FACULTY Alphabetically


Hip Hop, Reggae, Musical Theatre, Burlesque

Jamaican born Shameka Blake started dancing at the age of 3. After migrating to Canada, Shameka continued her training at George Brown College in the Commercial Dance Program in addition to beginning her performing career. Shameka has taken the Toronto dance scene by storm as a teacher, performer and choreographer… and she’s only getting started! She has danced and performed concerts, tours, productions as well as having shared the stage with artists such as Ne-yo, Mob Deep, Kanye West, Lil Jon, and Ciara. Shameka has been featured in videos for recording artists Damian Marley, Kreesha Turner, and Sean Paul. She has had the pleasure of being featured as a principal dancer in Luther Brown’s productions On My Way Home and The Red City.  Shameka is the proud and successful founder of Artists In Motion (AIM), a multidisciplinary dance group that brings together different styles of dance styles such as Hip Hop, Jazz, Reggae and Lyrical under the same roof.  

Shameka's Quote: “Dance allows me to say things words cannot”


Contemporary Lyrical, Hip Hop, Burlesque, Tap

Allison’s passion for dance is evident with every breath she takes. Ally is a gifted performer, teacher and choreographer with an amazing ability to get her students and dancers to tap into their innermost feelings and dance them. Allison trained at Dansation in her hometown of St. Albert, Alberta, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York and Toronto for intensive training. In 2009, she completed the International Student Visa Program at Broadway Dance Centre in New York City where she received the Outstanding Student Award. Allison has created opportunities for herself and others by creating her own dance company, A L I Entertainment.  Her dance crew worked with N5 Pictures and performed for the music video Man-o Kabootar by Sasha.  Allison performed in the production I Think I Can as an actor and dancer under the direction of Conrad Alexandrowicz at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. She also danced in the Zapix Awards on YTV, Shawn Byfield’s Live in Rhythm, and Luther Brown’s Red City. 

Ally's Quote: "To be outstanding get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute for experience.The expert in anything was once a beginner."


Ballroom & Latin – International & American, Joy of Dance Academy Faculty Member

Olé’s passion for dancing led him to pursue training from the best teachers in England and Canada all of whom encouraged him to compete, which he has been doing for over 10 years. Olé holds the record as six-time undefeated champion in the Amateur Championship in Ukraine for Ballroom dance, as well as finalist of Open European Professional Ballroom Championships, and finalist of Open Canadian Latin Championships. Olé is a current member of the Canadian Dance Teachers Association (CDTA). For 6 consecutive years, Olé has received the award for top teacher at the Crystal Leaf International Dancesport Championship. Olé loves to lay the foundation of technique, while bringing out the passion held within each student. His focus on his students never leaves them.

Olé’s quote: “To dance is to experience life at its best”


Argentine Tango

Linda is a writer, artist, and dancer with a background in Ballet and Modern dance. In 2002, after 10 years of listening to Tango music and the first of several trips to Argentina, she began to dance Tango. She says, “To dance, you must become part of the music.”  Linda hosts the weekly Palermo Tango Club Milonga, contributes articles to dance magazines, and is a DJ for Tango events.



We affectionately know Melissa as Mel. She not only is one of the bright faces at our reception desk, she is also a fantastic organizer, and the person who keeps track of the entire dance inventory at Joy of Dance.  Mel has had a life long passion for dance and has trained in Ballet and Jazz.  She also has a passion for fitness and is an active participant in our Ginga, Nia and Zumba classes. After graduating from the Police Foundations with high honours, Melissa joined Joy of Dance in 2010 and now calls it home. Melissa shares her love of food, baking and bargain hunting.  Melissa brings her First Nations background to our environment contributing to the diversity that is a robust part of our culture. If you ask Melissa what her most important job is, she will smile brightly and tell you it’s raising her son Jaden. He is as much a part of us as his mom. 



