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ASCENSION 2021

December 10 – 12, 2021 | 7:00 PM |
Studio D – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
$7 SFU Students / $10 SFU Staff/Faculty/Alumni / $15 General Public  

TICKETS HERE

AS•CEN•SION: THE ACT OF RISING TO AN IMPORTANT POSITION OR HIGHER LEVEL

FREE Ascension dress rehearsal

December 9, 2021 | 07:00 PM | ZOOM Link | Passcode: 216017

SCA’s Music, Dance, and Production students are excited to present the 10th Anniversary of Ascension! Produced and performed entirely by SCA undergrad students, this year brings six new works.

There will be a limited number of rush tickets, free with valid SFU ID, available at the box office one hour before the event. Please note: These tickets are not guaranteed. To secure a seat, tickets should be purchased online.

Directors

Mikela Vuorensivu, Irene Weng, Erlynn Garcia, and Bernice Paet

Choreographers

Carson Keller, Paige Wichers, Greer Harper, Kaitlyn Lavigne, Nicole Dreher, Myah Mccarthy, and Andrea Isea Galindo

Composers

Leif Hatzi-blaak, Rohini Soedhwa, Will Zorzos, Conor Day, Toni-leah Yake, and Alexander Abahmed

Production Team

Stage Manager: Bernice Paet; Assistant Stage Manager: Brianna Bernard; Assistant Stage Manager: Kezi Jacob; Lighting Operator: Ningqi Xu; Sound and Video Operator: Jela Ahn; Lighting: Nicole Huang, Claudia Chan, and Hans Hsieh

Cast

Clara Xu, Annabelle Mckenty, Sydney Ludwig, Lia Sieben, Gaby Galindo, Fiona Mccreadie, Marin Smith, Olivia Johnson, Beatrice Keller, Mekaela Reyes, Emma Miebach, Natalia Martineau, Lily Wallman, Jullianna Oke, Emily Bosak, Roya Pishvaei, Sarah Kennedy, Emma Tweedie, Katie Schauerte, Krystal Tsai, Makena Ram, Polina Olshevska, Jessica Langelier, and Ali Kheir

The School for the Contemporary Arts recognizes that we are on the unceded and occupied territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Biographies

Alex Abahmed

Alex is an Egyptian-Canadian composer, instrumentalist, and audio engineer based on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. He is currently in his fourth year of music composition at SFU. Through interests in sound, technology, and all kinds of instruments he aims to create visceral experiences that contain varying levels of reference to both middle eastern and western popular music. He’s excited to be working with dancers for the first time and to be a part of Ascension this year.

Jela Ahn

Jela Ahn was born and raised in South Korea, and has come to Vancouver since 2018. She found great pleasure in theatre work in the drama club when she was in college in Korea. She wanted to study theatre more deeply, and now she is a third-year student in Theatre Production & Design at SFU. She is interested in the technical part of theatre but does not want to decide what she’ll do later and still figure it out.

Brianna Bernard

Brianna Bernard is an undergraduate student in the Theatre Production & Design stream. She spends her time exploring both the design and production management aspects of art and theatre. Originally born and raised in Jamaica, Brianna now works, creates and resides on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Semiahmoo, sq̓əc̓iy̓aɁɬ təməxʷ (Katzie), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen), qiqéyt (Qayqayt) and sc̓əwaθən məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen) Nations. Outside of theatre, Brianna takes interest in audio design and photography.

Emily Bosak

Emily Bosak (she/her) currently practices on what is colonially known as Vancouver on the unceded ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She is in her fourth year at Simon Fraser University, pursuing a BFA with a major in dance and a minor in english. Emily is interested in working with movement to physicalize different images and prompts while mindfully pushing the boundaries of her body. Emily loves to perform and aspires to work with more of Vancouver’s amazing dance artists and companies/collectives.

Claudia Chan

Claudia Chan is a student majoring in Production and Design at Simon Fraser University. Coming from a background of being a professional ballerina, she has a strong passion for collaboration between different areas including theatre arts, music, and particularly dance. While primarily focusing on technical directing, Claudia also has a passion for lighting design and understands and enjoys the importance of collaboration and teamwork. Growing up in Hong Kong, Claudia is currently residing in Vancouver, unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations where she also calls home with her cat, Ollie!

Nicole Dreher

Nicole Dreher (they/she) was born and raised on the Indigenous homelands of the Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee), Anishinabewaki, Mississauga, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and the Attiwonderonk (Neutral) peoples, colonially known as Cambridge, Ontario. She often opposes her training in ballet, modern, and contemporary dance as well as their natural instincts to create a unique representation of common experiences. Their current focus in her dance practice is exploring the boundaries of what makes a 'dance artist' through engaging in interdisciplinary collaborations, and ultimately they aim to create a safe and intimate space for audiences and collaborators alike.

