PSB & Interplay's artistic dance instructors are highly qualified and among the finest from diverse professional backgrounds, including graduates of teaching programs from the National Ballet School, Ryerson University, and York University. Read their bios below.
Artistic Director of PSB & INTERPLAY – Cecchetti Ballet, Enhanced and Intensive Ballet, PSB & INTERPLAY Dance Company
Read Karen Davies Thomas' Biography
Karen has trained and worked with renowned choreographers like Betty Oliphant, Carole Chadwick, Glenn Gilmour, Mavis Staines, Jean Geddis, Deborah Bowes, Kenny Pearl, Darrel Tracey, Pat Miner, Pat Fraser, Karen Duplisea, David Earle, Holly Small, and Donna Krasnow.
Karen founded the PSB Dance Academy in 1989 and was formerly Associate Director of Interplay School of Dance, where she taught for many years and built a strong Modern Dance program and formed Interplay Dance Company. She acquired ownership of Interplay School of Dance when founder Anna McCowan Johnson retired in July 2006. Karen is married to Joel Thomas and has three children: Dylan, Celine, and Julie. Her two daughters are enrolled at PSB, and just might be following in her footsteps.
PSB – Cecchetti Ballet & Interplay – Guest Teacher
Read Amy Blake Hoffman's Biography
Fellowship CSC-CICB, Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma, Bachelor of Science (University of Toronto)
After graduating from the National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program, Amy has spent the last 25 years teaching ballet, from beginner to advanced, for numerous dance schools in and around Toronto. Dedicated to continued professional growth, Amy attends teachers’ seminars regularly, and has studied with many renowned international teachers. Amy has attained the Fellowship teaching qualification in the Cecchetti Method and holds the Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma. In addition to her teaching, choreography, and continued training, Amy has also managed dance programs across the Greater Toronto Area. Specific managerial roles include: Principal of Interplay School of Dance, Principal of the Post-Secondary Program at George Brown College School of Dance, and also Co-developer of the Bishop Strachan School Summer Arts Workshop in Dance & Art.Amy’s affiliation with Interplay began in 1994 and she is thrilled to continue to be part of the Interplay and PSB team.
INTERPLAY - Ballet
Read Eleanor Bull's Biography
In 2016 Eleanor graduated from the Teacher Training Program at NBS. Eleanor believes in nurturing strong artists as well as providing a technical foundation that will enhance expression.
INTERPLAY – Intensive Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, and Hip Hop
Read Bretonie Burchell's' Biography
Bretonie has appeared in Music Videos (Shawn Desmond, Blake McGrath, Young Avs) on Television (MTV, Love Trap) on stage in countless productions (A.C.E Awards New York, Toronto’s Choreographers Ball, I Move Forward etc) and even on the runway (Alternative Fashion Week, LG Fashion Week). This past year she has worked extensively as both a dancer and a teacher. June marked the beginning of her professional weekly open class ran out of RightFoot Studio, one of Toronto’s thriving hubs for urban dance. She has also been welcomed on the faculty of Fresh Dance Intensive which has allowed her to teach all over Ontario. As a dancer she was welcomed as a part of Jasmyn Fyffe Dance Company and was a part of the award winning production of “Pulse” in Montreal Fringe. She is also currently working with RiaToss Productions on their re-installment of the successful show “Marina Antoinette”. Whether it be teaching or performing, Bretonie has found great joy in the art of dance and hopes to spread this joy at every opportunity.
PSB & INTERPLAY – Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical
Read Mackenzie Carlson's Biography
After training and working in Vancouver for two years Mackenzie moved to Toronto to become a student at the Conteur Academy. She continues to reside in Toronto and is currently training as an apprentice with The Conteur Company for the upcoming 2013 season. In the past couple of years she has built a long list of live performances and music videos to her credit and continues to work in the industry. Mackenzie has taught throughout many of her travels and will always love the opportunity to work with young dancers.
