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About Us

Our Faculty

Karen Sudds

Owner/Director of Crossings Dance Ministries

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”.

When she returned 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.

Under Karen’s direction, Crossings has become a thriving dance studio for over 300 students from beginner to pre-professional. In order to provide professional performance opportunities for these dancers, Karen founded Corps Bara Dance Theatre and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the company.

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 is also a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, and 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. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Dance Science at Wolverhampton University, UK and looking forward to sharing her knowledge with the teachers and students of Crossings.

Katie Baxter

Office Administration

Ainsely M Sudds, MA Dance Pedagogy

Modern/Jazz, CYDC Company Manager, Production and Communication

From Calgary Alberta Canada, Ainsley Sudds has studied dance for over 25 years. Ainsley holds a BA in Contemporary Dance from the University of Calgary, collaborative with Kinesiology and Fine Arts, as well as MA Dance Technique Pedagogy from Middlesex University, London England. She held the position of Artistic Director for Corps Bara Dance Theatre's Youth Company for six years and danced with Corps Bara's Project Company for over 10 years. Currently, Ainsley is a director and dance instructor at Crossings Dance (Calgary); is on the modern dance faculty at the School of Alberta Ballet; is a dance instructor with the FA Academy of the Arts; and guest teaches throughout the Calgary dance community. As well, Ainsley is involved in Project Dance NYC and is in the planning stages of producing Project Dance Calgary for the summer of 2018.

Having studied the classic modern dance technique, Limón, extensively through completing the Limon Institute of New York Professional Studies Program, 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. 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

Shirley Agate - Proust F.I.S.T.D

Ballet (ISTD)

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.

Sheahan Keinick F.I.S.T.D

Ballet , Modern/Jazz (ISTD)

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.

Melodie Lacey (P.D.T.D., A.R.A.D)

Ballet (RAD)

Originally from Lethbridge, Alberta, Melodie began dancing at the age of five under Kim Ully and RAD Examiner Jacqui Stuart. She spent numerous summers attending the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and the Banff School of Fine Arts on scholarship. Upon graduation, Melodie was invited to join The Banff Festival Ballet as an apprentice dancing George Balanchine's Allegro Brilliante and works by Gioconda Barbuto and Joe Laughlin launching her professional career. She has danced a wide range of repertoire with many professional companies including the Goh Ballet, Ballet North and Alberta Ballet. Her career has also encompassed a 2 year Professional study with DJD, and many Independent works throughout Calgary finishing with Tokyo Disney Sea's Broadway Review Encore.

Upon returning from Tokyo, Japan, she was accepted into the Professional Dancer's Teaching Diploma Program at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England studying under Lynn Wallis and Hilary Clark. After receiving her diploma in 2007 Melodie embarked upon her teaching career. She now has successful students at the Solo Seal level as well as semi-finalists, finalists and medalists at the RAD Dance Challenge, the Genee International Ballet Competition, Youth America Grand Prix, and professional ballet programs and companies throughout the world.

Melodie is excited to return to Crossings faculty for her eleventh season, bringing with her the vocational RAD examinations and oppourtunity to set classical repertoire plus original choreographic works for International and National level Ballet competitions, showcases and performances. She is currently studying under the tutelage of mentor Nancy Kilgour and guest teaches regularly throughout the city at the pre-professional and professional level.

Kristen Eisler

Ballet (ISTD), Jazz, CYDC Director and Rehearsal Director

Kristen began dancing at Crossings Dance at the age of 3, training in Ballet, Jazz and Modern. She has attended The Banff Centre Summer Dance Training Program and was accepted into the Okanagan Summer Dance Intensive in Kelowna, British Columbia. Kristen was a member of Corps Bara Dance Theatre in both the youth and project companies, and was Rehearsal Director for the Junior division of Corps Bara Youth Dance Theatre. She participated in Project Dance NYC in 2006 nd 2008, as well as Toronto in 2009. Kristen successfully accomplished her R.A.D Advanced 2 Ballet examination and was awarded her Associate Ballet with the I.S.T.D. Currently she is Artistic Director of the Crossings Performance Group and looks forward to attaining her Associate Diploma in Imperial Ballet with the I.S.T.D.

Laura Barcelo

Modern/Jazz (ISTD and other), CYDC Rehearsal Director

Laura Barcelo is a Calgary-based dancer, teacher and choreographer. Her love of dance was nurtured at young age through membership with the Corps Bara Youth Dance Company and apprenticeship with the Corps Bara Professional Company. With a Distinguished Artist Award, Laura obtained her BA in Psychology with minors in Dance, Neuroscience and Social Witness Ministry from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She studied under professionals associated with the Ailey School, Alonzo King LINES training program, The Joffrey Ballet, Lehrer Dance, Nikolais/Louis, Pilobolus, and Giordano Dance Chicago.

Pursuing her everlasting passion for learning and dance, Laura recently spent the summer in New York City training under Yin Yue Dance Company (FoCo Technique), Batsheva Dance Ensemble (Gaga Movement Language), Kidd Pivot, Steps on Broadway and the Peridance Capezio Center. She has attended other intensives at Hubbard Street Dance Center (Chicago), Transformation Danse (Montreal), Hofesh Shechter Workshop (Banff), and J-SIK Movements (Calgary).

Laura currently holds her Associate Certificate in the Modern Theatre Syllabus with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). In addition to teaching Modern/Jazz, Preschool and acting as co-Rehearsal Director for the Crossings Youth Dance Company, Laura teaches at other studios in the City if Calgary including the Alberta Ballet Intensive Training Program. Laura also performs as a freelance dance artist in Calgary. Most notably are her three professional seasons with Corps Bara Dance Theatre (2013-2015), the 34th & 35th Annual Alberta Dance Festival (2015&2016), “Missa Gaia” with the Calgary Multicultural Choir (2016), MPACT’s “Motion” (2016), and the Ignite! Festival of Emerging Artists.

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

Johi Graham

Tap (ISTD and other)

Johi began dancing at a young age and it wasn't long before her teachers recognized her natural feel for rhythm in Tap. As her love of Tap grew so did her thirst for challenges, and by her early teen years she was matching the level of professional Tap dancers. Over the years Johi has developed her own unique style which combines the classic grace of Fred Astaire, the intricate rhythms of Gregory Hines, and the athleticism of Savion Glover.

Jason Owin

Hip Hop

Sandro Rajic (Senior Strength & Conditioning Coach - Athlete Factory)

Sports Conditioning

A partnership between the Athlete Factory Elite Performance Center and Crossings Dance offers Crossings students the opportunity to receive world class conditioning to prepare them for the physical demands of dance training.

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.

T.E.A.M Apprentice Teachers (2016-17)

Teacher Education and Mentorship Program

2016-17 T.E.A.M Apprentice Teachers:

Sarah Miller

Emily Tonne

Khadijah Kroeker

Janine Hachey

Kwyn Breese

Emma Kurtz

Beth Durnie

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