meet our 2021-2022 creative team
Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer
Jessalyn has had a lifelong passion for dance. She holds a B.A. in Contemporary Dance with distinction from the University of Calgary and danced with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Professional Training Program for three seasons. Upon graduation, Jessalyn danced professionally with dance theatre company kloetzel&co. for several seasons where she performed in Professional Series, Toronto’s Dusk Dances, and in the full length work "The Alice Odyssey.” Jessalyn was also a Corps Bara company member as well as company manager. Independently, she has had the opportunity to perform and choreograph in dance events throughout Alberta and B.C, has self-produced three full length shows CrossCurrents, and co-created the dance company ESIRA. Jessalyn is currently co-Artistic Director and General manager of Alberta Dance Theatre and teaches in YYC studios and schools.
Hailing from Calgary, Jocelyn is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and holds her Master of Arts from The London Contemporary Dance School (London, UK). Jocelyn has performed for numerous independent artists and companies in Toronto, Calgary and London, UK. Her lively, musically-based choreography has been presented across Canada as well as in the UK and Europe, at The Summerworks Performance Festival, Dance Ontario’s Dance Weekend, Springboard’s Fluid Fest, EDge on Tour, Dancers' Studio West, and Kaeja’s Winddown Dance, among others. Jocelyn's practice and choreography also include music performance and composition, as well as puppetry and elements of authentic and vernacular jazz. Jocelyn was honoured to be the recipient of the inaugural Winchester Prize for Choreographic Distinction. She is an alumna of Alberta Dance Theatre.
Dean Lauderdale is a Calgary-born musician and has an immense passion for teaching, performing and writing music. With over 10 years of experience, Dean has been teaching privately, ranging in all skill levels at his home studio as well as at Long & McQuade and Forte Music. He is also very involved with the Youth Singers of Calgary and is currently Director with ONCUE, an a cappella ensemble, and Assistant Director for the JUNIOR HI division. Dean holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Humber College as well as a Music Diploma in Classical Vocal Performance from Mount Royal University. This is Dean’s second year with Alberta Dance Theatre having been brought on as musical composer. He greatly enjoys the creative and collaborative nature of the role and hopes to do more projects like this in the future.
Chantal Gandar was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography from The University of Arizona, and a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance from the University of Calgary. She has performed in works by Michèle Moss, Melissa Monteros, Wojciech Mochniej, Connie Moker Wernikowski, Douglas Nielsen and Amy Ernst. Chantal danced with Corps Bara Dance Theatre for many years and went on to be Artistic Director for the company from 2010-2014. Her love for Corps Bara is still strong as she has been on the board of directors since 2018. Crossings Dance has been a home studio and place of mentorship for Chantal since her youth, and she continues to choreograph annually for their youth dance company, CYDC. For the past three years, she has been teaching dance at Ambrose University, where she is a Sessional Instructor and the Dance Program Coordinator. After choreographing a piece with Alberta Dance Theatre for the Enchanted Toy Shop production in 2019, Chantal is excited to be part of a second season with the company!
Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer,
Alicia Ward is an enthusiastic human being who loves performing, teaching and promoting a passion for performance art. Throughout the year Alicia finds herself instructing drama and dance to all ages at various studios throughout the city. She also loves large amounts of organizational tasks! Alicia works administratively for a number of education and arts focused companies including co-founding Triple Bill Weekends and the Young Adventurer Society, and working with the International tap dance festival Rhythm, Body, and Soul. Alicia is passionate about growing the artist community in Calgary and fostering opportunities for dancers of all ages to develop a love for movement. Alicia can be found performing throughout Alberta with her new storytelling series for young audiences, Colour Me Sad. She performs mainly for littles and those who are young at heart. Recent Credits: Itty Bitty Arts Day (Arts Commons), Go Go Peek-a-Boo and Nutcracker in a Nutshell (Bach Tots).