PSB - RAD and Cecchetti Ballet
Read Alexa Cherrett's Biography
PSB & INTERPLAY – Junior, Senior, Intensive, and Enhanced Acro
Read Sharlan Cuffy's' Biography
In 2005 Sharlan took her studies of arts even further and attended George Brown College where she completed the commercial dance program focusing on singing, acting and dancing. Since graduating, she has gone forward to work and teach in dance studios across the GTA as a competitive and recreational teacher in jazz, tap, hip hop, acrobatics and conditioning. She also had the privilege to lend her coaching repertoire to a national and world class Canadian cheerleading gym in 2008, where students ranged from ages 5 to 20 yrs.
Sharlan’s passion for the arts has provided her with many opportunities to dance on stage and film alongside many acclaimed artists–artists such as Snoop Dogg, Janelle Monea, Feist, Canadian singer Devine Brown, Andreena Mills, Reema Major, Entourage and many more. She recently expanded into the television world on such shows as Degrassi, Next Generation, Defiance, Hemlock Grove, Much Music VMA commercial, and has worked on set with Director Eli Roth (Hostel & Cabin Fever) and choreographed for a nationwide commercial for Hydroxycut (airing in the USA). Most recently she’s featured in Lifetime’s channels movie Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, starring Alexandra Chipp, which had its North American premier in November 2014.
Sharlan is also a part of the widely successful production Gimme One Riddim, directed by Jazmine Fyffe (Fyffe dance Company) and Natasha Powell (Catalyst Dance Company) which has graced the stages of Winchester Theater, Markham Theater, Harbourtfront Enwave Theater, and various schools and community outreach programs within the GTA.
INTERPLAY – Jazz, Tap, Lyrical
Read Kimberley Ganter's Biography
After 5 years of training, teaching and working professionally in dance and acting in Vancouver, Kimberley relocated to Toronto to continue to train and push herself in her craft because she believes you can never stop growing as an artist. Having extensive teaching experience in various styles of dance, Kimberley is thrilled to be a part of Interplay and cannot wait to share her passion with the students this season!
PSB - Jazz, Tap, Acro
Read Kendal Gemmitti's Biography
Kendal’s numerous solos, duets and trios earned her many awards at competitions over the years, including overall top score award. In addition to dance, Kendal is a fully certified artistic gymnastics and trampoline instructor with the NCCP. Currently a student at the University of Toronto, Kendal is pursuing a life science degree in Human Biology while double majoring in French.
PSB & INTERPLAY
Read Corinne Jaggi's Biography
It was this wonderful exposure to the vast array of teaching styles and techniques that inspired Corinne’s passion to teach dance. She is a graduate of York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and The National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program. She holds a teaching qualification from the Royal Academy of Dance. She also holds her Cecchetti Advanced I, and Advanced I ISTD in National Dance.
INTERPLAY – Enhanced and Intensive Ballet, INTERPLAY Dance Company
Read Martine Lusignan's Biography
In 1999, after two seasons as a professional dancer with The National Ballet of Canada, Ms. Lusignan returned to Montreal. She later joined Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal with whom she toured international stages quite extensively. Subsequently, she went on to dance for several seasons with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. In her career, she performed the work of many wonderful choreographers including Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, George Balanchine, Crystal Pite, James Kudelka, Fernand Nault, Johanne Madore, Eric Bruhn, Kader Belarbi, Stijn Celis, Edgar Zendalas, Patrick Lafontaine, Mia Michaels, Helgi Tomasson, Jean Christophe Maillot, Didy Veldman, Joe Laughlin, Christophe Garcia and Renaud Doucet.
In 2000, Ms. Lusignan co-founded the innovative company Corpuscule Danse after studying integrated dance with CandoCo, in England. As co-founder of the company she had many responsibilities not only as dancer, pedagogue, and choreographer, but also as chief administrator and Director of Production for six years. Martine also had the pleasure of working as a freelance dance artist for various other companies and choreographers.
