Dezza Dance

Expect the unexpected

Wow! We were overwhelmed by audience responses from our one-night event Amuse-Bouche. We couldn't have hoped for a more divine evening.

Thank-you to each and every one of you who made this possible!




We warmly welcome you to join us in an unusual + delightful dance, food, music experience on FRI APRIL 13TH at the century old Aberthau Mansion in Vancouver.



Tickets include:

6 course amuse-bouche servings prepared by Chef Dylan Foss with wine pairings

Live classical music by Mark Atherton with piano accompaniement

New contemporary dance work by Desirée Dunbar in collaboration with the dancers

Dezza Dance Artists: Marc Arboleda, Rachel Helten, Garrick Jang, Jenna Kraychy, Kerstin Luettich, Linda Maschak, Linda Rosenheck, Derya Whaley-Kalaora, Glenna Wong & Lan Yook




Watch this sneak peek of our recent rehearsal at Aberthau Mansion with Mark Atherton and Marc Arboleda

A Message from the Artistic Director

Dear Dezza Dance Friend,

Allow me to entice you...

Amuse-Bouche is a playful collaboration with myself, Chef Dylan-Foss (who loves the challenge of creating a delicious, artful, sustainable and organic food menu) and the powerful yet gentle opera singer/ yoga instructor Mark Atherton.  The intergenerational dance cast shares the stage with singer, pianist and chef in this 60 minute contemporary dance production in the dining room and lounge of the Aberthau Mansion/ West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver.

I believe you will be delighted by our unusual mixture of gourmet food, live vocals (opera, musical theatre and jazz) and piano arrangements as well as contemporary dance choreography that features an intergenerational cast of professional dancers (myself included) and community dancers. 

My love of collaboration and my desire to win the hearts of both seasoned and new dance lovers, brings me outside the box to provide unique experiences for all involved. In the past I’ve collaborated with astronomers to present at the Tucson Planetarium, and more recently re-visited The Wizard of OZ in No Place Like Home, to whisk audiences through the rooms of the century old Aberthau Mansion.

Over the past year and a half I have hosted older adults Creative Collaborative Dance Workshops every Friday at Aberthau Mansion/ West Point Grey Community centre. From that, has grown a group of dedicated artists who have been stepping up their game with me in the realm of dance performance. I would like to personally thank the West Point Grey Community Association and Arts & Health for supporting these workshops.

I have brought together an ensemble of professionals including recent SFU dance graduates Rachel Helten, Jenna Kraychy, and Marc Arboleda and apprentice Derya Whaley-Kalaora (Arts Umbrella) with six older adult community dancers ranging in age from 55-70 years. This has been a win win scenario with the younger and older dancers learning from one another and enriching each others lives.

I warmly welcome you to join us in this one-night-only, full-blown, sensory extravaganza.


Desirée Dunbar,

Artistic Director/ Founder, Dezza Dance


Did we mention we absolutely love rehearsing and sharing our work with you at Aberthau Mansion? So many thanks to the West Point Grey Community Association, the staff and Vancouver Parks Board and to all who have made our residency possible!

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Vancouver Park Board and West Point Grey Community Association

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Marc Arboleda, Professional Dancer


I nurture my creativity by opening myself to as many interesting and diverse ideas my day-to-day schedule will allow. And, I dance a lot… yep, I dance quite a bit. Lots of dancing. Lots. Feels great. 

My relationship to dance is… hmm, let’s see…

Think about movement




I think that about sums it up.

Oh, and I dance a lot. 

If I were food right now I would be a slice of New York Cheesecake. Or, maybe Maple Syrup Cheesecake because I’m currently in Vancouver… 

Nah, definitely New York Cheesecake. DEFINITELY. Feels great. 


Mark Atherton, Singer

Mark Atherton.jpg

I practice mindfulness to really notice the beauty thats all around me. It's so easy to get caught up in my head and to ruminate. Taking the time to really be in my surroundings brings a fresh perspective and recharges my soul. In turn this helps me feel creative and inspired!

I grew up in a musical family so being involved in music was never a question. My love of singing comes from the power of text. Words hold so much meaning. I've seen how words and music can transport people back through time, to memories and events that they hold close to their hearts.

I love any form of potato! It's my achilles heal and i decided to with give it up for six weeks as an experiment in self control, so it's on my mind a lot! I love how a humble looking potato can transform in may different ways. There's also something wonderful about it growing in the dirt and mud, to emerge fully formed. It reminds me of life sometimes! A little mud can do wonders  :-)


Desirée Dunbar, Artistic Director, Dezza Dance, Creator, Dancer


 I nurture my creativity by creating space to do things I know will bring me into a flow of presence like meditating, cooking, walking through the forest, drawing, dancing and connecting with inspiring people like the ones in this show.

I see Dance as the path to greater awareness, authenticity and spiritual development. I assist my students to release what's holding them back from their boldest expression of themselves. I teach people to allow, embrace and even amplify their emotions and provide them with tools to gracefullly process the energy that arises.

If I was a food right now I'd be a delicious Pavlova with fresh mixed-berries and heaps of whipped cream. With each bite there is a bit of crunch amidst the sweet and smooth.


