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MEET THE TEAM

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what is distinctive about your teaching/choreography?

I am first and foremost a teacher who takes pride in the artistic development and overall education of my students. My passion for instruction is derived from the individual and diverse potential within every student. I feel that a strong technical foundation is vital to instill at a young developing age and is beneficial for years of safe and healthy growth in all areas of dance. I deliver a lot of "tough love" in my classroom, as I often see a dancer for far beyond what the eye can see, and often far beyond where they even see their abilities and potential. I push hard for results, and am often met with appreciation and gratitude when a dancer surpasses what they believed they could do. There is nothing more rewarding for me as an educator than helping dancers flourish, and providing the tools for dancers to pair with their own strengths. As a choreographer I believe it is important to encompass age appropriateness and a stylized variety, along with technical execution in a clean, precise, and unique routine. I feel that each student or group of students inspires and molds the substance for each of my choreography pieces, ensuring that the choreography highlights and showcases the strengths of the dancers. I also believe that honing in on dancers' specific niches allows them to show exceptionally on stage, while still building all other areas and diversifying talents in the classroom. 

felicia mastromatteo

Co-Founder/ Director

Tell us about your experience with dance growing up.

I started dancing when I was three years old, but I ended up stopping for a couple of years. Of course once I stopped, making up dances at home and with friends then became my new favourite hobby. I started dancing again at age six and have been invested in the art form and completely submerse in dance culture ever since. I loved being on stage and performing. I started competing at age nine, and diversifying myself in all genres that the studio offered: tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop and musical theatre. I loved and appreciated each genre, but I always really enjoyed myself in tap because I felt I could express myself the most in that genre. When my dance teachers asked me to start assisting classes, I was the youngest assistant at the time. I remember them telling me that they saw my love for kids and that I had leadership qualities and potential. Once I started assisting I felt that I realized my purpose as a dance teacher, and my calling in the dance community. I completed my Dance Masters of America Graduate Level I & II, and have continued to build my career as an instructor and choreographer ever since!

Why do you  choose to teach dance?

I cannot imagine my life without teaching dance. For me there has never been another career path that has felt most true to who I am. I feel that I get to be my best self when I have the opportunity to teach. Teaching dance is an important creative outlet for me that is integral to my happiness. I am grateful for the opportunity to choreograph pieces that mean something to me, and for the dancers who tell the story of the choreography and bring the visions to life on stage. One of the best things about my job is that I get to be part of each student's personal development, and that I get to witness their growth as people and dancers over the years. We are able to learn and achieve many life lessons together through our shared love of dance. 

What are some highlights that you have had in your teaching career?

Early in my teaching career I choreographed for Canada's Walk of Fame, and I also choreographed high school musicals and fashion shows through the DSBN. I have had students make team Canada. I have also been honoured to receive choreography awards at various competitions throughout my career. My choreography has been recognized numerous times in jazz, tap, acro, and contemporary, and I have had my choreography receive the highest mark of the competition on several occasions, which is always an honour. I have also been awarded 'top choreography' of a competition four times, all for contemporary routines. I have also had the amazing and surreal experience of leading a competitive team to win top scoring studio. 

Who do you look up to in the dance industry, for inspiration and motivation?

I had two very influential dance teachers in my life when I was growing up. They had a huge impact on me as a young person, and have definitely influenced the teacher I have become today. They taught me the importance of developing a strong technical foundation, and 'quality over quantity.' I also admire many professionals in the dance industry. I look up to Eryn Waltman for her innovative perspective on contemporary. Eryn's choreography is radical and natural without ever losing focus on technique. Krista Miller also has, and teaches, incredible technique. I also admire Jaci Royal, who runs a company called Royal Flux. She choreographs amazing lifts and partnering, and yet, always remains so transitionally smooth. She is extremely creative. 

When you are not dancing, what are you doing?

In all honesty I eat, sleep and breathe dance. However, when I am not in "dance mode" I am hanging out with friends and family, or listening to good music!

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amanda bruton

co-founder/ director

Tell us about your experience with dance growing up.

