cROSSINGS FACULTY & STAFF


Get to know our faculty and staff


We believe a solid dance education helps to develop well rounded and responsible citizens of our society. We employ qualified, accredited and professional dance educators who are committed to excellence in dance training, performance and mentorship. We provide a healthy and well-balanced approach to technical dance training and integrate safe dance practice into our curriculum to enhance our students dance experience. 


  • KAREN SUDDS

    Msc DANCE science


    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, 


    With over 30 years of experience in both the pedagogical and artistic performance aspects of dance, Karen is recognized as an accomplished dance educator, founder, and director of Crossings Dance School, Director Emeritus of Corps Bara Dance Theatre, and advocate for the integration of dance science research and practice in the dance studio. 

    Karen holds an MSc in Dance Science from the University of Wolverhampton, her Level 1 C-I Training Certification, Pilates Core Integration Mat Certification, Pilates Method Alliance Certification for Programming Pilates for Youth, and Level 1 Dance Teacher and Practitioner Training with Perfect Form Physiotherapy.  Karen has been a presenter at the Performing Arts and Medicine Association (2017), International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (2018, 2019, 2020iconference), and Healthy Dancer Canada (2018).  In addition to pursing a passion for continual learning, Karen has been a guest lecturer at the University of Calgary (Dance Pedagogy and Dance Science) along with presenting her research as part of the Faculty of Kinesiology ‘Research Rounds’. Karen is the Co-Vice President of Healthy Dancer Canada and continues developing key partnerships with practitioners, researchers, and dance educators to create awareness and foster the growth of healthy dance practice within the local dance studio.


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

    because of their passion.” ~ Martha Graham


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  • AINSLEY SUDDS

    MA DANCE PEDAGOGY


    STUDIO DIRECTOR

    CYDC COMPANY MANAGER


    MODERN


    From Calgary, Canada, Ainsley holds an Masters of Dance Technique Pedagogy from Middlesex University, London England – in which her research focused on Ballet & Modern Dance Training for Adolescent Dancers. As well, Ainsley holds a BA in Contemporary Dance from the University of Calgary. 

     

    Ainsley danced with Corps Bara Dance Theatre for ten years and held the position of Artistic Director for Corps Bara Dance Theatre's Youth Company from 2008 - 2014. She is now on the Board of Directors for Corps Bara. Ainsley is both the Studio Director and a Dance Instructor at Crossings Dance, is on Faculty at the Alberta Ballet School, and guest teaches throughout the Calgary dance community. She is also the Event Producer for Project Dance Calgary and Volunteer Coordinator for Project Dance NYC. 

     

    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.  

     

    Ainsley is passionate about mentorship and 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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  • KAthryn HOOD


    BFA DANCE



    operations manageR


    tiny toes, jazz/modern, acro




    Kathryn has a zest for life and aspires to share the gift of movement with everyone! She is a passionate advocate of the great joy and fullness that dance can bring both for the individual and the community.

     

    Kathryn began her formal dance training in Edmonton, AB and completed her high school years in Calgary at Crossings Dance, completing exams in RAD ballet and ISTD Modern. She later obtained a BFA in Dance at Belhaven University in Jackson, MS where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and has been building on her foundations of pedagogy and child psychology since graduation. Kathryn is a certified Acro instructor with Acrobatic Arts (incl. AcroDance Preschool), and has completed certifications in Zumba and Barre Fitness.

     

    Kathryn is currently dancing professionally with Corps Bara Dance Theatre Calgary, and in recent years, has been privileged to also choreograph and perform as a freelance artist in Alberta. She has also trained and performed with various companies including Calgary Core Contemporaries, Ballet Bodies YYC, EnCorps Dance Collective, CIC Dance Theatre, Inlet Dance Theatre, Cleveland Dance Project, and Belhaven University’s Dance Team. Kathryn has experience teaching a variety of dance styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, Acro, and creative movement. She is thrilled to be teaching atCrossings Dance and anticipates another fantastic dance season!

     

    “I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.” - Maya Angelou

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  • KRISTEN ARCIAGA

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


    CYDC artistic Director


    BALLET


    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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  • LAURA BARCELO

    A.I.S.T.D. MODERN



    CYDC Rehearsal & assistant director


    modern/contemporary


    LAURA BARCELO IS A TEACHER AND CHOREOGRAPHER WHOSE LOVE OF DANCE WAS NURTURED AT A YOUNG AGE THROUGH 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. HER STUDIES WITH PROFESSIONALS FROM THE AILEY SCHOOL, LINES TRAINING PROGRAM, JOFFREY BALLET, AND MORE OPENED HER EYES TO THE VAST WORLD OF DANCE. IN FURTHER PURSUIT OF HER EVERLASTING LOVE OF LEARNING, LAURA’S INTENSIVE TRAINING INCLUDES YIN YUE DANCE COMPANY, GAGADANCERS, KIDD PIVOT, STEPS ON BROADWAY AND PERIDANCE CAPEZIO CENTER (NYC), HUBBARD STREET CHICAGO, TRANSFORMATION DANSE (MONTREAL), HOFESH SHECHTER (BANFF), AND J-SIK MOVEMENTS (CALGARY).