How to best describe Chase is performer, choreographer, dancer, actor, artist, adventurer and now Creative Director and Choreographer for "Canada's Got Talent" Finalists. Chase began dancing with reggae and Hip Hop but was soon called to recognize his potential in his own community. As a South Asian dancer, Chase took the opportunity to embark on a cultural journey which has made him skilled in Bollywood, Bhangra, and the Classical Indian style Bharatanatyam. Chase has worked with Bollywood stars such as: Neha Dupiha, Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor as well as many other names. like Kos, Feist, Alex Cuba, Ludacris, Russell Peters and Apache Indian, Priyanka Chopra, Bobby Deol, Dharmendra, and the king himself Shah Rukh Khan. Recently Chase worked on the upcoming Bollywood Hollywood film "Dr. Cabbie" as the choreographer for two great Bollywood fusion sequences. This dancer and choreographer has now been recognized by Dance Current Magazine as well as national mainstream media, as an edgy and relevant choreographer. His dynamic personality brings an unprecedented energy to everything he does. His classes are positively addictive


Ballroom & Latin - American

Ian first fell in love with dance 15 years ago while watching a couple dance East Coast Swing at the Beaches Jazz Fest. He was hooked immediately and so much so that he began teaching for free while at university. Upon graduating, Ian pursued teaching Ballroom and Latin as a career. Ian is relentless in his pursuit of excellence and is constantly learning and growing as a teacher and Ballroom and Latin dancer. As a teacher he is patient while still pushing his students to achieve their dance goals. Ian’s qualifications include Silver Smooth and Bronze Rhythm, as it the DVIDA American Syllabus. Ian has many interests with one of the main ones being sharing his love of dance to anyone interested in receiving it.

Ian's quote: "Dancing is a delicate balance between perfection and beauty."


Reception & Social Media

Elza is passionate about dancing. She started at Joy of Dance as a student and has since become an integral part of the Joy of Dance family on the administrative side of things. Elza not only works reception but also is an important part of ensuring registrations are up to date. With her eye for detail, Elza has proven invaluable in her assistance on the marketing side as well. With a background in sociology and human resources, Elza finds it fascinating how dancing brings people together and connects them to the world around them. She loves how dancing brings the body, mind and soul together and how it makes her feel present and connected to the music when she dances. She believes dancing is a physical manifestation of the music. Currently she is learning to dance American Smooth and Rhythm Ballroom.

Elza's quote: "I feel like the true me when dancing."



Ballroom & Latin - International

Katya began her dance career in Russia at the age of 4 turning professional at the age of 19. Ballroom and Latin was her passion then as it is now. From the onset, she was competing within the International Ballroom realm. International was and is her passion. She has had the honour of training with some of the top International teachers in the world and has infused the learning plus experience into her dancing as well as her teaching. What makes Katya excel is her attention to technique. It provides the fundamental and necessary foundation necessary for freedom of dance movement, partner connection and expression. To be expressive in dance is to go beyond your own expectations. Katya believes the combination of technique, style, and patterns, (when learned), creates something extremely beautiful, fun and transformative. Her strength with her students is being able to see past the potential to what can be. Katya is also trained in Ballet, Modern and Anatomy.

Katyha's quote: "Dance is an art form. The body is an instrument. Learn to play the instrument and master the art form!"



Assistant Dean, Ballroom & Latin – International, Joy of Dance Academy Faculty Member

Lisa is a proud graduate of the Joy of Dance Teacher Training Program with over 5 years of experience teaching International Style Standard and Latin dancing. Lisa is also a successful Pro-Am competitor and has performed at celebrations and corporate functions all over Ontario. Lisa’s positive disposition comes across immediately. For Lisa, dancing is a life-long passion. She enjoys meeting, dancing and teaching those who share her passion for dance. Lisa is a certified member of the Canadian DanceSport Federation (CDF).


Piano Accompanist

Originally from Saint Petersburg, Russia, Gurovsky is a graduate of the prestigious Saint Petersburg State Conservatory. Gurovsky made Toronto her new home in 1980 and has been with Canada’s National Ballet School for 25 years. Valentina Gurovsky has had extensive involvement with the Toronto dance scene for nearly thirty years, including accompanying RAD graded and vocational exams, and Solo Seal performances. She has also participated in various seminars, workshops and open classes for ballet, character and creative dance.  This remarkable experience has taken her across North America to Colorado, New York, Louisiana, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Halifax, to name a few. Gurovsky loves accompanying voice and playing piano duo. Joy of Dance is blessed to have her sharing her excellence with our students.


