PVA Dance

The Centre for Performing & Visual Arts at Central Memorial High School
band
band
choral
choral
dance
dance
fashion
fashion
media arts
media arts
strings
strings
theatre arts
theatre arts
visual arts
visual arts

Dance Program Overview

PVA dance is a three-year enriched program designed for dancers interested in broadening their dance experience in a technically and artistically challenging environment. Students will develop technical skills necessary to create, perform and analyze dance and are encouraged to find personal expression and creative voice. Led by experienced professional dance educators, guest artists and choreographers, students participate in one dance class every day, covering a broad range of genres.
At the time of graduation, students will attain 50 credits in various dance courses. These courses include: Dance 15, Ballet 15, Jazz Dance 25, Contemporary Dance 25, Ballet 25, Jazz Dance 35, Contemporary Dance 35, Ballet 35, Dance Composition 35 and Professional Development in the Arts 35/Entrepeneurial Artist. Within each course, students will study technique, history, composition, anatomy and music appreciation.

Through an auditioned process, students are placed in technically appropriate classes based on previous dance history and skill acquisition (see Audition Information below).

Within the PVA program, students are exposed to multi-disciplinary art forms and are encouraged to participate within the dance community, taking extra-curricular classes and attending dance performances. We recognize that our dancers are pursuing further training outside of school, for this reason, extra-curricular commitment is minimal.

PD35 include – Professional Development in the Arts 35

Professional Development in the Arts 35 / Entrepeneurial Artist (Junior Achievement)

All PVA students are enrolled in one of two courses;  Professional Development in the Arts 35 or Entrepreneurial Artist (Junior Achievement). These programs of study allow PVA students to explore how they see themselves as artists and become more aware of the process involved in preparing for the marketing and business aspect of being a professional in the arts community.

Students will experience a variety of teacher-led assignments/activities as well as a number of student-directed online projects.

Upcoming Events

Audition/Interview Requirements for Dance

To audition for PVA Dance, students must have previously submitted all components of the PVA Application Form as well as a letter of recommendation from a teacher (preferably a dance instructor).

There are two parts to the dance interview and audition process. The interview consists of a 10-minute conversation between our teachers and the PVA applicant accompanied by a parent/guardian. During that time, we look for passion and commitment to dance, as well as an understanding of what the demands of our program are and if you can meet them. It’s also beneficial for students and parents to ask questions and determine if we are a good fit for them as well!

The second part of the process is the group audition. This process is meant to ensure that dancers have the skills needed for the PVA dance program. Some dancers may be asked to attend a callback audition in the following week. For this audition, dancers are to prepare a one-minute solo in a genre of their choice.

In September, students will be placed in appropriate classes based on previous dance history and skill acquisition. Both the interview and the audition will be held in Central Memorial Dance Studio Room 180.

Group Audition

Students are to come dressed in dance attire and, if possible, should bring both jazz and ballet shoes. They will participate in a 30-minute ballet class, a 20-minute jazz/modern class, a 20-minute centre combination and a 15-minute discussion/ question period with the dance teachers. Parents may not watch the dance audition but are encouraged to attend the discussion/question period during the last 15 minutes of the audition time.

Individual Interview

Applicants and a parent/guardian will be required to attend a 10-minute interview with a member of the dance department.

PVA auditions are friendly and supportive. This may be your first audition ever and we want everyone to have a positive and fun experience.

How to Apply

All the information you need on one handy page.

PVA Application Form

Direct link to form

Dance Styles

Ballet
Ballet
Tap
Tap
Contemporary
Contemporary
Jazz
Jazz
Latin
Latin
Modern
Modern
Hip Hop
Hip Hop
Percussive
Percussive
West African
West African
Dance Composition
Dance Composition

Our Teachers

staff – Preston, Christie

Christie Preston

Dance Instructor

Born and raised in Calgary, Ms. Preston started her performing career with Children in Dance (now Alberta Dance Theatre) at a young age and spent seven years with the company. Ms. Preston received her B.A. in Dance with distinction from the University of Calgary in 2001. Her performing career included working with Michele Moss, Neah Kalcounis, Christine Carr, Denise Clark and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Her love of West African dance took her to study multiple times in Guinea and Ghana. Ms. Preston loves mentoring young dancers and has greatly enjoyed her experiences working with ADT as well as EKO Dance Projects, Dance Montage, Dance Explosions, DITCO and numerous public schools around Calgary. She returned to the U of C in 2003 and completed her Masters in Teaching and has enjoyed sharing her passion for Dance full-time at Calgary high schools ever since. From 2008-2012 Christie was the Artistic Director for Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People.

