Meet the company

  • Deanna Witwer, Artistic Director

    Deanna Witwer became the Artistic Director of Corps Bara in 2014, subsequently directing Absence a co-production with Fire Exit Theatre, a collaborative performance Bodies Aglow, short works for Project Dance Calgary and the Alberta Dance Festival, and choreographing and directing the full-length work Facing the Light. As an artist, Witwer is committed to facilitating rich, formative experiences for dancers, choreographers and collaborators alike by encouraging engagement of the whole person in creation, holding the tension between artistic rigour and honest humanity; vocational excellence and transformational experience.

    Witwer holds a BA in Dance from the University of Calgary, collaborative with Kinesiology and specializing in performance and choreography. She performed as a company member with Corps Bara for ten years, performed numerous projects with company kloetzel&co (under the direction of Melanie Kloetzel), has presented and performed work in New York City and Calgary’s Project Dance and in the Alberta Dance Festival. In 2013 she was commissioned to create a work on the University of Calgary’s first year dance majors for their Montage performance and in 2011 attended ImPulsTanz International Dance Festival in Vienna.

    In 2017 Witwer was supported by Calgary Arts Development’s Small Experiments grant to fuel a choreographic project with distance as a parameter for creation. With five dancers working in Calgary, Deanna choreographed a 17 minute work-in-progress from the comfort (and distinct disadvantage) of her home in Toronto.

    Witwer spent two formational years training independently in Brussels, Belgium, where she had the opportunity to extensively study Flying Low technique under David Zambrano, as well as training with Peter Jasko, Sun Xiao Jun and Dominique Duszynski, among many others.

  • Beth Durnie, Dancer

    Beth is originally from Calgary, Alberta and is a graduate of the Arts Umbrella Dance Diploma Program in Vancouver, BC. This past season, Beth performed with Ballet BC (Romeo+Juliet, Medhi Walerski) and Inverso Productions (Spooky Action, Lesley Telford) as an intern and apprentice dancer, respectively.  While an active part of the Vancouver dance scene, Beth had the opportunity to work with various renowned artists and choreographers such as Crystal Pite, Emily Molnar, and Stephan Laks. Beth is excited to be back in Calgary and dancing with Corps Bara, and will be attending the University of Calgary, Bachelor of Kinesiology Program. 

  • Kathryn Lee, Dancer

    Kathryn Lee has a zest for life and aspires to share the gift of movement with the young, the old and everyone in between! She is a passionate advocate of the great joy and fullness that dance can bring both for the individual and the community. Kathryn began her formal dance training in Edmonton, AB and completed her high school years in Calgary at Crossings Dance, completing exams in RAD ballet and ISTD Modern and participating in a number of summer intensives including the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, School of Alberta Ballet, and Dance Ad Deum. She later obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Belhaven University in Jackson, MS where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Kathryn has performed with a variety of contemporary companies including Corps Bara Dance Theatre, EnCorps Dance Collective, CIC Dance Theatre, Inlet Dance Theatre, and Cleveland Dance Project. Kathryn is excited to be back in the city of Calgary, instructing dance at Crossings Dance and performing with Corps Bara this season!

  • Taylor Ritchie, Dancer

    Taylor Ritchie is an accomplished performer, dance teacher and arts enthusiast from Calgary, Alberta. She attended the University of Calgary, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Dance, with a concentration in choreography and performance with distinction. During this time, Taylor worked with distinguished choreographers and teachers including Melanie Kloetzel, Davida Monk, Wojciech Mochniej, and Sasha Ivanochko. Since emerging in the local arts scene, she has performed with Kloetzel and Co., Corps Bara Dance Theatre, Ember Dance Company, Esira Dance Company, and with choreographers Meghann Michalsky, Sylvie Moquin, and Jason Galeos. Taylor has had the opportunity to perform across Canada in Regina’s Stream of Dance, Calgary’s Fluid Festival, Annual Alberta Dance Festival, and Skylines Dance & Film Series, as well as Edmonton’s The Works Festival and Prairie Dance Circuit. Taylor is excited to continue her journey with Corps Bara, and is grateful for the emotional, spiritual, and physical outlet that this company provides.

