Ballet Edmonton frequently works with local musicians and artists to bring performances that reflect Edmonton’s collaborative spirit. We are fiercely proud to be part of the vibrant arts and culture community, and to tour, collaborate and partner with various local arts groups throughout the season.
Gioconda Barbuto is an internationally esteemed Italian-Canadian dancer and choreographer. She trained in the professional program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, The Banff Centre and under the tutelage of Gladys Forrester in Toronto, her native city. Dancing with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens for 16 years and with Nederlands Dans Theater III for eight, Gioconda was quickly recognized as a versatile and magnetic soloist. Her performances have highlighted Jiří Kylián’s dance films, Birth-Day and Car Men, Robert Wilson’s 2Lips and Dancers and Space, Margie Gillis’s M.Body.7 and most recently Joe Laughlin’s 4OUR.
In 1996, Gioconda was nominated for The Kennedy Center Fellowship and received The Banff Centre’s Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award. Since then, she has unflaggingly pursued her choreographic calling, creating detailed, dynamic friezes of full-bodied gesture marked by her innate musicality. Her oeuvre now totals over 50 works, among them solos, duets, group pieces and films. Internationally acclaimed dance companies such as Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ballet BC, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Alberta Ballet, Ballet Kelowna and many others have commissioned her choreography. As the 2015 McKnight International Choreographer Artist Fellow for TU Dance company in Minnesota, she created FOOTPRINT, called a “stark and poignant” work by the Star Tribune. Gioconda also recently obtained one of the choreographic positions for Oregon Ballet Theater’s Choreography XX competition, creating BRINGING OUTSIDE IN which was named “best in premiere” in Dance Europe Magazine and will be re-staged as part of its Director’s Choice for the 2018/2019 season.
In recent years, Gioconda has been extending her methods for moulding space and energy through her Movement Workshops. She is often invited to teach actors, circus artists, vocalists and dancers at academies and institutions worldwide, including The Juilliard School, Simon Fraser University and Harvard University. Gioconda has also been invited to choreograph for Alonzo King Lines Training Program and choreographs frequently for Arts Umbrella Dance in Vancouver, École supérieure de ballet du Québec, Dutch National Ballet Academy and École Nationale de Cirque in Montréal where she created and directed the graduating circus production, L’abri. Gioconda shares her creative life in Montreal with her husband, renowned dance photographer Michael Slobodian.
Rachel Meyer grew up in Illinois and started her training with the St. Louis Ballet. She went on to receive her BFA from the University of Utah and did further training at the Northwest Professional Dance Project and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance.
During her storied career, Rachel has had the pleasure of dancing with Utah Regional Ballet and as a guest artist with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. From 2009-2011, she was a member of Dominic Walsh Dance Theater where she danced works by Dominic Walsh, Mauro Bigonzetti, Vaclav Kunès, Jiří Kylián and Mats Ek. She was also awarded a Princess Grace Award in 2010.
In 2011, Rachel danced at the Tate Modern in London with the Michael Clark Company and became a member of Ballet BC from 2011-2017 where she performed works by Sharon Eyal, William Forsythe, Jacopo Godani, Johan Inger, Emily Molnar, Crystal Pite, Cayetano Soto, Lesley Telford and Medhi Walerski, among others.
She is currently an independent dancer and choreographer based in Vancouver and has presented two full length works, Quartet in March of 2017, and Transverse Orientation in July of 2018.
Joshua Beamish founded MOVE THE COMPANY in Vancouver in 2005. His works have since toured throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Outside of the company, he has choreographed for The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Dutch National Ballet Junior Company, Cape Town Opera, New York City Ballet principal Wendy Whelan in Restless Creatureand Ashley Bouder in The Ashley Bouder Project, the New York Choreographic Institute/School of American Ballet, Compania Nacional de Danza in Mexico, Toronto Dance Theatre, Cape Dance Company (South Africa), the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for Pierced, the Universities of Alberta and Missouri, Santa Barbara Dance Theater and Ballet Kelowna, among others. Joshua also choreographed for the CBC Radio Canada reality series, Ils Dansent, with Nico Archambault, the Cultural Olympiads for both the 2010 and the 2012 Olympics and with Cirque du Soleil for World EXPO Shanghai.
