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 CompanyRead Karen Davies Thomas' Biography
Karen is a graduate of the National Ballet School’s teacher’s training program and is accredited by the Royal Academy of Dance and the Imperial Society of Dance. After travelling and training and touring with the Toronto Dance Theatre and dance companies in Europe & Japan, Karen returned to Canada to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours Degree at York University, during which time she performed throughout Ontario with the York Dance Ensemble. Her teaching experience includes, among many other schools, The National Ballet School of Canada, Ballet Jörgen and George Brown College, York University, Ryerson University, L’école superieure Méditerranéenne, Quinte Ballet School, Claude Watson Program for the Arts at Earl Haig Secondary School, Mooredale House, Branksome Hall, and Bishop Strachan School. Karen has adjudicated in local competitions in Toronto and throughout Ontario.
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.
Contemporary, Modern, JazzRead Alex Berry's Biography
Alex Berry is an emerging Toronto based artist.She started at PSB Dance Academy at the age of 2, training in many styles from ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern, pointe, musical theatre, improvisation, to tap and hip hop. A member of the competitive team, Alex took on the role of Dance Captain in her last 2 years of high school. Alex graduated from Cardinal Carter Academy for the Art’s dance program in 2016 and obtained her BFA in Performance Dance at Toronto Metropolitan University in 2020, where she received additional training in acting and vocals. Alex has had the opportunity to perform works by choreographers such as: Bobbi Jene Smith, Or Schraiber, Vicky St. Denys, Charles Moulton and Peter Chin. She has trained at several renowned summer programs through her years: The National Ballet of Canada's Summer Intensive, Peggy Baker's Summer Intensive, as well as training in the Metamorphosis Method. Alex has been teaching dance and movement based classes to kids ages 18 months to 18 years old for over 5 years. Alex is excited to be back as part of the PSB & INTERPLAY Academy of Dance faculty team. She cannot wait to share her joy of movement and is ready to inspire and be inspired by the next generation of dance artists.
INTERPLAY - Hip-HopRead Tyrell Black's Biography
What’s Up! My name is Tyrell Black. I’m an established Performing Artist & Educator. I have been dancing professionally since 2009; specializing in the dance styles of Popping & Hip Hop. My works and practices have taken me to the following; USA, UK, Europe, Africa, China & Cross Canada. Gratefully, to date I have been awarded a collection of achievements both solo & group oriented such as; certificates, competition winnings, and prize opportunities (specifics are noted in my résumé). But to get a little more on a personal level, I’m a street dancer for life! I absolutely love the underground dance culture. Whether it be dance battles, cyphers exchanges, endlessly expressing myself as my soul awakens from the sound of music, unifying with countless others globally with or without even speaking a single word, and of course, learning new lessons that help cultivate a better version of “Tyrell Black”. I am forever a student chasing mastery; I strive to remain open-minded and continuously train under the top industry & underground dancers. On another note… when I’m not teaching a class or showcasing my robot skills, I am doing everything in my power as a young social entrepreneur to help contribute to the evolution of the dance community. Yes! Tyrell Black is also the CEO & Founder of BLVCKOUT, a project-based organization that serves as a platform for aspiring artists. (A social entrepreneurship business based in Toronto, Canada). At the end of the day my overall mission in regards to dance is simple: To engage the world in a revolution! Either with BLVCKOUT, my art form or just as another human being. “Fate Never Promises”-Tyrell Black. No matter what walk of life you may come from we as people all have the ability to overcome any adversity with love and sharing. Follow your heart, live your passion and share your purest light. Anything is Possible! Any questions regarding my history, experiences or qualifications I will happily answer all.
PSB & INTERPLAY Read Rebecca Brown's Biography
Rebecca’s gymnastics career began at the age of 2 with a Parent and Tot class. Her love for the sport led her to the competitive team where she competed provincially for 10 years. During her time as a provincial gymnast, she took up coaching which allowed her to share her love for gymnastics with others. She retired from competing at the age of 17 when she started her degree in psychology. Rebecca just could not give up the sport and started training again once a week in a program for retired gymnasts. Her accomplishments have fuelled her desire to spread her love for gymnastics to young athletes through her gym skills classes at our studios.