Ballroom & Latin - American, Joy oF Dance Academy Faculty Member

Nicole began dancing and teaching Smooth and Latin Ballroom at the age of 15, instructing both adults and children. With a background in psychology and the arts, Nicole enjoys the fact that Ballroom dancing fuses self-expression with interpersonal communication. It is a unique and meaningful way of expressing oneself and connecting with others. Appreciating that every individual enters dance for their own personal reasons, Nicole is here to help you reach and even exceed your own dance goals. Nicole specializes in putting you at ease and leading you towards finding your own joy in dancing.

Nicole's quote: "Dance 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."



Jennifer’s Nia expertise translates into classes that are innovative, fun and just plain good for you. She is a passionate and enthusiastic mover whose contagious energy encourages you to reach your own personal movement potential. Jenn shares Nia through community events, conferences, international retreats and spas. She is an artist with the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Living Through the Arts Program, which brings Nia to community groups. Jennifer has been commissioned to choreograph theatrical pieces, and offers customized party classes and private lessons. She enjoys writing about her passion for Nia both on her website (www.jennhicks.ca) and for various print media. Jennifer is currently leading Nia sessions for seniors as part of a research study being led by the Royal Conservatory of Music, Baycrest Health Centre and Toronto Rehab Institute called “Exploring the Impact of Artful Engagement with Older Adults”.

Jenn's quote: "Rock whatever you want and do it with confidence. Never let anyone make you feel ashamed of your style."



Ginga Fitness

Ken Homer was born and raised in St. Vincent in the Caribbean. He grew up dancing. That has never stopped. Ken has also  been entrenched in marital arts and Brazilian (Capoeira) martial arts for over 15 years. His passion for health and fitness has always motivated him to encourage people to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Ken combined  his love of dance with his martial arts training to create Ginga Fitness in Toronto Canada in 2009. Ginga is a driving program which combines the basic movements of Capoeira mixed with all genres of music to create a dance fitness program that provides a complete full body workout. Every muscle group is worked within a one-hour workout. Ginga is now a movement with Ken teaching over 18 classes a week and training qualified, dedicated teachers who are hand selected. Ken not only teaches every class full out, he does it with his engaging smile and good humour.

Ken's quote: "Move with passion, try your best, have fun and the rest is easy."



Hip Hop, Urbanesque, House

Hollywood Jade is one of Toronto’s fastest rising entertainers showcasing his talents as a dancer, choreographer and innovator in his art form now called Urbanesque (also his dance company called by the same name). Urbanesque is a fusion of Urban dance and Burlesque 2013 style. It unites expression of Urban culture and attitude. He has choreographed routines for MuchMusic, BET and MTV to name a few, and has worked with some of the most internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Fatima Robinson, Michael Rooney, Adam Shankman, Rich & Tone, Jamal Sims, Eboni Nickles and AJ. Hollywood Jade is a contributing member of Artists In Motion.  As Hollywood always says, “Success lies on the other side of fear.”

Hollywood's quote: "Success lies on the other side of fear.... I dance because I am not afraid to be exposed."


Ballroom & Latin – American, Joy of Dance Faculty Member

Steven’s love of movement began on the stage as part of Theatre Beyond Words, a theatre company that took him on tour across North America, Europe and Asia. Yet Ballroom and Latin dance kept pulling him. It was Jennifer Jones, CEO and Dean of Joy of Dance Centre and Teaches College who convinced him that he should pursue his passion. Her influence is one of the main reasons Steve is teaching dance today and specializing in West Coast Swing. Having graduated from the Joy of Dance Teacher Training program and receiving his certification from Canadian DanceSport Federation in American Ballroom Smooth and Rhythm, Steve began his teaching career and has never looked back. This love and passion for teaching American Smooth and Rhythm comes from the deep belief that dancing is a fun, liberating and energizing experience that heightens awareness of the body and creates a unique connection between people. Practicing Ballroom has made his life both more challenging and more rewarding; an experience he is passing on to his students.

