Our Faculty


Erica Hendry

Artistic Director, Contemporary & Jazz, Competitive Choreographer

Erica HendryErica 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

Studio Manager

TashaTasha 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!

This is Ms. Tasha’s 9th season with ADA , and we would be forever lost without her amazing skill set!

Tasha is also a proud dance mom of an ADA Company Dancer, and can’t wait for another exciting season of competition!



Adryann Newman

Instructor & Senior Dancer

AdryannAdryann began dancing in High River at the age of 3. Moving to Okotoks in 2005 brought her to ADA. She started with Ballet and Jazz and later added many other styles including Hip Hop, Tap, Contemporary, Lyrical, and Acro. Adryann is entering her 12th year dancing at ADA and her 7th year as a company dancer. As an ADA dancer Adryann has had the opportunity to compete in 5678 Showtime’s national competition, perform in Disneyworld, and compete in many different competitions across the province. Adryann was also on a competitive cheerleading team for three years before choosing to leave cheer and focus her energy into her dance training.

Adryann has recently become a level 1 Alberta Cheerleading Association certified cheerleading coach and is in the process of becoming certified in the Junior Acrobatique syllabus.

Adryann is very excited to share her love of both dance and cheerleading with her students this year!

Alex Krich

Studio Coordinator

Alex began danAlexcing 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.


Bailey Lang


BaileyBailey has spent fourteen years studying ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary and lyrical at Alberta Dance Academy. She has completed several RAD ballet and Al Gilbert tap exams. Currently, Bailey is working closely with Miss Charli, completing the teacher workshop, and becoming certified in the syllabus. Additionally, Bailey was a competitive dancer representing ADA for many years. Highlights include being invited to Dance World Cup and competing her tap solo at Nationals in Whistler, BC. She has assisted a variety of classes over the past five years and is excited to be able to create a fun, active learning environment for her students this season!


Challen Haverstock


ChallenChallen 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!

Chantelle Pidherny

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.

Chantelle is excited for her fourth year at ADA and looking forward to working with you!


Charli Atkins

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.

This is Charli’s 9th season teaching with ADA and she is looking forward to another fun and inspiring year with all of her students!

Christahh Ahh

Studio Administrator
ChristahhBorn in Calgary, Christahh became captivated by the art of dance at a young age. She has studied a variety of dance styles and is the recipient of scholarships from the Edmonton School of Ballet. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Dance Program at the University of Calgary with a focus on choreography and performance in the spring of 2016. Christahh has had the privilege of working with a number of artists including Sabrina Naz at the Obsidian Awards (2016), Deanne Walsh in Ciclo De La Vida (2016), as well as dancing in Suite of Dreams (2014) originally choreographed by Hannah Stillwell. In 2014-2015 Christahh was a member of the pre-professional training company, SURGE, directed by Melissa Monteros and Wojciech Mochniej. In the summer of 2015, she was an intern with OYO (Ombetja Yehinga Organisation) dance troupe in Windhoek, Namibia where she contributed in the creation of Ania, a piece that tackles the issue of teen pregnancy. She has completed two years of the professional training program at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and dances with a local hip-hop crew, The Tomorrows, under the direction of Lenny Len. Christahh is also the creator and owner of Dance YYC, a website catered to sharing all things dance in Calgary!

Courtney Niebergall

Ballet & Pre-School, Competitive Choreographer

CourtneyCoutney 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!!

Dannica Robertson

Cheer Dance, Country Swing & Line Dancing
Dannica 2Dannica 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.


Darlene Schmidt

Mrs. Darlene is passionate about music and education. She loved to sing and play piano as a young girl, motivating her to complete Grade 8 in Voice and Grade 8 in Piano through Royal Conservatory of Music before pursuing Vocal Music in university. Mrs. Darlene completed a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Music in Voice, a Diploma of General Studies in Social Work and her Bachelor of Education. Mrs. Darlene is a member of the National Association of Teachers’ of Singing Inc. and an affiliate member of the Alberta Registered Music Teacher’s Association. Mrs. Darlene has taught private piano and voice lessons for over 10 years as well as teaching music and homeroom in the school system in Calgary and Lethbridge including directing and co-directing choirs, singing clubs and school concerts. Mrs. Darlene believes in life-long learning to be the best she can be. She is thrilled to partner with the excellent programs at ADA to give students an amazing artistic experience with VocalMotion!

