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Youth Training Program

The Youth Training Program (YTP) at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) has been designed to provide weekly instruction to students in a supportive, professional, and creative environment for dancers ages 8-17 years. With over 35 years 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 the YTP possess a strong desire to learn, grow, and put dedicated effort to the art of dance. Occurring outside of our more recreational Saturday programming, the YTP provides instruction with emphasis on skill mastery, focus and intension, and artistry.

The YTP showcases the talents of dedicated instructors who share a passion for dance and believe that a well-rounded dancer is given the opportunity to excel in a variety of dance forms. Ballet, Jazz and Modern dance are the core styles taught within the Youth Training Program and we believe that training outside of the confines of a set syllabus allow for increased exploration, artistry, and inquiry within the traditional dance class setting.

All classes will have reduced capacity to follow AHS social distancing guidelines. CLICK HERE to see the full list of our facility policies & procedures.


YTP IMPORTANT DATES 2020/2021

September 14-June 3 // YTP session dates
October 14 // No classes for Thanksgiving
December 18-January 4 // No classes for winter break
February 12 & 15 // No classes for teachers convention & Family Day
March 29-April 5 // No classes for spring break
Spring 2021 (date TBA) // Ballet Mock Exams
May 24 // No classes for Victoria Day
Spring 2021 // Final Showing – (date and format TBA)


2019/2020 session CLASS SCHEDULE

Tuesday

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

INTERMEDIATE Ballet

4:30-5:30 PM

JESSALYN BRITTON

Junior Ballet

4:30-5:30 PM

MARA ESNARD

INTERMEDIATE JAZZ

4:30-5:30 PM

JANELLE SCHIFFNER

Intermediate MODERN

5:30-6:30 PM

JESSALYN BRITTON

SENIOR MODERN

5:30-6:30 PM

CATHERINE HAYWARD

Junior JAZZ

5:30-6:30 PM

MARA ESNARD

SENIOR JAZZ

5:45-7:00 PM

CATHERINE HAYWARD

INTERMEDIATE Ballet

5:30-6:30 PM

MARA ESNARD

SENIOR  BALLET

6:30-7:30 PM

KATHARINA SCHIER

SENIOR BALLET

7:00-8:15 PM

KEVIN KONG

SENIOR POINTE

7:30-8:15 PM

KATHARINA SCHIER

 

LEVELS

YTP LEVEL AGE BALLET LEVEL
JUNIOR 8-10 Training at a RAD grade 2-3
INTERMEDIATE 10-12 Training at a RAD grades 4-5
SENIOR 13+ YRS Training at a RAD grade 6 and up.
ONE BALLET CLASS PER WEEK AND ONE MODERN OR JAZZ CLASS PER WEEK CLASS IS MANDATORY FOR ALL GROUPS.

ALL YTP STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN AT LEAST ONE BALLET CLASS A WEEK. IF YOU ARE ATTENDING A BALLET CLASS OUTSIDE OF DJD PLEASE INFORM THE DANCE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL.

 


tuition

Tuition includes a year end showing and a team building class in the fall.

2 classes/week* $1290
3 classes/week* $1935
4 classes/week* $2580
5 classes/week* $3225

*Payment plans are available; please contact Salla Carson, Dance Centre Assistant Manager & Volunteer Coordinator, for more information. 

REGisTration

If you have questions or to up apply for the YTP please email Dance School Principal Joanne Baker. Upon approval from the Dance School Principal you will be emailed the registration package.


Class Descriptions

Ballet

Ballet within the YTP will provide solid technical training that inspires whole dancers, not just future ballerinas. Quality training with the freedom of teacher and student creativity, classes will be based in RAD syllabus. Please have hair in proper ballet bun (girls) or neatly groomed (boys) for each class.