INTERPLAY – Intensive Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, and Hip Hop Read Bretonie Burchell's' Biography
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Bretonie began her dance training at the age of three. Her artistry and passion for dance grew into something that could not be ignored. As a young dancer her determination was something to be admired. Before graduating high school she had already performed on a cruise line, was chosen to travel and perform in a professional choreography competition, and danced and trained with the best in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and London, England. She was recognized as a scholarship recipient at numerous conventions and received the title “Dancer of the Year” at ADA dance competition in Calgary. She moved to Toronto, Ontario at the age of 17 to pursue her career in dance. The new city broadened her spectrum of dance and she was able to perform in the genres of Hip Hop, Contemporary, and Street Jazz, to name a few.
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.
Marq Frerichs began training at the age of eleven at the George Brown School of Dance. He attended the Professional Program at Canada’s National Ballet School (1982-1985). He then moved to Ulm Germany on offer to work in the Stadt Theatre Ulm under Pierre Wyss. Upon returning to Toronto he joined Desrosiers Dance Theater as a principal dancer. After 5 years he became the company’s ballet master and fulfilled both positions to complete a decade long role in the company. Marq proceeded to pursue a career as an independent dancer and teacher working with Cas Public in Montreal and the Chimera Project in Toronto; with Cirque Du Soleil throughout North America and Japan, and partnering with Celine Dion on The Colour of My Love, North American tour. In 2013 Marq obtained his teaching diploma and Cecchetti Associate from Canada’s National Ballet School, both awarded with Distinction. In 2017, he obtained his Associate Diploma and in 2018 Licentiate was awarded. Marq also became a certified instructor in the Progressive Ballet Technique, levels 1-3. He has been a member of the Artistic Staff at Canada’s National Ballet School since graduating, working in both the Professional Ballet Program and Teacher Training Program. Marq, was the Assistant to the Artistic Director/Choreographer with Cas Public and a guest teacher with L’Ecole Supérieure de Ballet du Quebec, Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, Canadian Dance Company, Youth Ballet and Contemporary Dance of Saskatchewan and the Cecchetti Society of Canada. He is currently a freelance teacher in Toronto.
INTERPLAY – Jazz, Tap, LyricalRead Kimberley Ganter's Biography
Originally from Saskatchewan, Kimberley moved to Vancouver in 2010 to follow her dreams and pursue a career in dance. She was accepted into the Intensive Training Program at Harbour Dance Centre where she trained in many different styles and immersed herself into the Vancouver dance scene. The following summer she was accepted into the prestigious Source Dance Company under the direction of Joanne Pesusich. She completed two seasons performing and touring with the company, working with choreographers from all over North America.
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!
INTERPLAY - Junior, Intensive, Enhanced JazzRead Monique Jovanov's Biography
Monique is an Etobicoke School of the arts and Ryerson University Alumni. She is a resident guest artist for the Etobicoke school of the arts, musical theatre program and a teacher and choreographer for PSB and Interplay Dance.
As an established Choreographer and an experienced dancer and teacher, Monique’s style reflects her technical background as well as her ability to fuse physical dynamics with organic expressiveness.
Monique has toured and danced all across Canada, US and Europe. With credits spanning the globe, Monique has worked with some of the most established artists, actors and directors in the industry. Monique’s choreographic assistance was featured on CTV’s hit show, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA. Monique has also had the opportunity to assist with choreography for film and Television shows such as, KIM’S CONVENIENCE, HANDMAID’S TALE, AMERICAN PIE -BETA HOUSE MOVIE, SUN LIFE FINANCIAL CANADA COMMERCIAL 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 performed for many worldwide touring productions 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, The Welcoming and Closing ceremonies of the 2016 PAN AMERICAN GAMES hosted in Toronto, Ontario.
Monique has taught in schools and studios all across the country. Her students have gone on to achieve outstanding and flourishing dance and theatre careers. Her choreography has won several awards and overall recognitions. Monique is constantly inspired by her students and fellow creatives everyday and enjoys finding new ways to explore her creative boundaries through teaching and choreography.
Hip-HopRead Jared Lenson's Biography
Jared Lenson is a Toronto based artist with an interprovincial practice. He graduated from Ryerson University’s Performance Dance program (2021) studying multiple genres of dance, acting and voice training. Jared has performed in many pieces on the Ryerson’s School of Performance stage over the four year program including over zoom during the pandemic. He has been a part of the Kenny Pearl Intensive 2019, working with Robert Glumbeck and Apolonia Velasquez. He has danced beside other established artists as well such as Jera Wolfe, Kelly Shaw, Sebastian Hirtenstein, and Alexander Chung, to name a few.
