Calen J. Kurka - Executive/Artistic Director
Raised in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, Calen Kurka started his training in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Modern, and Chinese Dance. He then later moved to Edmonton, Alberta, furthering his training competitively.
Currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, as an instructor Calen has taught across Canada, the U.S. and Japan, and more recently in Ireland at Dublin's Dance Jam '07. He is currently instructing for Dance Masters of America as one of their Master Faculty, and is also on faculty with Dance Educators of America. His choreography has been recognized as outstanding at many competitions throughout the U.S. and Canada, and has been the recipient of many awards. In addition to teaching in and around New York he's also assisted choreographer, director, instructor, Michele Assaf.
Calen's performing credits include being an original member of the first national tour of Jeff Amsden's widely acclaimed "A Few Good Men Dancin'", and performing with recording artist Carmella in a tribute concert to Cher. He's also worked closely with choreographer/instructor Chris Hale. As a featured performer, Calen's stage credits include having spent a year on contract with Tokyo Disney as a Main Stage performer, and taking on such leading roles as Capt. Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and Seymour in "Little Shop of Horrors" in regional stage productions. In addition he can be seen in "The Live! at Broadway Dance Center" video series "Turns and Turn Combos", dancing with choreographer Danny Herman, and heading his own instructional video "Floor Work with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale": A new addition to the "Live at BDC" collection.
As founder and Artistic Director of :pushing progress a company, Calen hopes to continue his journey as an artist, instructor and choreographer. He wishes to inspire, and be continually inspired by those who so honestly give of their talent and themselves. He continues, with his company, to create work pushing new movement, strong technique, honesty, emotional commitment, and growth. It is an evolutionary journey with no boundaries, no limits, no ends.
:pushing progress is a New York based contemporary dance and workshop company under the direction of Chris Hale and Calen Kurka. Born out of a desire to strengthen awareness of mind, movement, and body, :pushing progress is considered a new dynamic force in the dance community bringing forward a new generation of technical strength and contemporary movement. It is pioneering new programs for training and making knowledge of the the human anatomyas a foundation for technique in dance. accessible not only to an elite, but to anybody who wishes to truly understand their ability and artistry as a dancer.
Chris Hale - Associate Director
Chris Hale, currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center NYC, is Associate director of :pushing progress and Director of the :pushing progress contemporary training program, which launched in the fall of 2009. Through his work with :pushing progress Chris and his partner Calen J. Kurka are at the helm of a revolution in the way we train in dance. Through incorporating anatomy and varied methodologies for sustainability and injury prevention they hope to bring a sophisticated level of information into the lives of every dancer who has the drive and passion to grow as an artist.
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 got 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. 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”
In the summer of 2004 he debuted a collection of never before seen works entitled “CollidE (with me) at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Art Nexus “WAX” in three evenings of sold out performances. Since then his work has appeared throughout New York in choreographer’s showcases such as “The Turning Point” at NYC’s Puffin Room, and “Envision This” by Enfocus Dance. Most recently his work has appeared in the :pushing progress “Showcase Series” started by Calen J. Kurka as a means to bring a wide range of choreographer’s together in the shared vision of creating a memorable dance experience. As a choreographer he will continue to create work that pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance and hopefully bring it to the mainstream in a way that is accessible to everyone.
His more than two 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® to his teaching. Chris is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.