I began taking dance lessons at the age of two as a casual activity which would help me socialize with other children. I danced recreationally for several years before I decided I wanted to take a break from dance and try other things. It was not until I was nine years old that my interest in dance was reignited. My mother signed me up for a recreational class at a local studio. It was there that I began my career as a competitive dancer. I trained and competed in all genres across the board until I was 18 years old. Though I did have a great love for hip hop, my strengths were in genres such as jazz, lyrical, and modern. My heart was in it all, and as my parents quickly learned, I could not say no to an offer! During my time as a competitive dancer I also attended summer programs at Quinte Ballet School, and represented my country on the Canadian World Hip Hop Team. I am thankful everyday for the opportunities, experiences and lessons dance has given me. 

what is distinctive about your teaching/choreography?

I love to have fun and be silly but I also know when it is time to get down to business. In technique I believe I am very thorough with my teaching. I like to share with my students, why we are doing what I am asking them to do and how it will help them as a progression. I often find myself creating pictures for my students as a way to help them visualize what their body should be doing and feeling. When it comes to my choreography I like to choose songs and stories that I can personally relate to. This helps me create genuine choreography and also allows me to paint a clear vision for students as to what the all around feeling of the piece should be. When I choreograph for older students I often tell them I am giving them the foundation of the piece and it is their job to make it theirs. With the opportunity to put their own style and personality into the piece, a more organic product will be produced. 

What are some highlights that you have had in your teaching career?

During my career so far as a competitive choreographer I have been lucky enough to be recognized for my efforts. I have been the recipient and co-recipient of several choreography awards, across genres and competitions. I have also received scholarships to workshops and conventions geared toward teachers and choreographers. I have also had the opportunity to lead a team that has been the recipient of top scoring studio on a few different occasions. 

Who do you look up to in the dance industry, for inspiration and motivation?

I look up to people in the industry such as Eryn Waltman and Kelly Shaw, for inspiration. Their contemporary abilities and creativities take wow to a next level. I also admire Kelly Shaw for her knowledge and abilities in modern dance. I also find myself intrigued by things I stumble upon, that have been created by people I have never heard of before. For me it is more about seeing a piece that speaks to me which lights a fire in me to want to create. 

When you are not dancing, what are you doing?

When I am not dancing I am spending time with my husband and three children. Family is extremely important to me and I love that I can share my passion with them. During the day you find me educating in a classroom setting as I am also a elementary school teacher. I love children and feel blessed that I have the opportunity to share with them and teach them in so many ways. 

Why do you  choose to teach dance?

While I have many interests in my life, dance is my number one passion. There is no feeling comparable to the one a dancer or choreographer feels when they hear a piece of music that speaks to them and they can see the movement happening in their mind. For me, dance is a language, another way to express myself or the things I feel. Dance allows us to be brace, to be scared, to be selfish, to be selfless, to feel the things we didn't know we could and to share stories we didn't know we wanted to tell. This is a gift. It is a gift that I am able to give to others through teaching. I teach because I want children and young adults to be given the opportunity to experience all of the amazing things this art has to offer. 

 
 
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kathleen arnold

ballet program director

Tell us about your experience with dance growing up.

I started dancing when I was three and I loved it. I started with ballet, and then added in jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical and modern. But my passion was for ballet. I took all of my Royal Academy of Dance exams up to Advanced 2, and then continued on to their teacher training program which I completed in 2015. At Brock University I competed in jazz and lyrical with Brock Dance and co-founded the first competitive ballet team with the club. 

Why do you  choose to teach dance?

what is distinctive about your teaching/choreography?

I want my students to find enjoyment in their ballet training so although the technique is very set and there are correct ways of using the body to perform the steps, I will always include a story or a feeling to go along with the movement to add meaning. In my primary students this is also a good memory tool as they may remember a song about puddles more than repeating the same step eight times. In my older students it helps  to develop the performance along with the technique. By adding this element in my classes I feel I am staying true to the nature of ballet as a narrative art form. 

What are some highlights that you have had in your teaching career?