Lauren is a scenographer living and working in Mohkinstsis, also known as Calgary. This is their third show with ADT and they are so happy to be back, hopefully in a real theatre this year! Other credits include: set and lighting design, Bright Lights (Theatre BSMT) - set and costume design, Love and Information (Calgary Young People's Theatre) - set and lighting design, Tape (Ignition Theatre) - associate production design, Premium Content (Major Matt Mason Collective/High Performance Rodeo). Lauren holds a diploma in Theatre and Entertainment Production from Red Deer College and a certificate in Set and Costume Design from The National Theatre School of Canada. You can check out some of their design work at laurenacheson.com
Rebecca is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and actor based in Calgary. Her passion for the arts has been around her entire life! Her parents are both theatre professionals. She spent her time at her parents’ rehearsals and shows, and just knew she needed to be a part of the magic. Rebecca grew up dancing at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, where she is now a part of the faculty; teaching Jazz and West African dance. Rebecca has worked in various artistic roles with Theatre Calgary, Full Circle Theatre, Quest Theatre, Stage West, One Yellow Rabbit and Shakespeare in the Park. Rebecca understands the importance of introducing young people to the arts and could not be more thrilled to work with ADT this season!
Stephanie Jurkova-Abaco is an emerging performer and choreographer in the final year of her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance degree at the University of Calgary. Having originated from rhythmic gymnastics, her passion for movement was later challenged by the rigid structures of ballroom dance before flourishing through contemporary and vernacular jazz forms. In parallel to her undergraduate education, Stephanie is immersed in Decidedly Jazz Dancework’s Professional Training Program. Creatively, Stephanie is intrigued by unconventional connections, seeking different ways of partnering and negotiating personal space. Her choreographic work has been showcased as part of the IGNITE! Festival for Emerging Artists.
Britanny is a professional dance educator and choreographer in Calgary, AB with close to 20 years of experience. She specializes in Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Hip Hop. She is an ADAPT certified instructor and also holds certification in Acrobatic Arts Module 1 & 2. Britanny loves to move and inspires others to do the same. She encourages creative movement and engages her students with an innovative and energetic approach to movement and dance.
Britanny is originally from Saskatchewan and moved to Calgary to attend the University of Calgary where she trained in the dance program to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance and Kinesiology. During her university years she performed and toured with local dance projects across Western Canada.
To further her training and education, Britanny has traveled across Canada and the USA where she has had the opportunity to take class and learn from dance artists and dance masters from around the world. She attends workshops and dance teacher seminars on a regular basis in order to provide high quality instruction to her students.
Throughout her career, Britanny has been involved in the competition circuit as a dancer, a choreographer and an adjudicator. She has received recognition and has achieved many accolades for her work.
Britanny knew at an early age that her passion was for creating and educating. She wanted to instill the love and passion for dance in others. She is committed to motivating dancers, providing high quality training to students of all ages and abilities and to helping individuals achieve their goals.
Britanny is so excited to work with Alberta Dance Theatre this upcoming season!
Kaja is a Winnipeg born dancer, choreographer, and dance educator. After deciding to pursue a career in dance after completing her B.A. in Political Science, Irwin studied in the Professional Training Program offered at DJD,
developing her love of both jazz and the Calgary dance community. Kaja has been fortunate to share her choreography across Canada as well as Amsterdam. Irwin loves to explore movement and collaborations across art forms. Recently she collaborated with jewellery designer Corey Moranis in a short art film
released in Spring 2020 and is developing work incorporating both mask and jazz art forms as well as entering her seventh season performing with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Kaja is really looking forward to working with Alberta Dance Theatre again and is extremely excited to see what this next season will bring!
Call for Choreographers
Choreographing for ADT offers a unique experience to create new work, mentor youth artists, and work closely with a composer with full support from an administrative and volunteer team.
Alberta Dance Theatre is looking for passionate, creative choreographers who are interested in working with our ADT company dancers to create work for our 2021 production.
Choreographers work with the ADT company members in a collaborative fashion by encouraging movement and concept offerings, facilitating creative discussion, providing leadership, and guiding the overall direction for the created work according to the provided production theme. Choreographers will assist in implementing professional rehearsal etiquette and ensuring every dancer is seen, heard and and involved in the artistic process.
To apply, please send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org
CV highlighting your pre-professional/professional choreographic experience and your work with youth dancers
Statement of why you would like to work with Alberta Dance Theatre and your personal choreographic or movement style
One or two video links of your choreography (youth or adult)