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INSTRUCTORS

Joanne Baker- Dance School Principal

Joanne has been a part of the DJD organization since 1993. She has filled the roles of dancer, artistic assistant, rehearsal director, school instructor, arts in education co-ordinator and dance school principal. Since the birth of her son in December 2004 Joanne has pared down her multiple titles and has focused her energy on the dance school and arts in education facets of DJD. She is also a passionate teacher at the DJD school and shares her love of dance with children in Calgary area schools whenever she can.

Watch a video of Joanne in action!

Tanis Baer

Tanis Baer has been teaching and dancing in the Calgary dance community for over 25 years. Her passion is tap and she continues to further her training and performing skills with the Tri-Tone Rhythm Ensemble in Calgary. Tanis is a dance educator and is proud to be a part of the teaching faculty at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and continues to inspire both children and adults in the history and discipline of tap dance.

Amanda Bonnell

Is a Calgary based Dance Artist specializing in West African Dance and
Dance Education for both children and adults. Travel has facilitated
much of her experiential learning and will continue to guide her
explorations of the intersections between dance and culture. Amanda has
worked as an Artist In Residence for the past seven years teaching
children in various schools throughout the city about many styles of
dance and music and is currently working as an Artist Educator at
Calgary Arts Academy, an arts immersion charter school.

Ashley Brodeur

Originally from Ontario, Ashley Brodeur is a multidisciplinary dancer and instructor. Focusing on hip hop with various Toronto and Calgary based companies, she has performed and taught across Canada as well as Dubai and the 2013 Much Music Video Awards. RYS Yoga Certified, she has also taken up a week-long residency in Punta Canada, DR along with her regular practice. Also an Army of Sass Calgary City Leader, Ashley is excited to be back at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

 

Sarah Curts

Dancer, yogini, artist and lover of all things, Sarah Curts is thrilled to be teaching at DJD. With years of training in ballet at institutions including the American Academy of Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg ballet, along with post-secondary training at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Curts has a diverse range of material and knowledge. She continues to perform locally either independently or with companies and collectives such as Corps Bara Dance Theater and the Dancing Monkey Laboratories. You may even catch her flying high from time to time performing aerial arts works.

 

Ingrid Diaz

Ingrid was born in Cuba where she earned a BA in Modern, Contemporary and Afrocuban Dance from the National School of Art in Havana and a MA in Afrocuban Dance from the National Institute of Art. She performed with the National Afrocuban Dance Company for three years prior to receiving a full scholarship from the School of Ballet Creole in Toronto. Ingrid soon becamea company member of Ballet Creole and also performed as a guest artist with Newton Moraes Dance Theatre (Toronto), COBA (Toronto), Nafro Dance (Winnipeg) and the South African Musical Umoja in its 2008 Canadian Tour Production.

Ingrid moved to Calgary in 2009 to be part of DJD’s Professional Training Program. Since then she has been actively involved in the dance community of our province by continuously participating in numerous dance festivals such as Dance Montage, Alberta Dance Festival, Edmonton Jazz Festival and Feats Festival just to name a few. Ingrid has been choreographing and leading classes and workshops since the early age of seventeen starting at the National Schools of Art, the National Musical Theatre School and the National Afrocuban Dance Company in Cuba and continuing to this date; most recently creating original work for Tales othe Brothers Grimm, Alberta Dance Theatre’s latest production and continuing to expand her experience in dance education and choreography as a full time company member of Three Left Feet Movement Creations while also being part of the artistic team of Danza Academy and The School of Decidedly Jazz where she has been teaching all ages and a variety of styles ranging from Latin and Afrocuban Dance to Jazz and Modern for the past six years.

Ingrid is happily looking forward to many more years of dance explorationsas her passion for movement continues to grow and evolve

 

Towani Duchscher

Towani Duchscher has trained and performed in diverse styles of dance including Jazz, Modern, Tap, West African, Caribbean, Hip Hop and Creative dance. However, as she will tell you in class, Funk has become her favourite! Towani is an enthusiastic and experienced teacher and she strives to help each of her students to develop their skills, personal style, and confidence in dance. She is passionate about expressing herself through movement and it brings her great joy to share that passion with others!

