Margaret Flynn – Artistic Director, Founder

Margaret Flynn holds her Cecchetti Licentiate from the ISTD (Cecchetti Branch). She completed her early training in ballet and modern with Laine Mets in Edmonton. She danced professionally in many musicals and light operas such as Kismet and Oklahoma. Further advanced teacher training at the National Ballet School of Canada allowed Mrs. Flynn to complete her International Cecchetti qualifications.  She was elected and served on the National Council of the Cecchetti Society of Canada for 3 terms.  In recognition of her dedication to the arts and community service, Mrs. Flynn has received numerous awards including the City of Edmonton Cultural Award and the Y.W.C.A. Tribute to Women Arts Awards.

Margaret Flynn grew up in Wetaskiwin and started dancing when she was four years old.  By the time she was eleven, she had founded the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet and was teaching dance to other Wetaskiwin youngsters.  Margaret completed her early training in ballet and modern dance in Edmonton.  She danced professionally in many musicals and light operas.  Further advanced teacher training at the National Ballet School of Canada allowed her to complete her International Cecchetti qualifications.  Through the years Margaret’s passion for dance propelled her to pass her love for dance on to others.  She founded dance schools in Edmonton and other Alberta centres, developed  training programs and syllabi for dance teachers, was a founding member of Alberta Dance Educators, has served on numerous boards, has lifetime memberships in many Dance Societies and has received awards for her contributions.  Many of her graduates have gone on to careers as professional dancers and teachers. Her expertise and influence have extended throughout Canada and around the world.

Edmonton School of Ballet Administration

Artistic Director – Margaret Flynn
Director of Contemporary Dance – Tina Covlin-Dewart
General Manager – Rachel McNicoll
Office Manager – Catherine Lacombe
Administration – Angela Gaudett, Ula Jo, Delores Waugh
Jr. Exam Coordinator – Angela Gaudett
Competition Coordinator – Angela Gaudett
Director of Teacher Training – Janet Hagisavas
Junior Ballet Program – Julie Homister
Wardrobe Manager – Sharon MacPherson
Production Manager – Terra Mahood

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Shelby Benak
Teaching Staff

Shelby has grown up dancing in Edmonton, AB. She has studied many different dance styles including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Lyrical, Musical Theatre and Hip-Hop. She has completed her Advanced One RAD exam and also completed her Grade 5 Al Gilbert examination. Shelby enjoyed dancing at Victoria School of the Arts where she was offered many opportunities to choreograph on her peers, and perform and choreograph in the Edmonton Arts Festival “Nextfest.” Shelby will be attending Grant Macewan University this year to begin her degree in education. This is her second year teaching for ESB and she could not be more thrilled to share her knowledge and passion with young dancers. She looks forward to a very rewarding year ahead.

Gayle Berg
Accompanist Staff

Gayle has a Bachelor of Music Degree with a major in violin at the University of Nebraska and piano at the University of Southern California. During her studies, she was a recipient of various music scholarships. Her experience as a piano accompanist has included assisting in vocal studios, choral groups, an operetta society, and music festival. Since 1968, she has accompanied ballet dancing in Los Angeles, White Rock, St. Albert and Edmonton. She is a registered music teacher and a church musician. The Art of Ballet has broadened her appreciation and understanding of musical expression.

Tanya Berry
Teaching Staff

Tanya was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and has been training in the art of dance since the age of 3, with experience in Cecchetti ballet, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Musical Theater, and Hip Hop. She started her training in the Grant McEwen children’s dance program, eventually transferring to Lecky’s School of Dance. She has participated in a number of various dance competitions and workshops. As time went on she discovered her love for teaching children and encouraging them in the art and a talent and extreme passion for choreography. She decided to come to ESB to train in the Teacher Training program where she received her Cecchetti Associate qualification.

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Rebekka Biggs
Teaching Staff

Rebekka was born and raised on a ranch by Coronation, AB where she has been training in different styles dance since she was 3 years old. She has had a love of teaching young children the art of dance for many years and by enrolling in the Teacher Training Program at ESB is fulfilling her dream. Rebekka has received her Jr. Grades teaching certificate. She is very excited to be teaching and continuing her training at ESB.

Jacques Bourgouin
Teaching Staff

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Jacques did most of his dance and teacher training with The Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional School. He toured with the company in the productions of The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet. Jacques has also performed and toured with L’ensemble Folklorique de la Riviere-Rouge. He has worked with the Edmonton Opera, restaging Aida’s dance section and danced in La Traviata. Jacques has trained in all three major ballet syllabi, Vaganova, R.A.D. and Cecchetti. In 2010, Jacques spent 4 months studying and training in the UK with Kate Simmons and Gillian Hurst where he passed his Master Enrico Cecchetti Diploma and his Fellowship exams.

