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Inspiring & Imaginative Family Entertainment
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Thanks For Attending The Secret Starling!

Clara Starling lives in the lonely, run down Braithwaite Manor with her Uncle, until one day he disappears, leaving her with too many mysterious to solve alone. With the help of an energetic orphan named Peter and the friendly neighbours, Clara is slowly able to bring colour back into her life. When she finds a worn ballet slipper that may be connected to her dead mother she can't help but take to London's streets to find out what really happened to her. It's a race against the past as Clara slowly pieces together a murderous plot while narrowly avoiding capture herself. It's an adventure that proves that as much as family can be lost, they can also be found.

Youth from across the City of Calgary gather annually to create alongside professional choreographers for 10-12 weeks. The result is a completely original, family friendly dance and theatre performance.

​In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge Moh’kinsstis, and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, as well as the Iyarhe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Otipemisiwak Métis Government of the Métis Nation within Alberta District 6. Finally, we acknowledge all Nations – Indigenous and non – who live, work and play on this land, and who honour and celebrate this territory.

School Matinee Bookings Are Now Open
Friday, December 1 / 10:30am / Decidedly Jazz Danceworks
Sliding Scale Tickets / $5 - $10 per student.

Contact Alicia Ward to book your class

alicia@albertadancetheatre.com

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The Secret Starling Is Supported By
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Meet The Creative Team For Our 2023-2024 Season
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Jessalyn Britton 
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. 

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Helen Cox
Choreographer

Helen Cox M.A is a choreographer, educator and mentor. She has worked in the UK for the past 10 years teaching for companies including: The Royal Ballet School, Royal Opera House, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, ISTD, Trinity Laban, and Central School of Ballet. She is currently a delivering artist and ambassador for Rambert Grades Canada, teaching locally in Calgary and working freelance as a choreographer.

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Meghann Michalsky
Choreographer

Meghann Michalsky is a dance artist working in Alberta. She is the co-creator of Project InTandem and YYC Contemporary Technique Training, two programs that offer opportunities to emerging artists in Canada. She was awarded the 2019 RBC Emerging Artist Award - she is the first Dancer/Choreographer to receive this award.

 

Since completing her BA in Contemporary Dance, with a concentration in Choreography and Performance, at the University of Calgary. She has rigorously pursued her training in Canada, Europe, and Israel. As a dancer, you’ve seen her dance for an array of individual artists and companies, including Karissa Barry, Laja Feild of LajaMartin, Davida Monk, Linnea Swan, kloetzel&co, & Dancers' Studio West to name a few.

 

Her movement signature has been described as vigorous, raw, and intricate. Her knowledge of Hip-Hop and Krump movement principles has influenced her development of isolated, rhythmic, bound, and fast-twitch movement qualities into her contemporary choreographies. 

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Kimberly Creller
Lighting Designer

Kim is a parent, partner and Event and Theatre Professional of over a decade. 

 

Working in the city primarily as a lighting technician and programmer, she is used to creating live in front of the audience for all genres of events occurring in popular Calgary venues such as Arts Commons, The Taylor Center for the Performing Arts and The Grand Theatre. Having the opportunity to be involved in the creation process is a rare luxury - She is so excited to work with Alberta Dance Theatre to bring this year’s production to life. 

 

Using colour and textures of light to enhance and support artistic work is what Kim enjoys most about her role as Lighting Designer.

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Leanne Kidd
Backstage Coordinator

Leanne Kidd (nee McIndoe) 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 to 2020, both as a Resident Artist & Performance Coordinator. She has enjoyed teaching at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks as well over the past two decades and is thrilled to focus on her new role as Director of DJD’s Youth Training Program. Leanne is married with two daughters and is passionate about family and sharing her love of dance and performing arts with students of all ages.

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Alicia Ward
Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer,
Theatre Artist

Alicia Ward is an enthusiastic human being who loves 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 Dancing Parkinson's YYC, co-founding the Young Adventurer Society, and holding the position of Co-Artistic Director and General Manager of Alberta Dance Theatre. 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 storytelling series for young audiences, Colour Me Sad, which won YYC Music Awards Children' Recording Of The Year in 2022. 

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Kobe Hill
Choreographer

Kobe has lived in Calgary their entire life, and has been dancing with ADT for one decade. After graduating last year in 2022, they have returned to continue being a part of the ADT community. They have grown up with Alberta Dance Theatre, and have been enthused to be able to share the ADT experience with other dancers. They have also acted as a choreographer and sound director for the 2023 CYPT (Calgary Young People's Theatre) Cannonball Festival. They are excited to continue their artistic journey in future years and to hopefully return to ADT after studying Arts and Education in post-secondary.

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Serenella Sol
Choreographer

Serenella Sol is a Calgary-based dancer, choreographer and the Artistic Director of Ballet Bodies YYC. Sol started dancing ballet at the age of three in Maracaibo, Venezuela. In 2007, she moved to Canada, where she studied ballet and contemporary in Vancouver and Calgary. In 2013, she graduated from the University of Calgary with a BA in Political Science and a Minor in Dance. Serenella participated in numerous summer intensives worldwide, including Spain, USA, Salzburg, The Netherlands and France. She danced for La Caravan Company (2011), Jeunesse

Company (2012) and W&M Physical Theatre (2013-2019). Serenella has presented her

choreographic work at the Alberta Dance Festival (Dancers’ Studio West), Fluid Festival, and Montage and produced/choreographed her show Coming of Age in 2016. In 2021, Serenella founded Ballet Bodies YYC, a non-profit organization focused on making ballet more accessible, inclusive, and positive.