staff – Stone, Allison

Alison Stone

Fine Arts Learning Leader, Dance Instructor

Ms. Stone is originally from Victoria, BC where she grew up dancing and performing with Stages Performing Arts School.  To further her studies Ms. Stone moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University’s dance program.  She graduated with a BFA and a passion for choreography.  In Ontario, Ms. Stone’s choreography was seen at fFIDA International Dance Festival and the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival.  Ms. Stone moved to Calgary to attend Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Professional Training Program, which she completed in 2008.  During her career she has performed works by choreographers such as, Meagan O’Shea, Heidi Strauss, Julia Sasso, Kimberly Cooper, Sarisa Figuera de Toledo and Catherine Hayward. Ms. Stone’s choreography has been performed in Alberta Dance Festival, Ember Dance Company, Variety Pack Cabaret, Shoes Off Cabaret, Crosscurrents, Physical Therapy Cabaret, Ignite Festival, AIR, Prairie Dance Circuit, Freak Show, Alberta Dance Explosions and Emerge. Ms. Stone has been the co-artist director of Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People from 2010 to 2012.  She continues to immerse herself in the Calgary dance community as a dancer, choreographer and teacher.

staff – Stroh, Jason

Jason Stroh

Dance Instructor

Mr. Stroh’s formal dance training began at the University of Calgary where he received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. He has since trained in Victoria, Toronto, Montreal, Vienna, New York and Sweden. Mr. Stroh danced for six seasons with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks where he performed extensively across the country. He continues to guest perform, teach and choreograph across Canada. His choreographic works have been presented by Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Eko Dance Projects, Alberta Dance Theatre, Springboard Dance, Dancers’ Studio West, The University of Calgary Mainstage, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, New Dance Horizons, Brian Webb Dance Company, Dancing on the Edge and for ReLoCate of which he is a founding member. Mr Stroh can also be seen dancing in CBC’s The Forgotten Sense, and in several BRAVO films. Mr. Stroh was the Co-Artistic Director of Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People for two seasons. Mr. Stroh has also received and juried numerous provincial and national grants.

staff – Wojciechowski, Anna

Anna W.

Anna Wojciechowski

Accompanist

Ms Wojciechowski received her musical training at the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland. Since settling in Calgary in 1989, she has worked extensively as both a piano accompanist and teacher. Ms. Wojciechowski presently accompanies for many of Calgary’s professional dance companies and schools including, Alberta Ballet, The School of Alberta Ballet and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.

staff – Vessey, Corinne

Corinne Vessey

Dance and Theatre Arts Instructor

Ms. Vessey is a dance professional who has been training for over twenty years in Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Modern, Character, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Funk Styles (including Locking and Popping), House, West African and Musical Theatre. She has studied at world renowned facilities including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Shelley Shearer School of Dance, Harbour Dance Centre, The Source Dance Company, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, and University of Calgary where she received her Bachelor of Arts (English, Dance minor) and a Bachelor of Education.

Corinne continues to perform professionally and has appeared in “Acquiescence” in Soulocentric Festival, 49th Parallel Dance Company’s “Watering Hole,” Michele Moss’ “Where in the World,” The Toy Castle television series, The Source Dance Company’s “Stranded,” Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s “Peter Pan,” and the Juno Awards, to name a few. Corinne’s choreography has won numerous awards, and has appeared in the Soulocentric Festival, multiple Mpact Dance Company productions, Ignite! Festival, Alberta Culture Days, and at the Grande Opening of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, as well as many other venues. Corinne also is the Artistic Director and founder of Ember Dance Company, a semi-professional contemporary dance company based out of Calgary that has been producing its own feature shows and dance films since its inception in 2012. Corinne is thrilled to be a part of the faculty at Central Memorial High School, and is grateful to be able to share her knowledge, experience, and love of dance with her students.

Dance FAQ

Dance Program FAQ

Q:  What happens during the Interview/Audition Process?

There are two parts to the dance interview and audition process. The interview consists of a 10-minute conversation between our teachers and the PVA applicant accompanied by a parent/guardian. During that time, we look for passion and commitment to dance, as well as an understanding of what the demands of our program are and if you can meet them. It’s also beneficial for  students and parents to ask questions and determine if we are a good fit for them as well!

The second part of the process is the group audition. This process is meant to ensure that dancers have the skills needed for the PVA dance program. In September, students will be placed in appropriate classes based on previous dance history and skill acquisition.

Q:  If I only have dance experience in one or two styles, can I still participate in PVA Dance?

Dancers with a minimum of 3 years experience in one style that successfully complete the application process are welcome into the PVA Dance program. The program is designed to complement dancer’s previous training and introduce them to new genres.

Q: Does the PVA Dance program demand a lot of after-school time?

We understand that a majority of our students are committed and dedicated to dance studios all over the city. Due to this, our performance and after-school demands are limited to the rehearsals and performances needed to run our Dance Central show in March. As with all high school courses, students can expect regular homework assignments to be assigned to meet curriculum demands.

Q: How many dance classes does a dancer take in a day? How many dance classes/courses does a dancer complete in the PVA Dance Program?

