Artistic Director, Contemporary & Jazz, Competitive Choreographer
Erica Hendry has studied many forms including Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, West African, and Musical Theatre. She received her Bachelor of Arts from The University of Calgary: a Collaborative Degree in Contemporary Dance and Kinesiology. Additionally, Erica has studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, New York; Broadway Dance Centre, New York; with Ballet Matam in Guinea in West Africa, and the School of Decidedly Jazz DanceWorks in Calgary.
This year, Erica is thrilled to be training in the Intellidance® program in preparation for the new Baby & Me sessions. “Intellidance® is a unique series of creative dance programs created to foster critical development in children ages 0-5. Combining movement vocabulary and dance concepts… Research shows that dance and music activities offered in a loving, safe, multi-sensory environment enhance life long learning and neural development.”
Now entering her 10th season as owner, Erica is full of pride. The studio has grown each year in size and success, having collected several awards in choreography, dance technique, and of course the honour of “Best Place To Take a Dance Class” in the Best of the Foothills, Reader’s Choice Awards. Erica welcomes you all for another exciting year of dance and growth.
Tasha Shukys grew up dancing at the Alberta Dance Academy, and is proud to still have ADA part of her life today. There are places and people that ‘feel like home’, and The Alberta Dance Academy is one of them for her. Her most desired genre of dance was Tap!
While she has three beautiful children of her own, she loves getting smiles, hugs, treats and artwork from all the dancers at the studio each day. In her spare time she enjoys a good book and a cup of tea, or a nice road trip camping with her husband and kids. Tasha is thrilled to be a part of the studio for her 6th dance season!
Ballet & Pre-School, Competitive Choreographer
Coutney Niebergall (ARAD RTS) began her dance training in Regina, and since that time dance ha been a great passion, and an integral part of her life. Her amateur training culminated with being awarded the Advanced Certificate in Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) ballet, and Canadian Dance Teachers Association (CDTA) jazz and tap exams. As a young dancer she performed with Saskatchewan Express, a musical theatre performance group, and later returned to work as Rehearsal Director for the group.
Courtney continued her training in Toronto where she received a Diploma in Theatre-Dance from Ryerson University. While in Toronto, she performed at Dusk Dances and Series 8:08, and appeared with the Chimera Project and IDAC Dance Collective. Courtney performed with City Centre Dance Company at the Stream of Dance Festival, and the Cathedral Village Arts Festival in Regina, and danced in the Casino Regina commercial “Two of a Kind“.
Courtney is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance, and takes great pride in sharing her passion with her students, and helping them to reach their goals. She is committed to keeping her training current, and is inspired when learning with fellow dance teachers. Most recently she participated in Syllabus coaching classes, and Teaching courses with the RAD, a course at the NUVO Dance Convention, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Teachers Summer Workshop.
Courtney is so happy to be sharing her love of dance with her students, and is looking forward to another successful season at ADA!!
Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop & Pre-School, Competitive Choreographer
Charli Atkins has spent as long as she can remember dancing, starting out at The Dance Factory at the age of three. Her training throughout the years included Tap, Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Modern, Belly Dancing, and Salsa. Aside from growing up as a competitive dancer, she has had the opportunity to complete a number of A.D.A.P.T. tap and jazz examinations, Al Gilbert Tap examinations, and R.A.D. ballet examinations.
In 2005 Charli moved to Okotoks, this brought her to The Alberta Dance Academy, which she has called ‘home’ ever since. After spending 4 years as a student and an assistant teacher at ADA, she was blessed with the opportunity to begin teaching her own classes. In 2012, her passion for tap dancing lead her to become certified in the Al Gilbert Tap Syllabus. Since then she has been preparing and putting her own students through tap exams. Charli also creates tap and hip hop choreography each year, in the form of solos, duos & groups, and has received a number of choreography and specialty awards at competitions throughout the province.
Currently, Charli teaches classes and creates choreography in Okotoks and Strathmore. She continues to take classes herself in Tap and various styles of Hip Hop. She is furthering her knowledge of the Al Gilbert tap syllabus working with her mentor, Linda Hovagimian. Outside of the dance world, she is studying Nutrition through the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, and will be a Registered Holistic Nutritionist by the end of the season.