Andrea Isea Galindo

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Andrea began her training in Ballet when she was 6 years old with La Academia de Ballet Fanny Montiel. After immigrating to Canada in 2011, she started training at the Caulfield School of Dance, completing her Royal Academy of Dance Intermediate Vocational Examination and training with the Professional Training Division in other commercial styles. She also began her teaching with the Caulfield School of Dance as a Teaching Assistant, and now specializes in teaching Ballet and Contemporary technique and choreography. Having performed in many productions and events, Andrea gratefully welcomes all experiences within the dance world.

Gabriela Galindo

Gabriela Galindo was born and raised in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She danced cultural jazz in her hometown for 7+ years, and when she settled in Canada, she had the opportunity to explore various other styles throughout her high school years, such as lyrical, contemporary, and hip hop. Gaby is so grateful to continue her dance journey within SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts and she is ecstatic to be part of Ascension in her first year in the program. Gabriela wishes to continue advocating for mental health and social justice through her continuous exploration of dance within the community.

Greer Harper

Greer Harper was raised in Broomfield, Colorado. She has been dancing a range of various styles for about 17 years, and hopes to continue expanding her exposure to different ways of moving throughout her time at SFU to help develop her own movement style. In the future, Greer hopes to dance and share her choreography within a professional setting.

Leif Hatzi-Blaak

Leif was born in Athens, Greece and moved to the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, otherwise known as Vancouver, British Columbia. Leif is interested in composing for the piano, further testing the boundaries of music as a means of personal expression. He aspires to follow his passion in creating music for film, dance and wants to collaborate with various musicians and artists.

Hans (Wei-han) Hsieh

Hans (Wei-han) Hsieh is a senior student majoring in Theatre Production and Design at Simon Fraser University. He primarily focuses on Stage Management and Lighting Design, but does not limit himself and willing to explore more professions. Hans was born in New Taipei City, Taiwan, grew up in Richmond, British Columbia and currently resides in the Vancouver area, the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. You can find him walking with his bestie, Remy in the city.

Lulan (Nicole) Huang

Lulan (Nicole) Huang is a student majoring in Production and Design at Simon Fraser University. She entered the field of theatre arts with a passionate heart. She is now exploring, observing and learning about as much as she can about collaborating in theatre arts. This is her first time handling lighting design, and she looks forward to doing more in the future. Growing up in China, she is currently in Vancouver, unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations where she started her negative exposure to art, with one of her closest family members, Wanghong.

Jaime Johnson

Olivia Johnson

Beatrice Keller

Carson Keller

Carson Keller was raised on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish people, including the Nooksack, Katzie, Kwantlen, Stó:lō, and Tsawwassen nations. He is currently a third-year student at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. In addition to his business major, he is also a practising dance artist in the School for the Contemporary Arts. Outside of SFU, Carson is an artist in the Vancouver dance industry and has choreographed for dance studios primarily in the styles of musical theatre, lyrical, and contemporary. He is a strong advocate for mental wellness, and through this, he promotes an inclusive and equal dance atmosphere while practising the illustration of emotion in his work.

This is his first time choreographing and performing in the contemporary dance field and is delighted to share his composition at Ascension 2021.

Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy was born and raised on the traditional territories of the Wendat, Haudeno-saunee and the Anishinaabe peoples, the place now commonly known as Newmarket, Ontario. Sarah is currently incorporating her love of acrobatics into her practice of contemporary dance and hopes to continue this in the future. She aims to share this knowledge and passion for dance with children with varying communication and developmental disabilities.

Ali Kheir

Ali Kheir is a 2nd year Contemporary Dance Major with a Minor in Kinesiology within the Simon Fraser University. He resides on the Matsqui First Nation and Sumas First Nation, the two nations being part of the Stό:lō Nation, commonly known as Abbotsford, British Columbia. He used to specialize in Acrobatics, and Contortion, however has shifted his focus into more of the Contemporary, Modern and Ballet dance forms. This is his first time performing at Ascension, and he is very excited to perform for the first time in a long while!

Kaitlyn La Vigne

Kaitlyn La Vigne (she/her) was born in Vancouver and raised in Surrey, British Columbia, on the traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations. Kaitlyn is continuing to explore and find curiosity in her own movement practice as well as her choreographic work as she moves through SFU’s dance program. Kaitlyn aspires to create and collaborate with other artists as a choreographer and mover in the professional dance scene. In the future, Kaitlyn is also hoping to take her work and appreciation for movement into more therapeutic practices within her community.