Chef Dylan-Foss


I have been lucky to find a career that is full creation and that I love. When in a creative dry spell, a change of season usually can get me firing again. Another strategy to stoke the fire is cooking for loved ones. The act of cooking for people is spiritually significant for me and always nurturing for me and the ones receiving my creations. If I were a food I would be food that is organic and grown by friends who farm as it's always very lush, vibrant and full of nutrition.

My relationship with dance generally takes place at a friends party where you can cut lose and be totally silly with special people. I also believe that dance helps us to feel comfortable in our bodies in the reserved Canada we live in, it challenges up physically, emotionally and socially. As someone who like to rock the boat, it's perfect.


Rachel Helten, Professional Dancer


I dance often. In every shade of my being. In dark rooms, kitchens, studios, the stage, in forests, beaches, in dirt and water. At times my spirit dances to sounds of stillness. Other times I'm moved by rhythms raucous to serene that quicken my heart and mind. I sing often. In all the aforementioned places. But it all began in a bath tub or in my mother's presence. To put shape to what perplexes and enchants me I write also. Be it poetry or random musings scribbled in my journals. Other times I memorize lines and try on personas to learn how to better understand being human. I admire other beings by watching shows, taking class, reading and traveling often to absorb, express and celebrate our wisdom. 

Dance is my first love and one of my main forms of expression. I fell in love with movement by watching my sister's and mother's grace. My relationship was nurtured by my family gifting me the opportunity of mentorship through endless classes, sequins and tender praise. I was bestowed the blessing of receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Simon Fraser University. Now I work as a performer, teacher, dance maker and creator in various avenues. 

If I was a food right now I would be Lemon Gelato because I hope to be a sweet and refreshing energy for all. Also, unsurprisingly I dream of eating gelato in the sun frequently. 



Garrick Jang, Community Dancer


I nurture my creativity by taking classes in painting, creative dance, Coppeira, tai chi, song writing, singing, jive dancing, and choir every week. I meditate and practice visualization regularly. I study film acting techniques.

My relationship to my art form of creative dance is to enjoy self expression  through exploring movement patterns emerging from the right brain and then shaping these explorations into choreography. 

If I was food, I guess, I'd be white rice. Why? Because I'm a 3rd generation Canadian born Chinese regular dude who drinks beer, watches football, teaches tai chi, and participates in the arts. I believe in being integrated. White rice goes with everything but it's not pure and politically correct nor evenly brown.


Taylor Janzen, Stage & Assistant Production Manager


I nurture my creativity by working with people I like on projects they are excited about.

For me dance is a way of connecting with other people who enjoy movement and exploring a physical language for storytelling. 

If I were a food I’d probably be a pot of nicely steeped Superior Roast Iron Buddha.


Jenna Kraychy, Professional Dancer

Jenna began her dance training at age four in Calgary, Canada where she has studied Ballet and various Contemporary dance techniques. Jenna holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, has completed various RAD Ballet Examinations, and has had a wide variety of performance and training opportunities across North America and Europe. 

In the various dance projects Jenna is currently working on in Vancouver, BC, Jenna has found much joy in continuing to nurture her creative impulses through engaging with a diverse group of members within the dance community.  From working on her own projects to working under the direction of choreographers such as Desirèe Dunbar, Jenna has continued to deepen and explore the different directions of dance, furthering her love of this art form.  

If she were to "be a food", Jenna would be chocolate mousse. Why? Because chocolate is amazing. 


Kerstin Luettich, Community Dancer

Dance is a part of my life. Imagine an empty space which you enter via a creative passage: it needs to be filled but not in a possessive way. You enter this space consciously, with care and with expression. Moving in space is nothing else than dancing: by moving in space, I dance. 

Dancing is communication, with your body and spirit and with the outer world. To communicate requires by definition to listen and to share. And it needs curiosity. Learning is an essential part of creativity, and thus by communication, I learn, and by learning I feed my creativity. 

I would love to be a chanterelle: this mushroom can’t be grown in a hothouse or farmed. Rather, the yellow beauty hides in the forest and makes it hard to get harvested. It has its own will and wants only to be found by those who invest energy and love. When it finds the right seeker, it provides them a sensual sensation they will never forget.

Kerstin Luettich-dezza-dance

Linda Maschak, Community Dancer

My creativity is nurtured by pausing to breathe in and experience what is being offered at the moment. The offering might be planned...or spontaneous...and as well as providing me with creative nourishment and inspiration, excitement and challenges might appear. It is my intention to be open to and offer my full attention to these precious creative moments.

My relationship to dance is an expression of my joy of creative movement...moving from the inside out. Dancing with others expands this joy and provides me with great satisfaction when we are able to breathe, interact and move as one. To me, dance is like a symphony of sounds...or a master painting...but the elements that create this art form are movement and timing.

If I were a food right now, I would be a strawberry sundae...fresh strawberries, with home made vanilla ice-cream.


Matthew Ming Li, Pianist

As a Classical pianist, most of what I do is based on performance of musical works written by the old masters. As the music has already been written and cannot be changed, the role of musicians are very similar to that of actors, in that we interpret what is written on the page and attempt to bring it to life. For me, I garner inspirations from a varieties of sources, from other musicians, artists of other disciplines, to even seemingly unrelated things such as science, video games and food. I have an inquisitive nature ever since my childhood. I find asking questions and keeping an open mind to unexpected answers to be immensely helpful with my creative side. 

