ Mars, Tanja. Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women. "The Joy of Local: Margaret Dragu." By Kristen Forkert. YYZ Books. Toronto Ontario. 2004
  13. ^ Anderson, Carol. This Passion: For the Love of Dance. "Heart, Soul and Thighs." By Elizabeth Chitty. Dance Collection Danse Press/es. 1998
  14. ^ Anderson, Carol. This Passion: For the Love of Dance. "The Passion List" By Margaret Dragu. Dance Collection Danse Press/es. 1998


  • Harrison, A.S.A.; Dragu, Margaret (1988). Revelations : essays on striptease and sexuality. London, Ont.: Nightwood Editions. ISBN 9780889711174.

Further reading[edit]

  • Couillard, Paul (2002). La Dragu: The Living Art of Margaret Dragu. Toronto: Fado Performance Inc. ISBN 0-9730883-0-3.

External links[edit]