Orchesis Dance Performance Group (ODPG)

Orchesis Dance Performance Group (ODPG) is a 55-year old organization that began as an academic program in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sports and Recreation.

ODPG is now a student group under Club Sports programming with Campus and Community and Recreation and is open to anyone with a desire to dance.

orchesis peggy flower

Choreography and Performance

ODPG offers specifically dance performance and choreographic opportunities to our dance members, who are students, alumni, and members of the community. Orchesis is a unique group that fosters long-term recreational and professional development in dance, devoted to the creativity, expression, and well-being dancers. ODPG mentors several student choreographers annually, as well as hires professionals, to provide dancers - from beginner to advanced - a professional dance experience.

View all the available programs

Want to dance with us?

Sign up for the dance of your choice, at Choreographer’s Showcase - where our professional and student choreographers share their creative vision and expectations for their dancers. This event will be held via Zoom, on Tuesday, September 22nd at 7:00 pm.

Want to know more?

Attend either of our virtual open houses on September 10th at 12pm, and September 16th at 7pm to find out what our club has to offer you.

Check out our Instagram or Facebook page for all Zoom links the day of @orchesisuofa.

Dance Motif – The Annual Showcase

Every year Orchesis produces a major dance concert, Dance Motif at the Myer Horowitz Theatre in SUB. Dance Motif 2021 marks the 56th year of the showcase. This performance allows individuals to explore ideas in a creative environment and gives dancers the opportunity to continue developing their performance skills. Dance Motif occurs in the last week of January every year and features professional and student choreographers.

Get more details on the next performance here

Required Dance Classes for Memberships

All members of ODPG are required to take one dance class in the appropriate style, for both the fall and winter terms to be in Dance Motif. The contemporary modern, ballet & jazz dance classes offered by Campus and Community Recreation (CCR) satisfy this requirement, as well as dance technique classes outside of the university.

For more information on CCR classes, please visit www.activityreg.ualberta.ca.

The Orchesis Summer Dance Intensive (OSDI) consists of intensive training with professionals in the dance field. Learn more about OSDI here


The University of Alberta Orchesis Dance Program was established by Dorothy Harris, a professor of dance, and award-winning educator, in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation in 1964.

Harris was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and a disciple of Margaret H'Doubler, a professor of physical education at the University of Wisconsin, who, in 1918, established the first dance degree program at an American university. H'Doubler chose "Orchesis" as the name for a group of students there who wanted to dance more outside of their classes.

More about the History of Orchesis

Membership Fees and Fundraising

ODPG is open to students, alumni, and members of the community, but requires a performance fee in order to rehearse and perform for Dance Motif. Rates of membership are shown below:

Membership in One Dance Second Dance Third Dance
Students $100 $125 $140
Non-students $110 $135 $150

As a student group/club, Orchesis depends on its student board to facilitate the performance experience, and active board members, both student, and non-student receive a 50% membership fee discount.

The Orchesis Dance Society (ODS) is the fundraising branch of ODPG, which helps produce the Dance Motif show. All members are required to fundraise through the Orchesis Dance Society in a variety of ways.

For more information, you can email the ODPG at: orchesis@ualberta.ca

Awards and Scholarships

Dorothy Harris Dance Award

Field of Study Open
Value $750 - $1000 (variable)
Number available 1 per year
Conditions To be awarded annually to an undergraduate student who has shown an interest in and contributed to dance choreography or performance at the University of Alberta Orchesis Dance Program on the basis of satisfactory academic standing, minimum GPA 3.0.
Application Apply by designated March or April date to the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. The date is also posted on the University's Office of the Registrar Awards Office website.
Contact Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation Student Services Office 3-134 University Hall 780.492.5604
Donors Endowed by the alumni of the Orchesis Dance Program at the University of Alberta and other individuals interested in dance in honour of Dorothy Harris for her contribution to Orchesis and the field of dance.


Orchesis Spring/Summer Study Dance Award and the Dean's Orchesis Dance Summer Study Award

Field of Study Open
Value $450 - $500 (variable)
Number available 2 per year
Application April 6, 2018
Donors Endowed by Orchesis Dance Program with additional support from the Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation and two anonymous donors
Open to Any Orchesis dancer who has been active in performance and/or choreography and who desires additional training in and outside of Edmonton commonly found in summer intensives, workshops or festivals with satisfactory academic standing.
Eligibility Must be a university student, in either second, third, or fourth year of an undergraduate program with a minimum 2.0-point GPA, or a returning graduate student. GPA is determined by the previous full academic year. Therefore, for the summer of 2018, transcripts form 2017/18 will be reviewed.
Nominated by Campus & Community Recreation
Intent and timeline The receiving applicant may use this award toward dance studies any time after receipt and up to the end of the calendar year. The title "Spring/Summer" refers to the increased availability of outside professional training during the summer months. Study application may certainly be pursued after August if the desired dance study course takes place later and through December of the award year.

