Dance Action Group (DAG)

The Dance Action Group is an ensemble of aesthetically diverse performer/choreographers under the direction of Artistic Director Davida Monk, who are committed to and experienced in the organization’s approach to artistic rigour and critical dialogue.  Its work reaffirms the organization’s central purpose to invite deeper investment from all of its artists and create new opportunities for artistic development.  In addition to forming the artistic core of the Dance Action Lab, Dance Action Group members are charged with carrying out community development activities such as Outside Eye, Undressing the Dance and Cross-Fertilization.

Annual Alberta Dance Festival | Each Dance Action Group member is paired with a choreographer and their casts to serve as an Outside Eye, attend rehearsals and provide critical feedback on the works throughout the Creative Intensive.

Outside Eye Service | Throughout the year, members offer an Outside Eye service to interested choreographers

Undressing the Dance Public Dialogue Series | Between September 2016 and May 2017, Dance Action Group members Shayne Johnson and Linnea Swan will host public discussions about dance at posted pop-up locations, Free of Charge.  Coffee and snacks provided.  Check Facebook.

Dance Action Lab | The yearly ensemble consists of Dance Action Group members as choreographers and performers.  This is an 8-week company style creation and membership process.  It provides full time professional engagement with technique training, rehearsals, an informal presentation and 3 performances.

Dance Action Group Members:

Catherine Hayward

Hailing from Winnipeg,  Ms. Hayward graduated from Ryerson University’s Dance program with a BFA in Honours.  Ms. Hayward has been a dancer with the DJD Company since 2007 and was Artistic Director for the DJD dancer-choreographed show Borderland in 2015.  Ms. Hayward and fellow Dance Action Group member Shayne Johnson have been collaborating on the development of new work including Polyhedron, which premiered at the Fluid Festival in October 2015.  Ms. Hayward enjoys her role as teacher and continues to mentor teen dancers who are training in jazz as part of DJD’s school programming.  Ms. Hayward has been a member of Dancers’ Studio West’s Dance Action Group since its inception.

Helen Husak

Helen Husak is an independent dance artist based in Calgary.  Since earning a B.A. Dance from University of Calgary (2002) she has developed her voice as interpreter and choreographer with a primary focus on solo works. Husak has participated in a number of residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Ottawa’s former Le Groupe Dance Lab, Dancers’ Studio West, Ottawa Dance Directive, La B.A.R.N., and Centre Q Quebec. She has performed her works in local and national festivals and is recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (2010). Husak’s creative interests currently involve dance collaboration with an interdisciplinary focus.

Mark Ikeda

Mark Ikeda creative practice explores original performances through storytelling and movement. He has developed a unique methodology combining poetry, music, and choreography in a narrative structure. Shifting from an acting degree from the University of Calgary into the world of movement, Ikeda has a deep fascination of the interplay of verbal and non-verbal art forms.  Ikeda teaches physical theatre at every level of education from pre-elementary to post-secondary.  He has held a sessional position at Rosebud School of the Arts.

Shayne Johnson

Mr. Johnson began his dance training as a child, launching his professional career at the age of 12 as a guest tap dancer on the “Super Dave Osborne” TV show.  He went on to the Canadian National Tap Team, the Grizzlies Extreme Dance Team for the NBA and to work as a dancer and choreographer for Norwegian Cruise Lines.  He has been a company member of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks since 2009 and is an established dance teacher.  He recently premiered Polyhedron at the Fluid Festival in 2015 with collaborator Catherine Hayward.  He is a founding member of Dancers’ Studio West’s Dance Action Group.

Linnea Swan

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Linnea Swan has had a long and colourful career that has seen her call Vancounver, Winnipeg, Toronto and now Calgary home.  She began her professional career in Winnipeg dancing with Ruth Cansfield Dance and TRIP Dance Company, and moved to Toronto in 2003 to join Dancemakers.  As an independent artist, she has had the pleasure of working with many of Canada’s leading dance/theatre artists including Serge Bennethan, Rachel Browne, Susie Burpee, Lesandra Dodson, Susanna Hood, Claudia Moore, Christopher Morris, Tedd Robinson, Jordan Tannahill and Volcano Theatre among others – most recently collaborating with David Danzon to create the one-woman show Swan Lake Syndrome.  Ms. Swan was honoured to be the 2015 recipient of the K.M. Hunter Award in Dance.

Deanne Walsh

Deanne Walsh graduated from the University of Calgary with a B.A. in Dance with distinction in 2003.  Walsh performed with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks between 2003 and 2011.  She has choreographed extensively in Alberta including the Annual Alberta Dance Festival, Edmonton’s F.E.A.T.S. Festival, the Fluid Movement Arts Festival, University of Calgary’s Professional Series and Dancers’ Studio West’s Dance Action Lab.  She has been a Sessional Instructor for the School of Creative and Performing Arts in Dance and for the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary.  Ms. Walsh proudly fulfilled three seasons as the Artistic Director of Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People from 2013 to 2016.  She is a founding member of Dancers’ Studio West’s Dance Action Group.