Contemporary Training Program Faculty
Chris Hale - Program Director
Chris Hale is currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center NYC. Professional credits include KTU’s Miracle on 34th Street, where he performed with such recording artists as Mary J. Blige, Deborah Cox, Tamia, Gloria Gaynor, and Michael Jackson. In 2002, he had the pleasure of performing with international singing sensation Anastasia at the FIFA World Cup Final Draw in Busan, Korea. Television credits include HBO’s “Sex and the City” playing opposite Kim Catrall. Most recently, he, along with fellow instructor Calen Kurka, released an instructional video for the Live At BDC series entitled, “Floorwork with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale.” As a choreographer, he continues to create work that pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance and hopefully brings it to the mainstream in a way that is accessible to everyone. His more than four years experience with the GYROTONIC® methodology has hugely influenced his teaching and brought a heightened awareness to his own dancing. Chris is very excited to add GYROKINESIS® methodology to his teaching. Chris is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® TeacherTraining Intensive in Primary through level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Calen J. Kurka - Associate Director
A native of British Columbia Canada, Calen commenced his training at the age of 7 in numerous disciplines including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, and Chinese Dance. He also danced competitively until starting his professional career and moving to New York to continue his studies. Currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, Calen is highly respected as an instructor for his intense classes founded upon strong dance discipline, core strength, technique, and ones mental awareness of self. Also on faculty with several dance conventions across the U.S., Calen has taught throughout Canada, Japan, more recently in Dublin Ireland, and is well recognized for his unique and innovative choreography. With many performing credits, including being an original member of the first national tour of the Jeff Amsden’s widely acclaimed “A Few Good Men Dancin’”, he can also be seen in "The Live! at Broadway Dance Center" video series "Turns and Turn Combos", dancing with choreographer Danny Herman, and "Floor Work with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale": A new addition to the "Live at BDC" collection. As founder and artistic director of contemporary dance based :pushing progress a company, Calen’s current journey continues as he explores his own artistry and those who continue to inspire him.
Lauren was featured in the original musical Falco in Vienna Austria. She was also a member of IV Dance Company, and Jason Parsons’ Parsons Dance Project, with which she performed in The New York/Seoul International Dance Festival in Korea. Most recently she performed at the Festival Des Arts in Montreal with ASH Contemporary Dance Company. Her choreography has been showcased in Terpsichoreal in Los Angeles, as well as in festivals in Prague, Czech Republic, and Tropea, Italy. Her work has also been presented at the 2004 Jazz Dance World Congress, as well as The 25th Anniversary Gala of the Jackson International Ballet Competition. In NYC, she has been a contributing Choreographer for Broadway Underground, Pushing Progress and several DRA events including: Fire Island Dance Festival, and Dancing at the Crossroads. Lauren was also the founding Senior Music Editor of movmnt magazine. She conceived, choreographed, and produced the show Moving Still, presented at the Harry De Jur Playhouse in NYC. A photography book of the same name was inspired by the show, and published by e-maprod shortly thereafter. For more information visit www.movingstill.net. Lauren has taught at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and The Juilliard School in NYC.
Loni Landon was born and raised in New York City. Landon received her training from the Juilliard School, School at Jacob’s Pillow, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Scholarship Program, Dance Theater of Harlem, and NYC High School of Performing Arts.
Upon receiving her BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School in 2005, Landon worked with Aszure Barton on the opening of the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Soon thereafter, Landon joined Ballet Theater Munich from 2005 to 2007 under the direction of Phillip Taylor. From 2007 to 2009, Landon joined Tanz Munich Theater under the direction of Henning Paar. During her time in Munich, she performed works by many premier European choreographers including Jiri Kylian, Stephan Thoss, Rui Horta, Robert North,Tony Rizzi, Cayetano Soto, Mirko Hektor, and Marco Goecke, among others. Landon is currently a dancer at the Metropolitan Opera.
Landon’s original choreography has been performed at the State Theater of Munich, APAP at New York City Center, American College Dance Festival (performed by Snow College Dance Ensemble), SUNY Purchase, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Dance Gallery Festival at the Ailey Theater in NYC, DanceNOW at Joe's Pub, WestFest, Pushing Progress, HT CHEN’S New Steps Choreography Series, and Dumbo Dance Festival. As a sought after choreographer, her work has been commissioned by Northwest Dance Project, CityDance Ensemble, Ballet X, and the New American Talent Commission from Ballet Austin.
She has been awarded as the 1st Prize Winner of Ballet Austin’s New American Talent Competition, Winner of Northwest Dance Project’s “Pretty Creatives’” Choreography Competition,Winner of the Next Commission from CityDance Ensemble, and 2009 Finalist in the Hannover International Choreography Competition. In October of 2010, Landon was featured with Northwest Dance Project in Dance Magazine.
In 2010, Landon co-founded the Playground (New York City) alongside Gregory Dolbashian. The Playground is an open forum where professional dancers directly engage with emerging and established choreographers. The program offers the most affordable place to explore artistry, bond as a dance community, and network with some of New York City’s freshest talent. Visit www.theplaygroundnyc.org to learn more.
