MAYA LEWANDOWSKY | ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Maya Lewandowsky is the artistic director and founder of La Caravan Dance Theatre as well as the creator of the "Free Your Natural Voice" Method. For over 30 years, Maya’s distinction as a singer, dancer and choreographer has seen her study and perform with international teachers, acclaimed choreographers and companies (such as Lar Lubovitch, Gigi Caciuleanu, Luciano Cannito, Inbal Pinto and the Bat-Dor Dance Company, where she eventually became a soloist). She tours professionally in Europe, North America and Asia.
She holds an advanced diploma from the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and spent 5 years studying classical opera singing and contemporary vocal techniques at the University of Tel-Aviv in Israel. Maya moved to Canada in 2002, where she created La Caravan Dance Theatre and continues her in-depth exploration of dance, voice, theatre, meditation, and interactive media. Maya has worked for the School of Alberta Ballet, the University of Calgary Dance Faculty and the Epcor Centre for the Arts. She has also received numerous awards and scholarships in dance and theatre in Israel and Canada.
Maya's choreography for La Caravan includes: Experiment on the Adagio, Comme Barbare, Potence, Place to Begin, The Corridor, Contrast, The Queen the Bear and the Bumblebee, The SweetCity Opening Celebration, Interaction (part of ContainR and the Fluid Festival), The Dybbuk, and her latest creation, "it is what it is (Fihi Ma Fihi)", her second Trans-Disciplinary performing art, a new genre of artistic expression.
Balancing her scholarly studies and professional performance career, she has been working closely with meditation masters Doug Duncan Sensei and Catherine Pawasarat since 2007. Maya is a key contributor, along with her partner Evangelos Diavolitsis, at the "Dharma Hub" - a vibrant community of practicing urban meditators offering Meditation & Contemporary Dharma Classes.
Some personal words from Maya LEWANDOWSKY
"The foundation of La Caravan is about collaboration with other talented artists. It is about exploring together and developing a new genre of integrated, trans-disciplinary performing art delivered to you, the audience, in the most powerful and potent experiential way possible.
Through this work we embody our gifts, talents and passion for the creative process and as a result deepen our spiritual understanding of the unknown.
My deepest explorations have revealed that all the identity associated with being a professional performer, an actress or a woman is simply illusory; a construct of mind. In our productions you are encouraged to explore your illusions in a dynamic and powerful way.
My approach to performing and mentoring seeks to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, darkness into hope, uncertainty into vision, greed into generosity, hatred into love and confusion into wisdom through a contemporary and accessible interpretation of ancient wisdom"
SUZANNE DEMERS | GENERAL MANAGER
Suzanne is a dancer, teacher, artist and non-profit professional who has worked in the dance community in Calgary since she was 16 years old. Training as a dancer herself, Suzanne has a good understanding of the Calgary Arts community and is continuously inspired by how the culture in Calgary is evolving.
In addition to dance, Suzanne has a degree in non-profit management from Mount Royal University and has a strong background in organizational development, strategic planning, fund development and event planning. Suzanne is looking forward to continuing her work with La Caravan Dance Theatre and is excited for what is to come.
Dorothy Bishop | Performer
Dorothy, from Buffalo, NY, has been a mathematician, musician, holistic therapist, and Reiki Master. Musical mentors include Madeleine Foley and Ben Zander (cello), members of the Budapest, Juilliard, and Vegh Quartets, as well as Janigro, Tortelier, and Rostropovich (masterclasses). She played in the Calgary Philharmonic and CBC Strings, was guest principal cellist for orchestras in BC, Saskatchewan and Germany, toured Europe and Japan, gave recitals on radio and television in North America and Europe, and recorded an LP with pianist Delores Keahey, a string quartet CD with Allegra, a solo cello CD, and many crossover collaborative recordings. Visit cellosongs.4t.com to hear some of her work.
Ruth Levin | Performer
Ruth Naomi Levin holds an MFA in Dance from York University and is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. She has studied, performed and presented her own work across the country, working with many exceptional artists and teachers. She is privileged to be a member of the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation’s Legacy Project, being mentored by iconic dance artist Margie Gillis. She has been a student of a spiritual path, with teachers of Planet Dharma & Clear Sky for ten years, passionately integrating this into her dancing. She is thrilled to be on this journey with La Caravan.
Kyra Newton | Performer
Kyra holds a BFA in contemporary dance and sociology from Simon Fraser University. She has danced for Wen Wei, Judith Garay, and Desiree Dunbar in Vancouver, BC. In 2014, Kyra performed with the Con8 dance collective. Since moving to Calgary Kyra has danced in Montage 2015 and currently teaches at Diversity Dance studio. Kyra is interested in performance art, choreography, and experimenting with visual art. She has also choreographed a solo and group pieces for local shows in both Vancouver and Calgary. She is very excited to be performing with La Caravan for the spectacular IT IS WHAT IT IS (Fihi Ma Fihi).
Eric Smith | Performer & Composer
Experienced musician, recording artist, performer, composer and teacher, Eric discovered his deep passion for music in 2005 when he first began playing the bass guitar. Since then he has played in several different original bands playing styles ranging from progressive rock and metal to folk, psychedelic rock infused with elements of jazz to ambient, world, experimental, electronic, improvisational collaborations. He currently writes, records and produces his own music under the artist name “Rak” and also plays in a duo project with his long time friend and collaborator Travis Bayley under the name “Rak and Targus”. He has trained and performed with La Caravan under the tutelage of Maya Lewadowsky since 2013.
