DJD’s Youth Training Program (YTP) has been designed to provide weekly instruction to students in a supportive, professional, and creative environment.



We’re looking for dancers who are:

  • 7-18 years old
  • Experienced in dance
  • Excited to learn
  • Dedicated to dance

What is the YTP?

With almost 4 decades of experience in professional performance and instruction, DJD is known for providing audiences and students alike, with dance experiences that speak to the integrity that the company was founded upon.

Dancers within our Youth Training Program possess a strong desire to learn, grow and put dedicated effort into the art of dance. Our YTP provides high quality and consistent training across several dance genres with an emphasis on skill mastery, physical awareness, mindful intention and soulful artistry. DJD’s YTP showcases the talents of dedicated instructors who share a passion for dance and believe in educating well-rounded, happy and healthy dance artists.

See classes

YTP KEY DATES — 2022/2023

September 12 - June 8

YTP session dates

October 10

No classes for Thanksgiving

December 15 - January 8

No classes for winter break

February 20

No classes for Family Day

March 27-29

No classes for spring break

March or April - TBA

Ballet Mock Exams

May 22

No classes for Victoria Day

June 8

Final Showing

June 12-14

YTP open house



DJD’s Youth Training Program welcomes dancers who are either working towards or have an established level of dance experience. Leveling within our jazz and modern classes is not set by a specific gauge, primarily due to DJD holding unique philosophies and aesthetics in these dance forms. Within our ballet faculty, we have Royal Academy of Dance certified teachers and portions of the R.A.D. syllabus are incorporated into our ballet program, however, previous R.A.D. training is not mandatory. Other forms of ballet training are recognized and leveling will be assessed on an individual basis.

YTP LevelAgeBallet Level
JUNIOR7-101-3 years dance experience/grades 1-2
INTERMEDIATE10-123+ years dance experience/grades 3-4
SENIOR12-155+ years dance experience/grades 5-Intermediate
ADVANCED15-186+ years dance experience/Intermediate - Advanced


Your YTP tuition includes a year-end showing and a ballet exam. To explore financial aid opportunities, click here.

CORE CLASSES: jazz, modern, ballet, Advanced West African

2 classes/week $1290
3 classes/week $1935
4 classes/week $2580

SUPPLEMENTAL CLASSES: West African/hip hop, conditioning, pre-pointe/pointe


For details on payment plans, please email Kirstin Anderson, Dance Centre Manager


Our Youth Training Program provides instruction in jazz, ballet and modern as well supplemental West African, conditioning and pointe classes. We value training that sits outside of the confines of a set syllabus and believe that such training allows for increased exploration, artistry and inquiry within the traditional dance class setting.

We encourage our students to enroll in at least two classes a week. Individual class selections can be discussed further with YTP Director, Leanne Kidd.

  • Keeping a connection to the history of jazz dance, the DJD YTP jazz program places strong emphasis on fundamental jazz concepts/skills (rhythm, grounded execution, musical connection, full body movement, community, improvisation) and social vernacular aesthetics while also guiding students through an understanding of more codified jazz techniques.

    Specific class attire requirements, for each class, will be emailed to families upon registration.

  • Within our Youth Training Program, ballet will provide a solid classical technique foundation that inspires whole dancers, not just future ballerinas. Students’ knowledge, skill level and movement vocabulary will progress each year within a classical ballet framework. Portions of the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus will be incorporated as well as unique additions within the freedom of individual teachers’ input and creativity. An emphasis will be placed on increasing self-discipline, self-confidence, co-ordination, musicality and grace.

    Specific class attire requirements, for each class, will be emailed to families upon registration.

  • YTP modern dance will explore elements from Limon, Horton, and Graham techniques, as well as current contemporary and release forms. This class will challenge the dancer’s range of dynamics and self-expression, and students will learn improvisation, floor work, inversions, and age appropriate partnering skills. We will explore concepts such as weight, energy, breath, and space, all while developing solid, grounded technique.

    Specific class attire requirements, for each class, will be emailed to families upon registration.

