La Caravan Dance Theatre has a signature presence that blends traditional with contemporary dance to create an innovative international dance language combined with professional artists from disciplines such as voice, music, design, sculpture, architecture, to yield dramatic and stirring dancing making it one of Calgary’s most unique dance companies.
Under the artistic direction of Maya Lewandowsky since 2003, La Caravan has thrilled audiences across western Canada with electric, startling, and inherently original dance works of immense theatrical presence. At the heart of La Caravan’s uniqueness is the company’s vision to create a platform that expands perceptions and deepens emotional response for the performers and spectators alike through dramatic, provocative dance productions.
Born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Nicole started her formal dance training at Tri City Dance Centre, under the direction of Shannon Stewardson, and was a graduate of their professional training program in 2003. While living in the lower mainland, Nicole was a member of the Royal City Youth Ballet Company and attended summer training programs at The Arts Umbrella School, The Goh Ballet and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre.
In 2003, Nicole moved to Calgary, Alberta, to study dance at the University of Calgary. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance (ballet) and also Bachelor of Arts graduate diploma from The School of Alberta Ballet. While living in Calgary, Nicole has been a performer with the La Caravan Dance Theatre Company, under the direction of Maya Lewandowsky, since 2006; she has also been performing with the Corps Bara Dance Theatre Project Company, directed by Chantal Gandar, since 2009. Nicole’s training has also enabled her to participate in the professional training division with W&M Physical Theatre, run by Melissa Monteros & Wojciech Mochniej. Most recently, Nicole has joined with MixOlogy DanceMine, directed by Jill Henis Gnoato and is excited to be in her first season with this company.
Nicole’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: The Corridor, Comme “Barbare”, Contrast, A Place to Begin, The Queen the Bear and the Bumblebee, First Thursday Taster, La Soirée – 2011, 2012, Movement in Politics, the Sweet City Opening Celebrations, and The Dybbuk.
Megan Gole originally a Prairie girl has been teaching, dancing and performing within the Calgary dance community for the past 9 years. She has had the opportunity to travel, take class and perform in Poland, Finland, Toronto and Montreal. While in Montreal she took professional dance class with Dana Gingras, Angelique Wilkie, Sylvain Lafortune, Ginelle Gangon, Marc Boivin, Darryl Tracy, Benoit Lachambre, Anne Thierbult, and Norman Marcy and received her training in GYROKINESIS® and Gyrotonic® with Pascale Leonard. Megan received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance at the University of Calgary in 2005 and completed her second year of her Masters in Fine Arts. Visit her website for more info on Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis.
Megan’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: A Place to Begin, The Queen the Bear and the Bumblebee, First Thursday Taster, La Soirée – 2011, 2012, Movement in Politics, the Sweet City Opening Celebrations and The Dybbuk.
Erin Lequereux is an emerging, independent dance artist based out of Calgary. In 2010, Erin graduated from the University of Calgary Contemporary Dance Program, with a ballet specialization and an emphasis in choreography and performance. Erin went on to complete her Associate Cecchetti Teacher Training at The School of Alberta Ballet. She then traveled to New York to participate in the nine-month Jose Limon Professional Training Program to expand her knowledge of contemporary and modern dance. She has worked with Calgary based dance artists Davida Monk, Melissa Monteros, Melanie Kloetzel, Maya Lewandowsky and Wojciech Mochniej as well as New York based dance artist Kathryn Alter.
Erin’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: Movement in Politics, Sweet City Opening Celebrations, La Soirée – 2012 and The Dybbuk.
Erin is an emerging professional dance artist from and residing in Calgary, Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Calgary with a major in International Relations and a minor in Dance. In 2007/2008, Erin spent the year training at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City under the direction of Denise Jefferson. She attended the summer intensive program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in 2008 and has received support from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to participate in workshops at the ImPulsTanz International Dance Festival in Vienna (2010) and the Gaga Intensive with the Batsheva Company in New York (2011). Erin has had the opportunity to work with Davida Monk as an apprentice with her company “M-body” and is currently dancing with Corps Bara Dance Theatre. Erin was accepted into the 29th Annual Alberta Dance Festival as a choreographer and continues to present her work throughout the city.
Erin’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: Movement in Politics, La Soirée – 2012 and The Dybbuk.