Steven's quote: “When life is good, dance. When life hurts, dance more.”


Ballroom & Latin – International & American, Joy of Dance Academy Faculty Member

Annie’s love of competitive sports and physical fitness progressed into dancing and competition up until the age of 12 when she chose dance over sports. For Annie, Ballroom and Latin dance was the perfect mix of movement and exercise. The physicality of it challenged her competitive drive to always push to learn and do it better. Then she fell in love with the emotional side of Ballroom dance and how it could tell a story expressed between two people. One of Annie’s strengths is the ability to make technique accessible for students at any level. The communication between pupil and teacher is rich and sacrosanct. The joy of seeing a student progress is a personal sense of achievement and unabashed delight when they get it. Annie loves the diversity of people and helping them reach their dance goals. Annie is certified Licentiate member of the CDF in International Standard, Latin,  American Smooth and Rhythm and CDF certified competition Adjudicator. She is unstoppable and brings her curiosity, analytical mind, grace, technique and experience to each student.

Annie's quote: "Dancing is a physical expression of your soul!" "Have fun, enjoy, just dance your heart."


Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Ballroom & Latin - International

Rebecca values the important things in life… family, friends, and that for which she has PASSION!  Rebecca’s passion for dance is a family affair, passed down from her grandmother through her mother, (both dance teachers.)  Rebecca trained throughout her youth at her mother’s dance studio in Kamloops, BC and is professionally trained as a performer and teacher in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop through the NATD (National Association of Teachers of Dance) based in London, England.  Rebecca is a veteran to the stage and her infectious enthusiasm for dance is apparent in the energy of her classes.  Currently, you can find Rebecca in Toronto tapping up a storm with her fellow members of Funk Factory, when she is not busy training and teaching Ballroom, Latin and Tap at the Joy of Dance.

Rebecca's quote: "Dance is the best therapy on the planet. I think everyone should have dance in their lives... In whatever shape or form speaks to them. We'd have a much healthier world, both physically and mentally."


Contemporary Modern & Ballet

Lilia Leon is a Mexican-Canadian dance artist working in dance performance, education and choreography. She holds a B. A. in Dance from York University, and is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program. Following extensive training in Royal Academy of Dance Ballet, Pedagogy and Anatomy she became a RAD Registered Teacher in 2011. As an independent dance artist she has worked with local and international artists including Aluna Theatre, Penny Couchie, Jasmyn Fyffe, Jumblies Theatre, MataDanZe, Neil Ieremia (New Zealand), Carlos Rivera (Mexico) and Alejandro Ronceria (Canada/ Colombia). Lilia’s performance career has been paralleled by a diverse teaching practice. She has taught ballet, creative movement and contemporary dance to children, youth and adults in a wide range of communities. Her teaching principles are: following healthy teaching practices, celebrating diversity, and promoting an appreciation for art as an empowering tool for self-expression and social change.


Ballroom & Latin - American, Salsa, Hip Hop, Jazz

 Born and raised in Jamaica, Lauren was influenced by music and dance from a young age.  She is an accomplished dancer and performer in a variety of dance genres including Hip Hop, Modern, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballroom and Latin. Lauren received her American Bronze level teachers certification in Ballroom and Latin at Joy of Dance and has been actively teaching ever since. She starred on So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season Four. Lauren has also competed and placed in the professional division at both the Toronto Salsa Festival and the Six Degrees Salsa Competition. She has worked with singer Divine Brown, comedian Nicole Arbour and can be seen performing at Toronto events such as TIFF, Caribana and Pride. Since 2009, she has been a member of Artists In Motion Dance Company (AIM). Lauren has performed with Lady Gaga, Flo Rida, Victoria Duffield.