Ms. Lusignan has been teaching and choreographing for dancers, dance students of all ages and levels, as well as physically handicapped dance lovers since 1996. During her time with Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Martine took on additional responsibilities as a teacher and a ballet mistress on tour and at Domaine Forget for dance students. She taught at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada, Randolph Academy College and several other schools and pre-professional programs for dancers. Martine Lusignan’s pedagogical approach is proactive, positive, goal oriented, and motivating. In 2009, Martine participated in the founding of AHAC (Association of Health for Artists of Canada) and now sits on the board of directors. Recently, she graduated as a schoolteacher and teaches in the French School Board in Toronto.
INTERPLAY - RAD Liaison
Read Shannon Nedza's Biography
Shannon returned to Interplay and trained under the current Artistic Director, Karen Davies Thomas. She went on to attend Ryerson’s dance program. Shannon has completed all Royal Academy of Dance exams up to the Advanced level, and received Distinction on her Royal Academy of Dance teaching exam. She has also completed the elementary and intermediate Cecchetti exams. Shannon has performed in Summerworks, Ffida, a fundraiser with guest artist Evelyn Hart, and as a dancer for the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, as well as other events. However, her passion is teaching ballet to young dancers, which she has enjoyed for over 10 years.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Enhanced and Intensive Ballet, PSB & INTERPLAY Dance Company & Competitive Division
Read John Ottmann's Biography
A graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, Ottmann has worked with several companies including the National Ballet of Canada, Ballet British Columbia, Fortier Danse Créations, Holy Body Tattoo, Mascall Dance and he co-founded the collective, Quorum. Ottmann has also taught and/or rehearsal directed for organizations including: Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance, Cirque du Soleil (“ZAIA”), Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, BJM Danse, La La La Human Steps, Coleman Lemieux Company, Compangnie Marie Chouinard, O Vertigo Danse, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Toronto Dance Theater, Ballet B.C., Dutch National Ballet, Transformation Danse, Danceteq, Vancouver Ballet Society, Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts, Main Dance Bridging Program, Simon Fraser University, LADMMI, Ryerson University. Ottmann’s choreographic work has been featured at The Canada Dance Festival, the Vancouver International Dance Festival, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, The Fringe Festival Montreal, Dancing on the Edge Festival, and the National Ballet of Canada choreographic workshop.
This past Summer John presented a new work at the ProArteDanza Summer Intensive where he has been part of the artistic and administrative team since 2012. As the Artistic Director of the Quinte Ballet School of Canada from 2009-2011 he implemented his progressive approach to teaching and mentoring dancers. Currently Ottmann teaches at Interplay, PSB, Ryerson University and York University where he also completed a Master’s degree in dramaturgy for dance.
INTERPLAY - RAD Ballet, Teen Ballet
Read Natalia Perkovic's Biography
Upon graduating from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 2011, Natalia went on to attend the Post Secondary Program at Canada’s National Ballet School. Along with many performances at the school, she assisted ballet classes to the students in the junior associates program. In 2012, Natalia apprenticed with the prestigious National Ballet of Canada and performed in the production “ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” which included performances in Los Angeles, Toronto, and in January 2013, a tour to Washington, D.C. After apprenticing with the company, she continued her studies at the National Ballet School, and was a part of the schools Assemblee international 2013. Recently, she has assisted ballet classes to the students at Interplay Ballet School.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Recreational, Enhanced and Intensive Lyrical, Musical Theatre, Tap
Read Faye Rauw's Biography
Faye has had the pleasure of working with the likes of Marlon Wayans, Charo, Ben Vereen, as well as Rob Marshall and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Oscar & Golden Globe winning movie, “CHICAGO”. She has also been captured as one of the video dancers in U2’s “Vertigo” tour and the CBC/BRAVO dance movie, “Roxanna” with Greta Hodgkinson from the National Ballet of Canada and Rex Harrington. Most recent, Faye can be seen in the new movie release of “Hairspray” with John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Queen Latifa. Faye’s acting credits have been seen on the TV series “MONK”, Walt Disney’s “The Sixth Man”, along with various commercials and Canadian feature films. Faye has been recognized on the entertainment TV show, ET Canada, for her accomplishments in the industry. Faye has choreographed for the NBA, AHL, CFL, Steve Nash Charity Classic, KRG Children’s Charity Gala, KING DAVID The Musical, the stage tour for CANADIAN THUNDER, the Canadian product launch for Brittney Spears fragrance, CURIOUS, CHIN Picnic and has choreographed for recording artist Kristine W.
