Our Instructors

ASHLIE ATKINSON

MUSICAL THEATRE, JAZZ, TAP, CONTEMPORARY, VOICE

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 her in Penticton! 

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. 

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. 

MS. DANICA VENABLES

MODERN, BALLET

Danica is currently Executive Director of the Penticton Kiwanis Music, Dance and Speech Arts Festival. She holds her Cecchetti Associate qualifications from The Cecchetti Society of Canada, 200 RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) Certificate from Reflexions Yoga Studio and a Certificate in Stretch Therapy from Kit Laughlin’s Monkey Gym. She graduated from the joint program between National Ballet School, in Toronto and Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, with a Teacher Training Program Diploma and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Dance, respectively. Danica is inspired by the joy shared in the class room, when students learn and master a new step; every day is an opportunity for achievement. She fell in love with ballet and contemporary dance early on and was consumed with a desire to teach. Danica has taught at Okanagan Dance Studios, Dance Oasis, Osoyoos, Maureen Saunders School of Dance, Williams Lake and Boston Dance Collective, Victoria and summer classes at studios across BC. Danica’s early training exposed her to various ballet styles including syllabus in RAD, Cecchetti and Vaganova and modern dance of Cunningham, Limone and Graham, and her classes are a blend of these disciplines, while highlighting human anatomy. Danica works with dancers outside class for solo performance, stretch therapy and private lessons.

MS. AIDEN MAYES

CHOIR

Aidan Mayes’ voice has been described as rich, dynamic and ethereal, complimenting a plethora of genres ranging from indie to jazz, folk to classic rock and singer-songwriter to musical theatre. Her original music possesses enchanting melodies, full & groovy guitar arrangements combined with playfully profound lyrics. Born and raised on sunshine, ice cream and the arts, Mayes proudly hails from Penticton, BC. After enjoying a decade of playing on different stages across Canada after graduating with honours from Victoria, BC’s Canadian College of Performing Arts, Mayes returned home to the Okanagan Valley permanently as a music teacher and performing artist.

 

This local sensation can often be found gracing Okanagan stages as the lead singer of the highly acclaimed Offramp Jazz Sextet, in her female powerhouse duo, Aidan & Mandy, starring in community musical theatre productions, showcasing her students accomplishments and as an original solo artist.

 

Aidan has already garnered several music industry accolades, including Female Artist of Year & TOP 3 People’s Choice @ The BC Interior Music Awards, placing TOP 5 in Kelowna Radio K96-3 and Music BC’s Emerging Artist Contest, and placing TOP 10 in CBC’s Searchlight Competition for Canada’s Best New Artist, winning BEST MUSIC at the Penticton & District Arts Awards with her duo partner, Mandy Cole and being nominated in 2016 for the Arts Educator honour. In 2015 & 2016 ‘Aidan & Mandy’ were announced as Top 3 finalists for Okanagan Magazine’s ‘Best Of The Okanagan’ awards. 

 

Currently, Aidan owns and operates The Aidan Mayes School Of Music, where she teaches voice, guitar, piano, ukulele, musical theatre and songwriting full-time to students of all ages during the fall/winter months, and spends the spring/summer season touring local wineries, restaurants, weddings and music festivals performing primarily with Mandy Cole. Tune in to CBC Radio West and CBC Radio's ‘North By North West’ to hear original music from Aidan & Mandy’s debut full length album ‘Siren Songs’. Stream Mayes’ music from itunes, spotify & apple music and/or subscribe in her fun-loving & down-to-earth youtube channel. 

MS. KRYSTINE NEMIROVSKI

VOCAL COACHING

Krystine is a classically trained musician raised in the Okanagan. While proficient in many languages and classically trained, other musical genres she enjoys and performs are the blues, rock and roll, folk, singer/songwriter, Broadway, classical, world, hip hop, and reggae to name a few. 

 

Some of her early performances during include children’s chorus parts in several local productions with The Penticton Light Opera Society, Unicorn Productions, and Soundstage Productions. Under the direction of Lori Grant at Horseshoe Theatre she played roles such as “Fastrada” in Pippin and “Adelaide” in Guys and Dolls as well as Judy Garland’s “Esther” in Meet Me in St. Louis with Diane Schmidt. Also, she performed as Eliza Hamilton, Velma from Chicago and sang Just a Housewife from Working in Broadway Musicals Part II with Soundstage Productions. During her Rotary Exchange program in Belgium in 2006-2007 she performed with several local choirs and learned. Other works performed include Handel’s Messiah with the Capilano University Choir as well as with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. Krystine studied and performed at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto for 4 years before returning to the Okanagan to raise her three girls.

INTENSIVE INSTRUCTORS

MS. LISA RITTENHOUSE

Lisa has been in love with dance since the young age of 3, growing up and training on Vancouver Island. She has worked through the RAD ballet exams up to intermediate advanced as well as studied in other styles such as modern, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, tap, musical theatre, hip hop and acro. 

Lisa has competed in festivals all over the island receiving many awards and bursaries and has gone on to represent the Cowichan Festival at the provincials in intermediate ballet, senior ballet and senior modern.  At the age of 16, Lisa spent a year abroad in Japan where she fell in love with hip hop and has since gone on to study this style in great depth both on and off Vancouver Island. Lisa started teaching 11 years ago but still loves participating in dance conventions as well as taking master classes. Her passion for dance pushes her to continue to learn and grow as an artist and to stay current and relevant in an ever growing and evolving industry. She loves teaching and sharing her knowledge and experience with her wonderful students. 

MS. CARLA JORGENS

 

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. This summer she spent time in Vancouver at Harbour Dance remastering her trade. Carla is honoured to bring her passion and excitement to Balance School of Performing Arts this Fall.  

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