Get to know our faculty and staff ...

Crossings faculty members are committed to excellence in dance training, performance and mentorship.

  • KAREN SUDDS


    Owner/Director


    Raised in Banff, Karen had the privilege of both working and studying at The Banff Centre. This rich exposure to the fine arts fuelled Karen’s passion for art and led her to pursue a career in dance. Karen began her training at the University of Calgary and continued her studies in both Singapore and Australia where she focused her attention on “Liturgical dance”.  Upon returning to Canada in 1990, Karen founded the Christian Dance Fellowship of Canada to network dancers and further develop dance as a faith-expressed art form. Recognizing the growing need for quality dance training, which embraced a spiritual foundation, Karen began Crossings Dance Ministries, Canada’s first dance training centre of its kind. To provide valuable performance opportunities for aspiring dancers, Karen founded Corps Bara Dance Theatre and remains on the Board of Directors.  In addition she is a Board member for Healthy Dancer Canada and a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science.  Karen holds her Pilates Mat Certification from Pilates Core Integration, her Pilates Method Alliance Certificate for Pilates for Youth and Level one of the Dance Teacher and Practitioner Training through Perfect Form Physiotherapy with Lisa Howell (2015).  She was awarded the 2011 International Award for Dance Ministry from the International Christian Dance Fellowship for her outstanding contributions in the field of Dance and Faith.

     

    Karen is currently pursuing her Masters of Dance Science at Wolverhampton University, UK, and actively involved in developing leading edge dance training and safe dance practice. 


    “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great

    because of their passion.” ~ Martha Graham


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  • KATIE BAXTER




    Office Administration



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  • AINSELY SUDDS

    MA DANCE PEDAGOGY


    jazz/modern

    CYDC Company Manager


    FROM CALGARY ALBERTA CANADA, AINSLEY HAS STUDIED DANCE FOR OVER 25 YEARS. SHE HOLDS A BA IN CONTEMPORARY DANCE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY, AS WELL AS MA DANCE TECHNIQUE PEDAGOGY FROM MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY, LONDON ENGLAND. AINSLEY DANCE PROFESSIONALLY WITH CORPS BARA DANCE THEATRE FOR OVER 10 YEARS AND HELD THE POSITION OF ARTISTIC DIRECTOR FOR CORPS BARA DANCE THEATRE'S YOUTH COMPANY FROM 2008 - 2014. CURRENTLY, AINSLEY IS A CO-DIRECTOR AND DANCE INSTRUCTOR AT CROSSINGS DANCE (CALGARY); IS ON THE MODERN DANCE FACULTY AT THE SCHOOL OF ALBERTA BALLET; IS A MODERN DANCE INSTRUCTOR FOR THE DECIDEDLY JAZZ DANCEWORKS PRE-PROFESSIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM; AND GUEST TEACHES THROUGHOUT THE CALGARY DANCE COMMUNITY. AINSLEY HAS BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT DANCE FOUNDATION SINCE 2003 AS A PERFORMER, DIRECTOR, TEACHER AND VOLUNTEER FOR BOTH NEW YORK CITY AND TORONTO EVENTS. SHE IS THRILLED TO BRING HER PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE OF THIS EVENT BACK TO CANADA AS THE PRODUCER FOR THE FIRST EVER PROJECT DANCE CALGARY (JULY 2018).

    HAVING STUDIED THE CLASSIC MODERN DANCE TECHNIQUE, LIMÓN, EXTENSIVELY THROUGH COMPLETING THE LIMON INSTITUTE OF NEW YORK PROFESSIONAL STUDIES PROGRAM (2007-2008), AND BOTH LEVEL ONE AND ADVANCED LEVEL OF THE LIMON WORKSHOP FOR TEACHERS, AINSLEY’S TEACHING IS GREATLY INFLUENCED BY THE PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHIES OF THIS TECHNIQUE. MOST RECENTLY, AINSLEY ATTENDED THE PEGGY BAKER DANCE EDUCATORS SEMINAR IN TORONTO, CANADA (2017). 

    AS A STRONG BELIEVER OF THE POTENTIAL OF THE HUMAN BODY AS AN INSTRUMENT TO EXPRESS AND COMMUNICATE THROUGH MOVEMENT, AINSLEY APPROACHES DANCE HOLISTICALLY, BELIEVING THAT ALL ASPECTS OF DANCE TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE ARE INTERWOVEN PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES. 