Judy Chan
Teaching Staff

Judy began her ballet training at a young age in Hong Kong and has a deep love of this art. She continued her ballet training in Canada and further completing the Teacher’s Training program at the Edmonton School of Ballet (ESB) in early 1990s. Learning does not stop when one becomes a teacher. Judy continuously widens her learning, seeks improvements in artistry, and growing as a teacher and dancer. She is a recent member of the Royal Academy of Dance. She looks forward to returning to ESB, sharing her passion and love of classical ballet with her students. Judy is an active volunteer for the Alberta Ballet and is currently the Edmonton areas Exam Coordinator of the Cecchetti Society of Canada.

Tina Covlin-Dewart B.Ed. B.P.E. M.A.
Director of Contemporary Dance
Academic Liaison, Teaching Staff

Ms. Covlin-Dewart completed her initial training at the Edmonton School of Ballet. She furthered her training at the U of A, in Vancouver, Los Angeles, and New York, where she trained extensively in the Limon method. She brings a strong anatomical background to her teaching in jazz and modern dance. She is the recipient of numerous choreography awards and her work was chosen to represent Canada at the Jazz Dance World Congress in Weisbaden, Germany. Ms. Covlin-Dewart is the Co-Director of Edmonton Contemporary Dancers. Her position as Director allows her to mentor young talent and help dancers develop the skills to reach their artistic, academic and personal goals.

 

Rakiya Debaji
Production Staff – Stage Manager

Rakiya began her dance training at the Edmonton School of Ballet at the age of three. She studied many disciplines of dance, including ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, and tap. Rakiya began teaching tap in 2004 at ESB. In the 2008-2009 season, Rakiya assisted with stage managing for the Fall Showcase and Spring Show productions. She took on more productions on her own in the 2009-2010 season and has continued to grow as a stage manager each year since!

Sylvia Deluniversidad RAD RTS
Teaching Staff

Sylvia began her ballet training at the age of 7 at the Edmonton School of Ballet and her flamenco training at the age of 4 with Conchita de Pectel. Sylvia completed her advanced Flamenco training in Spain with Berta Valencia and she completed the ESB teacher training program with RAD RTS and AISTD (National Branch). Ms. Deluniversidad has also enjoyed adjudicating ballet in various competitions. Sylvia’s Flamenco students danced in the opening ceremonies of the IAAF World Track and Field opening games. She has taught at ESB for more than 10 years in both the after school program and in Vimy Dance.

 

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Amy Derksen
Teaching Staff

Though Amy didn’t start dancing as a young child, she realized by her early teenage years that she had an irrepressible passion for the art. When she turned 18, Amy began taking adult ballet classes at ESB, eventually expanding her training into modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, and Irish dancing as well. She loves to perform and compete; she continues to dance in the adult program at ESB and is currently working towards her Cecchetti Intermediate exam. She further expanded her horizons when she began studying with ESB’s Teacher Training Program in 2014. Now having attained her Jr. Grades Teaching Certification, Amy is looking forward to teaching at ESB this year and sharing her passion for dance with her students.

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Katie Duncan
Teaching Staff

Katie is currently a student in her first year at ESB’s teacher training program. Throughout the years she has been dancing , she has been trained in ballet, jazz, and modern, and has passed her intermediate level exam in RAD, and advanced one in Cecchetti ballet. Katie has also received her Jr. Grades teaching certificate and hopes to continue on to do her Cecchetti associate teaching exam. In addition to teaching ballet, she continues to assist other ballet and jazz classes to help her gain experience.

Ofelia Estrada BM
Accompanist Staff

At her graduation recital, Ofelia’s repertoire included the Khachaturian Piano Concerto with full orchestra and won the award of Most Outstanding Pianist. She was then invited to join the Music Faculty of Santa Isabel College. She also gave piano lessons and taught music in the elementary and university levels. Ofelia has a wide experience in playing for ballet classes, exams, master classes, auditions and workshops. As principal ballet company pianist of Ballet Philippines, she had the opportunity to work with renowned international ballet masters, i.e. Laura Alonso, Melissa Hayden m, the late Patrick Bissel (ABT), Mikhail Kukharev (Kirov Ballet), Jean Marion (Jeunne Ballet de France) and many others.