 

Jaime Emond

Born and raised in Grande Prairie, AB, Jaime grew up taking Jazz and Tap classes at the Deborah Judt School of Dance. After relocating to Calgary in 2005 she fell in love with the art of middle eastern dance (Belly Dance). Zenya Horricks (Goddessdance Bellydance) was instrumental in cultivating her love of the form and Christy Greene (Maya/Eighth Wonder) helped her  push her dancing forward to a new level. With guidance from these two amazing teachers Jaime quickly discovered the importance of dancing from the inside out, and that pairing this internal beauty with solid technique creates a dance that feels great, looks mesmerizing, and celebrates every body type.  You may notice some world fusion influence to her style as she is moved by dances from all over the world, especially Cuban Styles, West African and Jamaican Dance Hall. Jaime traveled to Jamaica and Cuba to experience the true flavor of their culture and dances but has studied primarily at the School Of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in these styles, where she has also been a Belly Dance teacher since 2011. Dedicated to her study of Belly Dance, Jaime has taken workshops and inspiration from the masters Aziza, Yasmina Ramzy, Hadia, Hind, Sera Soltice, and Suhailia Salimpour. Knowing the profound empowerment that dance can have on one`s life, Jaime volunteers her time and knowledge at The Women’s Centre of Calgary, facilitating both Women’s Belly Dance classes and Girl Power workshops.

Watch a video of Jamie in action!

 

Rebecca Fishman

Rebecca Fishman is a graduate of the University of Calgary with a BFA in Drama. She has been acting and dancing for most of her life. Rebecca has also worked as a choreographer with Full Circle Theatre, Quest Theatre, Stage West and Shakespeare in the Park. She grew up dancing at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and could not be more thrilled to be teaching the young dancers attending the studio now.

Jamie Freeman Cormack

An active member in Calgary’s dance community for more then 20 years, Jamie Freeman Cormack danced with the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Company from 1994 to 2001, has contributed to the company’s repertoire and is currently the Director of DJD’s Professional Training Program. In addition she has danced and/or choreographed for Dancers’ Studio West, Springboard Dance Collective, The Fluid Festival, eko Dance Projects, Soulocentric and the University of Calgary.  She has taught at The School of Decidedly Jazz, The Young Canadians, and The University of Calgary and has conducted numerous workshops in Vancouver, Halifax, Winnipeg and Toronto. Dance has also taken her to New York, Boston, Montreal, London England, Kentucky, Sweden and Japan. Jamie is also a certified C-I practitioner. Watch a video of Jamie in action!

 

Jason Owin F. Galeos

Jason Owin F. Galeos Originally born in Norway, Jason is a dance professional who has been training in Hip Hop, House, Funk Styles, Contemporary and Physical Theatre. Jason is a 2012 BA Alumni of the University of Calgary Department of Dance and has studied at world renowned festivals including ImPuls Tanz and Urban Dance Camp. He has appeared in Satellites (Dancing Monkey Laboratories), I do and I do not (MakeShiftProject) and Absences (Corps Bara Theatre). Jason is known for his unique movement voice in the community and a cross-genre approach. Also, his major influences are Niels Robtizky, Bruno Caverna, Art-Move-Concept & RUBBERBANDance. Jason’s choreography has most recently appeared in Edmonton’s NextFest. His upcoming projects are Mpact Letters & Dance Montage.

 

Angela Gladue

Angela Miracle Gladue aka Lunacee represents Papaschase and Frog Lake First Nation and began cultural dancing (metis & powwow) at age 6. By age 18, Angela began b-girling (break-dancing) and has been blessed to be able to perform, teach and travel to many cities through-out Canada, The US, Asia, Australia, and Europe with various First Nation and Hip-Hop performing groups.Some of Angela’s credits include: The 2015 Indspire Awards, 2003 Aboriginal Music Awards, 2004 Aboriginal Winter Games, 2005 Bormio Ski Olympics in Italy, as well as The 2007, 2008 and 2013 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. She has also opened up for major HipHop artists such as the Jabbawockeez, De La Soul, SuperCr3w, Lil’Kim, Masari, Maestro, Grand Master Flash, Bustah Rhymes, and Afrika Baambatta to name a few.