Elan has been involved in theatre for over 20 years. Currently she is a company member with Theatre Encounter and has performed in their productions of The Glass Menagerie, Caligula, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Death and Devil. She is also an ensemble member with Maple Salsa Theatre having performed in The Dali Hours, Macula, Neruda Nude and The Lorca Trilogy. She is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s Drama Program, has attended the Canadian National Voice Intensive and trained with Massachusetts’ Double Edge Theatre. Elan also turns her talents to directing, producing, publicity and administration.
Elan’s credit with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: La Soirée – 2012 and The Dybbuk.
Eily Aurora – Harpist
Eily is an emerging independent Calgary musician. She has been playing the harp for six years now, with a focus on improvisational composition. She also sings and is contributing other instruments like the Crystal Bowls to La Caravan’s productions. A few events Eily has played for are the Calgary Planetary Healing Mandala, Uend Poverty’s One Yoga in the Park, and Big Beat Calgary. Eily is currently studying Sonica Soundwork with Gary Diggins from Toronto.
Eily has eleven years in figure skating, with high achievements in Ice Dance and Artistic, and five years of performing, acting and directing plays, with focus in the powerful medium of Forum Theatre, a highly interactive form of community theatre.
From 2007-2011 Eily spent four years at Mount Royal University in a Bachelor of Science Degree, and was the Students’ Association’s Outstanding Student of the Year in 2009. Find out more on her website.
Eily’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: La Soirée – 2012
Heidi Pittman – Violinist
Heidi Pittman has been playing violin for as long as she can remember. Her ear for music was trained at an early age through the Suzuki Violin Method. She studied music in her hometown of Lethbirdge, Alberta and completed her grade 10 through The Royal Conservatory at the end of high-school. During her time in Lethbridge she played with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory Orchestra and entered annually in the Kiwanis Music Festival. She also explored professional work at weddings and the like, and performed often with Lethbridge’s “Coulee Fiddlers”.
Alongside her musical training Heidi has always had a love for dance as well. In 2007 she began dancing with Calgary’s Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and enjoyed travelling with the group and gaining performance experience. During her time with Tryzub she worked as a violin instructor which has connected her with the music community in Calgary. Heidi currently works as an instructor at The Fitness Table in Calgary, is attending business school at The University of Lethbridge’s Calgary Campus, and is pleased to be focusing her artistic work on La Caravan’s “Dybbuk”.
Heidi’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: La Soirée – 2012
Dorothy Bishop – Cellist
Dorothy is originally from Buffalo NY. She has degrees from Boston (mathematics), Germany (music), and Calgary (holistic therapy, Reiki Master). She studied cello with Madelaine Foley, Ben Zander, and Antonio Janigro, and chamber music with members of the Budapest, Julliard, annd Vegh Quartets. She has played in recitals on radio and television throughout the US, Canada and western Europe. Her orchestral career includes five years in the Calgary Philharmonic and CBC Strings, guest prinicpal cellist in BC, Saskatchewan and Germany, and tours in Europe and Japan. Recordings include an LP with pianist Delores Keahey, a string quartet CD “Allegra: Baroque n’ Beatles n’ Blues,” a solo cello CD “Cello Dreams,” as well as contributions to the recordings of artists including Cathy Miller, Barton Wallace, Crystal Plamondon and Oscar Lopez. Her newly-released collaboration with Peter D’Amico is titled “Bishop King Castle.”
Kelly Schuler – Orchestral Bells
Kelly was born in Edmonton. By age 12, Kelly was well advanced in piano performance and won all the local competitions for her age category.
Kelly studied under international performers Lydia Pals in childhood, then in adulthood with Marina Mdivani at McGill University. She has worked on her Royal Conservatory ARCT with Linda Kundert Stoll in Calgary and continues to progress on that repertoire.
Although trained as a classical pianist and teacher, Kelly has been thrilled to have a first experience of this kind, involving collective performance creation through improvisation, working with Maya Lewandowsky and Steven Gellman, as well as the excellent cast of talented artists and performers.
Derek Demassi – Projection Design
Derek’s is an interactive media artist with a background in information science and biology. Derek’s work experiments with generative visual programming, interaction design, and motion capture. Using various design methodologies, mediums or genres, he is continually researching and developing boundary pushing multimedia systems. Derek seeks opportunities to bridge the gap between Science and Art.
