Artistic Director, Dave Ganert
With over thirty-nine years of Ukrainian Dance to his credit, Dave Ganert has become one of Canada's leading choreographers and directors. Mr. Ganert’s extensive accumulated training in Ukrainian, ballet, character and modern dance can be seen in many of his creations. Over the course of his career, Mr. Ganert has instructed eighteen dance schools to over 3,000 students, instructed workshops all over Canada, United States, Ukraine and China to various ages and has adjudicated multiple festivals across the country.
In 1991, Mr. Ganert had the privilege of joining the world renowned Ukrainian Shumka Dancers. Mr. Ganert served as Shumka’s Resident Choreographer for 13 years, Principle for 11 years, Associate Artistic Director for 7 years and as Artistic Director for 6 years. Along with the many productions Mr. Ganert was a part of creating; he co-developed an extensive summer dance program for youth and created Canada’s first Intensive Division of Ukrainian Dance. Mr. Ganert’s innovative artistic talents and choreography has also gained him much recognition and numerous scholarships and awards throughout Canada including Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal honoring his significant contributions and achievements by a Canadian.
With Shumka, Dave Ganert has performed in over 600 shows locally, nationally and around the world. One performance highlight was the touring production of A Royal Christmas when Mr. Ganert joined Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and Charlotte Church, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, Westminster Choir, the Kiev Ballet, and artists from the Bolshoi, Royal Ballet of London, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet which toured 15 cities throughout the United States and Canada. Mr. Ganert is also the first Canadian director to work with the Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble from Kiev, Ukraine.
Mr. Ganert’s passion and refreshing perspective to Ukrainian Dance continues to captivate the admiration of audiences all over the globe including Jean-Marc Généreux, of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, which Mr. Ganert collaborated with in a tribute piece recognizing the struggle and celebrating the triumph of people living with Multiple Sclerosis. In 2013, Dave joined the Edmonton Opera as a movement consultant in Eugene Onegin and was the choreographer for the 2015 production of The Merry Widow.
Dave Ganert is a psychology graduate at the University Of Alberta where he spent two years working with Alberta Family and Social Services working with youth. Prior to focusing on Child Psychology, Dave spent time in Social Psychology.
Mr. Ganert continues to share his high technical standard and creative talents, boundless energy and commitment to a rich culture which has made him a much respected member of the arts community. His natural talent for movement and composition combined with his incredible passion for dance and culture will continue to grow and guide his artistic success. Mr. Ganert is thrilled to have joined the St. Paul Desna Ukrainian Dance Club in September 2017 and serves as the current director for the group.
Instructor, Emma Robertson
2018-19 dance year will be Emma Robertson’s 13th year of Ukrainian dance with the St. Paul Desna Ukrainian Dance Club. She first started at 4 years old in the ballet program with the Silhouette dance club in St. Paul. At the age of 5, she found something that captured her heart, that being Ukrainian dance. At that age Emma was so intrigued by it she wanted to learn her very first solo. Emma’s love for Ukrainian dance only has grown more passionate over the years. While dancing with the St. Paul Ukrainian dance club she also began a 4 year journey with MY Ukrainian Dance Academy based out of St. Albert. During this time, she had many opportunities to be taught by top accomplished instructors/ choreographers and perform. This strengthened her dedication to dance and helped develop a strong work ethic and found this to be her passion.
At the age of 15, Emma took a strong interest in choreography, where she choreographed her own solo and collaborated on a duet for her and dance partner, for which she has received several top marks, her most proud one for receiving the top mark of the festival In North Battleford with her own choreographed and performed solo.
In the last year, Emma has added the Tier 1 Shumka Syllabus Instructor training to her achievements and has gone on to instruct the beginners and level 1 for the St. Paul Dance club, along with teaching several duets and solos.
Traveling to different places including Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to compete as well as perform has been a strong interest of Emma’s and hopes to continue that with a professional dance group in the future. She is looking forward to another great dance season with the St. Paul dance club, both as a senior dancer and a very excited Instructor.