Music has been an important part of my life ever since I was a child. I can’t imagine living without it! I am a firm believer that music is connected to every aspect of life and I strongly oppose the notion of the division of arts and sciences as two separate and opposite entities.

One dish I discovered when I was travelling in Italy: Prosciutto e melone. Who knew that salty meat and sweet cantaloupe goes so well together! And come to think of it, why did I assume that they won’t?


Derya Whaley-Kalaora, Professional Dancer


I nurture my creativity in its many forms through creating and performing music on my own, writing poetry, and of course through movement. I have the honour of creating music with talented people in the band that I'm in, challenging myself to try new things and broaden my abilities in my own solo music career, and getting to explore my choreographic side when dancing with Dezza Dance.

I have been dancing since I was 2, and movement has always been an integral part of my life. I danced at a community centre for many years before moving to Arts Umbrella when I was 10. I trained at Arts Umbrella in their dance company for 7 years as part of their semi-professional program, having opted out of the professional stream. I have performed on stage for several dance companies, as well as independently choreographing and performing numerous dances for a youth festival and Leg Up! Contemporary Dance Festival. My relationship to dance is always changing and being reimagined, growing with me as I move into adulthood.

If I were a food right now I would be a plantain fruit. Almost like bananas, but not quite. 


Linda Rosenheck, Community Dancer


At this time in my life I am totally drawn to strawberries, and I see myself as needing that nurturing of rich soil,warm sun, the help of bees and other resources in the universe to help me grow and be the best possible berry that I can . Through dance I have found an  nurturing environment which has given me an opportunity to express myself in a soulful way and brings me joy! I never believed I had any creativity, because I could not paint a beautiful picture, write a poem, but I have found a creative being within myself through movement/dance ; now I can define creativity as more than an end product but as a way of moving and being in life- whether it is through baking, dancing, journal writing, or how I relate to others in my world. So I have continued to nurture "my creativity" through giving myself  time to meditate , so I can stay in touch with my inner self, by continuing to take pleasure and pride in baking for my family and friends, and by continuing to dance with an amazing group of other dancers, who have inspired me to move in ways that I never believed possible and have helped me in my growth as a dancer.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of an inter-generational dance group under Dezza Dance, and a thank you to all of you who have continued to be a source of inspiration!


Glenna Wong, Community Dancer

Freedom to move while accepting/embracing all current physical limitations.  Any body can dance!

Joy of movement to music - rhythms either external or internal. 

Joy of moving with groups of dancers in choreographed unison or improvised pieces.

Joy of self expression and allowing yourself to feel the full range of emotions.

I feel most creative when in a semi-structured, non-judgemental, nurturing environment.  I take inspirations from music, words/text/stories, visual images, and other sensory inputs - yes, including food inspirations! Creativity can be contagious and synergistic so I like to connect, collaborate and share with others.

If I were a food, I would be Crème Brule - having a  warm, but tough exterior that is cool, smooth, sweet and tender under the surface.


Lan Yook, Community Dancer


I nurture my creativity by following my intuition. By allowing time to be by myself. By focusing on doing what I love to do. 

For me, dance is a form of therapy: a way to throw off any tension and any negative energies stored in my body, allowing me to be youthful, light and joyful. Dance is also my happy panacea to alleviate my suffering. Socially, I feel connected with others. Mentally, my mind becomes sharp and clear. Emotionally, I am happy, peaceful and content. Psychologically, I have no depression or emptiness. Physically, I have no pain in my body—specifically in my joints and muscles. Spiritually, I feel myself going beyond my physical limitations and touch upon a higher dimension of myself.

If I were a food I would be kimchi, a traditional Korean, fermented side dish. To some, kimchi only tastes hot, salty and spicy. However, to others, kimchi is delicious, healthy and very addictive. Like kimchi, my hot temper sometimes makes me too much for others to handle; yet at other times, my caring, nurturing energy could be very supportive of others in many ways.



Video of Dezza Dance by Willan Leung



What you said

Your passion for the arts and bringing it to all ages is something I admire and appreciate SO much. I really, really, REALLY, miss dancing and it fills my heart to see people from all walks of life being able to enjoy and give the gift of art. I just wanted you to know how great a night it was. Thank you!
— Sarah Adebahr

I went to see this last night and it was incredible!!! I was captivated the entire performance. I just read it’s sold-out for tonight but there’s a waitlist at the door. Congratulations Desirée Dunbar and the entire troupe. Rumour is ... there may well be next year too!
— Stan Wardle, Production Manager


Loved it!! Loved it!!! So appreciate the opportunity to have seen it!
Thank you, so much, again for No Place Like Home! There was quite a lively conversation on the way back to the North Shore afterwards as we were very impressed by the dynamics of the way in which the community was integrated into the performance. My first thought in hearing that it was going to be a “progressive performance” was that I wasn’t sure how it was going to all work out. However – having seen the performance, not only did you integrate community members along with professional dancers in the presentation but the whole audience was engaged throughout the performance. I felt, in moving through the House, that I was actually one of the performers somehow.
Looking forward to the next occasion!!
— Sarah R. Ahmadi Executive Director Pro Arte Centre


Most incredibly moving performance.
A must see.
The original compositions
Gifted musicians
Outstanding choreography
Deeply moving performances by professional dancers
Emerging and joyfilled community dancers in a magnificent mansion setting.
Truly There is No Place Like Home.
Now there must be more performances for future audiences down the road...
— Joanne Helten, Proud Parent
garrick-jang-no-place-like-home- dezza-dance