Faye’s choreography has been seen on Western University Dance Team, Pride Toronto, ALI Entertainment and OIP Dance Company. Most recently, Faye choreographed the musical “Billy Bishop Goes to War” for the Souris Valley Theater Festival. Faye has been recognized as an ambassador for Lululemon athletic wear. She teaches and choreographs at the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts and recently, Faye started her own dance and choreographic workshop series titled Fayez1 Productions. Her passion to create and perform makes Faye a true inspiration to work with.
INTERPLAY - Junior, Intensive, Enhanced Jazz
Read Monique Romasco's Biography
Monique’s choreographic assistance was featured on CTV’s hit show, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA (Season 1-4). Monique has also had the opportunity to choreograph for film and Television shows such as BOMB GIRLS, AMERICAN PIE – BETA HOUSE and most recently worked with Canadian Actress SARAH GADON and the very popular JAMES FRANCO in Hulu’s mini series 11-22-63. Monique has choreographed and performed for many worldwide touring productions, from shows aboard Princess Cruise Lines to International sensations like GREASE and HAIR the musicals. Monique has also had the privilege to choreograph in the Opening Ceremonies for THE INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S GAMES hosted in Windsor Ontario as well as, most recently, the Closing Ceremonies of the 2016 PAN AMERICAN GAMES hosted in Toronto, Ontario.
Monique is currently working on choreographing the Opening Ceremonies for FINA’s opening Gala, hosted in Windsor Ontario.
As a dancer, Monique has toured internationally in the musicals GREASE and HAIR and has performed with many well known and exceptional artists such as JON SECADA, SEAN DESMOND and, at the time, DESTINY’S CHILD. She has performed in many Vegas stye review shows and lived in Los Angeles, California, for a short time, where she became assistant choreographer to Melissa Williams.
Monique has taught in studios all across the country and has had many students go on to achieve outstanding and flourishing dance careers. Her choreography has won several awards and overall recognitions. Monique is constantly inspired by her students everyday and enjoys finding new ways to explore her creative boundaries through teaching and choreography.
PSB - Junior Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop
Read Tasha Rickman's Biography
PSB - Creative Movement, Junior Ballet, Musical Theatre, Recreational and Intensive Modern
Read Jannine Saarinen's Biography
Jannine has been teaching dance since 2003, and has enjoyed the experience immensely. She currently teaches Ballet, Modern, and Musical theatre at PSB Dance Academy and Swansea School of Dance. In the past, she has taught at City Dance Corps, Martha Hicks, and Interplay School of Dance. She has been a guest teacher at Father John Redmond High School and Danforth Collegiate Technical Institute. In 2012 she was the lead dance coordinator for the Toronto Youth Ballet Ensemble (TYBE) helping to create a 45 minute ballet inspired by The Lord of the Rings. She is currently an Associate Member of the Canadian Society of Russian Ballet.
Jannine is looking forward to whatever opportunities her career in dance brings next.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Recreational Advanced, Enhanced and Intensive Jazz
Read Christina Tughan's Biography
Christina has also won best senior choreography/High score awards at Sur La Pointe/Dance Connection (Empty Chairs, Hagamos, Forgive Forget, Blurry and A Day without Rain). Christina’s choreography also includes Paint it Black, Feelin Good, Hype, Everytime, O Fortuna and All that Jazz. Although she left the Profile Dance Company as a performer in 2005, she is now a Jazz instructor for both the recreational and intensive jazz programs at PSB. She continues to choreograph pieces in various dance forms (Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary) for the Profile Dance Company.