Kara Haley

Jazz & Acro, Competitive Choreographer

KaraAt 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.

Kara Nolte

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.


Laura Barcelo

LauraLaura Barcelo is a Calgary-based dancer, teacher and choreographer whose love of dance was nurtured at a young age through membership with Corps Bara Youth Dance Company and later, the Professional Company. With a Distinguished Artist Award, Laura earned her BA in Psychology with minors in Dance, Neuroscience and Social Witness Ministry from Hope College Michigan.

Laura holds certifications in the Modern Theatre Syllabus with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and Module 1 Acrobatic Arts. In addition to teaching at the Alberta Dance Academy, Laura teaches Modern, Jazz and Contemporary at Crossings Dance, Modern at the School of Alberta Ballet, and is Rehearsal Director for the Crossings Youth Dance Company. Laura maintains her freelance performance career in Calgary. Most notably are her seasons with Corps Bara Dance Theatre (2013-2017). Three Annual Alberta Dance Festivals (2015-2017), the Ignite! Festival of Emerging Artists (2016) and “Fall of the Leaf” premiere by J-SIK Movements & Purposely Soulful (2017).

Being creative through dance reminder her that everyone was created in God’s image…because, “In the beginning, God created..”

Samantha Duff

SamanthaTheatre credits include Rumpelstiltskin Revisited for Goodger-Pink Productions, Grey Matter of The Magic Word Theatre, Titus Andronicus, Othello, The Queens and Richard III for The Shakespeare Company, Love(her)/Fight(her) for Urban Curvz, King Lear for Theatre Prospero, Without You, Major Barbara, and Roberto Zucko for Studio Theatre, As You Like It for Free Will Shakespeare Festival, Blood Wedding and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for U of A, and Two Gentlemen Of Verona and Romeo and Juliet for Shakespeare In The Park. Samantha has a diploma from the theater program at Mount Royal College as well as a BFA degree in acting from the University of Alberta.

Serena Sanford

SerenaAfter a fourteen year professional dance career, Serena is excited to pass on her knowledge, passion and experience to the next generation. A native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Serena began her training at the Edmonton School of Ballet. After graduating from Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division, Serena went on to dance with Banff Festival Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. She then spent nine seasons with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet where she became a soloist. Most recently, Serena spent three seasons with Alberta Ballet where she danced many principal and soloist roles. Her favourite roles include the title role in A Cinderella Story (Caniparoli), the Lilac Fairy in the Sleeping Beauty, the Dark Angel in Balanchine’s Serenade, the lead woman in Jean Grand-Maitre’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, the Lover in Balletlujah (Maitre), and the Black Couple in Kylian’s Forgotten Land. This past summer, Serena completed her Stott Pilates Intensive Mat-Plus Training and is excited to share her love of both dance and Pilates!

Sophie Farmer

Instructor & Senior Dancer
SophieSophie has been training at The Alberta Dance Academy for 12 years. In addition, she has participated in many master classes with choreographers such as Stacey Tookey, Travis Wall and Bree Wasylenko. Sophie has recently completed the Dance Program at the Alberta High School of Fine Arts. Currently, she is working towards her Intermediate RAD exam and is continuing to train at ADA as well as illFX in Calgary. She is so excited to start teaching and to instill the love of dance in others.


Tyler Day

TylerBorn and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta; Tyler started dancing at the age of 15 at a local studio. After graduating high school he moved to Calgary where he trained at the School of Alberta Ballet under the tutelage of Murray and Nancy Kilgour. He has been fortunate to perform with many companies including the Alberta Ballet, Ballet Ouest de Montreal, the Atlantic City Ballet, and finishing off his career as a principal dancer with Ballet Pensacola. Mr. Tyler has also taught at Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Theatre, Ballet Pensacola and the School of Alberta Ballet.