Derek’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: La Soirée – 2011, 2012 and Movement in Politics.
Steven Gellman – Composer
Steven Gellman has an extraordinary history, which is difficult to put into a short bio. At the age of 16 he appeared as a soloist with the CBC symphony Orchestra. He was the first Canadian winner of the International BMI award. He studied at the Julliard School in New York, with Vincent Persichetti and Luciano Berio, and at the Paris Conservatoire with Olivier Messiaen were he was awarded the Premier Prix. He won the UNESCO prize for ‘the best work by a composer under the age of 25’. Gellman has been teaching composition and theory at the University of Ottawa. He composed several pieces for piano including Poeme, for Angela Hewitt, Wind Music, commissioned by the Canadian Brass; Dialogue for hhorn solo; and Dialogue II for flute and piano.
Gellman received a commission from the French Government to compose a work for the Festival de Besancon, France in honour of Oliver Messiaen’s 70th Birthday. The result, Deux Tapisseries for 15 musicians, conducted by Marius Constant; it was given a repeat performance one month later in Paris.
Gellman’s expertise in the area of orchestral music triggered a commission from the Toronto Symphony to compose Awakening. In 1986, the Toronto Symphony unveiled another newly commissioned Gellman opus, Universe Symphony. There was a performance later that year at Expo 86 in Vancouver. Further performances followed, at the Festival de Lanaudiere with the Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal and in Ottawa with the Ottawa Symphony. Universe Symphony brought further international recognition with Steve Gellman being name Canadian Composer of the Year in 1987. Gellman has composed a wide variety of works including Love’s Garden, Canticles of Saint Francis, Piano Concerto; Burnt Offerings for String Orchestra; Musica Eterna, Red Shoes, Chiaroscus, Album for Piano; Sonata for Cello and Piano, Jaya Overture and Fanfare for the New Millennium, among others.
Anni Kuhn – Costume Designer
Anni has had a love for fabric and textiles as long as she can remember. She has surrounded herself with the visual arts throughout her life, disciplining herself in the technical aspects of sewing and fabric design. In 2003 she attended pattern drafting and corset design workshops at the Kootneay School of the Arts, under the guidance of Angeika Werth, a highly skilled fabric artist.
In 2006, Anni designed the theatrical costumes for La Caravan Dance Theatre, for ‘Contrast,’ which involved eight dancers. Currently Anni continues to be the head costume designer for La Caravan’s productions, and operates Conscious Alterations Accessory and Costume Design, based in Calgary. She ships accessories to people all over the world online. You can see her constantly evolving collection on her website.
She finds inspiration in nature, especially in the abundant open space of the Rocky Mountains and prairies. The patterns and cycles in nature inform much of her design processes, and also brings insight to her self discovery.
Her visualization process comes alive when she is able to bring focus to movement, through the medium of dance, which she uses as a form of release and healing. She enjoys free form movement, exploring repetitions, patterns, and the joyfulness of letting go. All of these energies combine and come forth in her wearable creations.
Jennie Vallis – Artistic Producer
Jennie Vallis is a new media artist/performance designer and is excited to join La Caravan Dance Theatre in the role of Artistic Producer. A BFA graduate and Board of Governor’s recipient from the Alberta College of Art and Design, Jennie specializes in interactive installations/performances with a special interest in dancer integration. Jennie has received commissions by numerous arts and music festivals across North America to produce immersive interactive stage designs/installations and her work has been exhibited internationally. With experience in sound and video production, projection, animation and interactive programming, Jennie has a wide range of technical skills and creative tools to bring to the stage with La Caravan Dance Theatre.
Andrew Bathory – Stage Manager
Andrew is a multi-disciplinary artist currently living, studying and working in Montréal who is so excited to be back in Calgary to work with a brave new company! He has a strong background in theatre, dance, music, performance and yoga, allowing him to draw upon his knowledge of the body, breath, and voice within his practice. He is interested in engaging the observer in deeply resonant experiences that may engage the mind, body, and spirit (or any combination therein) through the use of sound, image and movement. His work as a performer has taken him around the country from several pieces with Ecce Homo Theatre in Toronto, the development of his first solo show ‘Pieces of my Mother’ at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre which lead him to work with One Yellow Rabbit and their Summer Lab Intensive where he created his second solo piece ‘Dedovshina’. More recent performance highlights include Theatre Direct on F.I.V.E for which he was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award. Andrew is currently studying Intermedia Arts at Concordia University in Montréal where he hopes to explore and engage in a deeper understanding of the use of technology to engage the human spirit in his work.