Janet Hagisavas
Director of Teaching Training
Teaching Staff

A Fellow of the Cecchetti Society of Canada-Cecchetti International, Janet has taught at ESB for over 25 years beginning back in the late ’70’s after graduating from the National Ballet School. She has taught every age from 3 yr. olds to pre-professionals. She plays a continuing role in developing the Teacher Training Program and mentoring young teachers. Janet has been involved internationally as speaker for the Australian Cecchetti Congress, coach for the 2001 Cecchetti International Ballet Competition in Australia, member of the Organizing Committee for the 2008 CICB International Competition, producer for the internationally acclaimed video “Visions for the 21st Century”.

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Talia Hernandez
Teaching Staff

Talia was born in Edmonton, Alberta. She first began studying Flamenco when she was two years old.  Her teacher, Silvya Deluniversidad, helped spark her passion for dance.  When she was five, Talia continued her dance training at ESB where she studied lyrical, jazz, hip hop, ballet and tap. Talia’s true passion is hip hop. At 15, she put the other styles aside to focus on hip hop only. For six years and counting, she has danced with 3rd Street Beat, learning various styles of hip hop and loving it. She hopes being part of the teaching staff at ESB will help flourish her dream dance career to become a top choreographer and dance teacher. Talia looks forward to sharing her passion and love for dance and encourages young dancers to follow their dreams.

Julie Homister
Director – Junior Program
Teaching Staff

Julie is the current director of the Junior Ballet and Preparatory Programs at ESB- specializing in teaching these pre-professional levels of ballet. She has been teaching for over 20 years and is an ESB Junior Grades examiner. She graduated from the ESB teacher training program and has her Junior Grades teaching certificate from ESB. As well, she competed at the Jazz Dance World Congress in Germany in 1997 as a member of the Edmonton Contemporary Dancers. Julie has been a classroom assistant at Lansdowne Nursery school and is the past director of Holyrood Playschool. She is currently a teacher’s assistant at Holyrood Playschool and she has her level 1 childcare certification. Julie strives to inspire young dancers to love movement and music while focusing on a strong technical standard.

Raydene Koch
Accompanist Staff

Raydene is entering her 3rd year as accompanist for the Edmonton school of Ballet and Vimy Dance.  Upon completion of her degree in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Stephane Lemelin, she studied informally with Tess Uys and Nigel Clayton in London, England where she also worked as a singer in various church environments.  Her true passion besides playing, is teaching and working with kids.  She has taught her the past 18 years, including 5 years at Alberta College Conservatory.  Raydene currently runs a dynamic teaching studio from her home in McKernan.  Raydene is excited to bring a variety of repertoire to dance classes including music from opera, musical theatre, Disney, and classical piano.  Her playing brings a warmth and sensitivity to the classes she accompanies.

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Susan Koybasi
Accompanist Staff

Susan Koybasi has been playing for ballet classes for over 30 years.she is currently playing at Edmonton school of Ballet and at Dance Alberta..Susan is also Major Exam Pianist for RAD in Edmonton and has played across Canada . Recently she has collaborated with Sheila Kennedy and helped produce “A Collection of Music”for ballet class. (Additional music for Cecchetti Advance and Diploma) In her spare time she loves to garden.

Cally Kuebler
Teaching Staff

Cally Kuebler is currently an instructor, choreographer, examiner and adjudicator in Edmonton. Throughout her career, she has developed her artistry by training in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Tap, Musial theatre, Contemporary, Street Jazz, Improvisation, and Pilates. She trained at the Royal Winnipeg ballet school professional division . Later she graduated from the Edmonton School of Ballet. Upon graduating she danced with Ballet British Columbia. Cally has since completed her Associate Diploma in 2007; she is currently working on her Licentiate credentials in the Cecchetti method. Cally’s training and performances have aided her in becoming a very passionate and enthusiastic teacher. Cally is looking forward to her continued studies as an instructor and Choreographer and continues to share her drive, passion and love of all forms of dance.

 

Jayme Kurach
Teaching Staff
Production Staff – Stage Manager

Jayme received her initial training at the Edmonton School of Ballet. Since then she has trained at the School of Toronto Dance Theater, the U of A, and in Winnipeg and New York City. She began teaching at ESB in 2002, and has since expanded her repertoire to include stage management and company direction. She is extremely excited to be sharing her passion for dance with young dancers and aspiring choreographers. Jayme has also received a BSc (Biological and Physical Sciences) and MSc (Laboratory Medicine and Pathology) from the U of A.

Sharon MacPherson
Wardrobe Manager

Mrs. MacPherson has been Wardrobe Supervisor for the Edmonton School of Ballet for over 16 years. Previous to that, she had been secretary to Secretarial Technology at N.A.I.T. and also a school secretary for Edmonton Public. Running the Wardrobe is a huge job involving fittings; inventory; buying materials and supplies; coordinating volunteers; booking appointments with teachers, students and parents; and any and all other unexpected issues that arise almost daily. The job is still a huge challenge but enjoyable, as are the interactions with both staff and students.