Kathy VanDereedt is a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer working out of NYC. Kathy danced for three years in :pushing progress, under the direction of Calen Kurka, appearing in their New York Debut BARE. She now continues to work with Calen Kurka as a principal dancer and assistant in noesis:KinetiCs, performing most recently in the Capezio A.C.E. Awards. In 2010 Kathy traveled throughout the west coast for three months on the Nourish Through Movement Tour, as a featured dancer in the show and company ballet director. She has performed at numerous venues and events as a company member of Bryn Cohn & Artists under the direction of Bryn Cohn, including REVERBdance APAP Showcase, WestFest at Merce Cunningham, and Young Choreographer’s Festival at Symphony Space, to name a few.?
Kathy has also performed with BODYART under the direction of Leslie Scott, appearing in their show LOFT at BPAC and on their 2012 Texas Tour. She also performed a site-specific work at the Queens Botanical Gardens as part of the Queens Art Express event. Kathy has also had the privilege of assisting and performing under Chris Hale for many years, being seen most recently in Hoot!, and has also performed the works of Sidra Bell, Manuel Vignoulle, Maya Escueta, and Anna Vollmar. She also worked alongside Betsey Johnson as a dancer and model for an event for her perfume Too Too at Sephora on 5th Ave.
As a teacher and choreographer Kathy has worked at numerous studios, workshops, conventions, high schools and colleges from coast to coast, and is currently on faculty with “:pushing progress a workshop,” introducing her to hundreds of new students each year. She is also on faculty with their pre-professional 8 month Contemporary Training Program, and Kathy has also been a regular guest and substitute teacher at New York City’s Broadway Dance Center since 2008. Her choreography has garnered numerous honors and awards at showcases and regional and national competitions, and her work has been selected four times to be performed at the National High School Dance Festival in Philadelphia. Kathy is also an adjudicator with Starquest Dance Competition.
With a focus in her training on the study of human anatomy and how it translates to technique and contemporary movement, Kathy relates these ideas in her teaching, as a means to help guide other dancers in understanding their instrument and explore deeper into their own individual artistry.
Anna M. Vollmar is an award-winning choreographer, master teacher, and professional dancer who is currently traveling the world for her craft. For the past four years she has worked out of New York City, where she was a member of :pushing progress a company, a contemporary jazz company. With :pushing progress, she had the opportunity to perform in many stage performances all over NYC, as well as Dublin, Ireland. She continues to teach at several professional dance studios in NYC, such as the prestigious Broadway Dance Center and Peridance Center. Anna can be seen in the BDC Live! Video series: Floorwork Volume I & II with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale. She has also had the amazing opportunity to live for a time in Monterrey, Mexico, where she was a master teacher and choreographer. She has worked all over the U.S., either as a teacher, choreographer, or sometimes as a professional judge for internationally known dance competitions, Hall of Fame and StarQuest. Before relocating to New York City, Anna lived in Kalamazoo, MI, where she was a jazz instructor at Western Michigan University and Dance Company Director of Steps Dance Company in Portage, MI for four years. She is well trained and experienced in teaching all genres of dance, including contemporary, jazz, ballet, lyrical, pointe, musical theatre, tap, hip hop, modern, and has also trained in pilates and yoga. Most recently, she has had the opportunity to live for a time in Italy, where she has taught in Milan and Florence. Her choreography is sought after across the nation, and has received numerous honors and awards; her students continue to earn scholarships to train around the nation, as well as work professionally in the industry.?
Jen Lancaster began her training in Connecticut and continued on to earn a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Towson University. While in Maryland, she performed with the Towson University Dance Company in a wide variety of pieces ranging from swing to modern, jazz to full-length ballets. She had the rare opportunity to work with Geoffrey Holder and perform in “Dougla” with the TU Dance Company along with being a featured tap dancer in Fosse’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” re-staged by Doug Graham. In addition, Jen danced with the Stephanie Powell Danse Ensemble, performing at venues such as the Baltimore Museum of Art and Artscape. After moving to New York, she soon found herself performing at events such as the Élan Awards and For Dance Inc. Showcases. Jen continued to perform for various choreographers until she found a home dancing with :Pushing Progress, which she has been a member of since its inception.
For the last 10 years, Jen has taught and choreographed all over the tri-state and Maryland/DC area. Her work was presented at numerous showcases in Maryland and also at ACDFA and at the ISVP/Intern Showcase here at Broadway Dance Center. In addition, Jen had a fabulous opportunity to teach at Towson University during alumni week and has had her work performed at many regional competitions. She continues to teach throughout the tri-state area during the year, encouraging all of her students to have fun while learning strong technique and finding their passion for dance.
Jen recently graduated from The Swedish Institute with an Associates degree in Occupational Studies for Massage Therapy. After passing the state board exam, she received her New York State License in Massage Therapy and is currently practicing privately in New York. With the knowledge she gained from this experience, Jen has been able to re-evaluate her approach to teaching dance and to include a basic introduction to anatomy for her students.