We are extremely proud of our ALL-STAR team of dance instructors and choreographers. Each one specializing in the discipline(s) they teach. Full bios below:
Courtney Drake | Jo-Ann Bryson-Ko | Courtney Burnatowski | Nancy Finn | Rebecca Zizek | Morgan Vallee | Adam L. Toth | Lyn Santos | Bailey Woodman | Angelina Leofanti | Christina Digiuseppe | Meaghan Houghton | Jade DeLaRonde | Adrianne Tong | Machaela Croft |
COURTNEY DRAKE A.B.A.T.D.
Courtney is an accomplished choreographer, performer, and instructor. She is a member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing and is the Director of KICKS Dance Studio in Markham & Mount Albert. Dance has been a big part of Courtney’s life since the young age of three. From 2000-2009, Courtney lead the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak as Director and Head Choreographer for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. Courtney continues to direct the Raptors Jr. Dance Pak (AKA Lil Ballas) into their 15th successful season. Choreography credits include: NBA Europe Live Tour Italy and Spain, NBA Jam Van Tour Dalian, China, Much Music Video Awards Choreographer and Dancer for Lil Bow Wow, La Senza Girl’s Fashion Bus Tour Choreographer, Canadian National Hip Hop Team Choreographer, Canadian National Tap Team (solo choreography), NHL Enterprises All Star FANtasy Director/Choreographer and Dancer, CTV’s Judy & David’s Jiggi Jump Choreographer, as well as many exciting works for Sony Music, Esquire, Nike, Reebok, Bell Canada, and Ford. Courtney is also the Host and Choreographer for the Toronto District School Boards’ Dance Instructional DVD grades two through eight. In July 2007, Courtney directed the Canadian Jazz Team and won the Gold Medal at the World Jazz Championships held in New York City, along with other Gold and Silver medals for her Solo and Duet choreography. Courtney was honoured to be selected as the Director/ Choreographer of the Olympic Torch Dance team for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games! Courtney is also an adjudicator for several prestigious dance competitions and is often invited to guest teach master classes and workshops at dance studios across Canada and the U.S. Courtney has performed extensively across North America, Europe and the U.S. Recent training highlights include The Dance Teachers Expo Toronto, The Dance Teachers Summit NYC, The Pulse NYC, The Tap Intensive Workshop with Savion Glover (NYC), Pro Dance (Las Vegas, Miami & LA) & the Broadway Dance Centers’ Teachers Intensive Workshop (NYC). Courtney’s students have earned numerous titles, overall awards, and scholarships at National and International dance competitions. Her choreography has also earned many choreography awards and top marks at competitions. Several of Courtney’s students have gone on to make successful careers in dance; performing in professional shows & musicals, as well as appearing on television and film.
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JO-ANN BRYSON-KO M.B.A.T.D.
Jo-Ann has been sharing her love of dance with students of all levels and ages for many years. She has owned and operated KICKS DANCE STUDIO for the past 31 years and is a member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing. Jo-Ann has trained many students who are now enjoying professional careers in dance, television and film. She is also proud to have several students go on to perform major roles in Broadway Musicals. Jo-Ann has trained national and international level champions and has been awarded by the examiners of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing for providing “high quality dance training” to her students. Jo-Ann has trained at Broadway Dance Centre (NYC) with some of today’s greatest tap teachers. She recently studied with famous tap dancers, Savion Glover, Mike Minery, Germaine Salsberg, Chuck Kelley, and Barbara Duffy. Jo-Ann has been invited to adjudicate prestigious competitions and guest teach master tap classes for several well known dance associations in Canada. Jo-Ann opened KICKS DANCE STUDIO in 1984 to satisfy her life long dream of teaching dance lessons to children. KICKS is now a very successful business and is very well respected by other professionals in the dance industry.
