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. 

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. RICHELLE ZUROWSKI

JAZZ, BALLET, MUSICAL THEATRE, HIP HOP, CONTEMPOTARY, & TAP

 

Richelle grew up dancing at Shuswap Dance Centre in Salmon Arm, BC. At the age of 4 she began her dance training and fell in love with the art form. She has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Modern and Contemporary. Richelle has successfully completed my Intermediate certification in ISTD Ballet syllabus, and have also successfully completed my Intermediate and Advanced One ISTD Modern syllabus. She is currently studying for her Associates in the ISTD Ballet syllabus. Richelle has competed in many competitions and festivals across the Okanagan, including Kelowna Kiwanis where she received the “Most Promising Dancer Award.” She’s had the opportunity to travel and gain experience from many outside teachers like Blake McGrath, Shannon Mathers, and Taylor Hatala. Included in those experiences is the opportunity to go to London England and complete the Bird College Summer Intensive program where she studied Tap, Ballet, Jazz, and Musical Theatre.

Her goal is to spread her love and knowledge of dance to many other students so they can learn to grow through this art form, and love it just as much as she does. Richelle looks forward to joining the Balance Team in September to share her passion of dance with even more people!  

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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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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MS. DANICA VENABLES

CONTEMPORARY, 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.​

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