Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien is an emerging choreographer in Vancouver, BC. She holds a BFA (Hons.) in Dance from SFU School for the Contemporary Arts where she studied with Judith Garay, Henry Daniel, Rob Kitsos, Cheryl Prophet and Marla Eist. She has also studied at The School for Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, MB, and at The University of Winnipeg. Other influential mentors have included Constance Cooke, Jung-Ah Chung, Claire French (Restless Productions) and Jennifer Mascall (MascallDance).
Her choreography revolves around abstract gestures. These gestures are mostly contained and often the dancers do not move much through space. They may be masked, hidden or exposed by light. They are precise, they rarely devolve into chaos. They never emote. They are a blank canvas of abstract gesture, time and space. Many of her works involve the use of projections and are collaborations with composer and new media artist Remy Siu.
As a choreographer her work has been presented at multiple venues, including Project CPR (Choreographic Practice and Research), 12 Minutes Max (The Dance Centre), Dance Allsorts (New Works), ROMP! Festival of Dance (Victoria), ASCENSION 2013/ 2014 (SFU Woodward’s), Launch! Festival, and Ignite Youth Festival. The dance film Turquoise made in collaboration with filmmaker Sepehr Samimi was shown at Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner, Montreal International Film Festival and NSI Online Film Festival.
Most recently she has come together with fellow artists Felicia Lau and Erika Mitsuhashi to form the collective Farouche. They made their debut with a show this Fall at the Gold Saucer Studio premiering new creations along with Mahaila's duet for the time being performed by Erika and Felicia.