MEet the cast 

Cast members speak on No Place Like Home premiered Nov 3 & 4, 2017


Kerstin Lüttich | Community Dancer


Glenna Wong | Community Dancer

Derya Whaley-Kalaora | Toto (Catalyst Apprentice)


Linda Maschak | Community Dancer


Rachel Helten | Scarecrow


Cody Cox | Tin Man


Jenna Kraychy | Dorothy


Kestrel Paton | The Wicked Witch  (Catalyst Apprentice)


Garrick Jang | The Wizard



Videography by Willan Leung



The End Tree is the Vancouver-based collaborative songwriting project of Elliot Vaughan (Viola/Voice) and Martin Reisle (Cello/Voice). A unique brand of hallucinatory, melodramatic chamber-pop. Songs for strange and beautiful margins; intense, absurd, soft, playful, intricate. Something like if Béla Bartók ran the Dirty Projectors as a string and vocal duet.


Read blogs by the musicians over here >>>


In addition to The End Tree, they work with David Ward, Only A Visitor, Wake Owl, Jay Malinowski & The Deadcoast, Maria in the Shower, Very Good, and collaborate regularly within Vancouver’s Dance and Theatre communities.

The End Tree recorded and self-released the EP Everything is Strange in 2012, and plan to release a full-length record in 2017. With Jay Malinowski and the Deadcoast they released the Indian Summer EP (2013) and the full-length Martel (2014).
In 2012, they joined the six-week Revival Tour of Europe with Chuck Ragan, Cory Brannan, Emily Barker, Rocky Votalato, and Jay Malinowski. In Canada, they have performed in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Listen to their latest release below

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leg up! FRI MARCH 2 & SAT MARCH 3



Join us Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd at Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre 7646 Prince Albert St. (near Fraser and East 61st). 

Limited seating. Show starts at 8PM and is approximately one hour in duration. No intermission.

$20 in advance or $25 cash only at the door.




 Photo by David Cooper

Photo by David Cooper

David Clennin is a dance artist based out of Vancouver and Edmonton, Canada.  He graduated from the School for Contemporary Arts with a BFA in Dance at Simon Fraser University in 2015. At SFU he had the pleasure of working with choreographers Rob Kitsos, Kidd Pivot, and Daisy Thompson, among many others.  Since graduating David has performed as an apprentice dancer for the response. and The Tunnel Contemporary Dance Theatre. He also received the training scholarship from EDAM dance in Fall 2016. Dave began his dance training at the age of six doing Ukrainian Dance in Edmonton, AB.  He was a member of Canada’s renowned Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, from 2007-2011 performing in numerous shows, including a 23-show, 14-city tour of China.  Dave also toured to Ukraine, Scotland, U.SA., and many parts of Canada with the Kupalo Ukrainian Dance Ensemble.  Also in Edmonton, he worked with Toy Guns Dance Theatre in 2014, 2015, and 2017, performing in various pieces such as Red Wine, French Toast, and the Best Sex You've Ever Had, and also Fortuitous Endings: What To Do when You Wake Up Drunk In A BBQ Cover In Your Neighbour’s Backyard. This is the 2nd time Dave has collaborated with Marc Arboleda, previously in Deux at T.B.A. in April 2017, and is very excited to continue collaborating with Marc on future projects.

Marc Arboleda's witty new work Variations in g features new music by Matt Horrigan and is danced by powerful performer, David Clennin. Not to be missed!

Marc is a choreographer currently working in Vancouver, BC. He has created four short works. His most recent creation Deux was presented at T.B.A. at the Gold Saucer Studio in early 2017. He has taught dance composition at Sir Charles Tupper Secondary, worked as movement coach for the Douglas College Theatre Program, and is currently Guest Choreographer and Producer for Kababayang Pilipino Cultural Performing Arts Group. He also freelances as a dancer, actor, and director. Selected credits include: Soft Face and Featherless by Elysse Cheadle (Director), Kafka:The Report by Henry Daniel (Dancer/Actor), Pattern of Liquid Stars by Sammy Chien (Dancer/Actor), and Barego by Rob Kitsos (Dancer). He is currently in pre-production for Glass and Obsidian, a music video by Lief Hall (Dancer). He studied Dance and Theatre at the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. He wishes to thank Desirée for her artistic and professional mentorship.

Matthew Horrigan is a Vancouver-based composer, software developer and interdisciplinary artist from Barrhaven, Nepean, Ottawa, where he started his creative career with some songs devised for a nameless high school grunge band.  His poems have subsequently appeared in a bunch of poetry journals including ditch,, Poetry Quarterly and Infinity’s Kitchen, as well as providing text for his musical compositions, of which 2015’s Kyrie and In the Minimal Senses won prizes at the 2016 SOCAN Foundation Young Composer Awards. Matthew holds a B.Mus in music composition from McGill and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Simon Fraser University, where he has since taught computer music as a sessional instructor.  He regularly does arts organizing work, in 2016 co-founding the ongoing contemporary-classical radio show re:composition on CFRO 100.5FM and the Constrained Creations performance art collecTive (Co.Crea.Tive), and in fall 2017 joining the board of Vancouver Pro Musica.  In winter 2016 he travelled to Huddersfield University to research electroacoustic music, and he currently works on the Musebot musical metacreation project with Arne Eigenfeldt, composing software that composes tunes. As a sound designer and composer for dance and theatre Matthew’s work has appeared in performances throughout the BC lower mainland, most recently in the children’s play The Green Wanderer, directed by Julia Siedlanowska for King Matt Theatre (of which the eponymous Matt is not related).  He also performs as a drummer, originally in the Montreal-based rock group Sister Island and lately as a session musician with Vancouver-based acts Reagan Mutt, Dumbpop and Harley Small.