Charli is now beginning her eighth year teaching at ADA and is truly looking forward to another fun, inspiring year of dance with all of her students!
Jazz & Acro, Competitive Choreographer
At the young age of three Kara put on her first pair of dance shoes and instantly fell in love with the art. By age seven, she found herself competing in both dance and gymnastics: a perfect combination which allowed her to become very versatile at a young age. Throughout her dance career she has received many scholarships and awards. Her most memorable ones being: Junior scholarship winner at COdance (Paula Abdul convention) and High Score Senior Soloist two years in a row at Centre Stage Dance Competition.
In 2004, Kara was accepted to the Dance Performance Preparation Program, in Toronto, under the instruction of the Ballet Jorgen at George Brown College. Here she danced five to seven hours per day studying the disciplines of: ballet, pointe, modern, lyrical and jazz as well as taking acting and vocal lessons. She was also chosen to be a part of the performing ‘Ensemble’ for George Brown which allowed her to promote their dance programs by performing at promising dance schools across southern Ontario.
Upon her return to Thunder Bay in 2005, she continued to dance but began her successful teaching career. Since then, she has choreographed many group numbers, solos, duets and trios that have won a variety of choreography, specialty and overall high score awards. In addition to teaching in Okotoks, she has been a guest choreographer for the past two years at Legacy Performing Arts Studio in her hometown where she works with advanced students creating competitive numbers.
Outside of the dance world, Kara is a certified school teacher in Ontario, Alberta and the United Kingdom where, this fall, she will begin her seventh year of teaching at Lord Beaverbrook High School. She is also a specialized cheerleading coach in Ontario where she has five years of experience coaching competitive cheerleading teams at the provincial and national level. Currently she is completing a higher certification through Acrobatique (ADAPT) and is thrilled to be able to offer Acrobatic exams this year to students at ADA.
Alex began dancing with The Alberta Dance Academy as a child. Throughout her years as a dancer she had the chance to learn from a variety of teachers in an assortment of styles. Dancing lead her all over the province and even to Disneyland to perform. Alex’s favorite memory of dance was doing her thing on stage at competition.
After being away, but not too far, Alex was thrilled to have an opportunity to join ADA on the ‘other side of the desk’. It has become her home and is she is very happy to be part of the ADA family again, and can’t believe she is in her 5th year helping with administration. But more over, Alex is excited to have her daughter dancing at The Alberta Dance Academy, taking in Ballet/Jazz, Acro and Tap.
Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Competitive Choreographer & Studio Coordinator
Chantelle Pidherny started dancing at the age of 4 and soon discovered she had a love and passion for dance. She trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop and musical theatre as well as dancing competitively across British Columbia. As well, she participated in A.D.A.P.T. tap and jazz exams.
In 2010 Chantelle made the move to Calgary to attend the University of Calgary and further her dance education. She graduated in April 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in dance. Chantelle has travelled to New York, Las Vegas and L.A. to train in classes and workshops. As well, she has done dancing and acting performances in both New York and Las Vegas. She hopes to travel more in the future to continue her growth as a dancer and teacher.
Chantelle continues to take classes in various styles in Calgary as well as throughout British Columbia at studios such as Decidedly Jazz DanceWorks in Calgary and Harbour Dance Center in Vancouver.
This is Chantelle’s third year at ADA and she is excited to meet all her students and share her love of dance with them!
Contemporary, Ballet & Competitive Choreographer
Kara is a Vancouver born dance artist graduated from the Arts Umbrella Professional Dance Program and is an alumnus of their Senior Dance Company. She was the recipient of two Advanced Arts Study Awards from the Vancouver Foundation to pursue these studies. Her training took her to summer programs at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional, L’Ecole Superieure de Ballet du Quebec, the Banff Summer Training Program, Ballet BC Summer Intensive and Springboard Dance Montreal. She holds major examination certificates from the Royal Academy of Dance and the Cecchetti Society up to an Advanced 1 Level.
