Meet the company

  • Deanna Witwer, Artistic Director

    Deanna Witwer has been the Artistic Director of Corps Bara Dance Theatre since 2014. As a choreographer, performer, writer and director she is committed to facilitating rich, formative experiences for artists and audiences through intentional engagement of the whole person in creation and performance.

    Witwer holds a BA in Dance from the University of Calgary, collaborative with Kinesiology and specializing in performance and choreography. She spent two formational years training in Brussels, Belgium, where she had the opportunity to study extensively under David Zambrano (Flying Low technique), Peter Jasko, Sun Xiao Jun and Dominique Duszynski, among many others after attending ImPulsTanz International Dance Festival in Vienna in 2011.

    As a teacher, Witwer’s work draws heavily on David Zambrano's Flying Low technique and Davida Monk’s principles of release and functional technique, focussing on a reciprocal relationship with the floor, harnessing power by releasing the joints and directing force through the body efficiently and dynamically.

    Highlights of her career include producing and directing Resonant Soul, a series of ten dance meditation films, choreographing and directing Facing the Light, an evening-length theatre performance, performing as a Corps Bara company member for ten years and with company kloetzel&co for four, as well as presenting and performing work in New York City’s and Calgary's Project Dance, Calgary’s Alberta Dance Festival and a commission to choreograph for the University of Calgary’s dance majors.

  • Cabri Boechler, Apprentice Dancer

    Cabri Boechler (she/her) is an enthusiastic performer, choreographer, and dance educator passionate about sharing her love of dance with others. Cabri recently achieved her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with Distinction at the University of Calgary. Her rich University experience has included learning from talented artists and mentors such as Marie France Forcier, Melanie Kloetzel, Christianne Ullmark, Wojciech Mochniej, Melissa Monteros and many more. Growing beyond her undergraduate experience, Cabri aspires to have a fulfilling career within the performing arts. Her artistry is continuously evolving as she pursues her passion for academia, teaching and performance. Cabri is very excited to be joining Corps Bara this season!

  • Samantha Ketsa, Dancer

    Samantha Ketsa (she/they) is an active artist, educator, and academic. Originally from Amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (Edmonton), Samantha received her BFA in Dance with distinction from the University of Calgary. She is the creative director of Untold Physical Theatre, where her own choreography interacts with theatre, music, design, and feminist scholarship. Samantha is a contributor for The Dance Current, with her most recent essay appearing in the Summer 2022 print edition. Fuelled by a social justice imperative in her creative praxis, Samantha has pursued studies at the graduate level in counselling psychology and is currently undertaking intimacy direction certification. Samantha has long admired the work of Corps Bara; she is looking forward to an exciting season joining the team as a company dancer!

  • Kathryn Lee, Dancer, Social Media Manager

    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!

  • Emily Losier, Dancer

    Emily Losier is an emerging artist with a BFA in Dance from the University of Calgary. Within the university setting, she has performed in many of the dance department productions, such as Dance@Noon, Dance@Night, and Mainstage. Outside of the university, she has danced and trained with companies such as W&M Physical Theatre, Corps Bara Dance Theatre, and Ember Dance Company. Choreographically, Emily has delved into her interest for interdisciplinary and site-specific work through the IGNITE! Festival for Emerging Artists. In addition, she has self-choreographed a solo for the Springboard Fluid Festival, and also commissioned work for the Calgary Board of Education. Emily hopes to continue to investigate the possibilities of dance, taking inspiration from multidisciplinary work and practices, and to further connect and integrate herself into the arts community in Calgary. 

  • Katharina Schier, Dancer, Choreographer

    Born in Germany, Katharina Schier grew up in Calgary training from an early age at The School of Alberta Ballet and continued her training with programs at The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and The Ailey School and graduated with distinction from The Boston Conservatory with a BFA in Contemporary Dance (‘16). While in attendance she performed in works by world renowned choreographers some of which include Mark Morris, Danny Buraczeski, Uri Sands, Richard Colton and Andrea Miller. Katharina co-produced and created The Boston Conservatory’s First Annual Senior Dance Performance presented at Gibney Dance Center (NYC) in March 2016. This performance won the Boston Conservatory’s “Project of the Year” Award and has since been incorporated into the curriculum as a course for Senior Dance Majors. 

     Katharina has danced professionally in Canada and U.S.A. having performed with City Ballet of Boston, Dance, Cathy Young, Luminarium Dance Company, and Lorraine Chapman The Company. Since returning to Calgary, she has performed with Dancers’ Studio West and Facet Music and has presented her own work at Sage Theatre’s IGNITE! Festival. Katharina currently produces and choroegrapher’s new work throughout Calgary as the Artistic Director of @calgarycorecontemporaries  Dance Association with project based funding from Alberta Foundation for the Arts (2019), Canada Council for the Arts (2020) and Calgary Arts Development (2022). Katharina is overjoyed to be performing with the incredible community of Corp Bara Dance this winter 2022. 

  • 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.

  • 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.