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Our Instructors

ASHLIE ATKINSON

MUSICAL THEATRE, JAZZ, VOCAL COACH, ACTING

Ashlie is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and completed with honours in all three disciplines; song, dance, and acting. Ashlie has worked for theatre companies such as The Arts Club, Theatre Under the Stars and Gateway Theatre Co. From Vancouver, Ashlie went to work for Norwegian Cruise Lines as a main stage singer, following that she was one of the final contestants on CBC's reality T.V. search "Maria".  Her most recent Penticton credits were the lead roles roles in both "Chess" and "Evita" with Soundstage Productions.  She had the pleasure of being part of the new works in paying the lead female in Kelowna's production, "Raft of Medusa" the musical.  Ashlie's choreography credits include musicals, "Footloose", "Grease", "Once Upon a Mattress" and "We're In The Money".  Ashlie has been the Musical Theatre workshop presenter for the "Good Will Shakespeare Festival" for 3 seasons working with teens from all over B.C.  When Ashlie isn't on stage she is sharing her passion coaching theatre students dance, acting and voice disciplines ages 4 and up as owner of Balance School of Performing Arts. Sharing her love for theatre is her true passion and she is excited about all the talent we have here in Penticton! 

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CIPRIAN SFAT "MR. CHIP"

BALLET, ACROBATIC ARTS, STRETCH & STRENGTH

Chip is a graduate of Dimitrie Cuclin Ballet School in Romania where he completed training in classical and contemporary Ballet, Pas De Deux and choreography certifications.  From school he went on to pursue a career as a principle dancer for the National Opera of Galati, Romania dancing in such shows as My Fair Lady, The Happy Widow, Spartacus, Don Quijote, The Nutcracker, Midsummer's Night Dream.  With the Opera Chip toured through Germany, Italy, France, Denmark and Spain.

After working for the Opera House he went to Greece to work at Magic Life Resort as an Entertainer by night and an Aqua Fitness Instructor by day.  He then joined Norwegian Cruise Lines as a main stage dancer on the MV Marco Polo.  From there he moved to Canada and began teaching for Ballet  de Printemps in North Vancouver.  Chip's local teaching experience has been for Penticton School of Dance, Summerland School of Dance and Even Dance.  In 2014 he became a certified Acrobatic Arts Instructor and is very excited about the Acro program Balance School of Performing Arts offers.  Chip is proud Owner/Instructor of Balance School of Performing Arts and looks forward to passing on the art of dance to all his students. 

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MS. CODI DALEN

BALLET, POINTE, TAP, JAZZ, CONTEMPORARY, CREATIVE DANCE, ACROBATIC ARTS

 

Codi Dalen is a Registered Teacher (RTS) with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), and Acrobatic Arts (AAC)

Codi’s method of teaching dance within her classes provides the framework, the progression, and the understanding that helps dancers gain control of their bodies while giving them the skills to express themselves creatively.

Her experiences as the Founder and Director of Soul Funktion Dance Studio in Whistler, BC, and also, in her search to help her students connect to that confident and innocently pure centre of expression within, she was guided to the Bartenieff/Laban principles. While delving into study Codi experienced an in road into realizing her true nature and freedom of expression in movement. These principles offered a guide through the physical deeply into the connections with the mind and spirit. She’s had the opportunity to study this material with Mariah-Jane Thies, Vancouver, BC; Bill Evans, Brockport State University, NY; and Peggy Hackney and Janice Meadon, University of California, Berkeley, CA. 

During the last two decades of teaching dance, with an extensive background in Ballet, as well as Tap and other commercial disciplines, Codi has come to believe the following “FUNdamentals;”

- An essential way we learn is through the body,

- Emotional involvement is required to learn,

    - Engaging a student in an exploratory learning process is an invaluable skill for a teacher. Thus motivating one's emotions, and therefore a consequent desire to learn,

    - Everyone has a right to feel comfortable in their body and be able to express feelings through movement in a safe environment, 

    - And lastly, children come from a place of knowing spirit and come from a place of joy. 

Codi’s goal is to foster each individual desire to keep these qualities open and strong in their dance and in their lives. Her movement classes are thriving as she weaves her knowledge of the Bartenieff/Laban principles into her children’s programs. 

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MS. CARLA JORGENS

HIP HOP, JAZZ & CONTEMPORARY

 

Carla grew up surrounded by dance! She started her training at a very young age at Okanagan Dance Studios in all genres including jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, lyrical and musical theatre. Her love for performing has taken her to many different cities across Canada and the USA, and she was lucky enough to receive a full scholarship to LA Dance Force where she experienced classes and choreography from some of the worlds top teachers.  She has competed in countless festivals and was chosen to represent Penticton in various Provincial Competitions. After taking a bit of a hiatus, she is excited to join the dance world once again. During the summers she spends time in Vancouver at Harbour Dance remastering her trade. Carla is honoured to bring her passion and excitement to Balance School of Performing Arts.  