Kara’s choreography has been shown with Project Oswald and at the Ignite! Emerging Artist Festival in Calgary, DanceFest at NextFest in Edmonton, at the T.B.A. Choreographic Showcase, Mascall Dance’s Bloom Residency,12 Minutes Max at the Dance Centre, and the BC Buds Spring Arts Fair in Vancouver, the Fresh Meat Festival in Ottawa, FUSE at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the McColl Theatre in Terrace BC. She co-created two outdoor dance-theatre shows with theatre artist Julia Siedlanowska; one based on Shakespearean characters and the other on the story of Don Quixote. As a performer, Kara apprenticed with Josh Beamish’s MOVE: the Company and Amber Funk Barton’s the Response, toured Western Canada with Judith Marcuse’s interdisciplinary show Earth=home and John Kaplan’s Fundraising Magic show. She has danced for Canadian choreographers Claire French, Thoenn Glover, Hailey McCloskey, Anna Kraulis and Jacinte Armstrong.
Kara received mentorship on her choreographic practice from Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg through the pilot project Art Police in 2013. She came to Calgary to train with Denise Clarke and the One Yellow Rabbit company at their Summer Lab in 2014. In October 2014, she had the privilege of assisting Ms. Clarke with her solo show Wag at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver. Her recent solo work was supported by the W&M Physical Theatre Residency Program. She has received two professional development grants towards her professional practice, one as a dancer (British Columbia Arts Council/2015) and the other as a dance teacher (Canada Council for the Arts/2016). Through this generous support, she attended the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s Teacher Workshop in Salt Lake City (July 2016).
Kara has had the privilege of teaching and adjudicating all over British Columbia and Alberta. Kara has been invited to teach and choreograph on competitive dancers at the Terrace Summer Dance Intensive for two years. This season, she is working with the Hussar Fine Arts Society to bring dance to the small farm village of Hussar and will be on faculty with the Open Division of the School of Alberta Ballet.
Cheer Dance, Country Swing & Line Dancing
Dannica is entering her third year at the University of Calgary where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing. Dannica has been dancing since she was 2 years old and hasn’t stopped since.
She began her training at the Alberta Dance Academy before being accepted into The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. After two years with that company she decided to further her dance education with Drewitz Dance Productions until she graduated high school. In
2014 she won a nation wide competition for dancing as well as acting that was held in Toronto. That same summer she was involved in helping out with choreographing and performing in a music video for a very young and talented opera singer. When she was younger she wanted to become a major role model for her city and has accomplished that goal.
Dannica was a member of a professional CFL cheerleading team for two years before she started her own dance company, Outlaw Country Ltd., based in Calgary. OLC is dedicated to teaching adults how to country swing, line dance and perform aerial maneuvers. She focuses on building her company and encouraging her young dancers to follow their passion for dance. In the future Dannica hopes to use her experiences and skills to contribute to the development of young minds and to increase community support for programs in the arts.
Jazz, Contemporary & Competitive Choreographer
Natalka Lewis (BA, Associate Diploma CSC-CICB) is a dance artist, choreographer and teacher based out of Calgary, AB. Natalka trained in all genres of mainstream dance & Ukrainian folk dance. In 2010 Natalka received her BA in Contemporary Dance with a specialization in Classical Ballet. Receiving her professional ballet training in the BA Program in the Professional Division at the School of Alberta Ballet, Natalka trained with renowned teachers including Order of Canada Recipient Nancy Kilgour & Cecchetti Society of Canada’s Joyce Shietze and others. She performed in works by Melissa Monteros, Wojtek Mochniej, Tania Alvarado, Linsday Walsh and worked with many faculty members including Davida Monk & Melanie Kloetzel, as well as guests such as Peggy Baker, Marc Boivin & Benoit Swan-Pouffer.
As a teacher Natalka encourages her students to excel to their technical best and to find enjoyment, purpose and fulfillment though their art. Natalka holds her Associate Diploma with the Cecchetti Society of Canada and has successfully entered many students into ballet exams since 2010. She recently took a Progressing Ballet Technique US Level 1-3 teacher training workshop. Natalka has received numerous awards for her dances, particularly for her demi-character ballet choreography. Many of her students aspire to or are currently enjoying professional careers in dance. Natalka continues to train as a dancer and a teacher locally and abroad. In addition, Natalka is pursuing her Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology and upon graduation will work primarily with teens and dancers/athletes.