PSB - Multi DanceRead Miah Lewis's Biography
Miah Lewis is an emerging contemporary dance artist currently residing in Toronto,
Ontario. She recently graduated from the Dance Performance Program at George
Brown College. During her time in the program, Miah worked with outstanding
choreographers such as Alyssa Martin (Rock Bottom Movement), José Carret (Danza
Corpus) and Hanna Kiel (Human Body Expression). Miah is a diverse artist, specializing
in Contemporary dance. She is excited to participate in the HBE Contemporary
Mentorship Program in which she will make and deepen connections in the dance
industry. Miah is looking forward to teaching at PSB and sharing her love for dance with
Dominique Tersigni is an emerging Toronto-based freelance artist. She started at Interplay as a competitive dancer, where she studied multiple styles of dance such as ballet, contemporary, jazz and improvisational techniques. While training at Interplay she was graced with many awards such as the Muskoka Ballet Galas Patricia Upcraft award and the Glenn Gilmour scholarship. Dominique also attended the CNE's Rising Star in 2015 and placed 2nd overall. After completing her high school diploma she began to explore the dance industry in Toronto, she took open classes at the top studios while learning from some of Toronto’s best choreographers like Alvin Collantes, Kelly Shaw, Cora Kozaris, Lauren Runions and Hanna Kiel. In July 2016 she attended Ignites summer intensive co-run by David Norsworthy and Kristen Carcone where she was able to perform work by Riley Sims. Dominique has worked with choreographers such as Kylie Thompson, Shawn Bracke, Christina Digiuseppe, Emily Law, Melissa Williams, Allain Lupien, and Jessica Ford in events such as Fever After Dark, Choreographers Ball, Industry Night, The Next Step TV show and the Parapan Am opening ceremonies. Most recently Dominique attended ProArte Danza's Summer intensive where she performed work by Tori Mehaffey and Robert Glumbek. Currently, Dominique trains with the Chimera Projects Company B run by Malgorzata Nowacka.
PSB & INTERPLAY - Intensive Program Read Lucie Ward's Biography
At age 4, Lucie immigrated to Canada from Malta. Lucie was a competitive gymnast until her passion turned to dance. Her formal dance training started in New Brunswick with The Rothesday Ballet School at age 12. By age 17 she had completed all the RAD grades and majors up to Advanced. After dancing in several professional summer programs, including The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and performing in numerous musical theatre productions, she finished high school and came to Toronto.
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.
A native of Yugoslavia, Aleksandar Antonijevic studied at the National
Ballet School in Novi Sad. He was a soloist with the Zurich Opera Ballet in
Switzerland and Principal Dancer with The National Ballet of Canada for
over 20 years.
Mr. Antonijevic has danced leading roles in most of the major works in the
company’s repertoire including principal roles in Giselle, Onegin, Romeo
and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, Manon and Alice’s
Adventures in Wonderland as well as numerous George Balanchine ballets,
including Apollo, Diamonds and Rubies from Jewels, Theme and Variations
and Stravinsky Violin Concerto. He has performed lead roles in Opus 19/
The Dreamer, the second detail, Forgotten Land, Etudes, Song of a
Wayfarer and Chroma.
He created several principal roles in works by James Kudelka, including
Prince Ivan in The Firebird and Siegfried in Swan Lake.
Mr. Antonijevic danced the role of Petruschka in the Canadian premiere of
Nijinsky by John Neumeier as well as the role of Trigorin in Seagull.
An accomplished international guest artist, Mr. Antonijevic has performed
with English National Ballet, Inoue Ballet Japan, Ballet Santiago of Chile
and PACT Ballet South Africa and has partnered many of the world’s finest
prima ballerinas, including Susan Jaffe, Viviana Durante, Lucia LaCarra,
Evelyn Hart and Tamara Rojo.
Mr. Antonijevic is also an award winning photographer. His work has been
featured at CONTACT, Toronto’s annual international photography festival
and in eight private exhibitions. He has photographed for some of the
major arts organizations in Toronto including The National Ballet of
Canada, SoulPepper, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Pro Arte Danza and
In 2011, Mr. Antonijevic was awarded the Rolex Dancers First Award for
his role as the White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and in
2009, he won the Dancers First Award for his portrayal of Don Jos in
Upon retiring from stage Mr. Antonijevic has become a sought after
teacher, coach and stager of ballets as well as a juror at ballet competitions.
He staged Nr.24 by Guillaume Cote for The National Ballet of Canada in
In 2016 he staged parts of Erik Bruhn’s Swan Lake on Royal Danish Ballet
in Copenhagen, as part of Nikolaj Hubbe’s new production of the same
In 2017 he was invited by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow to stage a full
length production of Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet and went back
to oversee the world simulcast of the same production in 2018.