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MS DESTINY NAKESCH

ACROBATIC ARTS

 

Growing up in Calgary, Destiny trained in various styles since the age of 6 including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Acro and Hip-Hop. She was a member of The Young Canadians Performing arts group and has been a gymnastics, dance, and acro instructor for the past 10 years. 

She has her level 1 gymnastics certificate and her Acrobatic Arts teaching certificate as well.

She is passionate about dance and moving your body daily. Destiny is excited to share her passion and education with the students at Balance! 

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MS. BELLE WHEELER

JAZZ, TAP, MUSICAL THEATRE, STRETCH & STRENGTH

Belle has been singing and dancing for as long as she can remember. Growing up on stage has allowed Belle to be comfortable and confident in front of a crowd. Her favourite role that she has played was in her senior year with HorseShoe theatre in the production of “The Little Mermaid” where she played the lead role, Ariel. Other show credits include Cha Cha in “Grease” and the lead female role, Ariel in “Footloose”. From the age of three until she was eighteen Belle was a part of Okanagan Dance Studios training it Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Musical theatre, and Modern dance.

 

Since then, Belle has graduated from the University of Calgary with an Honours degree in Communication and Media studies and has obtained her Personal Training, Group Fitness, Cycle and Aerial Yoga certifications (through the BCRPA).

 

Belle is excited to be a part of the Balance School of Performing Arts team! She looks forward to working alongside great instructors while teaching students how to be confident on and off the stage. 

MS. EMMA BRIER DYCK

HIP HOP

Emma has been dancing since the age of three and has been able to do many cool experiences through out her training.  Emma has gone to L.A. twice for dance. She has danced at Disneyland, Millennium Dance Complex, Playground, The Space and at Disneyland’s own workshops. She also had the great opportunity to go to Germany to dance with Team Canada! There she danced with dancers from all over the world and spent many months training with her team.  She also had a great opportunity to dance in Vancouver at the Shine Competition Top 10 Dancer convention.  Emma has also been to provincials, Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival, Shine, Great Canadian Dance Challenge and many more competitions. As well as dance conventions that include Jump, Nuvo, and Shine. Emma is excited to share her love for dance with her students at Balance School of Performing Arts this season!

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MS NIKKI PRIME

BALLET

Nikki grew up and started her dance training in Penticton, BC studying at Penticton School of Dance, Robb Card Dance, The Goh Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, where she seriously trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Acro and Hip Hop/Street. She competed very successfully in all styles and won the "Best overall dancer" at the International Dance Magic competition held in Portland, OR.

 

From there Nikki received a scholarship to The Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, CA where she continued her training with world renowned instructors. She has worked with many choreographers, music icons, pop stars and her dancing has taken her all over the world, performing on tours, live shows, cruise ship and movie/video sets.

 

As a teacher, Nikki loves to share her abundance of training and experiences with the younger generation dancers. She has trained many successful students who have graduated to such ballet companies as NYC Ballet, The Joffery Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, to name just a few.  Even having a  student who won the 'Over the Rainbow' reality tv show, search of the next Dorothy on CBC TV. Her experience with adjudicating competitions across Canada, gives her a chance to spread her passion and love for movement and dance.

 

Nikki is honoured to call Balance School of Performing Arts her new dance home and is excited for her students to feel confident, motivated and inspired.

They call it Dancing, Nikki calls it life.

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Guest Instructors

MS LEIGH TORLAGE

JAZZ


After a successful career and living the life of a performer in New York City, Leigh relocated to Vancouver and right away joined the staff at Harbour Dance Centre where she created classes in the style of Broadway Jazz and the hugely popular Broadway Cabaret and Rock n Roll Cabaret.  Highlights of Leigh’s professional experience include dancing in the movies Chicago and Bullets Over Broadway, touring the US and Europe with the musical West Side Story and choreographing for TV’s Alice, Tin Man and the Disney Pilot Big Thunder.  Leigh created 5 full dinner theatre style shows for Maxine’s Hideaway, Cabaret Restaurant & Lounge in downtown Vancouver that she and her husband owned and operated.   About 6 years ago, in search of a more balanced lifestyle, Leigh and her husband and kids up and moved to the Okanagan and settled into the beautiful community of Kaleden where she continues to be involved in the dance industry as the Canadian Sales Rep for Capezio Dancewear and Wear Moi Dancewear.

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