Jessica Langelier

Jessica is a 19-year-old dancer, originally from Nanaimo, BC, currently residing in Downtown Vancouver as a second-year dance major with SFU. On weekends, Jessica goes back to Island to teach at her home studio Kirkwood Academy and company Nanaimo Contemporary Ballet. Jessica loves to teach and perform contemporary choreography and explore a range of movements through her body.

Sydney Ludwig

Sydney Ludwig grew up in Coquitlam, British Columbia. At the age of two, she started dancing at her local studio, eventually progressing and moving into an intense and highly competitive studio. Sydney trained in contemporary, lyrical, ballet, modern, acro, tap, jazz, hip hop, and musical theatre, and pointe. Dance has always been a massive part of Sydney’s life and she is so grateful to be continuing her passion for dance by training at SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. Taking part in ascension is an honor for her, especially being a first year in this program. Sydney wishes to continue dancing as a career and eventually opening up a studio of her own. 

Natalia Martineau

Natalia Martineau was born and raised in Canmore, on the Indigenous homelands of the Stoney Nakoda, Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy in the Treaty 7 region of southern Alberta. Interested in how everyday experiences can be mediated through movement, Natalia’s current focus is on broadening her movement abilities and personal dance practice. In the future, Natalia hopes to continue developing her choreographic practice and making dance works.

Myah McCarthy

Myah McCarthy is a Simon Fraser University student studying her passion of contemporary dance with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Myah first started her pre-professional training in a half day program at the Dance LAB Studios in Coquitlam, British Columbia. It was here that she discovered a great amorosity for contemporary dance under the mentorship of Kirsten Sjoman. After graduating from her studio training, she further developed her skills with Lamondance in North Vancouver where she danced in two principal roles during her year with the company. Throughout her training, Myah has always been mesmerized by the fluidity of water and how the idea of being inside a wave can drive her movement practice. She finds great joy in the process of imagination, confiding in dance because it allows no limits to this practice.

Fiona McCreadie

Fiona McCreadie is a Calgary born dancer who has recently moved to Vancouver to study her Bachelor in Fine Arts in Dance at SFU. She has a long love for ballet and achieved her RAD training at a level of Advanced 2. She has experience in many other styles and a new found love for contemporary dance. Fiona is very excited to be on stage again as a part of the Ascension performance this year.

Annabelle McKenty

Annabelle McKenty is a settler working, learning and dancing on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people, including the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. She previously danced in Victoria BC for 10+ years and is excited to explore the creative industries in Vancouver BC. She is beyond excited to be working with the amazing choreographers, dancers and production team in the ascension showcas.

Photo: Derek Ford

Jullianna Oke

With Japanese and French-Canadian ancestry, Jullianna was born on the traditional and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. In her third year of study at SFU as a dance major and criminology minor, she is interested in the embodied empathy and passage of information expressed from one body to another in movement. As her own practice evolves, Jullianna hopes to express this embodied comprehension of knowledge through various means and mediums.

Polina Olshevska

Polina was born on the Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, and Siksika Nation, in the place now commonly known as Calgary. After taking time off she is thrilled to perform again. Currently she is working on re introducing her body to movement and is focusing on developing her technique while staying true to herself. She dreams to dance in a professional company and continue to grow as an artist for the rest of her life.

Bernice Paet

Living and creating on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, Bernice Paet is a currently third-year student at SFU majoring in Theatre Production and Design. She is in the process of exploring the different aspects of theatre, but so far has mainly worked in roles related to lighting and stage management. Outside of theatre, she is currently interested in painting, video editing, and scrapbooking. Bernice is very excited to be stage managing for Ascension this year and hopes everyone enjoys the show!

Roya Pishvaei

Roya Pishvaei was born and raised with Fijian & Iranian ancestry on the Indigenous homelands of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, and Tsawwassen First Nations. As a current Dance major and English minor, she has a fascination with the relationship between movement and language. Written language, though it is beautiful, can be inaccessible without translation. Roya is passionate about breaking down language barriers and creating space for all audiences to interpret the narrative that her pieces explore. Her aspirations as a dance artist are to welcome and inspire others with the joy of movement, and to help establish more positive dance environments for future generations to learn and study in.

Makena Ram

Makena Ram grew up in Coquitlam and Port Moody BC, located on the ancestral land of Coast Salish Peoples, and in particular, the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation, on whose territory the Tri-Cities stand. A first-year dance major, Makena has an extensive background as a classical ballet dancer and is continuously expanding their experiences throughout modern and contemporary movement. Ascension has been a wonderful opportunity to witness the creation of work from other students and has provided a strong sense of community visible in each piece.