Kalyna Conrad – Lighting Director
Kalyna has been a lighting designer and technician in Ontario and Alberta for the last 15 years, winning her first design award at age 16 in a high school drama competition. Over the course of her career she has had a hand in lighting everything from corporate events and nightclubs to opera, dance, theatre, musicals and live music. In the early 2000′s she earned a BFA Hon in lighting and set design from York University in Toronto before continuing her studies at the Banff Centre for two years and finally settling in Calgary. She is a recurring designer with the Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists Program and resident lighting designer for Anchor|Red Theatre. Always happy to share her knowledge and passion, she spends most of her summers mentoring young lighting technicians at the Banff Centre and her winters working for various companies and doing what she can to provide work and learning opportunities to young technicians.
Her spare time is divided between knitting, writing fantasy and spending quality time with her husband Eric and their four cats. If you would like to see a full list of her credits and photos of her work, please visit her website.
Marc Sackman – Sound Designer
Marc Sackman has been experimenting with sound for over 15 years and has developed a comprehensive understanding of digital and analogue sound manipulation and recording technologies in both a live and studio setting. Marc is also a professional DJ and regularly competes in Calgary’s growing beat-battle scene where producers battle head to head to determine who has the best beats. Marc is currently attending Mount Royal University and completing a business degree in Sports and Recreation.
Marc’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: La Soirée – 2012
Evangelos Diavolitsis – President
Evangelos is a performance artist, actor, social venturist, entrepreneur, organizational leader and a certified 5Rhythms movement facilitator. Evangelos studied method Acting at the Equity Showcase Theatre in Toronto. He was trained in Voice, Movement and On-Camera Scene Study. He began working in commercial film in the mid – nineties. He was employed as an actor, location scout and buyer. In 2001 he collaborated and consulted the Gemini Award winning Director and Writer, Andy King. He studied in New York under acclaimed theatre director and international recording artist Gabrielle Roth. This is where he learned the technique of a movement practice known as the 5Rhythms. He practices daily and teaches workshops in North America and Asia. Evangelos later moved to Calgary and became the Executive Director of the non-profit organization – La Caravan Dance Theatre. He eventually became La Caravan’s Board President raising their profile internationally.
He has a degree in Urban Studies and Policy from the University of Toronto with a minor in Italian Cinema. In 2007 he trained with American Business Consultant Dani Johnson. He has a passion for integrating the arts with business and wishes to empower artists everywhere to be employed in the field that allows their passion to be expressed and their curiosity to be fulfilled.
Marla Orenstein – Vice President
Marla Orenstein is an epidemiologist who consults on population health issues for business, government and academia. in 2006 she co-founded Habitat Health Impact Consulting, a Calgary-based company that helps decision-makers and stakeholders to understand how social, economic and physical environments affect human health. Ms. Orenstein’s recent project management experience includes conducting projects on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy, the Alberta Cancer Bureau, Alaska’s North Slope Borough, Royal Dutch Shell, and the Departments of Health and Social Services of the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut.
Marla holds a B.A. from McGill University on the fascinating but relatively useless topic of linguistic change in English from the year 800 to 1300, and a much more practical M.Sc. in Epidemiology from the University of Edinburgh. Marla is also a long-time, heavy-duty, recreational dancer with a background in modern, ballet, jazz, tap, African, contemporary and other styles.
Marla’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: First Thursday Taster, and the Sweet City Opening Celebrations.
Georgia Hasapes – Secretary
Georgia is a passionate event planner with a background in marketing and communications. She has been organizing corporate and not-for-profit events since 2000. She grew up in Calgary and completed her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary in 1997. After graduating, she began specializing in marketing and quickly leveraged her experience in event management. Over her career, she has managed a portfolio of over 300 events including being involved with the organizing committee for the Greek Festival. She also helped expand the Mardi Gras in Marda Loop and created a frequent rewards card for the businesses in the area.
Having a passion for arts and culture, she later decided to study mosaic art in Chicago. She created her own studio and participates in art markets and teaches classes at various studios in her spare time.