 Photo: David Cooper

Photo: David Cooper

Sophie Brassard is a Vancouver-based dance artist and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University. During her time at SFU she explored her interest in choreography through the creation of works for several interdisciplinary productions. She also explored her passion for performance through the interpretation of several works by local choreographers such as Rob Kitsos, Judith Garay and Vanessa Goodman. Sophie has also had the privilege of dancing in a reconstruction of Merce Cunningham’s Native Green under the direction of Megan Walker-Straight. In the last year she has performed works for Project CPR, for Dezza Dance and most recently has co-created a work for Vines Art Festival alongside Carly Penner. 

Meet the incredibly talented Jenna Kraychy and come see her new quintet including herself, Sophie Brassard, Carly Davis, Kayla DeVos and Derya Whaley-Kalaora.

Jenna Kraychy began her dance training at age four in Calgary, Canada where she has studied Ballet and various Contemporary dance techniques. Jenna holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University, has completed various RAD Ballet Examinations, and has had a wide variety of performance and training opportunities across North America and Europe. During her time at Simon Fraser University, Jenna had the opportunity to learn and perform repertoire by many esteemed dance artists including Crystal Pite, Yossi Berg and Oded Graf Dance Theatre (Israel), Judith Garay (Dancers Dancing), and Lesley Telford (NDT/Arts Umbrella) among many others. In July 2017, Jenna participated in OpenFLR Summer Dance Intensive (Florence, Italy) where she gained exposure to the European dance community. There, she took part in a creative process with Christopher Evans (Hofesh Shechter Company, Gecko Physical Theatre Company) and workshops from other international artists including: Jenia Kasatkina (Countertechnique), Shumpei Nemoto, Dorotea Saykaly, and Jasmine Ellis. Jenna is currently working with Dezza Dance in Vancouver, Canada under the direction of Desirée Dunbar. She is also working on various choreographic projects premiering in Spring 2018. 

Carly Davis is a contemporary dance artist who grew up training in teh Fraser Valley. Carly studied further with Vancouver based Catalyst Dance Program for three seasons before her drive to pursue further training brought her to study in Israel through Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company's International Dance Journey Program. Carly returned to Vancouver and to Catalyst as a student and choreographer. She has since been an apprentice and company member for Dezza Dance and collaborated with Sophie Brassard to present a piece at Vines Arts Festival. She has spent the past season teaching in the lower mainland and is excited to be part of Jenna Kraychy's latest work.

Kayla De Vos is an emerging dance artist and administrator currently based on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples (Vancouver, B.C.). Beginning her training in the Fraser Valley, Kayla recently graduated from Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Distinction). While in the dance program, Kayla had the opportunity to interpret works by Rob Kitsos, Sarah Chase, Peter Bingham, Katie DeVries, and Crystal Pite. She has also participated in workshops with international artists such as German Jauregui and MADBOOTS Dance. In her last year of study, Kayla performed with plastic orchid factory in 2016's Digital Folk, acted as an understudy for Company605 (Inheritor Album), was involved in an intergenerational creation process with Chick Snipper, and apprenticed with Shay Kuebler/Radical System Art (Telemetry). Kayla is also working to expand her knowledge as an administrator and producer; after acting as an associate producer for plastic orchid factory, Kayla recently became the Administrative Assistant for Alvin Tolentino's Co. ERASGA, and sits on the board of the Training Society of Vancouver.

 Photo: David Cooper

Photo: David Cooper


Ready to be inspired by South America dance vibes? Rachel Helten is jumping off a plane to present a new solo work.

Rachel Helten is a Vancouver based dance artist, choreographer, and teacher. In 2016, she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Simon Fraser University. She has an affinity for collaborative and interdisciplinary methods. In like manner she has been blessed to be a part of processes from a vast array of artists such as -Desirée Dunbar, Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, Judith Garay, Rob Kitsos, Crystal Pite, The Plastic Orchid Factory, Vanessa Goodman, Emmalena Fredriksson, Gioconda Barbuto, Wen Wei Wang, Sarah Chase, Heather Myers, The East Vancouver Opera, The Lovers Cabaret and Dorothea Saykaly. Among such impactful experiences Rachel gleaned insight from teaching dance at an art therapy centre in Quito, Ecuador. In addition, she trained in Florence, Italy in a process facilitated by emminent dance innovators from around the world. In the past two months she has been granted the gift to explore the energies of South America in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. In her last month there she trained and collaborated with artists in Buenos Aires. Rachel created this work responding to these frequencies, landscapes and terrain. While unearthing the stories that live within her she honours the colours of the people and the wisdom of nature that inspire her movement. Rachel would like to express deep gratitude to Dezza Dance for the fortuity to nurture her expression and share these stories. Furthermore, she extends her profound appreciation to her family and friends for their love and support and for all those who have helped shape who she is today.