Mekaela Reyes

Katie Schauerte

I was born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in 2003. I respectfully acknowledge that I was born on the traditional territories and homeland of the Dene, Inuit and Métis peoples of the Northwest Territories. My mother says I started dancing at the age of two in our living room and she always knew I would grow up and become a dancer. I started taking dance classes at 3 years of age with Bella Dance Academy in Yellowknife and my love of dance brought me to SFU.

Lia Sieben

Lia Sieben grew up in a small town in Macklin, Saskatchewan. At the age of five, she started dancing at her hometown studio, focusing on ballet, tap, and jazz. From there on, she was introduced to various other styles, such as contemporary, pointe, lyrical, and hip hop. When Lia got older, she began to take CDTA dance examinations, eventually completing her advanced jazz, and ballet, along with her elementary tap. Throughout her dance training, she assisted in teaching dancers aged from four to nine. Dance became a passion for Lia, as well as a big part of her life. She is very thankful to continue doing what she loves at SFU’S School for the Contemporary Arts. As a first year dance student, Lia is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of ascension, as well as dance with other students.

Marin Smith

Marin is from Fall River, Nova Scotia and a second year dance major here at Simon Fraser University. She is currently focused on exposing herself to many different experiences during her time at SFU to broaden and strengthen her dancing as well as her knowledge of dance. Marin loves to perform and is excited to have the opportunity to be able to perform in front of a live audience again. After SFU, she hopes to continue to perform by pursuing a career dancing with professional companies.

Rohini Soedhwa

Rohini Soedhwa was born in Paramaribo, Suriname (South-America). She is a music producer, singer and rapper based on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwxw̱ ú7mesh (Squamish), and Selí̓ lw̓ itulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Currently she’s a fourth year SFU music student and is very interested in recording noise and exploring recorded sounds to produce and perform music with. She likes to work with artists from other disciplines to further incorporate a collective view from all senses into her own music.

Krystal Tsai

Krystal Tsai was born and raised in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She wish to develop an artistic mind and body in Vancouver’s arts community. Looking forward to absorb and exchange all kinds of knowledges with peers and artists. Her current goal is to explore the possibilities with a dancer’s mind in different fields of career.

Emma Tweedie

Emma Tweedie was born in Vancouver and raised in Burnaby, British Columbia, which are on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Her current focus within dance is to expose herself to as much growth and experience possible in the duration of her training at SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. Her future aspirations include travelling the world to share her artwork with others and to perform in a professional company.

Mikela Vuorensivu

Mikela Vuorensivu was born with Finnish ancestry on the Indigenous homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-waututh First Nations, the place now commonly known as Vancouver. She has greatly enjoyed directing Ascension this year and is excited for the audience to witness the student’s hard work and creative expression. Mikela also pursues an interest in capturing movement on film and photography and was grateful for the opportunity to use those skills in promoting Ascension this year.

Lillian Wallman

Lillian Wallman grew up in Port Alberni which lies within the traditional territories of the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations. She is a proud Metis artist and student who now gratefully practices and begins her professional career on the land of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-waututh First Nations. As a second year dance major, Lily is interested in moving within her own anatomy and is exploring the thoughtful recognition of humans' habitual instincts in and outside of dance. She is honoured to participate in ascension and is looking forward to being back on stage.

Irene (Yifang) Weng

Irene (Yifang) Weng is a senior student majoring in Theater Production and Design at Simon Fraser University. She has highly passionate about the collaboration of theater arts, dance, and music. Primarily a production/stage manager also has knowledge of sound, lighting, and set design. Irene is born and grew in China, lived in Prince Edward Island, currently based in the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, which I also call home (Vancouver). As a person who has multiple cultural backgrounds and bi-language skills, she loves, welcomes, and wants to create diversified artworks.

Paige Wichers

Paige Wichers (she/her) was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta on the traditional lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy (the Siksika, Kainai), Piikani, the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3). She describes herself as a mover with a “Type A” personality that does not take things too seriously. Having fun in rehearsals and working at home on pen and paper to think more critically on how the movement works is when she is in her best element.

Clara Xinlei Xu

Clara Xinlei Xu was raised in Richmond, BC, on the unceded and ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Tsawwassen, and Kwantlen peoples. She has trained in many forms of dance, mostly classical Chinese dance, and is exploring expanding her repertoire at SFU with more focus on contemporary and ballet. Along with dance, she also has a great passion for music and writing. She is very excited to participate in Ascension this year along with her fellow students.

Toni-Leah C. Yake

Toni-Leah C. Yake (European, Kanien’kehá:ka – Turtle Clan) is a composer, residing as a guest on unceded, traditional, and occupied territories of xwməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Se̓lí̓lwitulh Nations. Her work explores identity, histories, blood memories, traumas, and healing. They are a student of Indigenous Studies and Music at Simon Fraser University.

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December 12, 2021