Ballroom & Latin - International & American, Joy of Dance Centre Faculty Member

Linda’s looks beyond the needs of each dance student and sees their potential. Her goal is to have them transcend their own expectations. Linda is a seasoned teacher, competitor, and performer specializing in Ballroom and Latin International dancing. Her career spans over a decade and brings with it finesse and expertise as well as a first hand understanding of competition. Linda has had the honour of working with and learning from some of the best dancers and teachers that the world has to offer. It is these experiences that she brings to her teaching. Linda is proud to have been working with the 2011 Canadian Junior Silver Medalists, the 2010 World Junior Silver Medalists, as well as many other talented, competitive ice dance couples. Linda has had the privilege of representing Canada in the Professional Latin Division at many elite competitions both nationally and internationally. Linda’s promise to her students is discipline but also fun, knowledge, compassion passion and inspiration.

Linda's quote: Dance keeps me living in the moment. It free's me from the aches and pains of life and allows me to express things that I wouldn't be able to express through words. When I dance- it's right here, right now…and nothing else matters."       


Hip Hop, African, Afro Jazz, House, World Pop, Jazz, Dancehall and Stepping

Inspiring, genuine, and passionate, Esie brings her truth to performance and teaching. She is a force to be reckoned with, commanding the stage and her class. When students take class with Esie, they are being taught by one of the top professional dancers and choreographers in North America. Her immense talent and larger then life stage presence and personality have captivated audiences around the world.  Her resume includes appearances in Coca Cola’s “Freestyle” commercial, Walt Disney film “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” and Shawn Desman's movie Alive. Esie has danced with industry icons such as Jannelle Monae,Nelly Furtado (Spirit Indestructible Tour), Flo Rida (MMVAs), Jully Black, Deborah Cox, Anjulie and Cascada. Her AfroFusion choreography debuted on season four of SYTYCD Canada plus she recently choreographed Blake McGrath’s new music video “Heaven”. She has performed on stage with the hit South African musical Umoja and spent 6 months in China performing on live television with recording artists across the country. In 2012 she partnered with World Vision Canada and choreographed a youth musical called “The Other Side of the River." Esie is the co-choreographer of Artists In Motion, a fan favorite of Urbanesque and traditional African company Lua Shayenne and Co. Esie believes in the importance of staying true to oneself and living your own dream on your own terms and finding happiness in smallest parts of the journey.

Esie's quote: “Dance is true medicine for the soul.”


Ballet and Contemporary Modern

With more than twenty years of dance training in classical ballet (RAD), modern dance, classical jazz and contemporary dance and more than eight years experience teaching dance to movers of all ages, Allison Nichol is an active, dedicated and enthusiastic individual. A love of dance and a strong appreciation for the joy of movement, Allison believes that creative imagery combined with a sense of play and discovery should be at the centre of all dance training and bases all of her curriculum around this philosophy. She is originally from Toronto and is a graduate of the dance department at Etobicoke School of the Arts. Since completing a BFA in Contemporary Dance at Concordia University in 2009, graduating with distinction as well as being awarded the contemporary dance prize, Allison has worked as an independent choreographer, teacher, rehearsal director and interpreter. Following the premiere of her most recent choreographic work, see-through, and the successful completion of a Master’s degree in Transdisciplinary Art (MA) at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Zurich, Switzerland in June 2013, Allison returned to Canada after nearly six years living, working and studying abroad. Her work has been presented in Toronto, Montreal, Berlin, Zurich, Lausanne (CH) and Delft (NL). She is currently teaching at a number of dance schools as well as in public and Catholic schools in the GTA and is thrilled to be a new staff member at the Joy of Dance Centre.
Allison’s Quote: “Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance.” - Ezra Pound



Claire began her ballet training at Port Perry Dance Academy at an early age and was hooked. She performed and competed locally in Ballet with her studio’s dance team and has continued her ballet career with Canada’s National Ballet School. Claire has graduated "With Distinction" from the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance at York University. Claire has teaching qualifications in Classical Ballet with the Royal Academy of Dance and the Cecchetti Society of Canada, and holds her Associate qualification “With Distinction” in European Folk Dance with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. This past year Claire completed both the Royal Academy of Dance and the Cecchetti Society Advanced Two examinations in Classical Ballet. Claire is a committed teacher, bringing her passion for dance to all her students. Her grace and integrity are fully present in every class she teaches. One of her greatest joys is to see her students flourish as they develop.

