Edge graduate set to dance in the Big Apple
Hannah Ulmer has been dancing since she was three years old. After 15 years of training and dedication, she’s heading to one of the world’s performing arts capitals.
Originally from Calgary, Ulmer also played soccer and did gymnastics before she chose to focus on dance. She trained with the Alberta Ballet and at The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, both for six years, before she began training at the Edge School in Grade 7.
“I was young, my mom just put me (in dance),” Ulmer said. “Dance was what stuck, and I grew a passion for it and continued on with it.”
Training with the Ballet and the Young Canadians gave Ulmer the technique and foundation she needed to pursue a career in dance. She began with ballet, but soon moved on to incorporate jazz and lyrical styles into her repertoire. From there, she found her love for contemporary dance.
At Edge, Ulmer trains for nearly two hours every day, sometimes supplementing her training with extra classes and private lessons. The extra, one-on-one training helps her train even quicker.
“(Dancing at Edge) seemed like it would be a great experience and a great opportunity to train,” Ulmer said. “I wanted to be able to dance every day at school, which is awesome.”
Over the past 15 years, dance has taken Ulmer around the world and back. She’s travelled to Alaska, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Paris.
Recently, she travelled with the Edge to Spain, where she got to train with a man named Alejandro, who is a principle dancer for Celine Dion.
“It was great,” she said of the overseas experience.
“We were exposed to a lot of dancers working in the industry. I’m aspiring to be a professional dancer, so it was great to see what it’s like in the industry.
“Paris was really cool and different compared to North America. I also really liked L.A. The style there is more music video and hip-hop.”
This summer, Ulmer is heading to dance with the Leon Dance Arts NY, an exclusive training program in New York City. The two-week intensive program provides dancers with classes and workshops in a variety of dance styles, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre, hip-hop and ballroom.
Executive Artistic Director Dorrell Leon Martin, who has danced in several Broadway productions and has worked with recording artists, such as Jennifer Lopez, the Black Eyed Peas and Rhianna, founded the program. The other faculty members also have extensive dance backgrounds, having performed with international companies, renowned stage productions and in film and television.
Ulmer is hoping the program will help launch her career as a professional dancer.
“I want to one day be a part of a contemporary company or be a back-up dancer and tour with a music artist,” she said. “I’m hoping that it’ll give me a lot more experience and a lot more training.”