Erin Madsen ARAD, RAD RTS
Teaching Staff

Madsen, Erin REGTEACHER [Converted]

Erin Madsen attained her Advanced RAD (ARAD) at 15. Since then, has over 25 years of teaching experience. Many of her students have gone on to professional careers or have become teachers themselves.  Ms. Madsen is a registered teacher with the RAD. She also holds the Certificate of Higher Education: Dance Education, and graduated Honors with Distinction from the Arts and Cultural Management Program at MacEwan University. Re-cently, she trained with Marie Walton-Mahon and gained certification in PBT by Marie Walton-Mahon and is enjoying sharing this program with her students, helping them gain better technique in alignment in their dancing.  Erin is a Mentor with the RAD CBTS program, sharing her knowledge and love of ballet with aspiring teachers; and an Examiner of the ESB Junior Grades Sylla-bus. This fall, she is also the Edmonton Rehearsal Co-ordinator for Jeunesse Classique Ballet’s Nutcracker Performances in November.

Terra Mahood B.Ed, Lic. (Cecc Inter)
Production Manager – Stage Manager
Academic Liason, Teaching Staff

Ms. Mahood has been teaching ballet for almost 25 years. Terra achieved her Adv. 2 Cecchetti in 1992 and Licentiate Cecchetti in 1993. Terra is a senior teacher in Vimy Dance and at ESB and teaches Cecchetti ballet, pointe, variations, non-syllabus, pre-ballet, etc. She is also a Sr. Examiner of Margaret Flynn’s Junior Preparatory Grades and the International Ballet Progressions senior levels, is the Production Manager for ESB, and is an experienced Stage Manager. She co-directs the Edmonton Festival Ballet, gratefully sharing the job with Nancy Hamilton. Terra also has a B.A. and a B.Ed. and has her Adv. 2 and Associate in I.S.T.D. National Dance. Terra calls ESB and Vimy her home away from home as she truly loves and appreciates the dancers and staff she gets to work with each and every day.

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Tanisha Maltais
Teaching Staff

Tanisha Maltais was born and raised in Peace River, Alberta. She began dancing at the age of twelve at the Peace Region Dance Society. It was here that Tanisha fell in love with the movement of dance and the passion to share it with others. With the passion of wanting to teach, Tanisha enrolled at the Edmonton School of Ballet into the Teacher Training Program. She has been assisting many different levels of ballet, jazz, and modern learning from the many teachers at ESB. As she enters her second year of teaching at ESB she hopes to bring a love of dance, movement, and technique to the dancers.

Devin McFarlane
Teaching Staff

Devin has danced with ESB since the age of 3, and has been teaching for over 10 years. During her time as a student, she was the gracious recipient of the Margaret Flynn trophy, graduate award, and 2 time winner of the student choreography award. Aside from her passion for choreography, she loves learning and constantly challenging herself. As such, she will be completing her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy at the University of Alberta this fall. Devin hopes that her academic knowledge can help to facilitate injury prevention in dancers so that every student has the chance to be their best.

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Stephanie Miller
Wardrobe Staff

Stephanie Miller started working full-time in September for the wardrobe department at ESB. She grew up in Edmonton where she danced ballet, jazz, modern and other genres for 12 years. Her love of dance peaked her interest in sewing when she became friends with the Owner of Etoile Dance Store. Stephanie attended Olds College graduating with her certificate in Fashion Marketing, and diplomas in Fashion Apparel and Costume Cutting. She successfully completed the Set Etiquette course for movie/TV. Stephanie started working in 2013 for The Bridal and Tuxedo House, and in 2014 for Cintas in the repairs department, and part-time for ESB. Stephanie will be working with the evening programs to fit, repair, draft patterns, sew, organize, and steam for all shows.

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Sue Neuman
Wardrobe Staff

For someone with a background in computers, academic research, and business consulting, the wardrobe department of a dance school seems an odd location for a satisfying career.  However, with one daughter a dancer/gymnast/acrobat, and another a visual designer/photographer, a move into the arts seemed a natural progression for Susan.  As wardrobe assistant, Susan’s duties include organizing costumes and accessories in the wardrobe storage space; fitting, altering and embellishing outfits selected for shows; managing costume sets before, during, and after rehearsals and performances; and cleaning, repairing, and storing outfits once the dancers are finished with them.  She also enjoys watching the students perform their art, in studios and on the stage.