  • One of the primary core aesthetics of DJD’s work is rooted within West African dance, music, rhythms and history. Our YTP students are fortunate to add this grounding art form to their regular training and will provide important connections to the full understanding of the history of jazz dance.

    Specific class attire requirements, for each class, will be emailed to families upon registration.

  • This class is a perfect supplement to all YTP classes. Thoughtful, age-appropriate stretch and conditioning techniques will be used to target specific areas of tightness/ weakness, strength development, landing mechanics and postural alignment. Students will learn that to perform at their highest level and reduce injuries, an integrated conditioning program is needed to develop functional strength, neuromuscular efficiency and is an integral part of the physical preparation for the performing arts. Students will be exposed to a variety of conditioning exercises from various techniques such as Pilates and Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT)

    Specific class attire requirements, for each class, will be emailed to families upon registration.

  • An exciting highlight to any students’ classical ballet training, this class will prepare students to take their ballet skills to higher heights! This class will focus on kinesthetic awareness, structural alignment, safety precautions, musicality, grace and increasing physical strength and rotation.

    Students will be assessed and invited to this class on an individual basis. Students can purchase pointe shoes only when their teacher recommends to do so or have come into the YTP already working on pointe.

    Specific class attire requirements, for each class, will be emailed to families upon registration.


Ingrid Díaz Céspedes

Jazz & Modern

Born and raised in Cuba, Ingrid is a graduate of the Cuban National School of Art (BFA Modern, Contemporary and Afro-Cuban Dance, 2002) and the National Institute of Art (MA Afro-Cuban Dance, 2005). Ingrid is also a graduate of the School of Ballet Creole (Toronto, 2007) and Decidedly Jazz Professional Training Program (Calgary, 2011) Her professional career includes companies such as Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba (2002 - 2005 Company member), Ballet Creole (Toronto 2005 - 2009 Company member) and Three Left Feet Movement Creations (Calgary 2011 - To date. Company member / Artistic Producer) Ingrid also had the pleasure to perform as a guest artist with Nafro Dance (Winnipeg 2007), the South African Musical Umoja in its 2008 Canadian Tour Production, Newton Moraes Dance Theatre (Toronto 2008), COBA (Toronto 2009), Bach Tots Performing Arts (Calgary 2018) and TEADE (Matanzas, Cuba 2019) among other companies and independent choreographers. Since the early age of seventeen Ingrid has been choreographing and leading classes and workshops in prestigious dance schools and companies such as the Cuban National School of Art (Dance and Musical Theatre Schools), the National Afro - Cuban Dance Company, Havana Rakatan and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks; most recently becoming Assistant Director of the Professional Training Program. Since 2019 Ingrid has also been leading various courses in the specialties of Jazz and Ballet as a sessional instructor for The School of Creative and Performing Arts of the University of Calgary.

Mara Liao Esnard

Ballet, Jazz & Modern

Mara is a passionate being and a freelance dance artist. She loves to explore movement and alliances across art forms. Rooted in Cuba, Mara began her artistic career with rhythmic gymnastics at a very young age. She continued with professional ballet training and graduated from the National Ballet School in Havana, Cuba. In 2008, she started teaching at the Instructors Arts School in her hometown. At the same time, she was performing with Sol Dance Company at various resorts in the tourist area of Varadero. Mara has been an active member of the Arts community in Calgary since 2015. She has spread the love and discipline of dance in various studios and schools across the city and with her personal coaching. Through her time in YYC she has participated in a diversity of festivals, performances and collab works such as: One Love Music Festival YYC, Carifest, Ethnik Festival of Arts & Culture, Franco Festival Calgary, Bach tots and Chinook Blast. In December 2018 she finished her second year with DJD’s Professional Training Program and she is thrilled and grateful for this amazing opportunity. Mara was also part of the DJD Dance Company for their 2019-2020 Season as an understudy. Mara has been involved with the Youth and Adult programs at Decidedly Jazz since 2020-present. Currently she is also an artist with Three Left Feet Movement Creations. Mara is eager to dig deeper into her mixed-race identities (Asian, African & Hispanic) and discover how all these different backgrounds influence her artistry. She is passionate to take part in the Calgary dance community as an educator, dancer and choreographer.

