Dance Program Overview
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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.
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.
Dance and Theatre Arts Instructor
Born and raised in Calgary, AB, Ms. Demers is a celebrated dancer and instructor known for her lively choreography and unique style of teaching. Her time performing/training was spent locally and abroad and included classes, workshops and performances in Vancouver, New York and London. Her time in the classroom incorporates both the physical and personal aspects of movement examining the reasons why we dance, believing that anyone, no matter what their shape, size or experience can find their love of dance. Her love of the arts is rooted in her desire to connect with students and explore movement and expression. After many years of teaching, including various public-school contracts, and adjudicating across the country, Ms. Demers returned to the University of Calgary to complete her Bachelor of Education. In addition, Ms. Demers holds a variety of certifications including Progressing Ballet Technique, Alixa Flexibility, Mental Skills Teacher Training, Youth Protection and Advocacy in Dance, Acrobatic Arts and is a yoga and reiki practitioner. She is looking forward to continuing to share her passion and joy of dance with the PVA dancers and program.
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.
Dance Central 2021
Video now available
2021 Dance Composition video
In dance composition we focus on the art of creating dance. This video was submitted for the 2021 class.
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:
- Milaina Robinson
ITP Harbour Dance Program
- Leslie Marzan
- 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
Milaina Robinson, 2018 Graduate
Milaina Robinson is a PVA graduate of 2018. She has moved to Vancouver to pursue her career in dance. Milaina has joined the ITP Harbour Dance program and has also gone on to work on projects for companies like Disney, CBS and CW, and during her time at Central she was a series lead on the TV show The Next Step. PVA was so supportive and accommodating when Milaina’s schedule was bringing her between Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, having a community who understood the industry was such a huge help with her schooling and career. PVA offers so many other styles and different techniques that Milaina felt she really was developing into a young diverse artist.
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.
“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.”
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.”
The PVA dance program is definitely a one-of-a-kind program you won't find anywhere else.
I got to learn the history behind many of these genres that put everything into perspective and gave me a better appreciation towards this beautiful art. Throughout my 3 years at Central Memorial I made many lifelong friendships and met many students that were passionate about the same things as me! Especially in my PVA dance classes, I truly felt a sense of belonging, an encouraging and positive atmosphere that truly helped me not only learn dance but also learn life lessons as well.