     “WE ARE NEVER MORE TRULY AND PROFOUNDLY HUMAN THAN WHEN WE DANCE.” ~ JOSE LIMON



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  • SHEAHAN KEINICK

    F.I.S.T.D Ballet


    Ballet, jazz/modern


    SHEAHAN HAS BEEN SHARING HER LOVE OF DANCE AND TEACHING FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS. SHE GREW UP DANCING IN CALGARY AND TORONTO TRAINING IN BALLET, CONTEMPORARY, JAZZ, AFRICAN, CHARACTER, TAP, AND MUSICAL THEATRE. SHE HAS DANCED PROFESSIONALLY IN INDEPENDENT PROJECTS THROUGHOUT NORTH AMERICA AND THE U.K. AS WELL AS PERFORMING WITH NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES. SHE IS A GRADUATE OF LAINE THEATRE ARTS IN EPSOM, ENGLAND, WHERE SHE WAS INVITED TO TEACH DURING HER FINAL SEMESTER. SHEAHAN ALSO TRAINED AND PRACTICED AS A REGISTERED MASSAGE THERAPIST AND CERTIFIED DECONGESTIVE THERAPIST. THE KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED THROUGH HER EDUCATION EXPERIENCES ENRICHES THE UNDERSTANDING SHE COMMUNICATES TO HER STUDENTS. SHEAHAN HAS ACHIEVED HER FELLOWSHIP IN IMPERIAL BALLET, THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF TEACHER EDUCATION WITH THE IMPERIAL SOCIETY OF TEACHERS OF DANCING (ISTD), AND IS CURRENTLY WORKING TOWARDS HER LICENTIATE MODERN WITH THE ISTD. SHEAHAN'S FORTE LIES IN DRAWING OUT THE PASSION, ARTISTRY AND MAGIC IN HER STUDENTS. SHE IS MOST GRATEFUL FOR THE 17+ YEARS SHE HAS BEEN ABLE TO SHARE HER LOVE OF DANCE WITH HER STUDENTS AT CROSSINGS.


    “To be a truly great teacher, one must remain teachable.” ~ Sheahan Keinick

     

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  • SHIRLEY AGATE - PROUST

    F.I.S.T.D Ballet


    Ballet


    Mrs.Proust received her early training in England at the Arts Educational School and Graduated from the London College of Dance and Drama with Distinction. During this time she gained her Associate qualifications in Ballet, Modern, Tap, National and Ballroom. She has taught throughout the world spending time in New Zealand helping to develop the modern work that was newly introduced.

    She has continued to further her qualifications, holding Fellowship status and Examiner for Ballet, Modern, Tap and National for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

    She is the only Quadruple examiner in Canada, and very few hold this status. She travels extensively as an Examiner for these faculties visiting such places as Australia, South Africa, Portugal, Mexico, Italy and Malaysia to name a few, as well as North America. In the past she has taught for the University of Calgary, was Dance Mistress for Decidedly Jazz, ran the Imperial Baroque Dance Company and ran her own school, Calgary Imperial School of Ballet. Shirley worked with the School of Alberta Ballet for 25 years and was Head of the Regular Division. Now semi retired Shirley continues to examine internationally, visiting Japan and China in the last two years.

    Shirley is part of the faculty at Crossings Dance and has developed the ballet program at Starcast Studio in Okotoks.

    Shirley works with teachers working to upgrade their teaching status and coaches students for competition and examinations. This summer Mrs. Proust will be upgrading her examiner status to examine up to Fellowship level in the ISTD Ballet Faculty.


    "Her dream becomes reality, her passion is ignited, her future is bright. 