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Competitive Dance Team Director, Administration
Courtney is well known for her outstanding choreography in lyrical, jazz, musical theatre, open, tap and hip hop. She has won several “Young Choreographer” and “Outstanding Choreography” awards for both her solo and group work. Her students continue to win many Overall Awards at very prestigious dance competitions. Many of her students have taken their dance careers to a professional level, in theatre, film and television. Recently, her students have had the opportunity to preform in theatre productions across Canada, and have been accepted into Canada’s National Ballet School. Courtney trained at the “Bojangles Art of Dance” for 16 years under the direction of Margo Hartley. She won many overall awards and scholarships for her performances as a competitive dancer and had the opportunity to perform for Mary Kay Cosmetics, Miss Universe Pageant, and the televised Mrs. Oktoberfest Pageant (CTV) for several years. She continues her dance education by attending world renowned dance conventions and classes; most recently travelling to NYC to train at Steps on Broadway, as well as the Dance Teachers Summit (NYC) and the Teachers Dance Expo (Toronto). Courtney graduated from Ryerson University obtaining her BA in Arts and Contemporary Studies with a Minor in Marketing. Courtney’s main interest is sharing her passion for the art of dance, along with providing a strong technical background and creative choreography. She strives to attain an exceptional level of performance from her students.
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NANCY FINN R.A.D.
Mrs. Nancy Finn received her dance training at the Oakville School of Dancing under R.A.D. Examiners, Mrs. Elizabeth Patterson, Mrs. Yvonne Oldaker and Ms. Anushka Roes. She became a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance receiving her teachers certificate under the guidance of R.A.D. examiner Audrey Looker at Ryerson Polytechnic University where she also studied under Mrs. Nadia Potts. Here she gained her Elementary National I.S.T.D. and her Intermediate Modern I.S.T.D. Mrs. Finn founded the Saliba School of Dance where she successfully entered students in the children major exams for 10 years. Mrs. Finn currently leads the ballet program at KICKS and enters students into the R.A.D. children and vocational major examinations, from Grade 1 up to the Advanced 2 level. Most recently, Mrs. Finn is proud to have one of her young students accepted into Canada’s National Ballet School, as well as having a student successful perform her Solo Seal. Mrs. Finn enjoys giving the gift of dance to her students and is dedicated to each individuals progress, improvement and understanding of proper ballet technique.
Rebecca’s passion for the art of dance began 20 years ago and she began teaching and choreographing at the age of 16. She trained extensively in all dance styles as a competitive dancer, with some of the industry’s top teachers and choreographers. Rebecca is a member and certified teacher with Dance Masters of America and is also a member of the Professional Adjudicators Alliance. Rebecca has performed and choreographed for professional shows including Raise the Rhythm, Fever After Dark, Toronto Raptors Junior Dance Pak, Block Party featuring Calvin Harris, Monsterball London, Women in Dance, Ray-Dance Gala, the CNE and POV Dance Project. Rebecca’s contemporary work was one of the selected pieces to be showcased at the prestigious Young Choreographers Festival in New York City in 2015. Rebecca was also honoured to be the recipient of the George Lon Choreography Award at the DMA Nationals 2015 in Boston, where her students were named the Grand National Champions. While obtaining her degree in Health Sciences at Western University, Rebecca was head choreographer of HEAT Dance Team. Her innovative choreography was awarded at various competitions. Rebecca currently teaches and choreographs at several studios across Ontario. Her work with competitive students has won many overalls, dance-off championships and highest score titles, while her artistic vision has received much acclaim and many choreography awards. Her extensive training and experience have allowed her to continue to grow as a professional and versatile dancer, teacher, choreographer and adjudicator. She believes in always remaining a student to your craft, and is constantly exploring new ways of movement and expression. Rebecca’s enthusiasm and passion as an artist is undeniable and it is her honour to be able to share this with the dance community.
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Dancing and singing since the age of three, Morgan discovered her passion at an early age. With 20 years of training in dance, vocal music and acting, Morgan is a Triple Threat Performer. After training at KICKS Dance Studio for 10 years, she went on to study musical theatre at Randolph Academy’s Triple Threat college program. Since then she has appeared in numerous shows. Most recently she has been seen in “A Christmas Carol” and “She Loves Me” at The Rose Theatre. She also appeared in Vital Theatre Company’s productions of “Angelina Ballerina the Musical” as Angelina, as well as “Pinkalicious the Musical” as Pinkalicious. Morgan began teaching at an early age here at KICKS, and discovered how much she loves working with children. Her students have won many overall awards, and have also had the opportunity to work in theatre productions across Canada! Over the years she has found that her favourite place to be is in a dance studio working with students. Morgan is thrilled to be sharing her love of dance with all of the students she teaches at KICKS.