I am a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RTS RAD) as well as an associate of the Royal Academy of Dance (ARAD) after completing my Advanced 2. I am a member of Dance Masters of America (Chapter 43) and completed my jazz and tap exams with the chapter. I have a Bachelors in Education from Brock and have recently taken a Dance Additional Qualification course to add dance as a teachable subject. I am always looking for opportunities for professional learning, and I am very excited to have recently completed my Progressive Ballet Technique course.

Who do you look up to in the dance industry, for inspiration and motivation?

I am always inspired by the National Ballet of Canada, and enjoy watching their rehearsals and performances. 

When you are not dancing, what are you doing?

I am also a math teacher at St. Catharines Collegiate Secondary School, so when I am not at the studio I am busy prepping math lessons, or enjoying time with family and friends. 

I love sharing my passion for ballet with my students and watching them grow and develop their artistry. What drew me to dance was the creativity of it and the ability to create stories through movement. Being able to share this with my students and seeing them interpret the exercises in their own way always inspires me. 

 
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Kailey Kelly

 competitive/recreational instructor

what is distinctive about your teaching/choreography?

I would describe my teaching style as a good balance between fun and hard work. I expect commitment, drive, and respect from my students, but I also expect them to laugh at my jokes. I focus on teaching fundamentals in many different styles of hip hop so that students can develop a strong overall foundation in the genre. In regard to choreography, age appropriateness is always a priority for me. I believe it is important for themes/concepts, music mixes, costumes, and choreography to align with the age and maturity of the dancers. I choreograph around the personalities and ability levels of the dancers in each routine so that dancers' strengths are highlighted and they can be confident when it is time to perform. I would describe my choreography as fresh, full-out and fun. 

What are some highlights that you have had in your teaching career?

My students have won several 'dance offs,' which is always such an amazing moment for me as a teacher. I have also been blessed to be recognized with multiple choreography awards, creative concept awards, and viewer's choice awards. Many of my students have earned overall awards and special awards as well. 

Tell us about your experience with dance growing up.

I started dancing at the age of three. I started competing at the age of seven, which was a huge part of my life for the following 11 years. I trained in jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary and modern, but my passion has always been in hip hop. Through attending various workshops, I learned to appreciate the diversity of the hip hop genre, and the opportunity that it presents for dancers to add their own unique style to choreography or freestyle. I was awarded a scholarship to a BeDiscovered convention in Las Vegas, which was an amazing experience. I got to attend the World Hip Hop Championships for the first time, and trained with professionals who have been recognized on shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and America's Best Dance Crew. With a select hip hop team I competed at the 2011 and 2012 Canadian Street Dance Championships, and also had the opportunity to compete at the UDO competition in Montreal. In my first year at Brock University I joined the Live4Dance hip hop club and continued to compete at the university level. 

Who do you look up to in the dance industry, for inspiration and motivation?

I look up to dance industry professionals who use fundamentals in their choreography, while keeping things fun and fresh. Through shows and social media we now have access to performers and creators all over the world, so I am always usually feeling inspired by something I have recently seen online. Taking class with people who teach or create differently than me always motivates me to keep learning and improving my craft. Recently, I have felt connected to the work of Dana Daners, Taneikah Wescombe, Parris Goebel,Taja Riley, Tony Tzar, The Lab, Ysabelle Capitule, Kerri Milne, Keone Madrid, and SO MANY MORE. Music is my main go-to for inspiration, and my students keep me motivated and eager!

When you are not dancing, what are you doing?

I am probably trying to find new (and old) music to dance to, eating pizza, and trying to take a million cute pictures of my cat. I have also graduated with my masters from the Social Justice & Equity Studies program at Brock University, and am continuing to work as a teaching assistant, so much of my time is spent reading academic articles and prepping for my weekly seminars. 

why do you choose to teach dance?

It is something I am truly passionate about. I have always loved dancing, diverse music, mixing music, working with children, and teaching in many capacities, so teaching dance has become a perfect fit for me. It can be challenging, but it is the most rewarding job I have ever had. I love when I can make something "click" for my students, when I see dancers taking initiative to help each other learn, and when I see them relax and let loose as they enter my class. I appreciate that hip hop can allow each individual to build their confidence, and showcase their personality. 