    Dance is about more then the steps, it is about life lessons." ~ Unknown

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  • KRISTEN EISLER

    A.D.I.S.T.D Ballet


    Ballet

    CYDC Director


    KRISTEN BEGAN DANCING AT CROSSINGS DANCE AT THE AGE OF 3, TRAINING IN BALLET, JAZZ AND MODERN. SHE ATTENDED THE BANFF CENTRE SUMMER DANCE TRAINING PROGRAM AND WAS ACCEPTED INTO THE OKANAGAN SUMMER DANCE INTENSIVE IN KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA. KRISTEN PARTICIPATED IN PROJECT DANCE IN NEW YORK CITY IN 2006 AND 2008, AS WELL AS IN TORONTO IN 2009. IN THE FALL OF 2010 KRISTEN SUCCESSFULLY ACCOMPLISHED HER R.A.D. ADVANCED 2 BALLET EXAMINATION. IN 2013 SHE GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY WITH A BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE MAJORING IN COMMUNICATIONS. SHE HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF CORPS BARA DANCE THEATRE IN BOTH THE YOUTH AND PROFESSIONAL COMPANIES, AND WAS REHEARSAL DIRECTOR FOR THE JUNIOR DIVISION OF CORPS BARA YOUTH DANCE THEATRE. KRISTEN HAS BEEN AWARDED BOTH HER ASSOCIATE AND ASSOCIATE DIPLOMA IN IMPERIAL BALLET FROM THE IMPERIAL SOCIETY OF TEACHERS AND DANCING AND LOOKS FORWARD TO ATTAINING HER LICENTIATE. CURRENTLY SHE IS THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE CROSSINGS YOUTH DANCE COMPANY AND ENJOYS TEACHING BALLET FULL TIME. 


    "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire." ~ Unknown

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  • serena sandford


    ballet


    After a fourteen year professional dance career, Serena is excited to pass on her knowledge, passion and experience to the next generation. A native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Serena began her training at the Edmonton School of Ballet. After graduating from Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division, Serena went on to dance with Banff Festival Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. She then spent nine seasons with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet where she became a soloist. Most recently, Serena spent three seasons with Alberta Ballet where she danced many principal and soloist roles. Her favourite roles include the title role in A Cinderella Story (Caniparoli), the Lilac Fairy in the Sleeping Beauty, the Dark Angel in Balanchine's Serenade, the lead women in Jean Grand-Maitre's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, the Lover in Balletlujah (Maitre), and the Black Couple in Kylian's Forgotten Land.


    "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, 

    but people will never forget

    how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou

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  • RAE - LEE BROWER

    BFA, TTP Dip (NBS), ISTD, RAD


    ballet & tiny toes


    Rae-Lee is a dance instructor who is devoted to aspiring young dance artists. Her goal is to create healthy and enthusiastic dancers who love art and will positively influence the world of dance.  Rae-Lee began her ballet and contemporary training at Crossings Dance Studio. She danced for six years in Corps Bara Dance Youth Company traveling around Alberta, Toronto and New York City.  In 2012, she began her training in contemporary dance at Simon Fraser University where she furthered her skills in modern dance and choreographic composition. Rae-Lee moved to Toronto in 2014 to learn from renowned faculty at Canada's National Ballet School's Teacher Training Program. During her training at NBS she obtained her teaching qualifications with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and the Royal Academy of Dance. In 2017, Rae-Lee graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Contemporary dance from Simon Fraser and her Teacher Training Diploma. 

    Rae-Lee is excited to be returning to Crossings to begin spreading her new knowledge she has gained while also learning from the teachers and students at Crossings and around the province. 

     

    " It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."

    ~ Albert Einstein

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  • Laura Vandezande


    ballet variations


    Laura was born and raised in Calgary and trained locally at Crossings Dance, International School of Ballet and completed her last year of training at the School of Alberta Ballet. Her training was influenced by the RAD syllabus and she completed her examinations as a recipient of the RAD Solo Seal Award. In 2010 she competed at the Geneé International Ballet competition in London, England. She has furthered her studies through summer intensives at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Boston Ballet and the Kirov Ballet in Washington DC.

     Laura is currently dancing professionally with Alberta Ballet and is going into her 4th season with the company. She is always striving to learn more as a dancer and most recently furthered her studies by attending the Banff Centre this past summer.


