Meet our current company of professional jazz dancers who perform the original choreographic works of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks locally and tour nationally.
If you are interested in learning more about available positions and upcoming auditions please contact Kimberley Cooper.
Kimberley Cooper, Artistic Associate & Resident Choreographer
Kimberley Cooper has been dancing and creating dance for most of her life. She joined Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) as an apprentice in 1989 and has been Artistic Associate/Resident Choreographer since 2001. In 2002, she was named Emerging Artist of the year by Alberta Dance Alliance. Since 2002, Cooper has created nine full-length works on DJD, two of which enjoyed major Canadian tours (¡BULLA! 2005, in collaboration with DJD co-founder Hannah Stilwell and wowandflutter, 2009). She also dances and choreographs independently and has performed, studied and/or taught in Canada, the USA, Spain, Japan, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cuba. Her independent choreography has been presented by One Yellow Rabbit, The University of Calgary, Dancers’ Studio West, Theatre Calgary, Springboard Dance, Ghost River Theatre, Alberta Dance Alliance (Edmonton, AB), Dances For small Stages (Vancouver, BC) and SUNY Potsdam (NY, USA). Cooper has created two short films for Bravo!FACT and appeared in several others. She is endlessly inspired by the spirit of jazz, an art form born out of a culture where dance and music are madly in love, hungry to evolve and greatly influenced by what’s happening in the moment.
Sarisa F. de Toledo, Artistic Assistant
Sarisa is a dancer, teacher and choreographer who began her formal dance training in classical ballet at the age of seven, graduated from the Edmonton School of Ballet’s Professional Program in 1993, and has danced professionally with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD) of Calgary since 1994. Her passion for jazz dance and music has taken her to New York, Los Angeles, Montana, Cuba, Spain, Brazil and across Canada to study jazz dance and many of its root forms. Apart from dancing with DJD, she has performed with various choreographers, companies and directors including Theatre of the Living Statue, Sage Theatre, two independent Bravo!FACT films and with One Yellow Rabbit’s play, Sept. 10th with Douglas Coupland. She has taught and choreographed extensively for schools and companies including, Western Canada High School, Victoria School of the Arts (Edmonton, AB), Theatre Calgary, eko dance projects, the University of Calgary, Orchesis (Edmonton) and La Bella Vita Arts throughout Western North America and as far as Vada, Italy. Sarisa has been Artistic Assistant for DJD since 2007, Artistic Director for several of DJD’s dancer-choreographed evenings and its main stage production, Tinge and Tone, and continues to dance, teach and choreograph for the company and around Alberta. She also holds a B.A in English from the University of Calgary.
Audrey Gaussiran, Apprentice
Audrey Gaussiran, a dancer from Montreal, is passionate about dance in all of its forms. She studied at the Conservatoire de danse de Montréal (ballet, tap, flamenco, jazz, modern, etc.) and has traveled to Brazil, Cuba and New York to pursue her craft (NY salsa, AfroCuban, Samba, etc.). Some of her professional experiences include: the musical Sherazade (Canada & France), Best of Broadway (Canada, USA & Egypt), La Traviata at the NAC in Ottawa, the American Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong) and the Montreal Jazz Festival. She has won competitions in both Bellydance(Germany, 2011) and Salsa (Montreal, 2005). In 2009, she created her own lady styling salsa troupe, Audrey’s Angels, which has enjoyed instant success. As a choreographer, she loves the fusion of different dance styles and has quickly become an innovator in the Latin dance scene of Montreal. Audrey is happy to discover and join DJD in 2012, a company that completely matches her vision of dance.
Marc Hall, Dancer
Born and raised in Jamaica, Marc began his formal training there at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where he studied various forms of dance including Caribbean folklore, African dance, Cuban modern dance and Ballet. As a dancer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica he did numerous performances and tours throughout the UK, the USA, Canada and the Caribbean. Following that, Marc was awarded a full scholarship to attend the London Studio Centre in England for three years of work towards a B.A. Honours degree. He performed in The Lion King in London for a year and a half and then joined another UK- based company, Sakoba Dance Theatre. Subsequently, he returned to Jamaica to teach at the Edna Manley College but after a year, was invited to be a member of the Toronto based Afro-contemporary dance company, Ballet Creole. Marc moved to Calgary in the fall of 2009. 2010: A Tap Oddity marked his debut with DJD in March of that year.