In August 2019 he was a member of the jury of Global Dance Competition in
“The performance of his career. He imbues the character with such pools of
darkness, such wellsprings of suppressed fire that the sexual tension here
is palpable.” Ballet Review, 2010
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
“Aleksandar Antonijevic's manic movements as The White Rabbit reveal
this longtime Principal Dancer's range and versatility.” National Post, 2012
“Antonijevic gets closer to the unattainable with each performance.” The
Toronto Star, 2011
Artistic Director - The Carret Dance Conservatory
Classical Division - Mercedes Bernardez-Carret
Argentinean born Mercedes Bernardez-Carret has had an international career as a Principal Dancer
and Ballet Mistress in several ballet companies in Argentina, Chile and Venezuela. Ms. Bernardez
served as Artistic Director at Quinte Ballet School (1997 to 2003) and Ballet Mistress at Alberta
Ballet (2003-06). As a sought after guest teacher, Ms. Bernardez has taught at many preprofessional
ballet schools including the Richmond Academy of Dance and Dance Umbrella (Vancouver, BC) Alberta School of Ballet , Ballet Creole Canada. She is also a permanent guest teacher at the acclaimed University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Winston Salem, USA).
Ms. Bernardez teaches company class for The National Ballet of Canada and Ballet Jorgen Canada. Faculty of National Ballet of Canada In Studio. Ms. Bernardez acts as Artistic Advisor for Les Pettit Ballets in Ottawa and is the Associate Director of Danza Corpus Canada. Ms Bernardez is also permanent guest teacher and coordinator for the International Dance Intensive TEADE , that takes place since 2011 in Matanzas , Cuba ; and co-directed the first Virtual Version of TEADE in its ninth version last July 2020 and Winter TEADE 2020. One of the achievement of this last year is that TCDC became a member of the prestigious International Council of Dance UNEACO (CID) therefore TCDC graduates will be granted a CID certificate of training for a professional dance career.
Guest teacher at Chinese Arts Festival 2008
Guest teacher at Guangzhou Ballet company 2009
Washington Ballet open class instructor 2010
Principal guest teacher and speaker at Shenzhen arts school 2018
Personal trainer and coach to the dancers at the National Ballet of Canada 2017- present
Private ballet coach 2016-present
Guess teacher at Canadian dance company 2017
Guess teacher at Artistic edge dance 2019
The Guangzhou Ballet of China 2005-2006
The Washington Ballet Studio Company 2006-2007
The Washington Ballet 2007- 2011
The National Ballet of Canada 2011- present day
Featured Roles Performing Experience
Her repertoire includes Kitri and the Queen of Driads in Don Quixote,The Dying Swan,The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker,The First Sylph in La Sylphide,Fanny Cerrito in Pas de Quatre,The Principal in Rubies by George Balancine,The Phlegmatic girls in Four Temperaments by George Balancine,Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes by Mark Morris,In The Upper Room by Twyla Tharp, Baker’s Dozen by Twyla Tharp, Nine Sinatra Songs by Twyla Tharp, There Where She Loved by Christopher Wheeldon, Celts by Lila York,Wendy Darling and Tinkerbell in Peter Pan by Septime Webre, The Principal in Juanita Y Alicia by Septime Webre, The Angel in Carmina Burana by Septime Webre, The Siamese Twins in Cinderella by Septime Webre, The Rose in The Little Prince by Alexandra Proia, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet by Septime Webre, Medora and Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Perdita in The Winter’s Tale, Bee in The Nutcracker, Princess Florine and Second and Fifth Fairy and Gold Lady in The Sleeping Beauty, Moss in Cinderella and Le Renard in Le Petit Prince. Pas de trios and First variation in Paquita and Mastardseed Fairy in The Dream. Ms. Huang has also danced in Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Manon, Onegin,
Nijinsky, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Manon, Pinocchio, La Fille mal gardée, La Sylphide, The Seagull, The Four Seasons, Opus 19/The Dreamer, Rubies, Allegro Brillante, The Four Temperaments, Cacti, The Second Detail, Elite Syncopations, Carousel (A Dance), Piano Concerto #1, Chroma, Genus, Emergence, Paz de la Jolla, The Dreamers Ever Leave You and Anna Karenina.