Dress code:

  •  Junior girls: ballet slippers, navy bodysuit, ballet tights. Intermediate girls: ballet slippers, ballet tights (convertible), black bodysuit. Senior girls: ballet slippers, ballet tights (convertible), black bodysuit.
  • Boys for all levels: black ballet slippers, black footless leggings, white socks, white t-shirt

Jazz

Keeping a connection to the history of jazz dance, the DJD Youth jazz program places strong emphasis on common dance techniques and skills within the jazz context along with vernacular (social) dance steps from the early days of jazz dance. Emphasis is placed on joy of dance and accuracy of movement in an encouraging and non-threatening atmosphere.

Dress code:

  • Girls: jazz shoes (black or beige), dance/jazz pants or shorts, bodysuit of choice.
  • Boys: jazz shoes (black or beige), dance/jazz pants or shorts, snug-fitting t-shirt of choice.

Modern

Modern dance class will explore elements from Limon, Horton and Graham techniques, as well as current contemporary and release forms. This class will challenge the dancers 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.

Dress code:

  • All levels: bare feet, dance/jazz pants or shorts and bodysuit/t-shirt of choice.

CONDITIONING

Using thoughtful and age appropriate stretching and strengthening techniques, this class is the perfect supplement to all YTP classes – Open to Intermediate and Senior level dancers.

POINTE

For the 2020/21 season, pointe will be open to dancers who were previously on pointe for the 2019/20 season. Students who were not on pointe last season may attend on demi pointe and can progress to pointe shoes upon instructor approval.


faculty Bios

Jessalyn Britton
Ballet & Modern Instructor

Jessalyn is a contemporary and jazz dancer/choreographer/teacher involved in both independent and collaborative performance and creation. She is co-artistic director and producer of CrossCurrents, and has produced two shows since its inception. Jessalyn has worked with dance theatre company kloetzel&co. for several seasons where she performed in Professional Series 2014, Toronto’s Dusk Dances, and in the full-length work “The Alice Odyssey.” This past year, Jessalyn was a company member in Corps Bara Dance Theatre, which produced the collaborative show “Absence” alongside Fire Exit Theatre. Independently, she has had the opportunity to perform and choreograph in: Alberta Dance Festival, Feats Festival, Fluid Festival’s Physical Therapy Cabaret and ContainR, Ignite! Festival, Soulocentric Fesitval, Shoes Off Cabaret, and Vancouver’s Tangents. Jessalyn holds a B.A. in Contemporary Dance with distinction from the University of Calgary. Post-graduation, Britton was drawn into the jazz world and danced with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks’ Professional Training Program for three seasons. Jessalyn loves sharing her passion for dance with children and adults. She has been teaching dance for 11 years and is currently a teacher at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and Counterpoint Dance Academy Marda Loop. Jessalyn specializes in teaching jazz and contemporary/modern, but has also studied in ballet, contact improvisation, musical theatre, tap and West African. She studied ballet up to ISTD Adv 1 and also has her Junior Cecchetti Teachers Certification. Jessalyn will be attending the Acrobatic Arts Level 1-5 Certification course the summer of 2015.

INGRID DIAZ
BALLET INSTRUCTOR

Contemporary, Modern, Afro‐Cuban, Caribbean, Ballet, Jazz and West African dance styles make of Ingrid a versatile dance artist with over fifteen years of professional experience as instructor and performer. Born and raised in Cuba, Ingrid is a graduate of the Cuban National Institute of Art (MA Afro-°©‐Cuban Dance) and National School of Art (BFA). Ingrid is also a graduate of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Professional Training Program and the School of Ballet Creole.Her professional career includes companies such as Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba (Havana 2002–2005), Ballet Creole (Toronto 2005-2009) and Three Left Feet Movement Creations (Calgary 2011‐present). 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) and Bach for Tots Performing Arts (Calgary, 2018) among other companies and independent creators. Choreography and dance education has been a vibrant aspect of Ingrid’s career since the early age of seventeen when she began teaching at the National School of Art, the National Musical Theatre School and the National Afrocuban Dance Company in Cuba; continuing to this date with original creations for Calgary based companies, festivals and schools such as Alberta Dance Theatre (2015 /2017), Soulocentric (2015), MADbeatz (2016 / 2017), Central Memorial High School (2018) and Fiestaval (2017–2019) just to name a few. Since 2010 Ingrid has been part of the artistic team of The School of Decidedly Jazz, sharing her passion for movement in a variety of styles and continuously inspiring and being inspired by her students. Ingrid is happily looking forward to many more years of dance explorations as her passion for movement continues to grow and evolve.