Claire's quote:  "Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.”


Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap

Kim’s passion for dance started at an early age when she began to learn Tap, Jazz and Ballet. At age 13, she went to Randolph Dance Theatre. By 14, she was a performer and the assistant choreographer for Lisa Lougheed’s national tour. Kim’s dance experience spans both on and off stage. She has worked with Kevin Pugh, Dance Teq, Randolph Dance Academy, and is a graduate of the Earl Haig Performing Arts program where she continues to share her choreography with future performers. Kim is not only a teacher specializing in teaching kids and teens at Joy of Dance Centre, she is also the manager responsible for the day to day operations, systems, administrative staff, scheduling and rentals. Her creativity and ability to tell a story through dance has made her a central and in demand teacher at Joy of Dance. Kim is a graduate of Claude Watson/Earl Hague Performance Arts Program, RAD (Royal Academy of Dance), BATD (British Association of Teachers of Dancing) with honors and highly commended. Kim is known for her commitment, sense of humour as well as her take no prisoner approach, which is what makes her such a popular teacher at Joy of Dance Centre.

Kim's quote: "Dance is talking without using words; telling your story. It balances and heals out all the craziness and helps you catch your breath when you can't breathe. It's what keeps us going."



Ballroom - American, Tap, Musical Theatre

Arpad has followed his passion for dance and performance for over 30 years.  His training and teaching experience covers a diverse range of genres including Jazz, Tap, Musical Theater, Ballroom, Latin and Ballet. Arpad has also served as an adjudicator and a performer throughout southern Ontario with leading artists of the time including The Platters, and Martha Reeves. Arpad truly believes that any age is a good age to dance because it brings joy and a certain transformation. Arpad  brings a loveable quirkiness and playfulness to his teaching, which is well balanced with an endless patience and attention given to anyone who wants to learn.

Arpad's quote: "You can’t be sad when you’re dancing."


Ballroom - American & International, Joy of Dance Academy Faculty Member

Mark has been dancing and teaching American Smooth and Rhythm for over 20 years. He understood early that teaching dance was a love and a calling. It gives him great joy to share his knowledge and be part of the transformation that occurs from beginner to accomplished student. Mark began training in International Standard and Latin 8 years ago in order to expand his dance and dance teaching vocabulary. Mark is also passionate about teaching technique as it is the foundation, which allows the dancer to let go and express fully the beauty of moving as one with the music. Along the way, Mark began to love Hustle and is continuing to develop teaching this style to its fullest. Mark is certified in American Smooth and Rhythm Bronze, International Standard and Latin Bronze and Hustle Bronze. 

Mark's quote: “Happy feet make a happy heart.”



Elke Schroeder is a Toronto-based Canadian dance artist. Since graduating from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 2005, she has worked with Lucy Rupert and Blue Ceiling Dance, TILT Sound + Motion, Catalyst Dance Company, Lindsay Ritter Dance, Event Horizon Dance, and Toronto Night Artists, and with choreographers Amanda Acorn, Susie Burpee, Vanessa Kimmons, Kate Nankervis, Andrea Nann, and Daryl C. Tracy.

Elke is known for her explosive performance quality, skills on the floor and edgy choreographies; she moves like, “an almost literal ball of effervescent energy, like a swiftly tilting planet falling out of orbit” (Mooney on Theatre, March 2013).  She is passionate about teaching movement and has created a dance class called FloorWork(ed), inspired by the teachings of Iñaki Azpillaga and the techniques of David Zambrano and Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez. For the past year, Elke has been training dance in Brussels and is excited to share what she has learned with her Toronto community. She is also a certified yoga instructor.



