Raised in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, Calen Kurka started his training in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Modern, and Chinese Dance. He then later moved to Edmonton, Alberta, furthering his training competitively.
Currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, as an instructor Calen has taught across Canada, the U.S. and Japan, and more recently in Ireland at Dublin's Dance Jam '07. He is currently instructing for Dance Masters of America as one of their Master Faculty, and is also on faculty with Dance Educators of America. His choreography has been recognized as outstanding at many competitions throughout the U.S. and Canada, and has been the recipient of many awards. In addition to teaching in and around New York he's also assisted choreographer, director, instructor, Michele Assaf.
Calen's performing credits include being an original member of the first national tour of Jeff Amsden's widely acclaimed "A Few Good Men Dancin'", and performing with recording artist Carmella in a tribute concert to Cher. He's also worked closely with choreographer/instructor Chris Hale. As a featured performer, Calen's stage credits include having spent a year on contract with Tokyo Disney as a Main Stage performer, and taking on such leading roles as Capt. Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and Seymour in "Little Shop of Horrors" in regional stage productions. In addition he can be seen in "The Live! at Broadway Dance Center" video series "Turns and Turn Combos", dancing with choreographer Danny Herman, and heading his own instructional video "Floor Work with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale": A new addition to the "Live at BDC" collection.
As founder and Artistic Director of Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance, Calen hopes to continue his journey as an artist, instructor and choreographer. He wishes to inspire, and be continually inspired by those who so honestly give of their talent and themselves. He continues, with his company, to create work pushing new movement, strong technique, honesty, emotional commitment, and growth. It is an evolutionary journey with no boundaries, no limits, no ends.
Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance is a New York based contemporary dance and workshop company under the direction of Calen Kurka. Born out of a desire to strengthen awareness of mind, movement, and body, :pushing progress is considered a new dynamic force in the dance community bringing forward a new generation of technical strength and contemporary movement. It is pioneering new programs for training and making knowledge of the the human anatomy as a foundation for technique in dance. accessible not only to an elite, but to anybody who wishes to truly understand their ability and artistry as a dancer.
The work of Calen J. Kurka is considered highly athletic and of a new energy. Combining contemporary dance with the improvement and education of oneself, the work is both noetic, and emotionally charged with a focus on breaking boundaries and finding new perspective on movement and the challenges that bind us to our own bodies. It is a process determined to find artistic style and beauty through technique, the strength of intention, and trust of one’s energetic self.
DIRECTOR OF MUSICAL THEATER - MUSICAL THEATER, TAP, MIXED DANCE, GROUP VOICE
John recently graduated from New York University with a Master’s Degree in Performing Arts Administration and also holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah University. John is the Artistic Director for Summer at the State, a summer theatre in connection with the State Theatre Center for the Arts in Southwestern, PA. He is also the co-founder of Larger Than Life Shows, a NYC based production and entertainment company. His directing and choreography credits include: Gypsy, Mary Poppins, Hairspray, The Producers, 42nd Street, The Nutcracker, Cats, Sweet Charity, Beauty and the Beast, and Legally Blonde. He is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association and his performing credits include: Spamalot, La Cage Aux Folles, Gypsy, All Shook Up, A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, Chicago, 42nd Street, and Footloose.