Joshua is the recipient of artistic residencies at venues such as The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Jacob’s Pillow, and held a term as the National Incubator Artist for the American Dance Institute in Washington, DC. Notable recent presentations include BAM Next Wave, The Joyce Theater and Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Royal Opera House and The Place (London), Canada’s National Arts Centre and Princeton University. Joshua also presented a Jacob’s Pillow world premiere and was a member of the Fire Island Dance Festival Commission, The Harris Theater/Chicago, Artists in Action (Mumbai), Seoul International Dance Festival (South Korea) and the Bangkok International Festival.
Joshua was a founding member of The Joyce Theater’s Young Leader’s Circle Committee.
Photo credit Alex Brinson Photography
Guest Ballet Instructor
Johnny Chang comes with a lengthy and impressive history of international ballet experience. Originally from the People’s Republic of China, Johnny began his craft as a principal dancer with the National Ballet of China, touring with the company in the US, UK and Russia. He began his North American career with the Houston Ballet in 1979 and returned home to the Beijing Dance Academy Ballet Company in 1981.
Starting to grow Canadian roots, Johnny joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as principal dancer in 1992 and moved on to become a Resident Guest Artist in 1999/2000. He was appointed to full-time Ballet Master in 2002 and Senior Ballet Master in 2010.
Internationally renowned, Johnny has studied and worked with many acclaimed teachers and choreographers, including Ben Stevenson, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Dame Alicia Markova, Sir Anton Dolin, Rudolf Nureyev, Sir Peter Wright, Rudi van Dantzig, Alexander Grant, Melissa Haydem, Ronald Hand, Azari M. Plissetski, Yuri Grigorovich, Merle Park, Sallie Wilson, Merrill Ashley, Faith Worth, Galina Yordanova, Mark Godden and Val Caniparoli.
Choreographer Alysa Pires has created works for Citie Ballet, Ballet Jorgen, Cadence Ballet, Ryerson University, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Victoria Academy of Ballet, Dancestreams, Helix Dance Theatre, and more. Alysa was one of the 2017 winners of Northwest Dance Project’s International Choreographic Competition. Her company, Alysa Pires Dance Projects, made its critically acclaimed full-length debut with Exterminating Angel at the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival. Alysa is currently working with the National Ballet of Canada as part of their Choreographic Workshop. Upcoming projects include a new commission for Ballet Kelowna and the remounting of Exterminating Angel.
Alysa provided choreography and movement direction for The Women and War Project, a series of world premiere plays by Judith Thompson (CAN), Velina Hasu Houston (USA) and Timberlake Wertenbaker (UK) that toured through Greece in 2012. Her work in theatre also includes choreography for ten musicals as well as the first workshop of a new commission for the Los Angeles Opera. In 2014, Alysa represented Canada in Glasgow, Scotland as part of the Tin Forest Theatre Festival in celebration of the Commonwealth Games.
She has remounted two works for the Emerging Artist Intensives in Toronto: Valkyria (Winter 2013, Winter 2016) and …keeping in mind they may be behind you (Summer 2014). Alysa was one of four choreographers selected from a pool of international applicants for DanceEast’s ChoreoLab in Ipswich, England. Here she developed i am vertical, which received its Canadian premiere as part of the 2015 dance:made in Canada Festival.
During her 2015/2016 residency at the Heliconian Club of Toronto, Alysa created three new works for her company including Exterminating Angel, a NOW Magazine Critic’s Pick and one of the Torontoist’s Highlights of Fringe.