Dance lovers you're in for a treat as you'll get to see Juan a lot in this show and we think you're going to love it. Juan is super-charged-energetic with a smile that'll melt your heart. Come see his solo and duet work with equally infectious Akeisha De Baat.

Juan Villegas is a Colombian Canadian dance artist, he works in dance, performance art, and video. He works with improvisation and collaboration, exploring themes such as identity, equality and pushing boundaries of physicality. He is also interested in traditional and nontraditional performance spaces. He is drawn to full bodied movement that is fused with emotional connectedness. He believes in performing with the highest level of sensory awareness and uses improvisation as a tool to discovering honest movement states. His background in Latin American dance and culture, films, contemporary music, ceramics, traveling, the state of the world, western science and the Yoga system influence his dance. Juan has a post-baccalaureate diploma in contemporary dance from Simon Fraser University and a degree in industrial design from Emily Carr University. Juan has been dancing professionally since 2012 when he joined Paras Terezakis' company Kinesis Dance Somatheatro in Vancouver. He performed with the company for two seasons before moving to Toronto in September of 2013. In 2016 he toured in Ontario with Chartier Danse and performed in Marie-Josée Chartier's work 'petites danses'. In 2017 he relocated back to BC to continuing his artistic endeavours in Vancouver, a city with a dance thriving scene. Professionally, Juan has also collaborated with Desirée Dunbar (Dezza Dance), Vanessa Goodman (Action at a Distance), D.A Hoskins (The Dietrich Group), Allison Cumings (Sore for Punching You), Darryl Tracy and Jillian Peever. Juan also teaches Yoga and Pilates locally and Yoga teacher trainings abroad.  

Photo: David Cooper

 Photo: David Cooper

Photo: David Cooper

I first met Derya when she was fifteen at Arts Umbrella and had an inkling we would work together more. She's an old soul and full of potential. Her bravery in self-expression will dazzle and inspire. Come see this dramatic duet with The one and only Juan Villegas.

Derya Whaley-Kalaora is an eighteen year old dancer, musician, and climber from Vancouver, British Columbia. She has a solo career in folk music and has released one album and is in the process of making her first music video. She is also the singer in a band which has many local performances coming up. Derya has been dancing since she was two, and movement has always been an integral part of her life. She danced at a community centre for many years before moving to Arts Umbrella when she was ten. She trained at Arts Umbrella in their dance company for seven years as part of their semi professional program. Derya has performed on stage for several dance companies, as well as independently choreographing and performing numerous dances for a youth festival. This is the first dance piece she has choreographed over 4 minutes and was excited to rise to the challenge. Choreographing on a male dancer was another exciting learning curve for her as well. Derya is also well versed in theatre and thus had lots of fun creating this piece around a strong emotional story; this concept drives the choreography. This is Derya's first year apprenticing with Dezza Dance. She also assists in teaching children's dance classes at Trout Lake Community Centre under Dezza Dance, which she enjoys immensely, and hopes to do more of in the future. This is her first year choreographing for and performing in Leg Up! Contemporary Dance Concert and she hopes to continue to partake in more fantastic opportunities like this in the future.



Megan Hunter, Co-Artistic Director of WAREHAUS dance collective, is actively creating works both in collaboration with WAREHAUS and independently. Through WAREHAUS, Megan has been mentored and performed works by Vanessa Goodman and Desiree Dunbar. WAREHAUS has performed original works presented by Dance Allsorts by New Works Dance Management, Small Stage, OURO collective, To.Be.Announced, Sweet Moves, Cascadia Film Festival, and Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (International Dance Day) and Dezza Dance. She had the privilege of training sessionally at the Toronto Dance Theatre and in partnership with Dancemakers, and in scholarships programs with EDAM and Training Society of Vancouver. Megan is the honoured recipient of the Grant Strate Award in Dance in 2014, from Simon Fraser University. She is currently performing and rehearsal directing with Kinesis Dance Somatheatro. She additionally was also the assistant to Paras Terezakis, Artistic Director, through his creation process, titled “In Penumbra”. Megan was invited to New Brunswick in April 2017, to create and perform a new work in collaboration with musicians, Andrew Reed Miller and Emily Kennedy, under mentorship from Lesandra Dodson. WAREHAUS travelled to Toronto in June 2017 to present Warp and Weft, choreography by Vanessa Goodman for New Blue Emerging Festival. Megan’s education in movement continued this year as she travelled internationally to participate in multiple workshops in Italy, France, Sweden, Spain and Vienna. She also presented a new work created in residency in Veretz, France and performance in Festival Dansez Maintenant. 

I'm absolutely thrilled to present the dynamic duo Akeisha De Baat and Megan Hunter, otherwise known as WAREHAUS dance collective. Have you seen their work? You should. Dancing in P.O.S are the talented up-and-comers (and two of my top votes for most likely to succeed) Danielle Sagris & Samantha Priya Wright.