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ADAM L. TOTH
Bio and photo coming soon.
Bio and photo coming soon.
BAILEY WOODMAN A.R.A.D.
Bailey Woodman’s emerging career is taking her all over the world. A dynamic and versatile performer, her strength lies in her drive and onstage storytelling. Bailey started dancing at the age of three at KICKS Dance Studio in Markham and quickly knew this is what she would be pursuing for the rest of her life. At the tender age of sixteen, she decided to launch herself into the professional world working as a performer at Canada’s Wonderland. Since then, Bailey’s career has advanced at a rapid pace and she has most recently worked with the world famous, Cirque Du Soleil as a part of the original cast, in their latest creation. This past year as well, Bailey toured Europe with Veronic Dicaire, also known as Celine Dion’s protege and opening act, as one of only four back up dancers. Bailey’s other credits include; Royal Caribbean, Moment Factory, Les Productions Haut-Vol, RWS and Associates, and many more. Bailey will be entering her fifth year as a professional choreographer, and tenth year as a teacher, pushing boundaries in all disciplines of dance. Bursting with inspiration, Bailey is ready for another great year of hard work with her much-adored students!
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Angelina has been dancing for over 15 years. She has discovered, after many years of assisting classes, that her passion is teaching children how to dance. Angelina trained at KICKS Dance Studio in many forms of dance; ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, musical theatre, lyrical and contemporary. She has won many top overall awards at regional and national competitions; April 2011: Winner of the “Hollywood Tour”scholarship to attend summer programs in L.A., August 2011: Winner of the “OIP Summer Dance Intensive” scholarship for Tap, February 2012: Winner of the “IDance Summer Tour” Scholarship to attend the summer dance tour in Paris, France, April 2012: Winner of the “Be Discovered” scholarship to attend summer dance programs in L.A.! Along with these many awards, Angelina had the honour of performing on the Olympic Torch Performance Team, and for the OTF “A Night for Sick Kids Gala” amongst industry professionals! Angelina also performed in the Young Choreographers Festival (NYC) this past summer, in a piece Choreographed by Rebecca Zizek, she is a sought after dancer for many shows and events throughout the Toronto dance scene! Angelina recently spent the summer training in L.A. developing all different styles of dance! Angelina is thrilled to be home at KICKS sharing all she has learned with our students!
Christina is a passionate choreographer and dance artist who is inspired by the exploration of the creative process. With her extensive training across North America as well as over 12 years of teaching experience, her philosophy and ultimate goal is to promote diversity as well as artistic and personal growth for the building blocks of tomorrow. Christina has recently directed and choreographed many professional Contemporary based dance productions in Toronto. She was also recently awarded with the Choreographer’s Connection Grant by Regional Dance America where she had the honour of working alongside Miss Nelly Van Bommel as an emerging artist. She was also selected as a finalist for the Capezio ACE awards, for choreographic excellence in California. Christina believes that striving to encourage and inspire dancers artistically and intellectually can truly bring out the best in any individual who is passionate about the Arts. Being an artist is truly a humanitarian act, Christina strives to make a difference by sharing her passion and experience by all those who cross her path. She considers herself a life-long student continuously seeking out new ways to expand as an artist and develop a new found appreciation for her craft. “Dance, dance or we are lost.” Pina Bausch
Meaghan’s love for dancing began at the young age of 2 here at KICKS and is still going strong. Meaghan recieved extensive training in jazz, ballet, pointe, contemporary, lyrical, tap and hip hop. Meaghan graduated from Unionville High School in the “Arts Unionville Dance Program”. Meaghan continues her Education at George Brown, where she is in the Dance Program in conjunction with Ballet Jorgen. As a competitive dancer Meaghan won many scholarships to workshops such as; Broadway bound L.A. and New York, Fresh Dance Intensive, On The Floor, and Jump Dance Intensive, as well as several overall and special awards. Meaghan has had the pleasure of performing in the On the Floor Gala for Sick Kids, where she had the opportunity to perform and work with with many of Toronto’s top dancers and choreographers. Recently, Meaghan travelled to NYC to be part of the Young Choreographer’s Festival, where she performed a piece choreographed by Rebecca Zizek. Meaghan continues to immerse herself in the Toronto dance industry, and will be featured in serval upcoming shows and events. Meaghan is very excited to be continuing her dance teaching career at the very studio that has trained and sculpted her into the driven and passionate dancer that she is today.