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Jeff Eisen
Projection Designer

With over four decades of unwavering dedication to the world of artistic expression, Jeff is a seasoned professional teaching artist who has consistently demonstrated a profound passion for nurturing creativity and fostering a love for the arts. His extensive career has been marked by a commitment to inspiring students of all ages and backgrounds through dynamic and innovative teaching methods. Throughout his journey, he has honed his expertise in various artistic disciplines, adapting to the evolving educational landscape while maintaining a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of the arts. Jeff's career is a testament to his ability to engage and empower students, cultivate their talents, and instill in them a lifelong appreciation for the arts.

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Tonisha Kroeger
Stage Manager

Born and raised in Alberta and graduate of Red Deer Polytechnic with a diploma in Theatre & Entertainment Production. Tonisha has built a career in Stage Management for over thirteen years. She is happy to return to Alberta Dance Theatre after Stage Managing for The Young Canadians at The Bell Grandstand Show (2023). She strives to inspire the next generation of leaders. Previous Stage Management credits include, Calgary Young Peoples Theatre (Someday, The Poison Squad, Runs in the Family, Snow White), Alberta Dance Theatre (Sneaks), Edmonton Fringe Festival (Glorious Loser). If she’s not in the theatre you can find her by the snacks.

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Jasmine Almaguer Sheldrick
Choreographer

Dancer and emerging choreographer, Jasmine Almaguer Sheldrick, was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario where she started training in various dance forms. Jasmine is a graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, specialized honors program focusing on choreography and performance at York University. At York she studied modern, contemporary and ballet techniques, choreography, dance history, dance kinesiology and dance production. In 2021-2022, Jasmine trained in the Professional Training Program at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks where she studied a variety of jazz techniques, Afro- Cuban, tap, West African and jazz history. In 2020, she received The Spedding Memorial Scholarship in Dance, given for excellence in choreography of an original work. Along with dancing, she has a strong interest in filmmaking, having worked on high and low production sets. Jasmine currently works as a free-lance dancer performing professionally and in arts administration.

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Emily Ireland
Choreographer

Born and raised in Peace River, Alberta, Emily Ireland (she/her) has trained in various styles: Ballet, Contemporary/Modern, Jazz, Tap, and Afro Cuban. Emily holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Calgary with a concentration in choreography and performance. Additionally, she has studied at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in their professional training program and attended Donna Krasnow’s Limon Teacher Training Course. Emily has engaged in various projects during her time as a member of nonprofit dance company, En Corps Dance Collective, from 2020-2022. Emily has performed in Dance@Night, Mainstage, Lot C, TELUS Sparks Center: Spark After Dark, YYC Showcase and the dance film “pointless purSUIT” that premiered at Ignite Festival 2023. Emily is currently dancing with Affirmation Dance Creative a contemporary company based out of Camrose. As an emerging artist in the Calgary community, Emily is invested in performance, choreography and instructing dance. Emily is very excited to join Alberta Dance Theatre for a second season. 

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Alison Stone
Choreographer

Alison Stone is originally from Victoria, BC where she grew up dancing and performing with Stages Performing Arts School.  To further her studies Alison moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University’s dance program. She graduated with a BFA and a passion for choreography. In Ontario, Alison’s choreography was seen at fFIDA International Dance Festival and the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival.  In Alberta, her choreography has been performed in Alberta Dance Festival, Ember Dance Company, Variety Pack Cabaret, Shoes Off Cabaret, Physical Therapy Cabaret, Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People, Ignite Festival, AIR, Prairie Dance Circuit, Freak Show, Alberta Dance Explosions and Emerge. During her career she has had the pleasure of performing original works choreographed by Kimberly Cooper, Sarisa Figuera de Toledo, Catherine Hayward, Meagan O’Shea, Heidi Strauss and Julia Sasso. Alison has been the co-artist director of Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People from 2010 to 2012. She has been a teacher with the Calgary Board of Education since 2014 teaching dance for the Performing and Visual Arts Program at Central Memorial High School. Alison is dedicated to immersing herself in the Calgary dance community as a dancer, choreographer and teacher.

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Dean Lauderdale
Composer

Dean Lauderdale, a Calgary-born musician, is a versatile artist with a deep passion for music. With over 10 years of experience, he excels in teaching, performing, and composing. Dean teaches privately at his studio and Long & McQuade, while also serving as Director of ONCUE, a professional a cappella ensemble, and Assistant Director for the JUNIOR HI division at the Youth Singers of Calgary.

 

Dean's academic achievements include a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Humber College and a Music Diploma in Classical Vocal Performance from Mount Royal University. These educational milestones have fortified his technical prowess and provided him with a comprehensive understanding of music composition, production and performance.

 

As a composer for Alberta Dance Theatre across four seasons, Dean has witnessed the profound impact of his music on young performers. His meticulously crafted compositions have served as catalysts for transformative experiences, evoking powerful and emotive performances. Dean's ability to harness the power of imagination through music is a testament to his exceptional talent as a composer.

 

His upcoming project is a full-length album of original songs, entirely self-written, performed, recorded, and produced. Set for release this September, the album will showcase Dean's talent and musical prowess and will be available on all streaming platforms.

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