     

    HER FREELANCE PERFORMANCE CAREER HAS INCLUDED CORPS BARA DANCE THEATRE, ANNUAL ALBERTA DANCE FESTIVALS, THE IGNITE! FESTIVAL OF EMERGING ARTISTS,“FALL OF THE LEAF” PREMIERE BY J-SIK MOVEMENTS, AND SEVERAL OTHER PROJECTS AND COMMISSIONS. MOST RECENTLY LAURA CHOREOGRAPHED “DRAW NEAR”, AN EVENING LENGTH PRODUCTION FOR CROSSINGS YOUTH DANCE COMPANY. 

     

    LAURA IS CERTIFIED IN MODERN THEATRE WITH THE IMPERIAL SOCIETY OF TEACHERS OF DANCING (ISTD) AND MODULE 1 ACROBATIC ARTS. SHE CHOREOGRAPHS, TEACHES MODERN, JAZZ AND CONTEMPORARY AND DIRECTS REHEARSALS FOR CROSSINGS YOUTH DANCE COMPANY. 

     

     

     "YOU ARE UNIQUE...AND IF THAT IS NOT FULFILLED, THEN SOMETHING HAS BEEN LOST." ~ MARTHA GRAHAM

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  • RAE-LEE BROWER-HERBERT

    BFA DANCE, TTP Dip (NBS), ISTD, RAD rts


    ballet, MODERN/JAZZ & 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. WITH OVER TEN YEARS OF TEACHING EXPERIENCE, RAE-LEE CONSIDERS DANCE TEACHING HER PASSION. 


    RAE-LEE BEGAN HER BALLET AND CONTEMPORARY TRAINING IN ALBERTA AT CROSSINGS DANCE STUDIO. SHE DANCED FOR SIX YEARS IN CORPS BARA DANCE YOUTH COMPANY, TRAVELLING 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 BALLET TEACHER TRAINING DIPLOMA. 

    RAE-LEE IS HONOURED TO BE TEACHING AND LEARNING IN THE STUDIO THAT HELPED HER GROW AND DEVELOP INTO THE TEACHER AND LEADER SHE IS TODAY. RAE-LEE IS EXCITED TO BE WORKING WITH CROSSINGS STUDENTS AGAIN THIS YEAR AND CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HOW MUCH THEY LEARN AND GROW. 

     

     

    " IT IS THE SUPREME ART OF THE TEACHER TO AWAKEN JOY IN CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND KNOWLEDGE."

    ~ ALBERT EINSTEIN

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  • SHIRLEY AGATE-PROUST

    F.I.S.T.D. Ballet, MODERN, TAP, NATIONAL


    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 BALANCE Studio in Okotoks.

    Shirley works with teachers working to upgrade their teaching status and coaches students for competition and examinations. 


    MRS .PROUST WAS Awarded the ISTD International Theatre Award 2017 for all of her work and dedication to the ISTD.


    "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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  • HELEN COX

    ma dance


    BALLET



    Helen Cox M.A. is a choreographer, educator, entrepreneur and mentor. She has worked in the UK for the past 10 years teaching for companies including the Royal Ballet School, Royal Opera House, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, ISTD, Trinity Laban and Central School of Ballet. Originally from Calgary, Helen moved back home this year and is a new mum of twin girls. www.helencoxdance.com


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  • DEANNA WITWER

    BA DANCE


    MODERN/CONTEMPORARY


    deanna witwer is the artistic director of calgary-based CONTEMPORARY dance company Corps bara dance theatre. as a CHOREOGRAPHER, performer, writer and director she is COMMITTED to facilitating rich, formative EXPERIENCES through intentional engagement of the whole person in creation. 


    witwer holds a ba in dance from the university of calgary, collaborative with kinesiology and SPECIALIZING in PERFORMance and choreography. witwer spent two formative years training in brussels, belgium, where she had the opportunity to study extensively under david zambrano (FLYING low technique), peter jasko, sun xiao and dominique duszynski, among many otherd sfter ATTENDING impulstanz international, dance festival in vienna in 2011. 


    as a teacher, witwer's work draws heavily on zambrano's flying low technique and davida monk's PRINCIPLES of release and functional technique, focussing on a reciprocal relationship with the floor, harnessing power by releasing the joints and DIRECTING force through the body efficiently and DYNAMICALLY. 


    highlights of her career include producing and directing resonant soul, a szeries of ten dance mediattion films, choreorhaong and directing facing the light, an evening-length theatre performance, performing as a Corps bara company member for ten years and with company kloetzel&co for four, as well as presenting and PERFORMING work in New York city's and calgary's project dance, calgary's alberta dance festival and a commission to choreograph for the university of CALGARY dance major.


