THE CENTRE FOR PERFORMING ARTS AT CENTRAL MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL
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 48 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.
Leadership in the Arts 35 / Entrepreneurial Artist
All PVA students are enrolled in one of two courses; Leadership in the Arts 35 / Entrepreneurial Artist. 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 EventsThere are no upcoming events at this time.
To audition for PVA Dance, students must have previously submitted all components of the PVA application process. Please see Apply Online for further information.
There are two parts to the dance interview and audition process which due to Covid 19 restrictions will all take place virtually. 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!
This year, due to Covid 19 restrictions, we are asking students to audition virtually via video submission. Please prepare a video showcasing your dance that is approximately one minute in length so that it meets the requirements listed below. You can upload your work using this form.
- The video should be current (filmed within the last year).
- The video showcases a solo piece of choreography, or dance class exercises.
- The dance can be from your favorite genre: Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Tap, etc.
- You can include more than one genre of dance if you would like to.
- Ensure your whole body is in the frame.
- Videos can be sent in either .MOV or .mp4 format.
In September, students will be placed in appropriate classes based on previous dance history and skill acquisition.
If dancers miss the group audition, there is a possibility to submit a late application. For the audition portion, dancers are to prepare a one-minute solo in a genre of their choice. PVA auditions are friendly and supportive. This may be your first audition ever and we want everyone to have a positive and fun experience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Q: I missed the group audition. Can I still apply?
If dancers miss the group audition, there is a possibility to submit a late application. For the audition portion, dancers are to prepare a one-minute solo in a genre of their choice.
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
- 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,
- 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
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.
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
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.”