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Dina Perelman
Accompanist Staff

Dina Perelman has been working at ESB as an accompanist since 1992. After graduating from the Musical College of City of Donetsk, Ukraine, Dina obtained a diploma of Pianist and Instructor of Theory. From 1984 to 1990, Dina continued her education at the Conservatory of Music where she became a fully licensed piano instructor. Dina plays for every level of classes, from beginners to the most advanced, and she accompanies for classes such as Cecchetti and R.A.D. and personally provides a wide variety of the best world classical music for unset ballet classes. In addition to being an accompanist at ESB, Dina teaches piano lessons from home.

Thato Pilane
Teaching Staff

I have been trained in many styles of Hip-Hop, from Popping to House. As one of the original members of White Chocolate, one of Edmonton’s longest running professional Hip-Hop crews, I have had the honour of being part of one of the driving forces behind the Hip-Hop scene in Alberta. I have trained with such choreographers as Caleaf Sellers, JoJo Diggs, The Electric Boogaloos and many more. I have earned several awards and have been part of a major driving force behind the growing hip-hop scene in Edmonton and across Canada, but I continue to look forward to growing and helping those around me do the same! I’m excited to share my passion with the talented students and teaching staff at the Edmonton School of Ballet.

Krista Soleski
Teaching Staff

Krista has been teaching for well over a decade now. She received her Diploma in dance from Grant MacEwan University in 2002 and has also completed the ESB Teacher Training Program. Krista is a qualified member of the Cecchetti Society Of Canada holding her Associate Diploma in the Cecchetti Method of Ballet. She is also trained in various styles of dance including jazz, tap, lyrical, modern and ballet.  Krista loves teaching dancers of all ages and enjoys watching the growth in her students every class.

Esther Tran
Teaching Staff

Esther began her dance training at the age of eight at the Edmonton School of Ballet, studying various disciplines of dance including ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, and tap. She has completed the ESB Junior Grades Teachers Course, as well as her training in the Al Gilbert Tap System. This will be her fourth season teaching at ESB, in addition to assisting with other classes and helping out with some ESB productions throughout the season. Esther is thrilled to continue dancing and teaching as she studies at the University of Alberta, and hopes to pass on her love for dance to younger dancers.

Elizabeth Walker
Teaching Staff

Elizabeth started ballet at a young age in Port Alberni, BC. Throughout her training she has studied both Cecchetti and R.A.D. methods of ballet. She received her Associate Diploma CSC-CICB after graduating the Teacher Training Program at Edmonton School of Ballet. She has also received her Junior Grades Teaching certificate and Ballet Progressions Teaching certificate. Elizabeth loves working with students of all ages from toddlers to adults. She is passionate about sharing her love of ballet with each student!

Vicky Watt
Accompanist Staff

Vicky Watt is a graduate of Bachelor of Music Education of the University of Toronto. She started piano, violin, and singing music lessons before she turned 5 years of age. She achieved Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto (A.R.C.T.) in piano performance at the age of 16. She has taught music students and she enjoys performing music. She started working at the Edmonton School of Ballet in 2003. She loves playing piano accompaniment for various dance classes at the school. In particular, she loves working with younger students and their teachers. In her spare time, she enjoys jogging, hiking, biking, skiing, swimming and traveling.

Lindsay White Thornton
Teaching Staff

As a professional Lindsay explored many avenues in the dance world, but it was in teaching she found her true calling. A certified educator (B.A., B.Ed.) and choreographer, Lindsay has worked with students around Alberta, winning choreography and group awards in Lyrical, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Tap, and Musical Theatre. She has completed her training in the Al Gilbert Tap System and has successfully entered students in exams. For the past ten years, Lindsay has been fusing together her knowledge in dance and training in education to adjudicate festivals in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Lindsay is well known for her high energy classes, and wants her students to remember to “dance with your heart, and your feet will follow!”

 

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Jeanne Yang
Accompanist Staff

Jeanne Yang, currently working on a D.Mus. in piano at the University of Alberta.  Previous studies include a Master of Music in piano from McGill University, Master of Music in trumpet from the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Veterinary Medicine in Animal Welfare from National Taiwan University.

JoAnn Zayak
Teaching Staff

JoAnn was born and raised in Derwent Alberta, and has been training in dance since the age of three, with experience in Ceccetti ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, tap, and Ukrainian folk dance. JoAnn did most of her dance training in Vermilion Alberta, and has participated in many competitions and workshops. Since an early age JoAnn has had a love for teaching children in the art of dance. She came to ESB to train in the Teachers Training Program in hopes to receive her Associate qualification.

 

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