Angela has received several awards including the 2014 Chief David Crowchild Memorial Award, The 2008 Northlands Emerging Artist Award, The 2005 Heather Jacobs Memorial Award, and The 2004 Nellie Carlson Aboriginal Youth Award for demonstrating outstanding community leadership through the arts. Angela trains and performs with all female dance crew, “The Fly Girlz” and has won several dance crew competitions including Three time Artists Emerge Champions, The Canadian Hip-Hop Championships and recently, has placed 3rd in the World Hip-Hop Championships, bringing home Bronze medals for Canada. Angela travels to various schools, First Nations communities and special events, to promote living healthy lifestyles through dance and culture.

Catherine Hayward

Hailing from Winnipeg, Catherine began dancing at the age of five. Her studies led her to Toronto’s Ryerson University where she graduated from the dance program, earning her B.F.A. with Honours. Since then Catherine has immersed herself in the Calgary community as a teacher, performer and choreographer. Catherine is a member of Dancers’ Studio West’s (DSW) Dance Action Group (DAG), a small ensemble who co-operate to fulfill opportunities for community development and offer organizational support for DSW. Catherine will be presenting a new work in DSW’s Dance Action Lab in July 2016. Catherine and fellow company member Shayne Johnson have been working in collaboration on developing new work. Their most recent choreographic endeavour Polyhedron premiered at the Fluid Festival in October. They look forward to future projects together. Catherine returned for her 5th season with Alberta Dance Theatre this fall, working with the young dancers for their production, Tales of the Brothers Grimm. She enjoys her role teaching students in Calgary and continues to mentor teen dancers training in Jazz as part of DJD’s school programming. Catherine has been a dancer with the DJD company since the fall of 2007 and was Artistic Director for last season’s DJD dancer-choreographed show Borderland

 

Jill Henis

Originally from Vancouver B.C., Jill Henis now calls Calgary her home. With over 35years of dance study, performance and investigation, Jill’s employment as a dance artist has included: classical ballet companies, contemporary companies and independent contracts. Her work has taken her throughout South-East Asia, the United States, Germany, Cuba and Australia. As a choreographer, she has presented over 100 works varying from; festivals, site specific works, formal theatre presentations and commissions. Currently, Jill’s artistic practice is housed under the umbrella “Project 404” which serves both as a creative space, (located in Calgary’s historical Graycon building) and umbrella for her current interests in solo, duo and multidisciplinary collaborations.

 

Carla Herrador

Carla Herrador has been teaching West African dance at DJD since 2003. Her fierce love of this thrilling art form has led to her extensive travels in West Africa. She creates an exciting and fun filled atmosphere in her classes while passing on the knowledge she has acquired from her teachers. She currently performs throughout the city and organizes dance and drum workshops and retreats.

Watch a video of Carla in action!

 

Wunmi Idowu

Wunmi Idowu is a dynamic African dance choreographer and Artistic Director who hails from Lagos, Nigeria. Being part of the Yoruba tribe, Wunmi has embraced the spirit of dance ever since she was in pre-school. With her unmistakable stage presence, energetic moves and a beautiful smile, Wunmi touches many with her traditional and innovative expression of West African dance. In Nigeria, Wunmi’s artistic and vibrant performances where well known in the entertainment circles. She was the lead dancer for her school dance troupe in Lagos, which led her to participate in local and national competitions. Wunmi moved to Edmonton, Canada in 1992. She started performing with Wajjo African Drummers and Kekeli African Dancers in 1993. Since then, Wunmi has led the Nigerian Okoto Dancer Troupe for 2 years, served as the African and Caribbean choreographer for the University of Calgary- C-Stylz Dancers, and also joined the Calgary Afrikanata Dancers. During this time she earned a certificate of Excellence for African Dancing, from the director of the Igbo Cultural Association of Calgary (ICAC). When she moved back to Edmonton, she became the lead choreographer and dancer for the Asante Dance Troupe.
Watch a video of Wunmi in action!