 
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Kailey Leemet

 competitive/ instructor

what is distinctive about your teaching/choreography?

I strive to always put the students' needs and strengths into my choreography and instill in them the vision I have for the number or piece. I feel that because I have worked with a variety of different choreographers over my own dance career that I am able to bring different styles into my own choreography and lessons. Dance is my passion and I hope that the students can see and feel that every day in class and also in my choreography. I love being able to tell a story with my choreography and watching the students tell it on stage. It is such a rewarding feeling!

What are some highlights that you have had in your teaching career?

I feel blessed to have been able to work with such amazing dancers since I have started my dance teaching career. Together we have won numerous special awards and overalls. I have won choreography awards and even the highest mark of a competition more than once. To me it's all about the personal improvement and daily gains students make and the relationships that are built along the way. 

Tell us about your experience with dance growing up.

I began my dance experience watching my sister Ali as soon as I was old enough to stand. I couldn't wait for it to be my turn. My first official class started when I was two and I started my competitive journey shortly thereafter when I was five. I really wanted to ensure that I was versatile so I competed in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, hiphop, contemporary and acro. I also took classes in pointe and musical theatre as well. I was fortunate to attend many workshops throughout my dancing career and got to work with many choreographers. 

why do you choose to teach dance?

Who do you look up to in the dance industry, for inspiration and motivation?

Growing up I loved to watch So You Think You Can Dance and I was always amazed at some of the dancers and choreographers. I love when the dance tells a story and Travis Wall and Stacey Tookey are two of my favourite choreographers. I can get inspiration and motivation from a great song, a moment in my own life, or a feeling that I get from a dancer or a group of dancers. I love to watch dancing anywhere, at any time!

When you are not dancing, what are you doing?

When I am not dancing, I am working as an Educational Assistant with the DSBN. 

I never thought I would love anything as much as dancing myself but I love watching my students on stage. It's so rewarding to see how your vision of a song turns out when a dancer or group of dancers make it their own. I love sharing my passion of dance with the students and watching them grow in their ability and confidence. It also allows me to be a positive influence on the students' lives and this is of utmost importance. I have made the best of friends throughout my dance journey and I am hoping that the students I teach will be able to have the same experience. 

 
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ALI Leemet

ALI Leemet

 recreational instructor
 recreational instructor

Tell us about your experience with dance growing up.

I started recreational dancing at the age of two and have never looked back. My competitive career began when I was six and I lived for the competitive season when we had the opportunity to share all of our hard work with judges and audiences around Ontario. I competed in a variety of genres such as tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hiphop, acro, musical theatre and ballet. I feel that having taken a wide variety of genres throughout my won dance career helps me to see the strengths of all dancers in a variety of disciplines. 

what is distinctive about your teaching/choreography?

I have had the pleasure of working with a number of teachers and choreographers throughout my dancing career. I was also able to attend a number of workshops. I hope to be able to give my students the benefit of my experiences and then help them find their own joy in dance. 

What are some highlights that you have had in your teaching career?

I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of ages, 2-16 in the recreational program. Seeing the progress in the students each week is what motivates me to always improve. Teaching has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. 

Who do you look up to in the dance industry, for inspiration and motivation?

I grew up watching as many dance shows as I possibly could. There are so many choreographers that have inspired my teaching and dancing over the years. The first choreographer I took a liking to at a young age was definitely Mia Michaels. I had the opportunity to take workshops from her as well as see her choreography on TV. Her teaching style was truly motivational and her choreography always perfectly suited her dancers, which is something I am always striving for. 

When you are not dancing, what are you doing?

When I am not dancing I am continuing my studies in the Registered Practical Nursing program. I spend most down time working at The Keg as well as at Canadian Tire Financial Services. 

why do you choose to teach dance?

Dance has been in my life for as long as I can remember. It brings me such joy to watch students progress every week and to watch their love of dance grow as well. Dance proves a healthy option for everyone as well and to be able to share my own passion and experience with others is truly rewarding.

what is distinctive about your teaching/choreography?