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Dance Victoria announces its new executive director

Gillian Jones will join the company as executive director on July 11

Dance Victoria has announced that Gillian Jones will join the company as executive director on July 11.

Jones takes over from longtime executive director Stephen White, who is retiring from the non-profit charitable society next month after 22 years in the position.

Jones, 38, who was born in Alberta, has deep roots in the city, having moved to Victoria with her family when she was seven. Jones graduated from Claremont Secondary before moving to Vancouver, where she received her theatre degree from the University of British Columbia. Jones later studied and worked in New York and Istanbul.

“I’ve always wanted to come back to Victoria,” Jones said in an interview with the Times Colonist. “My parents live there and I also have a young son, so thinking about raising our family in Victoria was really appealing to me. It felt like so many different things converged all at the same time, which was wonderful.”

For the past nine years, Jones has worked at the Edmonds Center for the Arts in Washington State, where she rose to the position of associate executive director of the 700-seat performing arts centre. She has a wealth of experience in community engagement, and expects that to be a hallmark of her tenure with Dance Victoria.

“Education and community engagement programs are very important to me,” Jones said. “[I want] to make sure that artists are making connections in communities.”

The firm of Martin Bragg & Associates conducted an extensive national search to fill the position, according to Dance Victoria. Jones said she is honored to succeed White, who led the company through its most successful period.

“Working down in Edmonds, I was aware of the calibre and excellence of the the artists he and Bernard [Sauvé, general manager of Dance Victoria] have brought to the region. I want to continue to build on that foundation and continue to expand the reach of Dance Victoria.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com