    “I praise the dance, for it frees people from the heaviness of matter and binds the isolated to community. I praise the dance, which demands everything: health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul." ~ St Augustine


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  • emily tonne


    tap & musical theatre


    Emily started dancing when she was 3 years old in Valleyview, AB. She moved to Red Deer in 2005 and started dancing competitively at Dance Traxx, and later Joy’s School of Dance in Innisfail, where she trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and musical theatre. She danced at various competitions and local events in Alberta, British Columbia and Anaheim, California.

    Emily successfully completed multiple RAD ballet and ADAPT tap and jazz exams before moving to Calgary in 2015 where she successfully completed her ISTD Intermediate exam in ballet, tap and modern.

     

    Emily has been involved in multiple full theatre productions through homeschool groups and in addition performed in numerous productions with Christian Youth Theatre in Red Deer. She has also taken many voice lessons and various theatre classes over the years. In spring 2019 she successfully completed her Grade 6 musical theatre exam through Trinity College London.

     

    Emily enjoyed dancing in CYDC for 3 years, and has also had the opportunity to perform onstage and take dance workshops at Disneyland and dance in the parade in Walt Disney World.

     

    In 2019 she joined and danced with the Tri-Tone Rhythm Ensemble under Tasha Lawson, where she had the opportunity to take classes with tap artists such as Dianne Walker, Dianne Montgomery, Heather Cornell and Acia Gray. The following year she completed Tasha Lawson's teacher training program.

     

    Emily took part in Crossing’s T.E.A.M teacher mentorship program as a teenager and has been teaching dance classes for the past 3.5 years. She loves sharing her passion and knowledge of dance with her students and is excited to keep learning and seeing how God may use her to glorify Him through the arts.

     

    "Everybody can dance. It's the drive and the passion that makes you a dancer." - Unknown

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  • EMMA RITCHIE



    tap



    Emma Ritchie is a rhythm tap dancer, teacher, and choreographer based in Calgary, AB.

    Emma is currently a dancer in Tasha Lawson’s company “Lawson Percussive Dance Arts”,

    and is a part of “Tri-Tone Rhythm Productions”. Emma began dancing in Tasha’s company

    after returning to Calgary from Barcelona this past July of 2021. Emma spent a year in

    Barcelona completing the “Professional Training Program for Tap Dancers” at Luthier School

    of Music and Dance. While in Barcelona, she also joined an emerging tap company called

    “Naranja Dance Project”, which premiered in Almeria Theatre on May 6, 2021.


    Emma began dancing at the age of 3. She trained and competed in ballet, jazz, tap, modern,

    contemporary, and acro at a studio in Calgary for 12 years. Emma has always taken a

    particular liking to tap dance which is why in 2014, she joined the Tri-Tone Rhythm Ensemble

    directed by Tasha Lawson to further her tap dance training. Alongside Tri-Tone, Emma has

    travelled across Canada, the U.S.A and Europe, to train under the masters in various tap

    festivals.


    Emma’s love for tap dance stems from the combination of dance and music. She is very

    interested in the application of music theory to the dance form, as she plays the drum kit,

    cajón, piano, and ukulele. To deepen her understanding of music theory, she also spent a

    year in the Music Department at the University of Calgary, taking classes in theory, history,

    and composition. After realising her love of teaching, Emma is now completing her bachelor

    degree in Education at Mount Royal University. Emma is a passionate dance teacher, and is

    dedicated to providing fun, creative, and educational classes to all of her students.

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  • SHEAHAN KEINICK

    F.I.S.T.D. Ballet


    Ballet & jazz/modern


    Sheahan is honoured to have taught for 20 years at Crossings Dance. Sheahan is also the Movement Instructor for Ambrose University’s Fine Arts Drama Diploma program and has been sharing her love and passion as a dance educator for 30 years. 

     

    Sheahan trained in Calgary, Toronto, Victoria, L.A., and England studying ballet, contemporary, jazz, African, swing, character, tap, and musical theatre styles and danced professionally in independent projects throughout North America and the U.K. She is a graduate of Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, England, where she was invited to teach during her final semester. Sheahan trained and practiced as a Registered Massage Therapist and Certified Decongestive Therapist which allows a deeper understanding of instruction to impart to her students. Sheahan has attained her Fellowship in Imperial Ballet, and Licentiate in Modern Theatre with the ISTD. She is grateful to have held the position of choreographer for the Badlands Passion Play for the 2019 season.

     

    Volunteering as a member of the Healthy Dancer Canada’s Dancer Screening committee and having co-presented at the 2018 HDC conference, Sheahan is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of a team that brings the communities of science and dance closer to a place of essential understanding, education, growth, and unification. 

     

    Sheahan is proud to have taught many of Calgary’s emergent dancers and honoured to see so many of her students involved in professional dance communities around the world.

     

    “Behind every dancer who believes in themselves, is a dancer teacher who believed in them first.” ~unknown

     

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