Catherine Hayward, Dancer
Catherine Hayward grew up in Winnipeg where she began dancing at the age of five. Her studies led her to Ryerson University in Toronto where she graduated from the dance program, earning her B.F.A. with honours. An interest in jazz dance brought her to Calgary to train in the Professional Training Program at DJD and after two years she went on to dance in the company. Catherine has studied in various locations across North America and as far as Sweden to study the swing dance style, the “Lindy Hop.” She had an opportunity to perform the Lindy Hop in the Bravo!FACT video called “Swing Fling Thing.” Catherine has immersed herself in the Calgary community teaching students of all ages and performing in many festivals and productions including Alberta Dance Explosions, Freak Show in One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo, The Physical Theatre Cabaret, Alberta Dance Showcase and Emerge for The Fluid Festival. Since moving to Calgary, Catherine has also pursued choreography, presenting her work in DJD's dancer- choreographed evenings Alchemy and Canvas, Alberta Dance Explosions, Re:verb, Alberta Dance Festival, Alberta Dance Theatre's productions of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and most recently as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival. Catherine teaches throughout Calgary and has been with the DJD company since the fall of 2007.
Shayne Johnson, Dancer
Shayne began his dance training at the age of five and at the age of 12, launched his professional career as a guest tap dancer on the "Super Dave Osborne" TV show. He studied throughout North America winning numerous scholarships to schools in Canada and the USA including the Banff Centre, the Edge in Los Angeles and the Joe Tremaine Academy. At age 15, Shayne won the title of B.C. provincial Champion in the category of stage work and Tap and shortly afterwards, joined the Canadian National Tap Team under the direction of Matthew Clark, which included a performance with Savion Glover's ensemble Bring on the Noise, Bring on the Funk. Over the next three years, Shayne became a member of the Grizzlies Extreme Dance Team for the NBA and also performed in fashion industrials. It was during this time that he discovered his passion for choreography and teaching. After graduating from high school, Shayne was hired as a dancer by Norwegian Cruise Lines and was subsequently hired for performance contracts as dance captain, choreographer and to direct and install new shows on their biggest ships. Shayne is on the faculties of the Schools of Alberta Ballet and Decidedly Jazz and has danced with the DJD company since the spring of 2009.
Natasha Korney, Apprentice
Natasha began pursuing dance at the age of 13, specifically in the styles of Hip-Hop, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary and African Dance. As part of her training she spent two years as a pre-professional student at the School of Decidedly Jazz and in 2010 commenced a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Dance Program at the University of Calgary. She has performed in shows such as Slammin’ Berry Jam, Alberta Dance Festival, Mainstage, DJD’s pre-professional evening Footprints, and Why Dance 3D. In 2011 she joined the ILLFX dance crew participating in a promotional video shoot for the band Groove Academy as well as many other performances with the crew. This year Natasha was offered an apprenticeship with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and looks forward to performing with the company for the 2012/2013 season as she concurrently pursues her degree.
After dancing for twelve years in Calgary, Dinou traveled to England to attend Performers Dance College where she completed a three-year degree program and then danced professionally for two years in many lead roles in original productions throughout England. Since returning to Calgary in 1994, Dinou has been teaching, as well as producing, choreographing and performing in various projects such as Calgary Cares and Alberta Dance Explosions. She was a guest artist in the DJD school show Live & in Sync (2001) and Kimberley Cooper’s Popular (2001) for One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo. She understudied roles in Perched on the Edge of a Quarter Note and was a full-time company member from 2002-04. Dinou was blessed with a daughter in 2004 and since then, has had a chance to work with Kimberley Cooper as Rehearsal Director for the Bravo!FACT production of “Distemper” and DJD’s in Charcoal and Crimson. She returned to DJD in 2007 with a new vision of her craft and has also danced in a variety of shows including AIR at DSW and the Bravo!FACT video, “Swing Fling Thing.” She is grateful for the support of her family and friends in continuing her career.
Danielle Wensley, Dancer
Danielle Wensley is a dancer and choreographer in Calgary who started training at the age of three. She had her first experience dancing in productions with the Young Canadians and Youth Dance Unlimited. Danielle attended Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School where she joined the dance program and worked closely with former DJD dancer Jill Currie. She began her training at DJD in 1999, where she quickly developed love and appreciation for jazz music and improvisation. Danielle has performed independently in Dance Montage, Alberta Dance Festival (formerly Dance Explosions), DJD’s Footprints and Live and In Sync, Freak Show (High Performance Rodeo), Fluid Festival for the Arts as well as many benefits and fundraisers in Calgary. Her choreography has been featured in DJD’s Canvas, Alchemy and Footprints, Alberta Dance Theatre’s productions of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fluid Festival for the Arts, Freak Show (High Performance Rodeo) and Pie Factory Collective’s Underground Cabaret. Danielle joined the company in the spring of 2008.