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Dancers

Meet our current company of professional jazz dancers who perform the original choreographic works of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks locally and tour nationally.

Our skilled dancers, many of whom have trained since they were younger than 5 years old, master a style that is distinct and eclectic mixing groove, African roots, rhythm, improvisation, interplay with musicians, and deeply human soul.

Our dancers are handpicked from as far away as Cuba and Africa – and as nearby as our own province – live in Calgary and work as a team five days a week, more than 30 weeks per year. Learn more about auditions.

sabrina comanescu, DANCER

Sabrina “Naz” Comanescu is a dynamic emerging talent and an energetic supporter of the Calgary dance and Caribbean Community through her work as a dance instructor, performer, and choreographer.  Training in urban/funk and Afro-Caribbean dance styles since the age of six, Sabrina dove into her studies of jazz dance at the School of Decidedly Jazz in 2013, in DJD’s Professional Training Program and is presently an apprentice with the DJD Company. Sabrina is also the current major force behind The Diversity Performing Arts Club of Calgary and created Casa De Naz in 2012, a collective with a mission to “excite and educate art hubs across Canada about the thriving Caribbean community in Calgary and the arts of the Caribbean as a whole through film, fashion and dance”. Sabrina has performed in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax, Trinidad and Tobago, Finland and New York City with such companies as House of Dangerkat, The Bad Girls Club YYC and ILLFX Entertainment. Sabrina is thrilled to be performing for a second season in the DJD company!

julia cosentino, DANCER

Originally from Toronto, ON, Julia received her BFA Honors Degree in Dance from York University in 2012. Since graduating, Julia has had the pleasure of training, collaborating, and performing with companies including Jasmyn Fyffe Dance, Rock Bottom Movement, Frog In Hand, Newton Moraes Dance Theatre, ProArteDanza, Hit and Run Dance Productions, Lady Luck Productions, and emiMOTION. Julia is a founding member of The Garage, a Toronto dance collective established in 2013 to provide emerging artists with the opportunity to share, learn, research and develop different skills and ideas. She has appeared on three seasons of the TV series “Reign”, and is a certified instructor of the Extension Method. In 2015, she performed in The Alberta Dance Festival in a work created by Rodney Diverlus, and in the Fluid Festival with DJD. This is Julia’s second season with DJD, and she is grateful to be back in Calgary working with such a talented, intelligent and eclectic group of artists.

RODNEY DIVERLUS, Dancer

Hailing from Toronto, Rodney is a multidisciplinary performer, choreographer, write, and curator. As a performer, Rodney has worked with KasheDance, IFT/Obsidian Theatre, ReActive Dance Theatre, Wind in Leaves Collective, Gadfly, Marie-Josee Chartier, and with a wide array of choreographers, including Arsenio Andrade, Hannah Kiel, David Earle, Vicki St. Denys, Mindy Cooper, Patti Wilcox, Kenny Pearl, amongst others. Rodney’s other performance credits include: Maelstrom (MOonhORsE Dance Theatre), Hairspray (Hammer Entertainment), the Canadian Premier of High School Musical 2 (Silvermist Productions), and the 2015 Pan American Games Closing Ceremonies. Rodney’s choreographic works have been presented at Footsteps Across Canada Festival, Toronto’s 60×60 Festival, New Voices Festival, Cadence Ballet Company, Fashion Arts Toronto, Fresh Blood Festival, Toronto Pride Week, the annual Alberta Dance Festival, and various residences. Aside from productions, Rodney is a writer and community organizer. His writing has been published by the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and recently as a consulting author to Artistic Citizenship: Artistry, Social Responsibility and Ethical Practice, published by Oxford University Press. Rodney is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Performance Dance program.

CATHERINE HAYWARD, DANCER

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 performer, choreographer and teacher. 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 presented a new work Tethered and performed 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 2015. They are working towards future projects together. Catherine enjoys her role teaching students, including five seasons working as a choreographer with Alberta Dance Theatre for young people. She continues to mentor teen dancers training in Jazz as part of DJD’s Teen Jazz Advanced program. Catherine has been a dancer with the DJD company since the fall of 2007 and was Artistic Director for DJD’s dancer-choreograph show Borderland in 2015.

kaja irwin, DANCER

Originally from Winnipeg, MB, Kaja started her dance training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (RWB). She continued her studies in DJD’s Professional Training Program and since then has been performing, choreographing and teaching in Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto. In Calgary Kaja worked with respected choreographers Michele Moss, Deanne Walsh, Alison (Bryan) Stone and Jennifer Mahood. In Winnipeg, Kaja danced and choreographed with several collectives, Evolve Dance Company, Canvas Pulse Collective, Define Movement and Prairie Dancers while also training with NAfro Dance. While in Toronto, Kaja had the exciting opportunity to work with choreographers Sharon Harvey and Jenn Goodwin as well as choreographing her own works for 60×60 and Flesh Garden, a solo work originally performed in Ottawa and then remounted by invitation for a performance in Amsterdam. Recently Kaja has been choreographing several music videos in collaboration with the Winnipeg band, Royal Canoe. Kaja is very excited to be back for her second season with the DJD Company.

shayne Johnson, DANCER

Shayne began his dance training at age 5 and at the age of 12, launched his professional career as a guest tap dancer on the “Super Dave Osborne” TV show.  Shayne went on to join the Canadia National Tap Team, became a member of the Grizzlies Extreme Dance Team for the NBA and was hired as a dancer and choreographer for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Since moving to Calgary in 2008, Shayne has been an active member of the Arts community.  Shayne 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. Shayne presented a new work in DSW’s Dance Action Lab in July 2016. In addition to focusing on choreography, Shayne is an established tap teacher in the community. Shayne has been with the DJD Company since the spring of 2009.

NATASHA KORNEY, DANCER

Natasha began pursuing dance at the age of 13, specifically in the styles of Hip-Hop, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary and African Dance. As part of her training she spent two years as a pre-professional student at the School of Decidedly Jazz, performing in their show Footprints. In 2010 she commenced a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Dance Program at the University of Calgary performing in Mainstage and other productions. This season she is delighted with the opportunity to rekindle her passion for choreography through DJD’s bi-annual dancer–choreographed show, and looks forward to embracing future choreographic opportunities.

kaleb tekeste, DANCER

Kaleb is a Calgary based dancer, choreographer and teacher. In 2004 he joined DJD’s Professional TrainingProgram and in 2006 he understudied Kimberley Cooper’s in Charcoal and Crimson. As fate would have it, he found himself jumping into a role a few days before opening night thus marking his debut with DJD. Kaleb has choreographed for Slammenberry Jam, Dance Montage, Alberta Dance Explosions, Calgary Cares and several of DJD’s bi-annual dancer-choreographed evenings. In addition to performing with crews the Original Rudes and ILLFX, in 2010 he danced in a short film/commercial in conjunction with the Vancouver Winter Olympics and has performed with artists such as the Black Eyes Peas, Snoop Dogg and Jully Black. Kaleb recently took two years away from Calgary to study in Montreal (supported by an Alberta Foundations for the Arts grant)and to travel and study abroad. This is Kaleb’s eighth season with the company and he is thrilled to be a part of this incredible show and journey.