Aside from her work with PSB, Christina has taught for the ACE after school program in Scarborough, and at the Kinetics School of Baton and Dance. Christina is a University of Toronto and Centennial College graduate and is currently working in the pharmaceutical field. Christina looks forward to working with PSB for many years to come.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Intensive Program Manager
Read Lucie Ward's Biography
In 1992 Lucie graduated from the Teacher Training program at Canada’s National Ballet School, where she completed all the Cecchetti ballet exams up to Advanced. Miss Ward was awarded distinction in both ballet and National Associate teachers’ exams. During this time she trained vocally at The Royal Conservatory of Music. Further dance education included: The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, The Russian Ballet Institute (Vaganova Method), Ballet Jorgen, Metro Movement, The Joy of Dance, Canada’s National Ballet School and University of Waterloo. Lucie has been teaching ballet in the greater Toronto area: for over 16yrs at Interplay, Randolph School for the performing Arts, Bishop Strachan, Branksome Hall, Toronto Lawn and Tennis Club, Oriole Nursery School, PSB dance Academy and Canadian Dance Company.
Lucie has performed, choreographed and guest taught in numerous Musical Theatre productions and studios across Atlantic Canada and Ontario. She has been featured on CBC radio, acted in commercials, and adjudicated competitions. In February 2005, Miss Ward was pleased to accept a position as guest National teacher at NBS through the Cecchetti Society of Canada and accepted a substitute teaching position for Teresa Randall (Junior Associates level 4 & 5) at NBS in the fall of 2005 and spring 2006. Lucie’s teaching career has done a full circle since her first job with Karen Davies Thomas at PSB Dance Academy in 1991 and is thrilled to work with Karen and the Interplay teams.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Creative Movement, Junior Ballet, Enhanced and Intensive Ballet
Read Rachel Zinck's Biography
After college, Rachel performed as a lead dancer for Carnival Cruise lines. After returning to Toronto, she worked as an independent performer and trained at the Toronto Academy of Acting for Film and Television, which led to work in film and television. In June 2011 Rachel graduated from the three year Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School. While at NBS, she was given several wonderful opportunities, such as teaching ballet for an outreach program with the Boys and Girls Club of Scarborough; was hired as a full-time ballet assistant for their 2010 Summer School and day counsellor the following summer; selected to teach for special events at NBS; and during her final year was hired to teach in the Associate Program. Rachel graduated from the TTP successfully completing her RAD Registered Teacher’s Status exams, Cecchetti Associate teaching exam, ISTD National Associate teaching exam and the Vocational dance exams within each syllabi. Currently Rachel is teaching throughout Toronto, applying all of the valuable knowledge, skills and experience she gained not only while studying at NBS, but also in prior years training and working professionally to her craft.
Rachel has continued to develop her choreographic skills setting pieces for competitions and more recently has been asked to be assistant choreographer for the Hart House Theatre’s production of “The Great American Trailer Park Show.” Rachel is delighted to join the teaching staff at PSB.