     

     

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  • LAURA BARCELO



    Modern/Jazz

    CYDC Rehearsal Director


    Laura Barcelo is a Calgary-based dancer, teacher and choreographer whose love of dance was nurtured at a young age through membership with Corps Bara Youth Dance Company and later, the Professional Company. With a Distinguished Artist Award, Laura earned her BA in Psychology with minors in Dance, Neuroscience and Social Witness Ministry from Hope College, Michigan. Studying under professionals associated with the Ailey School, LINES training program, Joffrey Ballet, Lehrer Dance, Nikolais/Louis, Pilobolus, and Giordano Dance Chicago opened her eyes to the vast world of dance. Pursuing her everlasting love of learning, Laura’s intensive training includes Yin Yue Dance Company, MADBOOTS, GagaDancers, Kidd Pivot, Steps on Broadway and Peridance Capezio Center, Hubbard Street, Transformation Danse, Hofesh Shechter, and J-SIK Movements.

     Laura holds certifications in the Modern Theatre Syllabus with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and Module 1 Acrobatic Arts. In addition to teaching Modern/Jazz and Rehearsal Directing for Crossings Youth Dance Company, Laura teaches Modern at the School of Alberta Ballet and AcroDance at Alberta Dance Academy. 

     Laura maintains her freelance performance career in Calgary. Most notably are her seasons with Corps Bara Dance Theatre (2013-2017), three Annual Alberta Dance Festivals (2015, 2016, 2017), the Ignite! Festival of Emerging Artists (2016) and “Fall of the Leaf” Premiere by J-SIK Movements & Purposely Soulful (2017). 

    Being creative through dance reminds her that everyone was created in God’s image…because, “In the beginning, God created..”


     "You are unique...and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost." ~ Marty Graham  

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  • kyla hiebert


    jazz/modern, adult


    Ms. Hiebert was born and raised in beautiful British Columbia. At an early age, she had the

    opportunity to work with such choreographers as David Earle, Joe Laughlin and Crystal Pite. Ms. 

    Hiebert moved to Winnipeg to attend the Senior Professional Program of the School of Contemporary Dancers, where she earned her BA (Hon) through the affiliation with the University of Winnipeg.  Ms. Hiebert has performed with the Bill Evans Dance Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico,  Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, and NAfro Dance Productions in Winnipeg, touring throughout Manitoba, Ontario and New Mexico. More recently, Ms. Hiebert was a Company Member with Corps Bara’s Project Company for 2 years, as well as Company Manager and Rehearsal Director. Ms. Hiebert has choreographed for both Corps Bara’s Youth Company and Project Company, Crossings Youth Dance Company, and the Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People. When not in the studio, she is chasing after her 2 year old son and preparing for baby #2 later this Fall! Ms. Hiebert is very excited to be rejoining the Crossings team this year to teach the Adult Jazz Fusion class! 


     "To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking." ~ Agnes de Mille

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  • JOHI duguid


    Tap


    Johi grew up dancing in Calgary and enjoyed a variety of amazing opportunities! She trained in all disciplines of dance and successfully completed RAD Ballet exams up to the Advanced level.  She was very involved in the competitive stream of dance which involved travelling

    Western Canada as well as the USA. Johi also had the pleasure of being involved in a variety of

    Musicals including small scale featurettes of “Moulin Rouge”, “Hairspray” and “Wicked” and full

    stage productions of “Good News!”, “Guys & Dolls” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” while working

    closely with Canadian talent such as Stan Lesk and Kevin Aichele. Johi began her teaching career at 20 years old and soon found a home at Crossings. Here she has grown and been inspired by the surrounding faculty to continue her dance education. Johi successfully completed her I.S.T.D Intermediate Tap exam in the Fall of 2016 followed by her Advanced 1 in the Spring of 2017. 

    She is currently working towards completing the Associate exam in the near future and

    desires to continue her pursuit of knowledge and excellence beyond that! 