Catherine Hayward

Jazz & Modern

Originally from Winnipeg, Catherine’s studies led her to Toronto’s Ryerson University where she graduated from the dance program, earning her B.F.A. with Honours. In 2005, Catherine moved to Calgary to continue her dance training at DJD, where she fell in love with jazz. Since then Catherine has immersed herself in the Calgary community as a performer, choreographer and teacher. Catherine has been a dancer with the DJD company since the fall of 2007. She was Artistic Director of DJD’s most recent dancer-choreographed shows, Velocity in 2017, and Borderland in 2015. Catherine was a founding member of Dancers’ Studio West(DSW) Dance Action Group(DAG), a small ensemble of aesthetically diverse performer/choreographers who co-operated to fulfill opportunities for community animation, offer organizational support for DSW and invest in new opportunities for artistic development. With DSW, Catherine has pursued choreography using original musical compositions and the musicians performing live as part of the work. She presented a new piece, form, act, cease, ensue in collaboration with musician Jeremy Gignoux as part of DSW’s Dance Action Lab in July 2017 and Tethered, an original musical composition by Rubim de Toledo in 2016. Catherine and fellow DJD company member Shayne Johnson have been working in collaboration on developing new work. The finale of DJD’s Velocity, entitled end was their first ensemble collaboration, set on the full DJD company. Their most recent duet Polyhedron premiered at the Fluid Festival in 2015. They will debut their first full evening of work Bodied Indivisible next year. Catherine is also developing of a new solo for established artist Davida Monk, it will premiere in 2019. Catherine enjoys her role teaching students, including five seasons as a choreographer with Alberta Dance Theatre for young people (ADT). She continues to mentor teen dancers training in Jazz as part of DJD’s Teen Jazz Advanced program and has joined the faculty of DJD’s Youth Training Program this year. Catherine is thrilled to be dancing in her 12th season with the DJD company.

Leanne Kidd (nee McIndoe)

Ballet & YTP Assistant Director

Leanne is a Calgary dance artist, teacher & choreographer. She trained at Calgary’s International School of Ballet, performing many leading roles with their Jeunesse Classique Ballet Company. Some of Leanne’s extensive dance studies have included: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Banff School of Fine Arts & The American Academy of Ballet. In 1997, Leanne was accepted into London England’s Royal Ballet School. She graduated with distinction, in 2000, earning multiple teaching certifications such as: ARAD, AISTD Cecchetti, AISTD National Folk Dance & Benesh Notation Certification. Since returning to Canada, Leanne has taught in numerous studios & schools across B.C. & Alberta. She choreographed & staged a full-length production entitled GLORIA for Jeunesse Classique Ballet Co., performed in Dance Montage, Calgary Cares, Three Left Feet Movement Creations & Decidedly Jazz Danceworks’ school show, Live And In Sync. Leanne also immersed herself in training at DJD, first as a Scholarship Student & later in the Pre-Professional Program. In 2005, she received two grants to study dance in West Africa, a life-changing experience. Leanne has had a long-standing history with Calgary Arts Academy since its opening in 2002, both as a Resident Artist & Performance Coordinator. Leanne is married with two daughters and is passionate about family and sharing her love of dance with students of all ages. She is thrilled to be returning to DJD‘s Youth Training Program and is looking forward to working alongside Joanne Baker while transitioning into her new role as YTP Assistant Director.

Janelle Schiffner

Ballet & Jazz

Janelle has been dancing for over 20 years, training at various schools around Calgary. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Contemporary Dance with a Concentration in Choreography and Performance from the University of Calgary. She has participated in dance travel studies around the world, including New York City, Cuba, and Amsterdam. Janelle studied jazz at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks with their Professional Training Program and continues to share her love of jazz dance with students at DJD and around the city. As an active member of the teaching faculty within the Education Outreach at DJD, Janelle has taught thousands of students at schools in Calgary and at Telus Spark. Janelle also loves to share her knowledge and passion in music by teaching piano.


Submit the form below to learn more about the YTP or express your interest in joining.