PSB - Guest Teacher
Read Chrissy Frechette's Biography
In addition to Chrissy's accomplishments at PSB, she has spent time dancing with other companies across Canada and in Europe. She performed the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy as a guest lead for the Owen Sound Ballet and has danced with Ballet Jorgen's youth company. She has also danced for PSB's own Jannine Saarinen in a piece featured at a showcase of local choreographers in Toronto, and has danced with Thierry LeFloch at the Academie de Mediterranean in Marseille France. Chrissy has danced in western Canada for the Vancouver Goh Ballet, the Edmonton School of Ballet, and most recently in Ballet British Columbia's apprentice program. While pursuing her dance interests, Chrissy earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and works full-time as a systems analyst.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Guest Teacher
Read Ruby Moreno's Biography
Since 2010, Ruby has had many opportunities to perform as a professional dancer. She was accepted into the dance companies of Lady Luck Productions and RS Divas Dance Company. In the summer of 2011 Ruby opened her own entertainment and dance company, À GO-GO ENTERTAINMENT. Ruby has been assisting and teaching since 2004 in disciplines such as Hip-hop, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Stretch and Strength, and Acro. Recently Ruby has worked at studios all over Toronto and the GTA specializing in Acro. Ruby is a NCCP Trained Gymnastics Coach with Gymnastics Canada. She constantly expands her knowledge of dance, gymnastics, and fitness in order to always improve on her teaching methods. She is excited to work with Karen Davies Thomas again and everyone at Interplay.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Guest Teacher
Read Emma Martin's Biography
Emma has also trained in various other dance styles such as modern, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, musical theatre and National Folk dance. She is also a former high school graduate of Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts in Dance under the instruction of Lorne Matthews, Cinzia Pisterzi, Julia Lava and Marlene Engenheiro. She has taken part in multiple workshops with well known choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Blake Mcgrath, and Stacey Tookey. In 2011, Emma was awarded the Patricia Upcraft scholarship of $500 for “Most Potential” at the Orillia Muskoka Ballet Gala as well as a finalist in the Canadian National Exhibition’s Rising Star Talent Competition for her lyrical solo “Your Middle Name,” choreographed by Faye Rauw. In 2012, Emma was granted the “Judge’s Choice” Award at Terspichore, Shine, and Just Dance for her Jazz Solo “Angry Bird,” choreographed by Christina Neves Tughan.
Emma recently began to choreograph for the Profile Dance Company. In 2011, her first piece “Daughter” was performed in the Muskoka Ballet Gala and won “Most Original Junior Choreography.” Emma will be attending her first year at the University of Guelph-Humber in the fall. She looks forward to continuing on her love for dance through the beginning of her teaching career.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Guest Teacher
Read Erin Poole's Biography
Erin has also attended the National Ballet School of Canada's Summer Program. In 2006, Erin was a finalist at the CNE's "Rising Star" competition with the jazz trio "Feeling Good," choreographed by Christina Neves, and a semi-finalist in 2008 with the solo "Are You," also choreographed by Christina Neves. In 2006, Erin was awarded 'Best Technique" and 'High Senior Soloist' at the Muskoka Ballet Gala. She has performed various lead roles in PSB's performances, including Giselle, 'Aurora' and 'Lilac Fairy' in Sleeping Beauty, 'Swanhilda' in Coppelia, and the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux with National Ballet of Canada company member, James Leja.
Erin trained in Marseilles, France at Académie Méditerranéenne under the instruction of Thierry LeFloch and Mitou Manderon, former principal dancers of the Roland Petit Company de Marseilles. She has competed in the "International Concour de Grasses" and the "International Concour d'Aix en Provence" in which she placed 2nd for her Gamzatti variation and 2nd for a contemporary solo which she choreographed on herself. While in Marseilles, Erin also trained with the contemporary ballet company Ballet D'Europe, under the direction of Jean-Charles Gil. Erin intends to pursue a career in professional dance and is currently pursuing dance job opportunites in Canada. Erin continues to teach at PSB, Interplay and Bishop Strachan School.
PSB - Guest Teacher
Read Adam Sergison's Biography
Adam has been honoured to teach and choreograph for many esteemed competitive studios and ballet academies in the GTA. While proud of all his students, he is particularly honoured that his solo contemporary choreography for Youth American Grand Prix won his dancer an invitation to YAGP finals in New York where she was offered a scholarship to Mercyhurst's prestigious ballet program. Other dancers he has choreographed and taught are currently attending the National Ballet School and preparing for professional careers in dance. As a competitor himself, Adam won many overall awards and was chosen to represent Dance Masters of America Chapter #38 as Mr. Teen Dance Canada.
Derryn Acejo - Interplay
Normand Babin - Interplay
Flora Chen - Interplay
Julia Lifshine - PSB & Interplay
Donna Rickman - PSB Rylander
Hollie Cochrane - PSB Kingston
Ashley Machin - Interplay
Tanya Masterova - PSB Kingston & Interplay