Greetings from the February deep freeze! One of the great things about living in a city with periods of intense cold is that it encourages creative focus by making walking outside for more than a few feet unbearable! Anyway, such has been the case for me. 

In early January, I had the enormous pleasure of featuring Kimberley Cooper in our Undressing the Dance Series. The work we discussed was the High Performance Rodeo remount of her 2013 piece “Better Get Hit in Your Soul”. The piece for the full company of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks was inspired by the life, times and music of Charles Mingus. Our conversation was a kind of examination of values; what does it mean for an artist and an artistic leader to remount a work; what is the impact of historical gender representations, represented; and what is it for an artist to be in collaboration with a composer’s body of work across time? Kim is such a smart lady – the conversation was as provocative as it was fun!

DJD’s Artistic Director Kimberley Cooper & Sasha Ivanochko at our Undressing
the Dance Event

On January 14th, we had our first Study Group gathering. This is a new series analyzing various dance related texts, and is intended to inject new ideas to consider in our art making practice. Our conversation was animated and ranged wildly! I’ve received a lot of encouragement from the community to find ways to take this series online. I’m looking into that for the future, but if you can come out to our next gathering, please do! 

Last week, I got to do what I love to do the most – to be in the studio working with fascinating artists. I dropped into the studio space at The Grand YYC where our Associate Artist Linnea Swan is working this month. The AA is another new program that I rolled out this year. We consider the AA a partner in achieving our mandate and vision through the creative research and development of a major project. Our aim is to support the AA’s artistic development by providing resources for experimentation and reflection while in creation. Linnea’s work is impacted by her own experience as a performer and as a human being. I was very excited to see how she was translating her ideas on to other dancers, and the high level of precision and authenticity from those she was working with. To get to know a little bit more about Linnea, check out her profile below!

At the end of January we said good bye to our Board Chair Megan Ballard. Her term with the Board spanned 4 years, and she fulfilled her position with a great deal of humanity, humility, generosity and perseverance. Megan, I will miss you. I wish you all the best in what lies ahead of you. On the same note, I’d like welcome our new Chair, Wilma Slenders. Wilma has been on our Board for 2 years and is already taking up her new role with power, energy and determination. Please familiarize yourself to Wilma, her history and the great skills she is bringing to our organization by reading her bio below!

Sincerely, Sasha Ivanochko
Artistic Director.


Artistic Associate Profile

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Linnea Swan has had a long and colourful career that has seen her call Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and now Calgary home. For over twenty years she has had the pleasure of working and collaborating with many of Canada’s esteemed dance / theatre companies and artists including Serge Bennethan, Susie Burpee, Corpus, Dancemakers, Lesandra Dodson, and Jordan Tannahill among others. Also a filmmaker, she has created dance films, a dance documentary, two web series, and has been commissioned by numerous choreographers to create both video to accompany live performance as well as promotional videos for productions. Her extensive performance career has been recognized with multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations – receiving the 2013 Dora Award for Outstanding Performance, as well as the K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Dance. Linnea is Associate Artist with Dancers’ Studio West.


Message from our New Board Chair

Hello everyone,

As I take on the role of the new Chair of Dancers’ Studio West, I would first like to thank Megan Ballard for her commitment to, and leadership in the role of President for the past number of years. We will miss her!

Dancers’ Studio West is in a transitional stage of its evolution. We have recently welcomed Sasha Ivanochko as our new Artistic Director. She is developing new programming and we are excited to see what the future has in store with Sasha at the helm.

Call for Board members
Currently, we have four Board members. While some of us have had some dance experience, none of us is able to adequately represent the contemporary dance community. We are in a transition period for our organization and are in need of individuals from the dance community who are interested in determining driving DSW’s future.  We invite you to consider becoming a Board member in order to help us steer DSW into the future. Your voice is important!

You don’t require Board experience to be a Board member. That can be learned. What you do require is passion for contemporary dance. I encourage you to consider it.

I look forward to meeting you at upcoming events.


Board Recruitment

If interested in joining our Board, please contact


Meet Wilma

Dr. Wilma Slenders  is a leader coach, strategic advisor, and consultant who helps clients interrogate reality, provoke thinking and inspires action. She challenges clients to achieve their full potential. Her professional career spans leadership roles in government, not-for-profit organizations, a global consulting firm, and Transcend Management Advisors, her own firm. An entrepreneur, Wilma is the founder of four businesses in different industry sectors. Wilma’s company, Transcend, is a sponsor of the Rozsa Arts Manager of the Year award, has created and facilitates the Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership Program, and is currently the Board Chair of Dancers’ Studio West. Previously, she served on the Calgary Region Arts Foundation grant committee. Wilma has extensive not-for-profit experience in the sports, child and family welfare, and coaching sectors. Wilma together with her husband, Victor, enjoys attending dance, theatre, and music presentations, as well as outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, walking and mountain biking.


Upcoming Progamming

Our 2nd gathering for the Talking, Thinking, Dancing Body is fast approaching!
Join us on Thursday, Feb 21st from 7:00-8:30PM at cSPACE King Edward

Our gatherings, facilitated by Sasha Ivanochko and Pamela Tzeng, will encourage speaking about dance from an awareness of our bodies as well as the world it lives in.

For more info, join our Facebook Group


Our 2nd gathering for the Study Group will be Thursday, March 7th from 7:00-8:30PM at cSPACE King Edward

The Study Group is a reading group, analyzing texts related to art practice and philosophy.

For more info, join our Facebook Group