Akeisha de Baat is based in Vancouver, where she works as an independent artist and co-founder/artistic director of WAREHAUS dance collective. WAREHAUS has been a critical feature in Akeisha’s career for creating and performing works around Vancouver, after graduating with her BFA from Simon Fraser University School of Contemporary Arts in 2014. Akeisha has performed on various stages in Vancouver including; New Works: Dance Allsorts, Small Stages, 12 Minutes Max, Cascadia Film Festival, Lovers Cabaret, To. Be. Announced, and New Blue Emerging Festival, in Toronto. She has had the pleasure of interpreting works by; Megan Hunter, Vanessa Goodman, Paras Terezakis, Lovers Cabaret, Dezza Dance, and Joeri Dubbe (NL). In 2017, Akeisha completed a self-directed Cultural-Entrepreneurial residency with Small Stage, which was made possible with the support of the BCAC Early Career Development Grant. In 2015 Akeisha worked as an assistant to Dutch choreographer, Joeri Dubbe, at the Korzo Theatre in partnership with The Netherlands Danse Theatre. Akeisha’s continues to study movement, taking her countries such as, Australia, Germany, Italy, Austria, London and The Netherlands, to gain international experience from an arrangement of dance practitioners and educators. Through her travels, she has grown a passion for Countertechnique®. In 2016, she traveled to Australia for the One Body, One Career intensive to train under the founder Anouk van Dijk, and since then has participated in Countertechnique® workshops in Vancouver, Seattle, and San Francisco, to gain more knowledge and insight in order to better integrate this method into her artistic practice.

Danielli Sagris is an emerging contemporary dance artist currently based in Vancouver, B.C. She started dancing at a young age, training and competing across North America throughout high school. In later years, she was introduced to contemporary dance forms, which led her to Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) School for the Contemporary Arts dance program. Danielle has had the opportunity to participate in workshops with visiting artists such as Abraham in Motion and Ballets Jazz Montréal. She has also had the pleasure of performing work by Vanessa Goodman, Yossi Berg and Oded Graf (Israel), Peter Bingham, Dezza Dance, and Wen Wei Wang, among others. Now going into her fourth year at SFU, Danielle is excited for the journey ahead as she continues to develop her personal artistry.

Samantha Priya Wright is a passionate and driven contemporary dance artist from Vancouver, BC. She is currently studying at Simon Fraser University to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Dance Major. Samantha has had the opportunity to revisit her high school to teach and choreograph for students to perform at the Burnaby Dance Festival. Along with choreographing and performing her own works, she has also had the pleasure to work with local and international choreographers such as Wen Wei Wang, Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, Ziyian Kwan, KT Niehoff, Judith Garay, Desirée Dunbar, and currently through SFU's repertory course, Company 605. Now, close to the end of her final year of university, Samantha is excited for the journey ahead, and is determined that her passion for creativity and movement will help her achieve her artistic goals.




Ready to be inspired?

Tickets $20 (including tax & service charges) | $25 cash only at door | Group rate available upon request

CHOREOGRAPHY: Marc Arboleda, Rachel Helten, Jenna Kraychy, Juan Villegas, Warehaus Dance Collective & Derya Whaley-Kalaora


Get an up close experience of pure energy embodied as five talented choreographers bring their latest creations to the stage.







Dezza Dance and Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre partner to support the work of Vancouver emerging dance artists. Join us for the fourth annual installment of Leg Up! Past artists include: Akeisha de baat, Megan Hunter, Sofija Polovina, Sophie Brassard, Carly Davis, Megan Friesen, OURO Collective & Desi Rekrut.

Choreographers for LEg Up! 2018 are: Marc Arboleda, Rachel Helten, Jenna Kraychy, Juan Villegas, Warehaus Dance Collective & Derya Whaley-Kalaora.


Questions? Please contact us at




DEZZA DANCE presents


A Leg Up! Dance Project in partnership with Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre

Premiered March 10 & 11, 2017 | 8PM

Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre | Seating Limited

7646 Prince Albert St, Vancouver, BC | Box office opens at 7pm

Tickets at

Desirée Dunbar, Artistic Director


Sophie Brassard, Carly Davis, Brittany Angus, Jenna Kraychy & Kestrel Paton

With musical guests The End Tree

Watch the Chiaroscuro rehearsal trailer at Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre below.


Dezza Dance partners with Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre to provide career/artistic mentorship and rehearsal/production space for exceptional Dance Artist Youth.

Catalyst Mentorship Program: Brittany Angus, Sophie Brassard, Carly Davis, Jenna Kraychy & Kestrel Paton

Performance is approximately 60 minutes

More information at www.dezzadance. com |

Contact: Desirée Dunbar,

We greatly acknowledge the support of Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre, Sunset CCA and West Point Grey CCA

Photo: David Cooper | Costumes: Margaret Jenkins

Thank-you Rachel Helten, Eileen Kage & Taylor Jenzen





Red duct tape, crinolines and high kicks. Join us in the Oak Ballroom of the historic Aberthau Mansion at the West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver


Fri Nov 18 @ 7:30PM

in the Oak Room at 7PM

Live music in the lounge  by Rogue Folk Club musicians from 6:30-7:30pm




Thank-you to our partners West Point Grey CCA & Vancouver Park Board





Photos by David Cooper


Choreography: Desirée Dunbar

Dancers: Sophie Brassard, Carly Penner, Katrina Leppanen, Cody Cox, Desirée Dunbar, Jenna Kraychy & Brittany Angus

 Photo: Erik Price

Photo: Erik Price

"Aberthau" is a gaelic word meaning "a place filled with light".  We agree!  We love creating and sharing our work in this historic home of over one hundred years old.  To learn more about the history of the Aberthau Mansion check out this article right over here >>>







Thank-you David Cooper for the Lay Me Down poster image and Juan Villegas for the poster design

Illuminating Shadow + Submerge

Dezza Dance Company

New works by Desirée Dunbar with music by Elliot Vaughan performed live

Dancers: Jenna Lee Hay, Sophie Brassard, Desirée Dunbar and Melissa Panetta

Premiered Sunday, May 15 at 2PM

Studio 1398

1398 Cartwright St, Granville Island, Vancouver


Watch trailer of Submerge below.