  • Heidi Schmidtke, Dancer

    Heidi Schmidtke began training at Crossings Dance, Calgary, in ballet, contemporary and modern styles. Heidi danced for seven seasons with Corps Bara's youth company, which offered her many opportunities to perform in various pieces and study with many experienced choreographers. Heidi achieved her Advanced 2 RAD ballet exam and competed in the Genée International Ballet Competition, which took her to London in 2015, where she was inspired by the Royal Academy of Dance to study ballet full time. Heidi attended the Goh Ballet Academy where, with the youth company, she performed in productions of The Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, and in the Beijing Arts Festival. Heidi then joined Ballet Jorgen's junior company summer intensive where she studied under Ballet Jorgen faculty, company members, and guest choreographers Gadfly and Mafa Makhubalo. When Heidi returned to Calgary, she trained with the O2 Dance Company and performed at the Rocky Mountain Salsa Gala, the Albert Culture Days, and in a music video for an emerging pop artist. Heidi joined Corps Bara Dance Theatre in 2018, appearing in the production of Facing the Light, and she is excited to be back for her second season.

  • Caitlin Unrau, Dancer, Photographer

    Caitlin Unrau grew up in Calgary and started dancing at the age of four at Crossings Dance. There, she trained under Melodie Mckee-Lacey, Sheahan Keinick, Ainsley Sudds, Erin O’Loughlin, Deanna Witwer, Kyla Hiebert, Shirley Proust, Chantal Gandar, Kyrsten Blair, Shelby Skidmore Kelly, Alessandra Jane, and Laura Barcelo. Her love of performance and contemporary dance was fed from a young age by participating in the former Corps Bara Youth Dance Company for seven years, Corps Bara Professional Company for one, and SURGE by W&M Dance for one year as well. Caitlin travelled to Toronto and New York with CB Youth Company to participate in Project Dance and to take classes at Steps and Limon Dance. She also had the pleasure of being in Deanna Witwer’s piece in Alberta Dance Festival in 2015 with the CB Professional Company. While with SURGE, Caitlin also had the opportunity to attend a Hofesh Shechter workshop.

    She now trains under Wojtek Mochniej, Melissa Monteros, Melanie Kloetzel and Marie-France Forcier in contemporary dance while working on her Double Major in Kinesiology and Dance at University of Calgary. Caitlin performed as a part of Montage in Kyrsten Blair’s piece in 2016. Caitlin also performed in Mainstage 2018 in Melanie Kloetzel’s ‘Waisted’ and in Mainstage 2019 in Melissa Monteros’ ‘Secrets’. She looks forward to her third season with Corps Bara.

  • Sasha Wilde, Dancer

    Sasha Wilde is a dance artist passionate about performance, choreography and teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Dance from The School of Contemporary Dancers in affiliation with The University of Winnipeg (2017). Additionally, she studied with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks’ Professional Training Program (2018). Sasha’s professional performance credits include: Young Lungs Dance Exchange, Odette Heyn Projects with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, GPS Dance Collective’s Mexican tour: Creando Lazos a Través de la Danza, NAfro Dance Productions, Dancers’ Studio West Dance Action Lab: Musculus Mundi. In 2019 Sasha presented her self-choreographed and performed solo Imperfect Perfection at Edmonton’s NextFest Festival of Emerging Artists and Calgary’s IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists. In addition to performing Sasha is passionate about facilitating the creative expression of young performers; she works throughout Calgary as a dance teacher and choreographer for various youth dance/performance groups.

  • Reese Wilson, dancer

    Reese Wilson is a Calgary based dance artist, who has just recently completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at the University of Calgary. She has trained in multiple dance styles such as Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, and Tap for fifteen years. She is now focusing significantly on Contemporary dance performance, film and choreography. Reese has trained with and performed works by artists such as: Sasha Ivanochko, Melissa Monteros, Wojciech Mochniej, Marie France Forcier and Melanie Kloetzel. Over the last 5 years, Reese’s performance experience ranges from professionally choreographed works within W&M Dance’s pre-professional company: Surge Co., to works presented at the University choreographed by the artists listed above. She has also performed in multidisciplinary festivals such as the Ignite Festival for Emerging Artists, and the Skylines Dance and Film Series, as well as recently presenting a new film in the Ignite festival June of 2020 with guidance from Katherine Semchuk. Reese looks forward to expanding her knowledge and experience in both performance and choreography in the future.