Katja Schriener, Chair, Orchesis Dance Performance Group, University of Alberta
Club Sports, Campus & Community Recreation, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sports, and Recreation
2-670 Van Vliet Complex, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H9 E-mail: orchesis@ualberta.ca

Orchesis Spring/Summer Award Application Form

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of volunteering is expected from Orchesis members?

Volunteering for Orchesis is not typically time-consuming. Examples include:

- selling tickets to Motif for 1-2 hours in the designated sales area
- helping with poster placement
- dance archival files
- assisting with advertising sales in the concert program
- helping to clean costumes after the performance
- helping in the theatre before tech week

There are more responsible roles as well. These are continuing volunteer positions and they are reserved for dancers who want to help lead the group. We call this group the Volunteer Executive and the Extended Executive. These roles have membership discounts of 50% attached to them because their roles are ongoing. Please refer to the volunteer executive link on this website for information.

I want to perform in Dance Motif, but I do not know what that requires. Is there an audition? And if so, when, and do I need to choreograph something?

Orchesis is very accessible for dancers who want to perform. You do not need to audition or choreograph anything.

  • To participate you will need to attend the choreographers' idea presentations on September 22nd at 7:00 PM where the choreographic process is explained with time for Q&A
  • Each choreographer talks about their dance for approximately 4-5 minutes.
  • Following choreographers' presentations, interested dancers meet them and can sign up for a dance where the choreographer's rehearsal time works for them. Once you have signed up the choreographer will expect you to attend the first rehearsal.
  • Dancers are required to attend their classes regularly for training and technique and be committed to the time requirements of their dance.

Where is the Dance Studio?

Orchesis is housed in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation (KSR). KSR facilities are named the Van Vliet Complex (VVC) and it has seven building numbers: 1= University Hall offices, 2= East building, 3=, 4=Pavilion (PAV) often called the Butterdome (bright yellow exterior), 5=, 6= West Building areas 7= The Arena portion of the WEST building.

The Dorothy Harris Dance Studio room VVC 2-635 is located in the WEST building of the VVC on the 2nd-floor level, just past the Main Gym. Many of the buildings are connected to the lower level and have clear signs telling you where to go.

Position Committee Member Contact Information
Chair Katja Schriener orchesis@ualberta.ca
Vice-Chair Sarah El-Ezaby elezaby@ualberta.ca
Treasurer Marleina Schriener marleina@ualberta.ca
Motif Coordinator 1 Interested? Email us
Motif Coordinator 2
Marketing Coordinator Breanna Palmer bcpalmer@ualberta.ca
Social Media Coordinator Cassie Tobin
Club Sports Program Director Alberto Bustamante uab.ca/recreation
Campus & Community Recreation Program Liaison Nicolette Marshall nicolette.marshall@ualberta.ca

If you are interested in leading and supporting dancers and dance at the U of A in the Orchesis Dance Program, please attend our annual AGM in April 2021. Register for our list service here to find out when the event is:

Register for our list


CCR classes are taught by dynamic and talented instructors, many with significant national and international experience. All are leaders in their styles of dance and known for their ability to teach dancers at every level skillfully in an encouraging environment.

Below, find the corresponding instructor for each CCR dance class offered this Fall:

Ballet – Kate Stashko
Wednesdays 5:05-6:25 PM
Sep. 23 - Dec. 02

Contemporary Modern – Kathleen Hughs
Thursdays 5:05-6:25 PM
Sep. 24 - Dec. 03

Jazz – Andrea Fitzgerald & Camille Ensminger
Saturdays 10:05-11:25 AM
Sep. 26 - Dec. 05

Register online

What we offer

What we offer

- Opportunity to perform in a fully produced concert
- Opportunity for choreographers, new or experienced, to create dances (link to choreographers' and application to choreograph)
- Masterclasses and workshops sponsored by Orchesis include:
- contemporary modern, ballet and jazz dance technique
- improvisation and contact improvisation
- dance theatre craft
- dance somatics - example of offerings include Pilates, Garuda, Dowd conditioning technique, etc.
- lecture/demonstrations, dance research connections and discussions
- classes in a variety of dance forms when appropriate