Deanna Witwer has worked professionally with Corps Bara Dance Theatre for over ten years, during which time she has acted as Artistic Director (since 2014), dancer, choreographer and rehearsal director.
Deanna spent two formational years training independently in Brussels, Belgium, and in her travels fueled a passion to create art that is not self-indulgent, but that ignites a response, fostering engagement and dialogue between artists, audience and beyond. In Brussels she had the opportunity to study under David Zambrano, Peter Jasko, Sun Xiao Jun and Dominique Duszynski, among many others, and in the summer of 2011 she attended ImPulsTanz International Dance Festival in Vienna.
Deanna holds a BA in Dance (2009) from the University of Calgary, collaborative with Kinesiology and specializing in performance and choreography. Outside of her work with Corps Bara, Deanna has performed in numerous professional projects, both independently and with company kloetzel&co under the direction of Melanie Kloetzel, has presented work and performed several times in Calgary’s Alberta Dance Festival and was commissioned in 2013 to create a work on the University of Calgary’s first year dance majors for their Montage performance.
Recently, Deanna 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. A summary of this unique experience is available on desktop here.
As an artist, Deanna is committed to facilitating rich, formative experiences for dancers, choreographers and collaboraters alike by encouraging engagement of the whole person in creation while turning an artistically critical eye to the work, thus holding the tension between artistic rigour and honest humanity, objective excellence and a transformational encounter. She is honoured to be able to bring her passion and vision to life as Artistic Director in this exciting season of Corps Bara's legacy.
Founder (Director Emeritus)
Raised in Banff, Alberta Canada, Karen had the privilege of both working and studying at The Banff Centre. This rich exposure to the fine arts fuelled Karen’s passion for art and led her to pursue a career in dance. Karen began her training at the University of Calgary and continued her studies in both Singapore and Australia where she focused her attention on “Liturgical dance”.
When she returned to Canada in 1990 Karen founded the Christian Dance Fellowship of Canada in order to both network dancers and further develop dance as a faith-expressed art form. Recognising the growing need for quality dance training, which embraced a spiritual foundation, Karen began Crossings Dance Ministries, Canada’s first Liturgical dance training centre in 1992.
Under Karen’s direction, Crossings has become a thriving dance studio offering classes for over 300 students from beginner to professional level dancers. In order to provide professional performance opportunities for these dancers and introduce Liturgical dance to the greater arts community, Karen spearheaded the creation of Corps Bara Dance Guild and Corps Bara Dance Theatre.
Recognised as one of Canada’s leading pioneers of Liturgical dance, Karen continues to push the boundaries and raise the standard of dance as a faith-expressed art form. Sought after as a teacher, choreographer and speaker, Karen’s invaluable knowledge and experience ensure that Crossings’ students will continue to receive the highest quality training available. Through her passion for life, art and community, she continues to inspire her students and co-workers with a vision to achieve their God given artistic destiny.