Natalka is an advocate for nurturing the dance community in Calgary and Alberta. In 2013 Natalka founded Trip the Light Dance Company. Through Trip the Light, Natalka has produced work in many arts and dance festivals across Canada, several fashion shows namely the well known MakeFashion, large scale corporate/ commercial events, as well as choreographed for music, circus and magic shows including Temporala in Calgary & Las Vegas. Natalka continues to work as a freelance dance artist, teacher, choreographer & adjudicator. She has danced with companies Soulocentric Performing Arts, W & M Physical Theatre’s Pro Division, La Caravan Dance Theatre, & Dancers’ Studio West. She worked as a company dancer with Corps Bara Dance Theatre for two seasons. Her choreographic work has been shown in an array of festivals and shows since 2007. Natalka’s work focuses on authentic human experiences that encourage the artist and the audience to connect emotionally and truthfully. She looks for concepts that explore the human experience & brain through a physical aesthetic of movement.
Challen started dancing at the age of 5. Starting with ballet then adding jazz tap and musical theatre. While she was dancing, she was also in gymnastics lessons practically since she was born as her mom was a competitive gymnastics coach.
Parting from dance when she was 8 she went onto competitive gymnastics travelling international competitions and winning titles such as 2010 provincial champion, qualifying for Alberta Winter Games and placing 3rd on beam in event finals at Alberta Winter Games games, and many international medals.
At the age of 14 she enrolled in dance at Centre Stage Dance Productions taking hiphop and tap. Wanting to take more classes, she then moved to Alberta Dance Academy in 2012 and decided to retire from gymnastics at age 16.
Since then, she has taken ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, acro, hiphop and contemporary, and has also completed her grade 5 exam through Al Gilbert tap.
Challen has her Level 1 Coaching Certification and She is also in the process of becoming certified in Junior Acrobatique.
Challen is very excited to be entering her 2nd year of teaching at ADA and cant wait to see what the year will bring!
Brooklyn Van Hell
Ballet, Jazz & Creative Movement
Brooklyn Van Hell is entering into her sixteenth season with the Alberta Dance Academy. Starting at the age of three, being very shy and new to the community, Brooklyn’s mom wanted her to make new friends and decided dance would be a good fit. Ever since then dance has become a passion. Brooklyn has explored different genres such as tap, jazz, contemporary and lyrical but found that ballet is what she loves the most. Brooklyn has also had the privilege to take classes with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks
in styles such as West African, swing and modern repertoire. As a competitive student Brooklyn was able to gain performance experience and appreciate how hard work and dedication can be very rewarding. While attending competition Brooklyn was able to take many classes with dance faculty from all over Canada. Brooklyn also had the opportunity to audition for ballet companies such as the Alberta Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (which included a master class with one of the artistic directors from the company). In addition to all of her wonderful dance experience with ADA Brooklyn was able to dance under Stacey Tookey, which was filmed and aired on the Family Channel.
Brooklyn is now attending Mount Royal University as a second year full time student in pursuit of receiving a Bachelor of Science. After attending a dance teacher’s conference in Edmonton Brooklyn has been inspired to learn more about becoming the best dance instructor she can. Additionally, last fall Brooklyn had the opportunity to attend the NUVO conference in Calgary and collaborated with other teachers and faculty including Travis and Denise Wall and Stacey Tookey. Brooklyn is looking forward to another great season with ADA!
Acro, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre and Preschool
Kirsten Villaroman has been dancing for 15 years and teaching children ages 3-12 for 2 years. She is a versatile dancer with intensive training in ballet (R.A.D), jazz, contemporary, hip hop, lyrical, musical theatre, tap, and acrobatics. Her training includes working with choreographers such as NappyTabs, Cyndi Scott, J.T. Hornstein and Rachael Poirier. Kirsten is in the process of receiving her Junior Acrobatique Teacher’s Certification and has obtained numerous scholarships from her performances and training with The Young Canadians. Kirsten has a strong passion for performing and hopes to share her knowledge and love for dance with as many students as possible.