Maya Lewandowsky – Artistic Director
Maya is the artistic director of La Caravan Dance Theatre. She began her craft at the early age of 3. She holds an advanced diploma from the Royal Academy of Dance in London and studied classical opera singing and contemporary vocal techniques for 5 years at the University of Tel-Aviv. Maya studied for over 20 years with international teachers including acclaimed choreographers and companies such as, Lar Lubovitch, Gigi Caciuleanu, Luciano Cannito, Inbal Pinto and the Bat-Dor Dance Company, where she eventually became a soloist. She has been performing and touring professionally in Europe, North American and Asia for over two decades.
Maya moved to Canada in 2002, where she created La Caravan Dance Theatre and continues her in-depth exploration of dance, voice, theatre and interactive media.
Maya's choreography for La Caravan includes: Experiment on the Adagio, Comme Barbare, Potence, Place to Begin, The Corridor, Contrast, The Queen the Bear and the Bumblebee, The SweetCity Opening Celebration, Interaction (part of ContainR and the Fluid Festival), The Dybbuk, and her latest creation, "Fihi Ma Fihi (it is what it is)", her second contemporary dance opera, a new genre of artistic expression.
Suzanne Demers – General Manager
Suzanne is a dancer, teacher, artist and non-profit professional who has worked in the dance community in Calgary since she was 16 years old. Training as a dancer herself, Suzanne has a good understanding of the Calgary Arts community and is continuously inspired by how the culture in Calgary is evolving.
In addition to dance, Suzanne has a degree in non-profit management from Mount Royal University and has a strong background in organizational development, strategic planning, fund development and event planning. Suzanne is looking forward to continuing her work with La Caravan Dance Theatre and is excited for what is to come.
Lia Pas – Composer & Librettist
Lia Pas is a Canadian multidisciplinary creator-perfomer who has worked in the fields of music, writing, and performance. Born in Western Canada, Lia studied music at York University, Toronto (BFA 1995) and completed her Master of Arts in Devised Theatre atDartington College of Arts (October 2006) in Devon, UK. Prior to her arrival at Dartington, Lia lived in Japan for two years. Lia is a long-time student of Roy Hart Voice work. She has trained extensively with Richard Armstrong, as well as Enrique Pardo and Linda Wise of Pantheatre.
Lia currently lives in Saskatoon where she works as an independent creative artist and collaborator. Her current project is a collaborative new media chamber music theatre piece with sound artist Ellen Moffat commissioned by the award-winning CORE Series in Saskatoon to be premiered in November 2014.
She is an accomplished musician (oboe and piano), composer, and vocalist, with substantial achievements in contemporary, improvisational, and classical forms. Her compositions have been performed by soloists and ensembles and broadcast on CBC and BBC Radio. She has also written poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and scripts. In addition to her volumes of poetry: Husk (JackPine Press, 2008), what is this place we have come to(Thistledown Press, 2003) and vicissitudes (Underwhich Editions, 2001), her literary work has been broadcast on CBC Radio and widely published in Canadian literary periodicals.
Lia’s current independent project-in-process is a manuscript of poetry, performance scores and biofictions around the theme of anatomy. http://liapas.com/blog/
Eric Smith – performer & composer
Eric is a musician and artist born and raised in Calgary. He discovered a passion for the bass guitar at age 15 which quickly became an obsession. He has played in several original bands, currently playing in local psychedelic rock/funk group “Groon” and is constantly experimenting and collaborating with other creative artists. His recent musical contribution to a series of 5 Rhythms Ecstatic Dance Workshops led him to creative collaboration with La Caravan Dance Theatre.
Ruth Levin - Performer
Ruth Naomi Levin holds an MFA in Dance from York University and is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program. As well as performing with Maya Lewandowsky and La Caravan Dance Theatre, she is privileged to be a member of the Margie Gillis Legacy Project, mentoring and working closely with prolific and acclaimed dance artist Margie Gillis since August 2014.
Her central passion is the study of the human experience that she has had the great pleasure of exploring both within the context of the dancing and performing body as well as through nearly ten years of meditative practice. Her performance and creative work seek to intertwine these two perspectives to bring greater depth and wisdom to the studio and performance venue through the integration of spiritual and meditative approaches.
She has had the tremendous privilege of working with world class artists and teachers in both fields of interest, including in the field of dance, Peggy Baker, Jolene Bailie, Margie Gillis, Danny Grossman, James Kudelka and Maya Lewandowsky as well as the faculty at York University and the School of TDT. Her guides in the direct study of mind are Achariya Doug Duncan, Catherine Pawasarat and the enlivened community of the Clear Sky Sangha.
