Astrid Sherman: Artistic Director

Artistic Director: Astrid Sherman (F.I.S.T.D; Certificate Health & Fitness SFU)

Ms. Sherman, a Fellow of the ISTD, graduated from the Pretoria Technikon School for the Performing Arts in South Africa (she was a recipient of their Ballet bursary in 1989, and the Michael Tesson Ballet Scholarship in 1990),after gaining her initial dance training with Helen MacBride, Beryl Alison, Joey Saayman and Kenny Smith in Johannesburg. From there, she went on to dance professionally with the NAPAC Ballet Company in Durban, where she had the opportunity to work with many of the innovators of South African modern and neo-classical dance, as well as perform in all the traditional ballet classics. She later toured extensively with the international musicals: Me and My Girl, Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, Crazy for You and with NAPAC’s Queen of the Opera.

In South Africa as a student, Astrid’s choreographic work was selected for the ”Dance Umbrella” Choreographic Festival, and she was asked to choreograph for the professional production  of “Gracie & Vera”  in Johannesburg. Since immigrating to Canada in 1997, she has been able to fulfill her commitment of using dance to affect change through choreography and collaboration with Cecil Hershler of Education without Borders for the “Global Arts Festival”, “World Kindness Festivals” and ”Woza” performances as well as working closely with Canadian composer Michael Conway Baker for various commemorative pieces. In 2010 she was commissioned by The Cottage Farm Society to create and choreograph a full length work depicting the agony of mental illness in the work: “From Shadow to Light” at the Chan Theatre in Vancouver. In addition to developing dance performances for current issues within our communities, Ms. Sherman has choreographed for numerous “Canada Day” celebration presentations, the opening of the North Vancouver Pier, and a host of community events. She is currently artistic Director for CatchingART Contemporary Ballet Theatre.

In 2003, Ms. Sherman co-founded Pro Arté Centre specialising in programs for serious young dancers. Student achievements have included BC Provincial titles, YAGP  Finalists, Tanzolymp Finalists, NYCDA Outstanding Dancers and Vancouver Ballet Society Scholarships. Graduates have gone on to dance with various companies and graduate programs in North America and Europe. 2007 saw the  beginning of the academic partnership with  Pro Merita Academy, an academic on-site program being added for Grades 6 to 12 allowing for a Full Time Academic/Dance Program. 2015 now sees Pro Merita launching new programs to look at post-secondary needs and will be re-launch as Pro Arte College.

Ms. Sherman is an avid researcher for scientific advances in classical ballet technique and is currently completing her Bsc in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University from where she also obtained a certificate in Health & Fitness. Ms. Sherman presented at the 2008 Johannesburg Dance Medicine conference and, together with physiotherapist (and former student) Erika Mayall, at the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) Conferences in Birmingham UK 2010 and in Singapore 2012. Their research was published in the Journal for Dance Science & Medicine in 2014. Ms. Sherman also presented at the Vancouver “Healthy Dancer” Conference with Pro Arte Pilates and non-practising physiotherapist, Susie Higgins in September 2012 and 2014 with  both Erika Mayall & Susie Higgins. She is also currently serving on the Education Committee for IADMS.