Jessica Berrera | Assistant Director, Performer
Jessica is a dedicated multi-disciplinary artist with a passion for performance, direction, writing, and teaching. Exploring the complexities and subtleties of human relationships through storytelling remains at the forefront of her work. She has previously worked with Toronto’s Cirque Sublime, Firefly Theatre, clown and buffon performance, Mump and Smoot’s Mike Kennard and John Turner, Springboard’s Fluid Fest and Lawn Dances, Calgary’s OYR High Performance Rodeo, Green Fools Theatre, Cirque du Soleil’s touring show, Quidam. She is currently touring A Side of Dreams, a collaborative multi-disciplinary theatre piece with Metis artist Jani Lauzon.
Travis Bayley | Performer
Travis Bayley is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and artistic performer from Calgary, Canada. At the age of nine, Travis started taking piano lessons through the Royal Conservatory of Music, eventually receiving his grade nine certificate. He later went on to sing and play guitar, composing and performing songs in several bands. Currently Travis continues his expansive, ambitious approach to the creative arts through work with his band Rak and Targus and through training and performing as a dancer and performer with La Caravan Dance Theatre.
Kalyna Conrad | Lighting Director
After fleeing west from Toronto to Banff, Kalyna moved to Calgary where she has been based for the last nine years. She works as a freelance lighting professional on projects in theatre, dance, film, music, and opera. Selected past design credits include: The Dybbuk (La Caravan Dance) Legoland(Urban Curvz), Becky’s New Car, Mump and Smoot in Anything with Knooma (ATP), Badger, God’s Man In Texas, Halo, Here Breaks the Heart, Sarah and the Dinosaur, Shadowlands (Fire Exit Theatre), Portrait of Manon, Ariodante, Cosi Fan Tutte, The Enchanted Child (Calgary Opera Emerging Artists). She would like to say a special thank you to Eric for his endless love and support.
Derek Demassi | Projection Design
Derek Demassi is an interactive media artist with a background in information science and biology. Derek seeks opportunities to bridge the gap between science and art. His 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’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: La Soirée – 2011 and 2012, Movement in Politics, The Dybbuk, The Dybbuk at the Edmonton Fringe Festival and now IT IS WHAT IT IS.
Anni Kuhn | Costume Design
Anni has had a love for designing since she was eight years old. Working as La Caravan’s costume designer and creator since 2006, it is one of her absolute joys to create costumes for the stage. She finds ideas through exploring repetitions and patterns in nature, movement, and body awareness. She has studied with a master in classical corset making, but is otherwise self trained. annikuhn.ca
Jennie Vallis | Artistic Producer & Set Design
Jennie’s past collaborations with La Caravan include The Dybbuk (2013), cSpace (2014), Fluid Festival (2012). After graduating from the Media Arts BFA program at ACAD, Jennie co-founded and is the creative director of Calgary-based production studio Studio Cartel. Collectively the Cartel artists design and build a portfolio of commissioned, public and collaborative artworks including kinetic sculptures, projection-mapped stage designs, interactive installations, and large-scale sculptural works. Studio Cartel’s projects and installations have been featured on Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, CBC Radio, CJSW & Calgary Herald and have been exhibited at international arts/music festivals including Burning Man, Wreck City, Beakerhead and High Performance Rodeo. studiocartel.ca | bigkittycrew.com
Lia Pas | Music composition & Libretto
Lia Pas is a Canadian multidisciplinary creator-performer who has worked in the fields of music, writing and performance. Born in Western Canada, Lia earned a BFA in music from York University and a Masters of Arts in Devised Theatre from Dartington College of Arts in Devon, UK. Lia currently lives in Saskatoon where she works as an independent creative artist and collaborator. She is an accomplished musician (oboe, piano), composer and vocalist. She has substantial achievements in contemporary, improvisational and classical forms including the broadcast of her compositions on CBC and BBC Radios. She has also written and published poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and scripts. Her literary work has also been broadcast on CBC radio and widely published in Canadian literary periodicals. liapas.com
Nicole Bruce | Performer
Nicole was born and raised in Rossland, British Columbia. Nicole equipped her traditional art talents with digital skills when she received a Diploma in Multimedia Production and Design at Selkirk College in Nelson B.C. Dance remained strong in her life through working with progressive groups and performing at various, popular Festivals. She also taught Hip Hop dance at Steps Dance Centre in Trail B.C. where she learned the style as a teenager growing up. Now living in Calgary, she is moving into her third year at Alberta College of Art and Design for a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Graphic Design.
Fiona Griffiths | Artistic Consultant
Fiona holds a BFA in modern dance and choreography, a MFA in multi-media performing arts and creative process and an MA in training and coaching actors from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. She also studied at Feldenkrais, Alexander, and Kinetic Awareness to clown, bouffon, Theatre of the Oppressed, and Suzuki and Grotowski work. She has performed extensively in dance, theatre, clown and video and toured her highly acclaimed dance/theatre shows nationally and internationally. Fiona studied and taught with Richard Pochinko and Linda Putnam for many years. She was founder and director of Atelier Pochinko at the Theatre Resource Centre for ten years later becoming the Artistic Director. She teaches and coaches actors, dancers and clowns in movement, acting and source work.
Katy Whitt | Photography
Katy Whitt has had the honour of working with La Caravan for over five years, shooting productions and performances in a variety of creative settings. Inspired by movement and narrative, Katy works closely with the artists to develop a strong understanding of each piece in order to create images that resonate with both the performers and the audience. Katy graduated with a Bachelor of Design in Photography from the Alberta College of Art and Design, and this year is furthering her studies of the art form through a series of residencies at the Banff Centre. katywhitt.com