She has presented her own work in Vancouver and Toronto and toured Canada’s East Coast with Lila an improvisational ensemble of dancers and musicians. She is grateful and thrilled to be working with Maya Lewandowsky and La Caravan Theatre on their most recent creative journey
Dorothy Bishop – Cellist
Dorothy is originally from Buffalo NY. She has degrees from Boston (mathematics), Germany (music), and Calgary (holistic therapy, Reiki Master). She studied cello with Madelaine Foley, Ben Zander, and Antonio Janigro, and chamber music with members of the Budapest, Julliard, annd Vegh Quartets. She has played in recitals on radio and television throughout the US, Canada and western Europe. Her orchestral career includes five years in the Calgary Philharmonic and CBC Strings, guest prinicpal cellist in BC, Saskatchewan and Germany, and tours in Europe and Japan. Recordings include an LP with pianist Delores Keahey, a string quartet CD “Allegra: Baroque n’ Beatles n’ Blues,” a solo cello CD “Cello Dreams,” as well as contributions to the recordings of artists including Cathy Miller, Barton Wallace, Crystal Plamondon and Oscar Lopez. Her newly-released collaboration with Peter D’Amico is titled “Bishop King Castle.”
Dorothy’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: The Dybbuk and The Dybbuk in the Edmonton Fringe Festival
Travis Bayley – Musician & Performer
Travis Bayley is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and artistic performer from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At the age of nine Travis started taking piano lessons through the Royal Conservatory of music and eventually received his grade 9 certificate. He later went on to sing and play guitar, composing and performing songs in several bands. Currently Travis continues his expansive ambitious approach to the creative arts working with his band Rak and Targus as well as receiving contemporary dance training through La Caravan Dance studio.
Kyra Newton - performer
Kyra Newton holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary dance and Sociology from Simon Fraser University. She has taken part in several professional dance programs such as Hofesh Shechter, Thodos Dance Chicago, Arts Umbrella, Alberta Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the International School of Ballet. She has had the opportunity to dance for Wen Wei, Desiree Dunbar, and Judith Garay in Vancouver, BC. This year, upon moving to Calgary she performed in Montage 2015. Kyra is currently dancing with La Caravan Dance Theater and teaching dance professionally at a local studio.
In the last 30 years, Jessica has been involved in the fields of film, TV, theatre, circus and dance. She is a dedicated multi-disciplinary artist with a passion for performing, directing, writing, and teaching. Exploring the complexities and subtleties of human interaction and relationships through storytelling has remained at the forefront of her work. Past work includes artistic direction with Toronto’s Cirque Sublime, choreography and performance with Firefly Theatre, clown and buffon performance and teaching assistance with Mump and Smoot’s Mike Kennard and John Turner, collaborative choreography for Springboard’s Fluid Fest and Lawn Dances, performance and production with Calgary’s OYR High Performance Rodeo, teaching and performance with Green Fools Theatre, and aerial-dance and character work with Cirque du Soleil’s touring show, Quidam. She is currently touring A Side of Dreams, a collaborative multi-disciplinary theatre piece, with Metis artist Jani Lauzon.
Kalyna Conrad – Lighting Director
Kalyna has been a lighting designer and technician in Ontario and Alberta for the last 15 years, winning her first design award at age 16 in a high school drama competition. Over the course of her career she has had a hand in lighting everything from corporate events and nightclubs to opera, dance, theatre, musicals and live music. In the early 2000’s she earned a BFA Hon in lighting and set design from York University in Toronto before continuing her studies at the Banff Centre for two years and finally settling in Calgary. She is a recurring designer with the Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artists Program and resident lighting designer for Anchor|Red Theatre. Always happy to share her knowledge and passion, she spends most of her summers mentoring young lighting technicians at the Banff Centre and her winters working for various companies and doing what she can to provide work and learning opportunities to young technicians.
Her spare time is divided between knitting, writing fantasy and spending quality time with her husband Eric and their four cats. If you would like to see a full list of her credits and photos of her work, please visit her website.
Jennie Vallis – Artistic Producer & Props
Jennie Vallis is a new media artist/performance designer and is excited to join La Caravan Dance Theatre in the role of Artistic Producer. A BFA graduate and Board of Governor’s recipient from the Alberta College of Art and Design, Jennie specializes in interactive installations/performances with a special interest in dancer integration. Jennie has received commissions by numerous arts and music festivals across North America to produce immersive interactive stage designs/installations and her work has been exhibited internationally. With experience in sound and video production, projection, animation and interactive programming, Jennie has a wide range of technical skills and creative tools to bring to the stage with La Caravan Dance Theatre.
Derek Demassi – Projection Design
Derek is an interactive media artist with a background in information science and biology. Derek’s work experiments with generative visual programming, interaction design, and motion capture. Using various design methodologies, mediums or genres, he is continually researching and developing boundary pushing multimedia systems. Derek seeks opportunities to bridge the gap between Science and Art.
Derek’s credits with La Caravan Dance Theatre include: La Soirée – 2011 and 2012, Movement in Politics, The Dybbuk, and The Dybbuk in the Edmonton Fringe Festival.