Mara Katherina Liao Esnard
Ballet & Jazz Instructor

Cuba native, Mara, began her artistic career with rhythmic gymnastics and modeling at the age of seven. 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. In 2015 she started teaching in various studios in Calgary after moving to Canada a year earlier. 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 is passionate to participate in the Calgary dance community as a teacher, dancer and choreographer.

CATHERINE HAYWARD
JAZZ & Modern INSTRUCTOR

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 12 season with the DJD company.

KEVIN KONG
Ballet INSTRUCTOR

Originally from British Columbia, Kevin entered The National Ballet School in Toronto in grade 7 and graduated in 1991, with his main teachers being Betty Oliphant (Founder of Canada’s National Ballet School and Founder of Cecchetti Society of Canada) , Glenn Gilmour (Cecchetti teacher and mentor) and Luc Amyot ( style/artistic coach and pas de deux teacher). Kevin received awards such as The Peter Dwyer Scholarship (Canada Council for the Arts) and The Ken Zeller Memorial Award, Billie Wilde Award 1989,90,91) along with many B.C Culture grants to support tuition. After graduation, Mr Kong danced with the National Ballet of Canada (Reid Anderson Dir) for 2 years and was a guest with Ottawa Ballet under the directorship of Frank Augustyn. Kevin then went on to Ballet West in Salt Lake City under the directorship of John Hart CBE, and then later to Alberta Ballet under the artistic direction of Mikko Nissinen. After leaving Calgary, Mr Kong joined the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle for 3 years under the dual directorship of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell. This is where Kevin had the privilege to expand his “Balanchine” repertoire. Moving back to Toronto, Canada, Kevin re-entered the National Ballet School in 2011 to partake in the Teacher Training Program part time, receiving Pedagogy 1 and the Benesh Notation certificate. Kevin has also passed all Cecchetti examinations receiving a Commended and two Highly Commended’s on the final dance examinations. Mr Kong has performed in theatres across the U.S.A, Canada and Internationally with his greatest memories being in The Haus fur Mozart in Salzburg Austria, Sadlers Wells in London, UK, The Royal Opera of Versailles in Versailles, France, The Cairo Opera House in Cairo, Egypt and The Finnish National Theatre in Helsinki, Finland. Kevin has taught for many studios in Alberta and the Lower Mainland and continues to enjoy inspiring and building up young dancers and artists within Alberta and Canada.

KATHARINA SCHIER
BALLET & POINTE INSTRUCTOR

Born in Germany, Katharina Schier grew up in Calgary training from an early age at The School of Alberta Ballet. Katharina has trained with world-class teachers and intensive programs including The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Harbour Dance Centre and The Ailey School. In 2016 Katharina graduated with at BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory with an emphasis in Jazz Dance where she had the opportunity to perform in works by Andrea Miller, Mark Morris, Diane Arvanites, Richard Colton, Uri Sands and Danny Burasceski. In Boston, Katharina danced with Boston City Ballet, Lorraine Chapman the Company and Luminarium Dance Company performing throughout Massachusetts and New York. In 2017 Katharina moved back to Calgary and continues to perform, choreography and produce her own work. Katharina received an AFA grant in 2019 for a self-produced research residency. She is delighted to be teaching at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and continuing to share her passion for dance with Calgary.

JANELLE SCHIFFNER
JAZZ INSTRUCTOR

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.

© 2018 Decidedly Jazz Danceworks