Daniela Bujor – Treasurer
Daniela is a Payroll and HR Advisor with various experience in accounting and HR. She currently lives in Calgary with her husband and her 13 years old daughter. In 2004 she met La Caravan’s Artistic Director Maya Lewandowsky and was taken by her creative performances, while her daughter became a loyal student in her dance and voice classes.
Amy Lister – External Relations Director
Amy Lister is passionate about people. After working in health care, education and the energy industry, she now supports leaders, teams and organizations as a coach, leadership development consultant and facilitator across sectors. She supports her clients to achieve their highest potential and surpass personal and collective expectations by holding courageous conversations and building meaningful relationships. In her consulting, she uses a collaborative ‘coach’ approach and capacity-building model for partnering to actualize bold visions in a way that strategically leverages passion, honours resources and nurtures people. Amy works with leaders to strengthen their personal abilities to build trust, manage stress, foster authentic and courageous communication between team members and create meaning in their work during times of change and transition. Amy works with her clients to hold the right conversations at the right time in the ‘right’ ways. Amy strives to live life to the fullest so when she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her son and husband, being outdoors, doing community outreach work, singing, dancing and travelling.
Patricia Maybury – Ballet Mistress
Patricia born and raised in Montreal, was trained as a dancer at l’ecole superieure des Grands Ballet Canadien and performed with the company for many years as a student and a professional. She was last seen on stage in 1999 with the Alberta Ballet where she devoted 9 1/2 years of her passion for dance. As a lead dancer with the company, she had the opportunity to dance many great roles. The high light of her career was created on Marc LeClerc and her as Romeo and Juliet. Patricia has moved on into a different career and now owns the Fitness Table Calgary, a well established core strengthening, toning and stretching business as well as teaching for the professional division at the School of Alberta.
Serenella Argueta started dancing ballet at the age of three and completed her studies with Gisela Paz de la Rosa Ballet School located in Maracaibo, Venezuela. At the age of seventeen, she moved to Canada and took ballet and contemporary classes at Harbour Dance and Goh Ballet, in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the summer of 2010, Serenella decided to explore new classical ballet techniques and went to Spain to take a summer international program with the Cuban “Instituto Superior de Danza Alicia Alonso”. Later in the same year, she began studying Dance at the University of Calgary, and started pursuing a career as a choreographer at the Alberta Dance Festival 2011 where she choreographed and performed a piece entitled “Space Boundaries”. She has also performed in Dance Montage, Mainstage. She was a choreographer and performer for SPARK in the Fluid Festival 2011.
Serenella is currently in her third year of the Dance and Political Science Program at the University of Calgary and is developing a career as a choreographer.
Serenella’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: A Place to Begin and La Soirée – 2011.
Lindsey Dieter is an emerging dance artist born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. She holds a bachelor of Kinesiology with a major in Exercise Physiology and a minor in dance from the University of Calgary. In 2008, Lindsey trained and performed with Modus Operandi in Vancouver, BC under Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond. She has performed in the Alberta Dance Explosion’s Festival and has worked with Calgary based dance artists Wojciech Mochniej, Melissa Monteros and Davida Monk. In 2010, Lindsey performed in Kloetzel and Company’s The Alice Odyssey and is thrilled to be performing with La Caravan Dance Theater.
Lindsey’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: the Sweet City Opening Celebrations.
Dr. Angela E. Mulrooney has been dancing for 15 years, starting when she entered the University of Saskatchewan. Her training background has been eclectic including ballroom, latin, salsa, gymnastics, and aerial acrobatics. She is excited to return to the company after 3 years off from La Caravan to concentrate on growing her dental practice in Calgary. Movement and dentistry are truly the loves of her life!
Angela’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: Contrast, and the Sweet City Opening Celebrations.
Greg Debicki is a Calgary-based composer and new media artist. He studied at the Dartington College of Arts and Alberta College of Art and Design. Currently he’s working with La Caravan Dance Company, programming movement and sound responsive projections and generative music for their upcoming performance at Central United Church in Calgary.
Under the pseudonym Woulg, his music has been released on net labels based in Denmark and Germany with an upcoming release on Outlier Recordings from Brooklyn, NY. The music stems from errors and glitches (much like the name, which was originally a typo) and is based around the idea of “things falling apart in beautiful ways”.
Greg’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: First Thursday Taster – 2011 and La Soirée – 2011.