Rui Huang was born in Shenzhen, China and trained at the Shenzhen Arts School in China. She received a summer intensive scholarship from The JMW Ballet in Hongkong, a scholarship from The Joffery Ballet, and The Washington School of Ballet. Ms. Huang danced with The Washington Ballet as a Soloist before joining The National Ballet of Canada as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2011. Ms. Huang was promoted to Second Soloist in 2016.
In 2003 attended The Ninth Asian Pacific International Ballet Competition, winning
third place. Later that year, won first place in The Seventh National Ballet Competition of
China. In 2004, was a finalist in The Third Shanghai International Ballet Competition.
In 2005, was a finalist in The Third CCTV Dance Competition in China, receiving the
Outstanding Performance Award. That year, was also a finalist in the Prix de Lausanne
and won third place in the Youth America Grand Prix. In 2009, was the recipient of a
bronze medal at the World Ballet Competition – Orlando.
“Dancing is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It’s the rhythm of your life. It’s the expression in time and
movement, in happiness, joy, sadness and envy.”
-- Jacques d’Amboise
During her training Martine Lusignan was a full time student at L’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec and also at The National Ballet School where she trained in Classical ballet, Pointe work, Pas de deux, Modern technique, Flamenco, and Theater. Ms. Lusignan’s principal instructor was the master ballet teacher Mr. Daniel Sellier who has been mentor and teacher to countless professional dancers including Karen Kain.
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.
Kealan McLaughlin was born in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School and received his Graduate Degree in 2009. He danced in Canadian companies Alberta Ballet and Ballet Jörgen before joining the Estonian National Ballet as a leading soloist. He has participated as a guest with companies such as The Chimera Project, Opera Atelier, and DanceTeq International. His repertoire includes Eugene Onegin (Cranko’s “Onegin”), Solor (Minkus’ “La Bayadère”), Stanley Kowalski (Meckler/Ochoa’s “A Streetcar Named Desire”), Prince Florimund and Blue Bird (“The Sleeping Beauty”), Prince Siegfried, Pas de Trois, Rothbart (“Swan Lake”), Prince and Lead Snow Cavalier (“The Nutcracker”), Prokofiev’s Prince Charming (“Cinderella”), Romeo and Tybalt (“Romeo and Juliet”), Albrecht (Adam’s “Giselle”), The Poet (Fokin’s “Les Sylphides”), The Murderer (Balkan’s “The Rite of Spring”), and soloist in van Schayk’s “Ephebos”. He has also been a guest teacher within various programmes across Canada.
Ruby began her dance training at PSB Dance Academy in 1982, and trained intensely in Jazz, Modern, and Cecchetti ballet method (Advanced 1 level achieved) under the direction of Karen Davies Thomas, Glenn Gilmour, and Jean Geddis. At the age of 9 Ruby joined PSB's Profile Dance Company and began touring the province with the performance based dance troupe. Ruby continued to train for 12 years intensively in multiple dance styles with the Profile Dance Company and has won multiple group, trio, duet, and solo awards at competitions. After graduating from PSB, Ruby trained at George Brown College in the Dance Performance Studies program. She then expanded into fitness, doing a co-op program at Extreme Fitness and then completing her Les Mills Body Flow Group Fitness Certification, Zumba Instructor Certification, and Bolly Fit Instructor Certification.
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.
Shannon began taking ballet lessons at the age of 5 at Interplay. With the encouragement of founder Anna McCowan-Johnson, Shannon auditioned for and attended the National Ballet School, Quinte Ballet School and The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School summer programs. At age 16 she attended the full time professional program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, where she participated in a program to introduce the professional students to teaching. It was during that program that Shannon developed her love of teaching ballet.
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.
John Ottmann’s career spans 30 years and encompasses the roles and responsibilities of a dancer, choreographer, teacher, rehearsal director and artistic director. He has garnered a reputation as a highly versatile dance artist and inspiring mentor known for pushing and crossing the boundaries of ballet and contemporary dance.
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.
Erin has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She began training at PSB at the age of 8 and was accepted into the Profile Dance Company at the age of 9. She has been trained in Cecchetti Ballet by Karen Davies Thomas and Glenn Gilmour and has attained her Advanced 2 Cecchetti. She is trained in jazz and lyrical technique by Christina Neves. Erin graduated with Honours from Cardinal Carter Academy of the Arts and was awarded the Dance Award in Grade 10. During her years at Cardinal Carter, Erin was trained in Graham and Limon Modern by Julia Lava and Marlene Engenheiro. She also danced the lead role in an original narrative, modern dance film, "The Marriage" choreographed by Julia Lava. In Grade 12, she choreographed a Fosse Jazz piece for Cardinal Carter's annual "In the Making" performance.