Sam has been dancing and performing since he was a kid. One thing Sam is known for is his “can do” attitude.  He never gives up and gives his all to every thing he does and every student he teaches. Sam’s list of accomplishments is lengthy and diverse. He has been a lead performer in three network television series and played leading roles in TV, theatrical movies and stage productions. Some of his work leading roles includes in The Pit, Tomorrow Never Comes, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, The Baxter’s, An American Christmas Carol, A Chorus Line, and Oliver Twist. Sam has also produced and directed numerous television specials for CBC as well as TSN. Currently, Sam is touring the dance competition circuit and acts as one of the judges for StarCatchers. Sam is dedicated to doing his best in every endeavor, be it performing for a live theatre audience or the unrelenting eye of the camera or creating new and exciting choreography and of course teaching dance.

Sam's quote: "Dancers work harder than everyone else.  They practice their craft and hone their skills the same as other athletes, but then they must endeavour to infuse their movement with artistry and a little piece of themselves.  Each performance becomes a personal journey and accomplishment.”


Ballet, Contemporary & Modern Dance, Joy of Dance Academy Faculty Member

Dancing and teaching bring Emily inspiration, motivation and great happiness. Through laughter and hard word, Emily teaches safe, strong, beautiful technique and expressive movement in her classes. Her training began at 10 at a small ballet school in BC where she trained daily in Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Ballet and Modern Dance. Emily is a graduate of the Professional Dance Training Programs at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and CODARTS: Rotterdams Dansacademie in the Neatherlands. Emily had an extensive professional career in modern dance. She toured Europe with Theatre Group DOX of the Netherlands and presented a solo by Agnija Seiko at the Prague Dance Festival. In Canada, Emily danced with Toronto’s Tilt Sound & Motion for 5 seasons, for Josh Beamish at the Vancouver International Dance Festival as well as many independent Toronto choreographers including Susie Burpie, Michael Caldwell and Sasha Ivanochko.

Emily has been teaching Ballet and Contemporary dance across Canada and Europe for 14 years. She is a graduate of the RAD’s Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies and is a Registered Teacher with the RAD. She studied ballet pedagogy with the National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program and modern dance pedagogy with Limon great, Risa Steinburg, in New York. Emily’s passion for teaching has been greatly influenced over the years by her own incredible teachers, namely Stelio Calagias (Toronto), Nikolai de Lusignan (Rotterdam) and Patricia Minor (Toronto). Emily feels so lucky to have called Joy of Dance home for the past 8 years and is so happy to now offer the RAD syllabus to Joy’s Adult and Teen dancers. Emily also loves coaching dance and performance skills and developing body awareness and safe movement practice with Ballroom dancers and competitive Figure Skaters.

Quote from Emily: "Don't invest in being Pretty, invest in being Beautiful. Pretty is shallow and leaves nothing to discover. Beautiful is honest, rich and deep and makes you want to learn more. With Pretty the power lies in the observer, with Beautiful the power lies within the self." -Risa Steinberg Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher


Ballroom – International

Julia began her dance career in 1990 when she was 4 years of age in Yekaterinburg, Russia where she learned Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz and Tap. Her parents say Julia started to dance before she learned how to walk. She expanded her dance education to include International Ballroom and Latin styles.  The most intense training Julia experienced was in Moscow with European World Champions Victor Nikovsky and Larisa Davidova. In 2002, her dreams started to come true when she won the title of Moscow Youth Latin Champion and Semi-finalist at Russian Youth Latin National Championship, Latin Champion of Sweden, Poland, Germany, Finland, Ukraine, Belorussia, and Austria.  Between 2003 and 2007, Julia was invited to study at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts, where she earned a Diploma in Dance Choreography Historical and International Ballroom Dance. In 2005, Julia was invited to dance for Canada. She became a 10 dance Amateur National Canadian Champion and placed 3rd in North America. Now Julia is a professional competitor, instructor and choreographer in International Ballroom and Latin dance with 20 years experience.

Julia's quote: "Dancing is my life, my passion, my way of living. I could not exist without dance. It is a way to truly communicate myself. I love every minute of every class I'm in. I will dance as long as I live, as long as music exists, as long as I am free. Dancing is so much a part of me that I probably would not have been born if it did not exist. I dance to feel alive." 


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