 

Connie Jakab

Connie Jakab is the co-founder of Mpact Movement, a movement company that is about inclusive community change in Calgary.  She has produced and directed The Cypher (Martha Cohen 2014), Invisible (Theatre Junction Grand, 2013), Something to Say (Vertigo, 2012) and The Bully Project (touring schools 2011).  She has been teaching at Decidedly Jazz for eight years and loves to pass on courage through grooves and hip hop movement.  Before moving to Calgary in 2006, Connie was the owner of the dance studio, Shock Productions in Vancouver, BC.   She is a mom of two beautiful  boys and the author of Culture Rebel – Because the world has enough desperate housewives.

Watch a video of Connie in action!

 

Kate Kaupas

Kate Kaupas began dancing at the age of three in Calgary, Alberta. She began her training at International School of Ballet under Umran Sumen, and was accepted into the full year program at the National Ballet School of Canada at age 12. After three years, Kate returned to Calgary to train at International School of Ballet where she received distinction in her R.A.D Advanced 1 examination. Kate was later accepted into the professional graduate program at the School of Alberta Ballet, where she had to the opportunity to perform with the Alberta Ballet Company. Upon graduation, Kate received a contract to dance professionally with Ballet Tucson. She danced in Tucson for 3 years where she performed many corps de ballet and soloist roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Cinderella. She then returned to Calgary and began as rehearsal mistress at Jeunesse Classique Ballet Company and most recently started teaching at Infinite Creations

 

Jillian McKenzie

Jillian McKenzie is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where she trained extensively and competitively in the areas of Ballet, Tap, and Jazz for 15 years.   She successfully completed her majors in RAD and attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s summer program where she was given the opportunity to further advance her dance technique.  Jillian’s passion for dance inspired her to begin teaching, where she now teaches the Ballet Barre Works program at Ballet Barre Works and Decidedly Jazz.

 

Chenise Mitchell

Chenise Mitchell is a Toronto-based dancer and performer who recently discovered her passion for teaching. She is an ‘Outstanding Graduate’ of Cawthra Park Secondary School’s dance program, where she developed her passion for creation. She worked with some of Canada’s most renowned dancers and choreographers like Peggy Baker, Nadia Potts, Michael Trent, Sharon Wong, Mandy Moore, Marty Kudelka and Clarence Ford. Chenise also performed in some of Toronto’s largest theatres; Winter Garden Theatre, Dundas Square, Harbourfront Centre and The Air Canada Centre for shows like WE Day and the MMVAs. After graduating from Ryerson’s Theatre Dance Program, DJD drew Chenise to Calgary where she has become an independent artist after completing their Professional Training Program.

 

Sylvie Moquin

Sylvie Moquin has been teaching various forms of dance for almost a decade! She holds a BFA Honors in Performance Dance from Ryerson University, and has also completed the Professional Training Program with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Sylvie constantly strives to further herself as an artist, choreographer, and teacher. She is thrilled to continue sharing her knowledge and love of dance with the DJD community!

 

Sabrina “Naz” Comanescu

Sabrina “Naz” Comanescu is a dynamic member of the Calgary Dance Community especially in the urban and Caribbean dance scene through her work as an instructor, performer and choreographer. Naz has devoted the past decade to training, performing and incorporating the many genres of urban dance and Caribbean dance, specifically Soca, Dancehall, Femme Hip-Hop and Afro-House to all that she creates. She has travelled throughout Canada as well as New York City, Trinidad, Finland, Romania and Mexico to teach and gather dance knowledge to share with the dancers of Calgary.

Watch a video of Sabrina in action!