Alysa is an Honours BFA graduate from the Ryerson School of Performance and was the recipient of the 2015 Jack McAllister Award, which recognizes alumni accomplishment in the professional world.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Brett began dancing at the age of seven. Upon graduation from high school, he was accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School where he graduated from the Professional Division in 2007. After completing a year of the Aspirant Program, Brett joined Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet as an apprentice, performing works by Mauricio Wainrot, Mark Godden, Itzik Galili, Rudi van Dantzig and Jorden Morris to name a few.
In 2009, Brett joined BJM Danse Montreal where he had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Wen Wei Wang, Aszure Barton, Mauro Bigonzetti, Cayetano Soto, Barak Marshal and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. He was also a guest performer with companies such as Ballet British Columbia, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Wen Wei Dance, as well as independent works by choreographers James Gregg, Andrew Skeels and Penny Saunders.
Equally drawn to theatre, Brett has also appeared in Evita (Vancouver Opera), Billy Elliott, Cabaret (Red Mountain Theatre Company), Dance Legends (Grand Theatre), The Addams Family (Neptune Theatre), Guys and Dolls, New York, New York (Drewitz Dance Productions), The Producers, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast and Good News (Rainbow Stage). Television and film credits include Make it Happen music videos for both Kreesha Turner and Lydia Ainsworth.
As a choreographer, Brett premiered his first work in First Steps during his time as a student at the RWB. During his time in Montreal, he also produced and directed Déchaîné, a program featuring new works choreographed by the dancers of BJM Danse. Brett’s work has also been featured in schools across Canada, most recently including the RWB Professional Program and the RWB Aspirant Program.
Kiera, a native Edmontonian, has been watching Citie Ballet since she was young. She has trained in many different dance forms, but her passion and focus has always been ballet. Kiera began her training at the Edmonton School of Ballet where she studied the Cecchetti and Royal Academy of Dance syllabi, achieving honours in both her Advanced One R.A.D exam and Advanced Two Cecchetti exam.
Upon graduating high school, Kiera joined the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Graduate Program, where she trained for three years. While at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Kiera was chosen to perform in multiple productions, including The Nutcracker and Giselle. She was also among a small group of dancers selected to train and perform at an artists residency program in Arizona, and has participated in summer intensive programs at the Banff Centre for Performing Arts, Joffrey New York, Joffrey Midwest, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Alonzo King Lines Ballet.
In addition to ballet, Kiera plays the piano and has completed Conservatory Canada Grade 10 piano exam. She is also currently taking evening classes at the University of Alberta and working towards a degree in Biological Sciences.
Kiera is an emerging choreographer having premiered her first piece, Don’t Look Back, in 2015.
Edmonton-based Maria Dunn performs at folk festivals, theatres and conferences across Canada, Europe (UK Tour 2015; 2008 Celtic Connections, Glasgow; Netherlands 2011) and the US (2006 Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, Washington, DC).
As a past Juno-nominated songwriter, Maria draws deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through song. Melding North American roots music with her Scottish-Irish heritage, she sings about the resilience and grace of “ordinary” people, past and present.
With producer Shannon Johnson, she released Gathering (April 2016), a collection of songs inspired by love—the love of family, community and humanity that connects us and fires our actions to make the world a better place.
Her previous five independent recordings include: Piece By Piece (2013 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee), The Peddler (2009 CFMA Nominee), and For A Song (2002 Juno Nominee).
Ron Pederson is an award winning actor and improviser, as well as writer and director. Ron has appeared across Canada with the nation’s foremost theatres including The Stratford Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, The Tarragon Theatre, The Canadian Stage Company, The Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver Playhouse, Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre Network, Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre, Citadel Theatre, The Freewill Shakespeare Festival, and Teatro La Quindicina.
Ron has also created and improvised with companies in cities across the globe including Oslo, Berlin, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Chicago and at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York City. Ron may be best known for his 3 seasons on FOX Television’s MADtv. Other TV credits include The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS), Murdoch Mysteries, InSecurity (CBC), Degrassi: The Next Generation (CTV), and Sidekick (YTV). He is a multiple Canadian Comedy award winner, including Best Improviser, and the recipient of a Sterling Award and the RBC Arts Professional Award. He’s been nominated for Vancouver’s Jessie Award and he’s a two-time nominee for Toronto’s Dora Award (Best Actor). Ron can next be seen in The Freewill Shakespeare Festival this summer in Edmonton.