Anni Kuhn – Costume Designer
Anni has had a love for fabric and textiles as long as she can remember. She has surrounded herself with the visual arts throughout her life, disciplining herself in the technical aspects of sewing and fabric design. In 2003 she attended pattern drafting and corset design workshops at the Kootneay School of the Arts, under the guidance of Angeika Werth, a highly skilled fabric artist.
In 2006, Anni designed the theatrical costumes for La Caravan Dance Theatre, for ‘Contrast,’ which involved eight dancers. Currently Anni continues to be the head costume designer for La Caravan’s productions, and operates Conscious Alterations Accessory and Costume Design, based in Calgary. She ships accessories to people all over the world online.
She finds inspiration in nature, especially in the abundant open space of the Rocky Mountains and prairies. The patterns and cycles in nature inform much of her design processes, and also brings insight to her self discovery.
Her visualization process comes alive when she is able to bring focus to movement, through the medium of dance, which she uses as a form of release and healing. She enjoys free form movement, exploring repetitions, patterns, and the joyfulness of letting go. All of these energies combine and come forth in her wearable creations.
nicole Bruce - performer
Born and raised in Rossland, British Columbia Nicole always new she was an artist, exploring different creative mediums and forms of expression. Dance and art in particular grew into her passionate and quickly became her life. She consciously equipped her traditional art talents with digital skills when she received a Diploma in Multimedia Production and Design at Selkirk College in Nelson B.C. Dance remained strong in her life through working with progressive groups like House of Dangerkat, performing at Festivals such as Shambhala, Motion Notion and Star Belly Jamboree. She also taught Hip Hop dance at Steps Dance Centre in Trail B.C. where she learned the style as a teenager growing up. Now living in Calgary, she is moving into her third year at Alberta College of Art and Design for a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Graphic Design. Enthralled with animation the drive to merge these forms together has become her focus. Dancing in La Caravan dance company has empowered her to explore and experiment this journey in next level visual performance.
Janet Dyer - Makeup Artist
Saskatchewan born and raised Janet has been a Esthetician/Make Up Artist since 1998, moving to Calgary in July of 2015 to pursue her dream of working in film and tv. One Beauty Academy graduate and a certified Reflexologist, Janet combines the best of health and beauty for all your needs. Whether it's beauty, theatre, bridal, boudoir or special fx... Janet makes your makeup experience unique!
Fiona griffiths - Artistic consultant
Teacher, Coach, Mover, Actor, Clown, Devisor/Choreographer, Fitness Professional, Body Worker, Nurse
With a BFA in modern dance and choreography and an MFA in multi-media performing arts and creative process, Fiona has also studied many movement and acting techniques from Feldenkrais, Alexander, and Kinetic Awareness to clown, bouffon, Theatre of the Oppressed, and Suzuki and Grotowski work. She has performed extensively in dance, theatre, clown and video and toured her highly acclaimed dance/theatre shows nationally and internationally. Fiona studied and taught with Richard Pochinko and Linda Putnam for many years. She was founder and director of Atelier Pochinko at the Theatre Resource Centre for ten years and became the Artistic Director from 1990-92. She teaches and coaches actors, dancers and clowns in movement, acting and source work. Fiona has taught in the many university theatre departments including York and Yale Universities graduate drama programs and choreographed and coached for many professional theatre and dance companies. In 2007/8, during a sabbatical year at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England, she completed an MA in training and coaching actors. Her thesis titled Wired to Act, explored the psycho-neurobiology of training performers. While in London Fiona performed with Theatre Para-Active and Zecora Ura in the ground breaking multimedia show Hotel Medea, which played the Shunt Vaults in London, UK and opened the Salisbury International Arts Festival. Recently she performed in Hado by Sashar Zarif, Nuit Blanche, Intersection Project, 24 hrs of Butoh...or not, and The Red Nose District.She is also a regular contributor with FADO, a performance Art umbrella organization. Fiona and Steven Bush co-directed Autogeddon for Pandemic Theatre (2012)she directed The Spinster Seminars at the Toronto Fringe (2013). As well as running independent workshops and coaching performers, Fiona teaches at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Hart House, University of Toronto, Ryerson University(Therapeutic Clowning) and The Manitoulin Conservatory. Retired from nursing, Fiona continues her therapeutic work with a private practice in Craniosacral & emotional release therapy and Kinetic Awareness. She is also in demand as a fitness professional teaching 3rd age Aquafit, Yoga and Sitting Fit in senior centres around Toronto.
Katy Whitt - Photography
Katy Whitt has had the honour of working with La Caravan for over five years shooting productions and performances in a variety of creative settings.
Inspired by movement and narrative, Katy works closely with the artists to develop a strong understanding of each piece in order to create images that resonate with both the performers and the audience.
Katy graduated with a Bachelor of Design in Photography from the Alberta College of Art and Design, and is currently studying photography this year with The Banff Centre.