 

Nicole Pemberton

Nicole Pemberton is an active dance artist, director of dance collective J’ouvert Playhouse and currently residing in Calgary, AB. She teaches dance residencies with Sound Kreations, children and adult classes all over the city and works/creates with non for profit dance collective MPact. She has studied and continues to train in Caribbean, hip hop, Contemporary, African, Afro-Cuban, funk, Ballet and house dance styles. Her performance and training has taken her to Edmonton, Toronto, New York, Dallas, Washington DC, Trinidad and Tobago, Vancouver and Calgary. With gratitude it is always a pleasure to share the knowledge and fun in dance at DJD.

 

Janelle Schiffner

Janelle Schiffner has been dancing for over 20 years, training at various dance schools around Calgary. She has graduated from the University of Calgary, receiving a Bachelor’s of Art in Contemporary Dance with a Concentration in Choreography and Performance. Janelle continued her dance education at Decidely Jazz Danceworks with the Professional Training Program. When she is not taking class, she loves sharing her knowledge teaching dance and piano. Janelle loves immersing herself in many projects within the community, whether it’s performing or choreographing.

 

Masani St Rose

Masani St Rose is a native Calgarian who was immersed into dancing at the tender age of 3. Early on, Masani found passion for the West African culture and style, which has become her specialization. It was through training under Michèle Moss-Johnston at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, she was able to build her foundation. Still working very closely with Michèle Moss-Johnston and various other artists from Guinea, West Africa, she finds every opportunity to take master classes from artists from various regions of Africa including, Congo, Uganda, Ghana, Mali, Guinea and Zimbabwe. Throughout the years, Masani has worked with various studios and professional groups across Canada. It is her mission to keep the art and culture alive from soul to sole!

 

Kalyn Swihart

Kalyn Swihart, originally from Lethbridge, Alberta, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Calgary and School of Alberta Ballet in 2006. Kalyn’s training and performance experience has taken her to Europe, New York, Mississippi Brasil and across Canada. She has had the opportunity to work on numerous television commercials as both a dancer and choreographer. Her latest endeavor is the creation of the Ballet Barre Works Method, a ballet-based fitness program. She now runs two studios in Calgary and has trained 12 instructors in her Method. As a teacher, she is full of energy and believes in infusing happiness and a love of dance into each and every class she instructs.

 

Jill Tuttle

Jill Tuttle fell in love with the colorful, exciting vibe of Bollywood dance while taking an adult Bollywood class here at DJD three years ago. She immediately joined the Sparq Productions Pro Team and has been performing and teaching for them ever since. Jill is a passionate High School creative arts teacher and a practicing artist, so the fine and performing arts are an integral part of her daily life. This is Jill’s first season teaching at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. She is excited to get you moving, shaking and loving the Bollywood style as much as she does!

Watch a video of Jill in action!

 

Deanne Walsh

Deanne Walsh After completing her B.A. Dance degree from the University of Calgary, Deanne performed for eight seasons with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks as a full-time company member. She is a performer and instructor in a wide variety of styles including Jazz, West African and Contemporary. Her choreography has appeared widely across Canada, she is actively creating and presenting her work year round. She is currently the Artistic Director of Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People, an Instructor at the University of Calgary, and a member of DSW’s Dance Action Group. AT DJD, Deanne is an instructor for the School of Decidedly Jazz, the Professional Training Program and the DJD Company.

 

Krista White

Krista White, a native Calgarian, has been dancing and performing in the area for over 25 years.  She has studied various techniques including modern, jazz, tap, and ballet and over the past 10 years she has been sharing her love for movement with dancers of all ages.   Krista is a regular participant in the Summer Dance Institute for Teachers at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, Washington and takes the philosophy of brain-compatible learning and the power of BrainDance with her into the studio. She enjoys teaching parents and toddlers, preschoolers, and helping students of any age find their own unique movement signature. Krista is also proud to be a member of the Dancing Parkinson’s YYC team. Academically, Krista has completed a Master of Arts degree in Sociology with a focus in the Sociology of Dance, Sport, and Health from the University of Calgary and continues to work in the field of health research.