Mile Zero Dance Team
Gerry Morita, Artistic Director
Originally from rural Saskatchewan, Gerry Morita (BA Dance/ MFA Theatre. She has lived and worked in Vancouver, Montréal, and Tokyo as a dancer, choreographer, performance artist and teacher before moving to Edmonton and becoming Mile Zero Dance’s Artistic Director in 2006. Her work has toured Poland, Turkey, Estonia, Canada, and Japan.
Morita’s body of work involves continuous inquiry into new ways of seeing movement, the body, and the spaces between us. She studies and teaches contact improvisation, Noguchi Taiso and other somatic-based and improving technique, working with artists from all disciplines in a vast array of both conventional and site-specific venues. She has received the Mayor’s Award for Innovation in Artistic Direction, the Edmonton Salute for Excellence, Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund and was one of Alberta’s 25 Influential Artists recognized in 2016.
Kelly Ruth, General Manager
Kelly Ruth is a Textile/New Media artist, Business Owner, and Non-profit supporter from Winnipeg, who moved to Edmonton in 2017. Kelly has a background as a textile dyer/painter for dance, theatre and film companies across Canada, primarily working for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She has also worked in a sponsorship/outreach role and served on multiple boards during her years of independent arts practice.
“Through ten years of running my small business as a clothing designer/maker, I modelled my manufacturing ideals as part of a slow fashion movement. In hindsight I consider this experience as a ten-year performance of sorts embodying alternative visions, applying my research in tangible ways while connecting with culture, all the while observing and learning how art and the handmade are absorbed into the mechanics of commerce.”
Katrina Smy, Accounts Manager
Katrina is an independent dance artist based in Edmonton, Alberta. Her early training grounds include the Edmonton School of Ballet, Alberta Ballet School, and Grant MacEwan Community College, where she graduated from the Dance Program in 1992. Her evolution toward improv-based performance and installation work has been an organic unfolding which she continues to investigate through collaborative undertakings with a gorgeous array of artists across disciplines.
Katrina has worked with Mile Zero Dance in an administrative capacity since 2008, and has participated in supporting the company in ways both large and small since the early 90’s. Katrina holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies (Eastern Philosophy) and Drama.
Jodie Vandekerkhove, Education Outreach Coordinator
Jodie Vandekerkhove is a professional artist with extensive training and education in the field of dance, holding a holding BFA (Simon Fraser University, Canada) and MA (University of Alberta, Canada). Jodie’s MA research focused on Ethical Practices for Beginner Ballet Class. The results have been published in Vandekerkhove, J. (2018). At The Barre: Ethical Training for Beginner Ballet Class. In P. Markula & M. Clark (Eds.), The evolving feminine ballet body (pp. 127-150). Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta Press. She has danced professionally for various choreographers and has performed with Jen Mesch Dance Conspiracy, KO Dance project, Heidi Bunting, and Mile Zero Dance all over Canada. Jodie has been a presenter for the TEDx Garneau Women event. Jodie appreciates all diverse backgrounds and abilities in dance and appreciates everyone’s unique way of moving. Jodie has a passion for teaching dance and presently is a dance instructor at Concordia University of Edmonton, University of Alberta where she informs students of dance education. As well Jodie is the Outreach Coordinator for Mile Zero Dance in Edmonton, Canada.
Kathleen Hughes, Education Outreach Coordinator
Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, she began with ballet training at a very early age, and was later introduced to Modern while attending the dance program at Grant McEwan College. Ms. Hughes then completed her studies at The School of the Toronto Dance Theatre. Ms. Hughes co-founded a dance collective called The Aurora Dance Community under the mentorship of Patricia Beatty (Co-founder Toronto Dance Theatre, Member of the Order of Canada). During this time she had extensively produced, choreographed, and performed for this professional collective for five years. In 2005 Kathleen co-founded and became the co-artistic director of Niagara Dance Company, involving an eventful career teaching professional level classes, choreographing and co–producing bi-annual performances. Since 2010, Kathleen has been working out of her home town, hosting several series of graham-based dance classes and teaching modern technique at a variety of studios for dancers of all ages ranging from beginner to advance. Kathleen is very grateful to have the opportunity to work within the MZD Outreach Program along side such an inspiring group of artists.
Elise Jason, Front of House + Social Media Coordinator
Elise CM Jason (them/them/theirs pronouns) is a queer, mixed race, multi-disciplinary artist living and creating in amiskawaciy (Edmonton, Alberta). In their practice, they are particularly interested in the intersection of visual art, installation in theatre, and creating devised performances. When not pursuing their artistic practice, they moonlight as an arts administrator.
Trent Crosby, Technical Director
Trent is an Edmonton based artist and arts enabler. A graduate of Grant MacEwan’s Theatre Production program and The Banff Centre for the Arts, Trent has spent the last seven years as a Lighting Designer, Production Manager, Stage Manager, Entertainment Programmer, Site Manager, and Theatre Technician among many, many other things.