Dancers participate in one dance class every day for each of their three years in the PVA Dance Program. Due to our enriched programming and the advanced level of our students, our dancers are able to navigate efficiently through a variety of dance curriculum. At the end of their three years, students will have covered the curriculum in the following courses: Dance 15, Ballet 15, Jazz Dance 25, Contemporary Dance 25, Ballet 25, Jazz Dance 35, Contemporary Dance 35, and Ballet 35. Students are required to enroll in Dance Composition 35 in either their grade 11 or grade 12 year, depending on their timetable.

Q: Can I still graduate with all my required courses for University acceptance if I go through the PVA program?

The PVA program is created to work with high school diploma demands, not in lieu of them. All core and mandatory courses are timetabled along with a daily PVA course. Every student will have a different course load depending on interest and ability level. Our guidance counselors and teachers work with our students to enroll them in the courses they choose.

PVA Dance Alumni

Many graduates of the PVA Dance Program have gone on to post-secondary dance programs or are currently pursuing professional careers. Alumni include:

  • Ashley Irvine
    Artistry in Motion, America’s Best Dance Crew Competitor
  • Leah Cameron, Amy Patterson
    Joffrey Ballet School, New York
  • Edgar Gilbert-Reyes
    Former Company Dancer, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks,
    Top 10 – So You Think You Can Dance Canada
  • Sabrina Comanescu – Decidedly Jazz Danceworks company member
  • Rhianna Kelba, Natalie Westerbeek, Michelle Zimmerman
    The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Toronto
  • Janaki Banting, Brittney Gering
    Concordia University, Montreal
  • Katie Hanson
    George Brown College, Toronto
  • Aliy Moore, Gemma Crowe, Victoria Gaspar, Kim Ilott, Hayley Colpitts, Rachel Stewart
    University of Calgary
  • Bretonie Burchell
    Ryerson University, Toronto
  • MJ Nicholson, Janna Cottingham
    York University, Toronto
  • Brittany McLeod
    Toured internationally with Rhythm
    of the Dance
  • Erika Bell
    Riverdance
  • Conor Scully
    Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, Toronto
  • Katie Baines
    Working professionally in Los Angeles
  • Sasha Wilde
    The School of Contemporary Dancers, Winnipeg
  • Victoria Kemp, Vanessa Mitchell
    American Music and Dramatic Academy,
    New York
  • Madison Bulloch, Jordan Chabeniuk,
    Kelsey Moss, Nevada Piraux, Sammi Sniher, Drew Malinowski

    The Source Dance Company, Vancouver
  • Anna Dueck, Teagan McMurtry
    Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

Natalie Westerbeek – 2007 Graduate
Upon graduation, Natalie had the opportunity to perform with eko Dance Projects, the Fluid Movement Arts Festival, the Art Gallery of Calgary, as well as in the works of Wojtek Mochniej, Naomi Brand, Brian Hansen and several other Calgary-based choreographers. Natalie continued her training in the Toronto Dance Theatre Company Professional-Training Program where she was exposed to a broad curriculum and trained to be equipped to meet the specific and diverse demands of Canada’s professional arts community.

Edgar Gilbert – Reyes, 2006 Graduate
Since graduating from the PVA dance program, Edgar has continued to train and work in Toronto, Vancouver & Los Angeles. He has worked with Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila, and Keshia Chante. Edgar danced with the Calgary-based dance company, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and was a Top-10 competitor on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Edgar is currently the Artistic Director of IllFX Entertainment Inc., a Calgary-based Hip Hop performance company and education program.

The PVA Program at Central really helped me to focus on my passion towards dance and supported me strongly during the beginning of my development as a dance artist

“This program is a fantastic hub and atmosphere for developing professionalism in the arts, and encourages you to establish relationships with other professionals in the community. The combination of guest workshops, performance opportunities and academic focus, the PVA program has helped to launch the beginnings of my success and abilities. With great gratitude towards Central’s wonderful and talented faculty, I have gained both support and balance and continue to grow with their consistent guidance.”

 

testimonialsNatalie Westerbeek

The PVA dance program really allows you to explore your movement by forcing you out of your comfort zones in a positive and creative environment

“The program really helped me mature as a dancer: teaching me respect for the history of it, to give yourself fully to a piece, and really focusing on more essential technique, so that your technique carries throughout all movements. My competitive life outside of this program taught me a lot about tricks and performing, but this program was the needed balance in my training.

“I am now about to travel to New York City for a year, having been accepted into the professional trainee program at Joffrey. I will be taking a minimum of 20 classes a week in varying styles (pointe, pas de deux, contemporary, jazz, improv, etc.), along with participating in winter and spring performances that will showcase me to professional companies. I really feel like the PVA program helped me get to this point in my life and hopefully it will help me get even farther.”

testimonialsLeah Cameron

CENTRAL MEMORIAL
HIGH SCHOOL

5111 - 21st Street SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3E 1R9
Phone: 403-243-8880
Fax: 403-777-7059

EVENT LISTINGS

PVA Events