    "The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style." ~ Fred Astaire

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  • jason GALEOS

    hip hop


    Born in Norway, Jason Owin F. Galeos is a dance artist based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His dance studies are based on Hip Hop, House, Funk Styles and Contemporary Dance. He has danced for Tara Wilson, Saxon Fraser, Melissa Monteros, Deanne Walsh, Wojciech Mochniej, Michele Moss, Pamela Tzeng, Zahra Shahab and Sylvie Moquin. For over 10 years, he's been recognized in the community for his unique movement and cross genre approach. Since 2007, he has performed and created numerous works such as "Battlezone2k7","0310", “Strangers Again” and "Attitude Reflects Leadership". In 2012, He earned his BA at the University of Calgary, Majoring in Contemporary Dance. Later that year, Galeos was hired to work with Dancing Monkey Laboratories for the project "Satellites" and then auditioned for short term projects with 49th Parallel Dance Company & Corps Bara Dance Theatre/Fire Exit Theatre. In 2015, Galeos started J-SIK Movements: the spontaneity and immersion in hip-hop culture and the choreographic maturity of contemporary dance, where he evolved as a professional dancer. He runs workshops related to the work and has presented pieces such as "Der Schuh-Shoe-La Chaussure", "Münzwurf. Münze Tropfen", and "BZed Series: phase 4". In 2017, Galeos co-produce his very first production in collaboration with Purposely SoulFul “Fall of the Leaf | Høsten Bladet”. Galeos currently resides in Calgary, teaching at Decidedly Jazz Dance Centre, Free Spirit Dance and Crossings Dance.   

     

    "Attitude is the difference between ordeal and an adventure." ~ C.S. Lewis

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  • Leah litwack


    acro


    FOLLOWING HER LIFELONG PASSION FOR PERFORMING, 17-YEAR-OLD LEAH AMBITIOUSLY MOVED TO VANCOUVER TO PURSUE A CAREER IN DANCE. ALTHOUGH IT WAS CHALLENGING TO BE IN A NEW CITY BY HERSELF, SHE SOON FOUND HER PLACE IN THE VANCOUVER DANCE SCENE. SHE BEGAN WORKING FOR ARTISTS SUCH AS HEY OCEAN!, MICHAEL BUBLÉ, AND MARIANA’S TRENCH, AND WAS CAST AS A DANCER IN THE FEATURE FILM, PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS; THE LIGHTENING THIEF. SHORTLY AFTER, LEAH WAS INTRODUCED TO THE WORLD OF ARTISTIC CIRCUS BY THE LEGENDARY OWNERS OF THE UNDERGROUND CIRCUS. SHE PERFORMED ON NUMEROUS AERIAL APPARATUS, AND IN SEVERAL GROUND-BASED ACTS FOR FOUR YEARS, ENTERTAINING CROWDS THROUGHOUT NORTH AMERICA AT CORPORATE EVENTS, AWARDS CEREMONIES, AND GALAS. SHE HAS SINCE EXPANDED HER REALM OF PHYSICAL KNOWLEDGE TO INCLUDE THREE CERTIFICATIONS IN ACROBATICS WHICH GIVES HER THE GROUND WORK TO BUILD SUCCESSFUL, EXCITING CLASSES FOR HER STUDENTS. WITH THE BULK OF HER PERFORMING CAREER BEHIND HER, SHE IS HAPPY TO BE STARTING THE NEXT CHAPTER OF HER LIFE INSPIRING YOUNG STUDENTS IN CALGARY.


    "Hard work puts you in a place where good luck can find you." ~ Anonymous

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  • Sandro rajic


    strength & conditioning



    Sandro Rajic’s enthusiasm for soccer began at an early age however, the focus of his interest

    began to crystalize in his teens. While others were focusing primarily on competition, Sandro was analyzing the traits and qualities that set ‘great’ players apart from ‘average’ players. His dedication to understanding movement and recognizing the most efficient way of moving is pivotal in his coaching style. His drive to deepen his knowledge in sport science and improve his capabilities as a practitioner and sport scientist influenced Sandro’s decision to pursue his MSc in Strength and Conditioning at St.Mary’s University in England. Since 2012 Sandro has held the position of Senior Strength and Conditioning Coach at The Athlete Factory in Calgary Alberta, where he coaches a broad spectrum of elite athletes. With a particular interest in dance performance and injury prevention, Sandro works with professional, pre-professional and aspiring young dancers to improve their movement mechanics and maximize their performance. To expand his knowledge of integrating strength and conditioning principles into the dance studio, Sandro has

    attended Dance Science seminars and workshops both locally and internationally. He is

    actively involved in dance research, working collaboratively with dance teachers, medical

    practitioners and dance scientists to enhance the health, training and performance of dancers. 


    "Dancers are athletes of God." ~ Albert Einstein  

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