Headshot of Josée Bourgeois © David Leyes

Josée Bourgeois

Ottawa · Ontario

Last updated: February 22, 2022

Born in Ottawa, Josée Bourgeois is an Algonquin First Nations from Pikwakanagan, ON. She is an accomplished dancer, actor and model, who began her training as a gymnast and contemporary dancer. At the age of 16, she was signed to the Ford International modelling agency and began a lengthy journey as one of Canada’s only First Nations high fashion models. It was during her teenage years that she learned about her father’s Algonquin heritage. Her father was a Sixties Scoop baby adopted into an Irish family, and her grandmother was a residential school survivor from the Ottawa Valley area. At 23, she made the commitment to become emersed in her culture. Using skills she had developed as a contemporary dancer to connect with others, she self-trained to become a pow wow dancer specializing in “fancy shawl.”

Over the past 12 years, she has travelled the Eastern Pow wow Trail as a Fancy Shawl and Jingle dress dancer, making roots with her son Little Thunder, creating a positive impact through dance arts on her ancestral Algonquin territory and through collaborations with artist like DJ Shub, DJ Classic Roots, and DJ Rise Ashen. She has studied with the multidisciplinary Australian-based Indigenous artist Victoria Hunt at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, has performed in the National Arts Centre’s Wild West Show- Gabriel Dumont Story, and as Kina Nimiwag (Contemporary pow wow dance troupe) in the opening act for the Backstreet Boys at Ottawa’s Bluesfest 2019. A generous leader with a strong vision for change, she has employed her dance skills in a variety of environments and institutions to facilitate healing journeys for others. She is committed to reclaiming space as an Algonquin Artist all over Turtle Island and across the world.

Josée’s residency as a Visiting Dance Artist with NAC Dance will be an opportunity for her to work towards realizing her first mid-scale production entitled The Sickness. You can read more about Josée and her project in this interview

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Upcoming events

Projects & initiatives

  • Dtl-gift-of-the-mistastim-dancer-2 video series

    Dancing the Land

    Indigenous Theatre invited artists from coast to coast to coast to create brief digital works using the land as their source of inspiration. 

  • Briansolomon © Ed Moreno

    Visiting Dance Artist Program

    Get to know Canadian and international dance artists who create works in a variety of genres and forms. 

NAC media featuring Josée Bourgeois