JADE DELA RONDE
Jade began dancing at the age of 3 and is trained extensively in all dance styles with some of the top teachers and choreographers in the industry. Jade has completed ballet exams under the Royal Academy of Dance, Jazz and Tap exams under A.D.A.P.T. and Level 1 Certification with Gymnastics Ontario. Jade is currently studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and a Bachelor of Education at York University. Jade competed for Team Canada at the IDO World Championship in New York City, Niagara Falls and Poland. Jade has performed in professional dance shows, including Fever After Dark, Dance Innovations, Dance For It, The Happening with Toes For Dance, Bringing Tap Back with Everett Smith and M.I.X Dance Company, who performed in Paris, Germany, Austria and Venice. Other significant achievements include; Choreographing for York’s Dance Energy team, Dance the Dream TV Pilot Top 20 finalist, tap dancing in Bellwood’s music video Live it Up, and performing for the Toronto Raptors Junior Dance Pak for five seasons.
Jade’s passion for dance is highlighted through teaching and her ultimate goal is to teach her students to not only be strong in one aspect of dance, but to be versatile in all. Through Jade’s competitive dance journey, she has developed a special passion for tap dancing and strives to spread the love and respect of tap to all her students. She strongly believes dance is not about the prize at the end of the day, but the journey of what you learned along the way. Jade is very excited to share her joy of dance with her students at KICKS!
ADRIANNE TONG R.A.D.
Adrianne Tong began dancing at the age of seven at the School of Toronto City Ballet, where she achieved Distinction in her RAD Advanced 1 and 2 exams in classical ballet. Throughout her years of dancing, she has trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern and contemporary, and has experience in the RAD, Cecchetti and Vaganova ballet methods. Adrianne graduated from the Arts York dance program at Unionville High School, receiving the school’s Dance Award upon graduation. She trained and graduated from the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School, where she was able to expand on her love, passion and enthusiasm for teaching dance; there she had the opportunity to work with and learn from the esteemed professional staff at the NBS, and also received Registered Teacher Status with the RAD. Adrianne is also graduating from York University with her Bachelor of Fine Arts – Dance, where she has expanded on her knowledge of classical and contemporary ballet, modern, contemporary and choreography. Adrianne has taught and choreographed for a variety of students in Toronto, and always aims to teach with energy, creativity and positivity. She is thrilled to share her love and passion for dancing with the students at KICKS!
MACHAELA CROFT B.F.A. Spec. Hons S.R.B. AFF
Machaela is a Toronto based educator, choreographer and performer. She completed her competitive career of 12 years before continuing her dance education at York University. Machaela graduated in 2014 receiving a BFA Specialized Honours degree in Dance with a concentration on kinesiology, choreography and performance. Machaela is proud to say she has recently become an Affiliate Member of the Society of Russian Ballet. She loves to share her passion for technique and artistry through the Vaganova Ballet Syllabus and exam work. She continues to train with the best choreographers in the industry furthering her technique and choreographic style. She believes this has helped her create unique and current competitive choreography for her students. Alongside her training, Machaela has completed an editorial internship at The Dance Current Magazine here in Toronto. She has had the opportunity to be a part of a unique production in Dawson City, Yukon performing a variety of diverse dance forms including can-can, jazz, tap and ariel work. Machaela continues to perform professionally in Toronto’s dance scene, dancing consistently as a company member in TDC Entertainment. Machaela is beyond thrilled to be a part of the KICKS family and share her passion for movement and performing with the next generation of dancers.