Yukichi began his training in Tokyo, Japan before attending the Hamburg Ballet School in Hamburg, Germany. Upon graduation, Yukichi joined the Hamburg Ballet and rose to the rank of Soloist. During his time in Hamburg, Yukichi danced many soloist and principal roles and performed as a guest artist with the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
Under the mentorship of director John Neumeier, Yukichi began to explore choreography and has been developing his choreographic voice. In 2006, Yukichi joined the Alberta Ballet as a principal dancer and has delighted audiences in roles such as Elton Fan in Love Lies Bleeding, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Mozart in Requiem.
Yukichi has been an active choreographer for Alberta Ballet creating Tubular Bells, Seven Deadly Sins, Temple, Carmen, and Rite to name a few. He has also created works in Japan and for the Hamburg Ballet. Along with his career as a dancer and choreographer, Yukichi has found time to share his knowledge and skills as a teacher in ballet and contemporary both locally and internationally.
Nulle Part is an electronic production duo that makes hazy melancholic music inspired by the concepts of place, longing and loss. To achieve their rich, layered sound, the duo utilizes an arsenal of analogue synthesizers and drum machines, detuned cut-up vocals, and clouded pianos. Their music is then further washed by their shared love of vintage tape delay and reverb units.
Active since 2012, Nulle Part has participated in a wide range of interdisciplinary art, dance and film projects, including performing as part of the Art Gallery of Alberta’s “SONAR” sound art exhibition (featuring Yukichi Hattori), soundscaping the Edmonton Arts Council’s “Ramble in the Bramble” installation art show, composing a 30 minute piece for Yukichi Hattori’s “Solo?” ballet production at Calgary’s Fluid Festival, and scoring Edmonton filmmaker Kellen Frost’s “Zero” film and trailer, among others.
Duo: Ben Good and Jason Troock
Andrea House is thrilled to share the stage with these talented dancers and musicians. Recent credits include Folkswaggin‘ (Mayfield Dinner Theatre), Forget Me Not (Fort Edmonton) and In the Stardust of a Song (Cabaret series, Citadel Theatre). A Sterling Award winner, Andrea has performed with many theatre companies including Teatro La Quindicina, Shadow Theatre, Theatre Network and Theatre Calgary.
Andrea’s own music has been featured in many radio, television and film projects including The Vinyl Cafe (CBC). This summer she performed with members of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra at the C’mon Festival. Andrea also wrote and performed in the music filled adventure, Valentine’s Train, at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Other musical highlights include performing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and opening for The Blind Boys of Alabama at the Winspear Centre.
Chris Andrew is a Galaxy Rising Star Award winner pianist, with 24 years of experience in the music industry. His band, The Hutchinson Andrew Trio, won the prestigious “TD Grand Prix Award” at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2013. As a bandleader, he has been nominated five times for the Western Canadian Music Awards’ “Best Jazz Recording”. He has also had the honour of working many times with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Currently, Chris is working on co-writing the music for a Decidedly Jazz Dance production, and composing music for the Alberta Dance Theatre production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He is also composing and arranging music for the Hutchinson Andrew Trio, The Lily String Quartet’s upcoming album and plans to record his own solo piano work.
Guest Ballet Mistress
Caroline was trained at the Royal Ballet School in London, England for 9 years, and upon graduation, joined the Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam, where she danced for 6 years.
Caroline danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet from 1988-2000. Since 2007, she has been teaching, coaching and setting repertoire in the Professional and Recreational Divisions of the RWB School.
She also works extensively with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company, mainly assisting in the staging of classical pieces such as Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.
Caroline’s main focus with the RWB School is now the Aspirant Program, a full-time, intensive, post-secondary training program designed for advanced level classical ballet dancers who are making the transition from student to professional dancer.