Orchesis Dance

Orchesis Dance is a 54- year old organization that has its roots in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. Starting in the 2018/19 year ODPG is now part of the Club Sport programming with Campus & Community Recreation.

Dance With Us

Orchesis is a unique dance program that fosters long-term recreational and professional development in dance. This is a non-credit dance program open to all students, alumni and members of the community with a desire to dance, choreograph and perform. Orchesis is devoted to creativity, expression and the well-being of all dancers.

View all the available programs 


Dance Motif 2019 marks the 54th year of Orchesis and will feature contemporary modern and jazz choreography by faculty and local dance artists. Motif 2019 features a guest choreographer from Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, whose Orchesis Summer Dance Intensive and choreographic residency have received support from The Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Orchesis Dance Society, the non-profit society, makes this possible and with additional fundraising efforts.

Get more details on the next performance here


We offer dance classes in contemporary modern, ballet and jazz at varying levels throughout the year. See the "What We Offer" section below for more details on our programs.

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.

Learn more about the History of Orchesis here

  • What we offer

    What we offer

    - Contemporary modern, ballet and jazz dance classes from beginner to advanced dancers (link to class reg)
    - Opportunity to perform in fully produced concert
    - Opportunity for choreographers, new or experienced, to create dances (link to choreographers’ and application to choreograph)
    - Master classes and workshops sponsored by Orchesis include:
    - contemporary modern, ballet and jazz dance technique
    - choreographic process and creative practice
    - improvisation and contact improvisation
    - dance theatre craft
    - dance somatics - example of offerings include: PilatesGarudaDowd conditioning technique, etc.
    - lecture/demonstrations, dance research connections and discussions
    - classes in a variety of dance forms when appropriate 

  • Instructors

    Orchesis dance 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 Orchesis class offered in 2017-18:

    BALLET I (Thu 5 - 6:25 PM) - Kathy Metzger Corriveau
    BALLET II (Mon 5 - 6:25 PM) - Kathy Metzger-Corriveau
    BALLET III (Wed 5 - 6:25 PM) - Kate Stashko

    JAZZ I (Sat 10 - 1130 AM) - Camille Ensminger and Andrea Fitzgerald
    JAZZ II (Sat 1130AM -1 PM) - Sarisa Figueroa de Toledo
    JAZZ III (Tue 6:30 - 8 PM) - Sarisa Figueroa de Toledo and Stephanie Lilley

    CONTEMPORARY MODERN I (Mon 6:30 - 8 PM) - Kathleen Hughes
    CONTEMPORARY MODERN II (Thu 6:30 - 8 PM) - Kathy Metzger-Corriveau
    CONTEMPORARY MODERN III (Wed 6:30 - 8 PM) - Kate Stashko and Raena Waddell

    Please click on the PDF link for a full of list Orchesis instructors and their brief biographies:

  • 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.
    Contact Tamara C. Bliss, Director, Orchesis Dance Program -Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation
    4-421 Van Vliet Complex - Pavilion Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H9
    Phone: 780-492-0770 FAX: 780-492-2364 E-mail: tamara.bliss@ualberta.ca


    Orchesis Spring/Summer Award Application Form

  • Governance
    Position Committee Member Contact Information 
    Director Tamara Bliss tamara.bliss@ualberta.ca
    Chair Amanda Karpyshin akarpyshin@hotmail.com 
    Vice Chair Brooklyn Halwa halwa@ualberta.ca 
    Motif Coordinator 1 Hanna Klose hannah.klose@gmail.com 
    Motif Coordinator 2 Riya Mittal  
    Media and Design Paul Betan paulbarry07@yahoo.com
    Marketing Stacey Grubb stacey.grubb1@gmail.com
    Fundraising Coordinator Aphra Sutherland  
    Extended Executive

    Social Convener  Andrea Fitzgerald  fitzgera@ualberta.ca 
    CostumeCoordinator OPEN  
    Class Assistants     
    Jazz I  OPEN   
    Jazz II  OPEN  
    Jazz III  June Chen   junechen@ualberta.ca
    Modern I/Ballet II  Elaine Chan   elainechan30@gmail.com
    Modern II/Ballet I  Ana Lopez   analopez@ualberta.ca
    Modern III/Ballet III   OPEN  
    Campus & Community Recreation program liaison  Nicolette Marshall nicolette.marshall@ualberta.ca 

    Orchesis Dance Program will hold its next Annual General Meeting in April TBA, 2018 5-6:30 PM - Room 4-240

    If you are interested in leading and supporting dancers and dance at the U of A in the Orchesis Dance Program, please attend.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What do I wear to Orchesis dance classes?

    Jazz - footwear: jazz shoes, jazz sneakers or jazz oxfords
    Modern - footwear: bare feet
    Ballet - footwear: ballet slippers - canvas or leather

    All hair should be tied back and out of your eyes. Bare midriffs, any revealing clothing, hats, excessive jewelry and chewing gum are not permitted.

    May I switch into a different level mid-year?

    Yes. Please consult with your regular instructor first. Your instructor will know what is best for you and assist you in making the change.

    My class schedule changed/I have been seriously injured/I can no longer continue dancing for various reasons. Can I receive a refund?

    In many cases, the answer is yes, if withdrawing within 2 weeks of registration. Injuries are addressed on a case by case basis. Please refer to the Campus & Community Recreation (formerly Recreation Services) refund policy in back of the Activity Guide under ‘Registration). You can also find this information on-line through Campus & Community Recreation.

    When I register for a full membership, am I supposed to attend both a modern and jazz dance classes each week, or may I take either modern or jazz?

    With a basic Orchesis membership registration fee, you may take one class per term in any combination of modern or jazz. An additional fee will be charged for a second class.

    What if I want to take more than one class per week?

    You may do so. There is an additional charge, over and above the membership fee. Please refer to the class page of this website or the current Activities Guide for additional fees.

    What does the term "level appropriate" mean?

    "Level appropriate" means that you should be wise and choose to take classes that reflect your previous experience or lack of it. We care about dancers and want to prevent injuries from taking a class that may not be appropriate to your skill level.

    I can only take one class a week. Am I required to take two?

    No. Your registration is based on a one class fee. You can add a second class for an additional discounted fee.

    Do I have to participate in Dance Motif?

    No. This is an option offered at no additional cost. Dancers who participate in Orchesis are expected to volunteer (see below) some of their time so we can continue to keep this option cost free.

    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 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% - 75% 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 in September (this year’s date to be determined) from 8:10 PM to ~ 9:20 PM and 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.

    May I fax my registration to the Customer Service Centre?

    Yes. Faxing is an excellent alternative because Orchesis does not take registration online (may change in 2018)
    - The fax number is: 780-492-7190
    - There is a registration form on the back page of the Activity Guide
    - The guide is also found online at uab.ca/recreation

    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 on the lower level and have clear signs telling you where to go.