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, Emily Kotowich
The 2019-2020 dance season marks Emily Kotowich’s 14th year with the St. Paul Desna Ukrainian Dance Club. This will also mark her 3rd year instructing with the club. Emily first started dancing at the age of 3 in ballet with her mom’s dance school. At 8 years old, Emily started to take her dancing to the next level by learning and competing her very first solo. Since then, Emily has enjoyed the opportunities she has been exposed to because of solo performances like performing at weddings and cultural festivals in the local area, and being able to travel to distant festivals across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
In addition to dancing in St. Paul, Emily began a 4 year journey with MY Ukraunian Dance Academy out of St. Albert where she was exposed to several top choreographers and instructors and was involved in many performances. This experience allowed Emily to strengthen her dance skills and further developed her passion for the art of Ukrainian dance. Emily hopes to continue dancing in the future with a professional dance group in Edmonton. Emily was also a competitive Highland Dancer for 9 years, travelling to competitions across Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as Vancouver, Montreal, and Hawaii.
At the age of 15, Emily co-choreographed her first dance, a duet with her dance partner, Emma Robertson. This self-choreographed duet received top marks at festivals throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. Emily enjoys the creativity of choreographing and has taken more interest in the art form over the last 3 years.
In 2017, Emily added the Tier 1 Shumka Syllabus Instructor training to her achievements. This training has provided Emily with additional knowledge which is valuable while instructing the Beginner and Level 1 classes in the club. Seeing that this is her last year with the club, Emily is excited for another great year of dancing and instructing, and is grateful for the opportunities she has experienced while dancing with the St. Paul Desna Ukrainian Dance club.