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.
Faye Rauw hails from Humboldt, Saskatchewan. She has traveled extensively around the world dancing professionally, teaching workshops, performing and choreographing for various dance companies, as well as performing for Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. She is one of Canada’s high demand dance judges, teachers and choreographers, traveling as far as Australia to judge their National Dance Championships.
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.
Jannine Saarinen is a graduate of the George Brown College Dance Performance Studies Program. She has performed for several excellent companies and choreographers; including Viv Moore, Marlee Cargill, and Company Blonde. In 2006, she began working under the name Jay9 Dance Projects to choreograph and produce modern dance works with a strong sense of characterization and narrative. Her choreography has been presented in the Made in the Canada/Fait au Canada WYSIWYG Series, Junction Arts Festival, SummerWorks Theatre Festival, Dance Ontario Nuit Blanche 2009, and many more. Jay9 Dance Projects has also produced two successful themed cabarets. In addition to working on her own, Jannine has worked collaboratively as part of the 4 Starch Dance Collective. They presented work in Fresh Blood and 60x60, and were also participants of the 2012/2013 Series 8:08 Take 2 Residency.
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.
Adam is an original ensemble member of the cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Wizard of Oz, which just completed it's premiere North American tour. A successful competitive dancer, he found his love of musical theatre when cast as the youngest member of We Will Rock You (Mirvish). A career highlight was playing the principal dance role of Tadzio in the critically acclaimed Death in Venice (Canadian Opera Company) in the beautiful Four Seasons Centre in Toronto. Other theatre credits include: West Side Story (Vancouver Opera & Neptune), Mr. Mistoffelees in Cats (Rainbow Stage), 9 to 5: The Musical (Drayton), Peter Pan (Neptune). Screen credits: Disney's Camp Rock and Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars. Dance, stage and screen have given Adam many memorable experiences including assisting Mia Michaels, performing on New Year's Eve for millions and being "electrocuted" on the Carrie set.
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.
Read Julie Thomas's Biography
Julie is currently studying at McGill University in Montreal and is Coordinator/Choreographer for Mosaica Dance Company at McGill University.
Kylie Thompson (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary performer, creator and educator residing in Toronto, Ontario (Treaty 13 territory). She considers herself an ally to the BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities and is committed to ongoing education, conversation and action towards equality and decolonisation of Western Dance practices. She believes that dance is simply movement language; and holds a unique perspective in the dance industry as she continues to train in street dance forms as well as contemporary theatre/ballet based techniques. Her body of work and practice is physical, collaborative and bridges between stage and screen. She shoots, produces, choreographs, edits, curates, writes and acts; some of her credits include TIFF, Danceworks, Fringe Festival, Barenaked Ladies, Airplane Boys, Kiesza, Gadfly Dance Company, Dance: Made in Canada Festival, and more. She believes that play and experimentation are crucial; and is dedicated to a life of learning and creating. www.kyliethompsoncreative.com
Normand Babin has been accompanying dancers for many years. In Montreal, he collaborated with BJM_MTL, Danse à la carte, École Nationale de Cirque, Lalala Human Steps, and Daniel Seillier. Based in Toronto since 2014, he has worked for Pro Arte Danza Summer Intensive, Canada’s Ballet Jörgen and the Dance program at York University to name a few. He has been playing for Interplay and PSB dance schools since 2014. Normand Babin also has recorded many albums for ballet classes.
Flora Chen taught high school English and music in her native Singapore. She is a graduate of Ryerson University. She also holds an Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music (Canada) and completed Royal Academy of Music courses in voice, conducting, piano and music theory at the Birmingham School of Music (U.K.). Flora has been a staff member of Interplay Ballet since it was founded by Anna McCowan Johnson. She particularly enjoys working with young children learning ballet. She is also a choir director and organist in two churches in Toronto.
Tom started on violin, but quickly switched to piano, growing up in a classical notation-reading musical environment. In high school, he joined a band, grew long hair, and began a life-long quest to develop musical freedom and spontaneity, which continues on into his second childhood past the age of 60.
Erik has performed with York University's Department of Dance for twenty years using piano, percussion and voice. He has recorded CD’s for dance class, various ensembles, and contributed to many performances in dance. Erik's experiences involve diverse styles and original composition as a soloist, and within an ensemble. He continues to work with PSB and Interplay Dance Schools, The National Ballet of Canada, his own duo playing and singing, as well as recording and composing.