“A Day in the Life” with Choreographer and Actor Deanne Bertsch

Ms. Deanne Bertsch is Teacher Extraordinaire. She is the force behind the amazing show, New Blood, which has performed for thousands across Western Canada since its creation in 2016. Deanne and her amazing team have brought the heartbreaking, resilient, empowering story of Indigenous people to life.

However, there are things Deanne Bertsch is not good at:

– Staying in her lane. For instance, she taught dance and drama classes in high school but then decided to collaborate with the Blackfoot class and tech class. Then, with elders from Siksika, she created this exquisite and moving dance show about Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman and the indigenous history of Canada. She has been a strong bridge builder between communities.

– Taking ‘No’ for an answer. Deanne hatches amazing story ideas that originate from interesting people she’s met, and then in the kindest way, she asks, expects, persuades, cajoles, and bribes people to follow her lead. In the end, they become proud and grateful co-creators with her of beautiful dance and theatre performances. And, in the case of Peter Gabriel, fully endorse the show of New Blood.

– Being bored. She is fascinated by the people she encounters, always curious, and always looking for a way to share unique and beautiful stories with the world. She’s brought to the stage stories of a refugee from Rwanda, an orphan from Haiti, and a young man who survived difficult foster care, a woman who struggles with severe depression. The stories she produces are imbued with such grace and dignity that audiences can’t help but leave the theatre with deeper empathy and awareness.

– Paying attention in class – when she’s not the teacher. She sings in a community choir and is the chattiest, distractiest chorister ever. (I know, because I sit by her.) She gets away with it too, because she is just so fun and joyous and everyone agrees that the world is better with Deanne being there.

-Written by Renita Hamm, friend and colleague

Deanne Bertsch
Working with the cast of The Comeback at Strathmore High, a story about my student, Inioluwanimi and his journey from Nigeria to Canada.
Scene from New blood – a story of reconciliation
Cast of New Blood
Sho Blunderfield and I. Sho is the amazing singer for New Blood and will be singing with the Calgary Civic Symphony
Deanne Bertsch
This is Rocky and I at Horseshoe Canyon, on our Favorite walk
My mom and I with my twin daughters at their final dance recital as they are graduating. They have crazy makeup as they were dancing to Beetlejuice
Deanne Bertsch
I am working on choreo for Rosebud Theatre’s Sound of Music with Ian Farthing and Cassia Schramm
Deanne Bertsch
Leading a stretch for the dance class at Strathmore High School

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Which hood are you in?

I live in the country halfway between Rosebud and Drumheller, very close to Horseshoe Canyon. I work in Strathmore, Rosebud, Drumheller and sometimes Calgary.

What do I do?

I teach drama and dance and devised theatre at Rosebud School of the Arts and Strathmore High. I facilitate opportunities for young people to tell and create stories about themselves that hopefully will make a difference in the world. I tour an amazing show called New Blood which is inspired by the life of Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman and his journey through residential school. I’m also a mother to 17-year-old girls who also love theatre and dance!

What am I working on now?

Right now I am preparing New Blood, a story of Reconcilation, to be performed at the Jack Singer with the Calgary Civic Orchestra on June 15. I’m choreographing The Sound Of Music for Rosebud Theatre which opens June 2. I’m directing Grease for Strathmore High and I will be doing a bit of choreo for the Canadian Badlands Passion Play.

Where can you find my work?

New Blood at the Jack Singer June 15, Rosebud Theatre, June 2-Sept.1, Strathmore High, June 2-7 and Drumheller, Canadian Badlands Passion Play, weekends in July.

 

 

About Demian Vernieri 557 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.