 Submerge by Desirée Dunbar with Elliot Vaughan on viola and dancers Sophie Brassard, Jenna Lee Hay, Melissa Panetta and Carly Penner | Photo by David Cooper © dezzadance 2016

Submerge by Desirée Dunbar with Elliot Vaughan on viola and dancers Sophie Brassard, Jenna Lee Hay, Melissa Panetta and Carly Penner | Photo by David Cooper © dezzadance 2016

 Illuminating Shadow by Desirée Dunbar | Photo by David Cooper © dezzadance 2016

Illuminating Shadow by Desirée Dunbar | Photo by David Cooper © dezzadance 2016



Photos and video by: David Cooper

Mel blue leg across.jpg

Premiered March 25, 2016

Launching Vancouver’s emerging dance artists in Leg Up! Contemporary Dance Series



Presented by Dezza Dance & Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre


Desirée Dunbar, Megan Friesen & Desi Rekrut


Elliot Vaughan


James Kokol

Featuring emerging dance artists: Desi Rekrut, Megan Friesen, Carly Penner, Melissa Panetta, Jenna Lee Hay, Sophie Brassard, Jenna Kraychy, Samantha Priya Wright, Kaia Shukin, Brandi Baker, Ariana Barr, Brynne Harper, Samantha Tawaststjerna

About the performance: building on the success of Connecting Community Dance Series started in 2004, Leg Up! gives an up close look at Vancouver dance scene’s freshest talent.  Three distinct works are framed in an alleyway stage with audience on two sides.  Desi Rekrut’s Garden explores intricate patterning to T.S. Eliot’s poem “Four Quartets”, Megan Friesen’s Lady centers on feminine qualities of strength and desire and Desirée Dunbar’s Submerge moves deep in to the psyche to examine the physical manifestation of power and vulnerability with new music performed by Elliot Vaughan.  75 minutes with intermission



The Leg Up! Dance Project is a co-partnership with Dezza Dance and Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre designed to launch Vancouver's emerging dance-artists and collectives.  Past artists include OURO Collective and Warehaus Dance Collective in the inaugural performance of LAUNCH in April 2015.



Created by Desirée Dunbar

Lighting by James Kokol

Dancers: Larissa Duff-Grant, Jenna-Lee Hay, Leigh Machnee, Melissa Panetta, Carly Penner, Samantha Priya Wright

Premiered at Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre in Vancouver November 20 & 21 at 8pm  

In this fresh offering of Contemporary dance GLOW draws inspiration from rugged peaks, iced-over lakes, and the inevitable inertia of winter and features the dancers of Desirée Dunbar's Catalyst Dance Mentorship Program

Above photo of Melissa Panetta by David Cooper

Thank-you to all those that made this production possible and to our community centre partners Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre, Trout Lake Community Centre and West Point Grey Aberthau. 

Video trailer: David Cooper



Created by Desirée Dunbar


Read our press release by clicking right here

Catalyst Dance:

Sophie Brassard, Lily Cryan, Jenna-Lee Hay, Rachel Helten, Lesley Kosinski & Melissa Panetta &

The End Tree:

Aiden Brant Briscall, Martin Reisle & Elliot Vaughan



videography by brenda kent

Promotional material design by Juan Villegas

Thank-you to our partners West Point Grey Community Centre & Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre and all those making this performance possible!


Dear Audience member,

Thank-you so much for attending our production A Port in the Storm

This idea has been brewing for awhile.  I began a residency here at Aberthau Mansion in 2013 and my movements have inevitably been influenced by the spirit of the house.  I had the idea to make capturing the energy of the energy of the house a focus for a performance and this is the result. 

Composer Elliot Vaughan and I have been making art together for sometime now and his collaborative project The End Tree was the perfect fit to fill the house with incredible sound.  Catalyst Dance is a project of mine stemming from a deep passion to provide pre-professional dancers with life skills to gracefully navigate obstacles on the path.  The dancers you see in this show are incredibly wise young women who share a love of soulful expression through the body.  James our lighting magician met in my dance class at SFU last year and I am very impressed at what he has done to create the mood and all with low voltage restrictions and a tight budget.

All the artists have been spending countless hours in the studio together as well as training and practicing individually to explore, create, refine and hopefully co-create a performance that has meaning and potential to catalyze shifts within each of us- whether it's excitement, inspiration, new knowledge or perhaps a enhanced connection to the divine.

As artists we are navigating the energy of our own essential spiritual information, the synergy of the whole cast, the response from you and opening to being vessels for inspiration to move through.  This requires setting ourselves up with the perfect environment that is rich with potential for all of this to come together in the one hour we share the experience.  Pretty cool.  Thanks for being a part of that.

I am ever grateful to the selflessly supportive arts programmers at Moberly, West Point Grey & Trout Lake: Lorrie, Danita and Eva who facilitate my crazy ideas and make them possible.

With much love and appreciation,



Read the dancer's blog entries throughout the creative process of this production by clicking here.

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