Sarah began her training at the Parksville Ballet School. From a young age, she was enrolled in the Performing Arts Program and was a member of Vancouver Island Youth Dance Association. She privately trained under the mentorship of Beverly Aitchison as well as working closely with teachers such as Suzanne Ouellette and Artemis Gordon. She has performed selected works from Joe Laughlin, Judith Marcuse, Jean- Guy Cossette, and Bengt Yorgen. Training in a multi-displinary dance program that included Tap and Musical Theatre, Sarah went on to excel in Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Contemporary Dance. She furthered her dance training at the Goh Ballet Academy, Arts Umbrella and Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre seminar program. Sarah taught at the Parksville Ballet School for 12 years and then purchased the studio with her business partner Deena in 2014. They renamed the studio Innovate Dance Arts. She is currently the Artistic director of the Helix Dance Theatre Company, a pre-professional dance company, which she co-founded in 2009. Sarah continues to be recognized for her innovative choreography and her ability to highlight the skills of her dancers both technically and artistically.
Deena began studying dance at the age of 5 at Parksville Ballet School under the guidance of Linda Klassen and Bev Aitchison. Performing at various local festivals, Deena received numerous awards and bursaries which enable her to continue with her studies. Deena had the privilege to study at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, the San Francisco Academy of Dance, Banff School of Fine Arts and Ryerson Theatre School teacher training program. Deena holds her Cecchetti Associate diploma and has taught for over 20 years at various schools throughout the lower mainland and Vancouver Island. She was a founding member of “Dancestreams” and co-directed a semi professional company “Dance Is….” based on the lower mainland from 1993 – 1997. Deena now divides her time teaching dance, owning her own dance studio Innovate Dance Arts with her business partner Sarah and raising her daughter who also has the “love of dance”.
Ballet Mistress / Rehearsal Director
Jennifer began her dance training at Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts in Nanaimo studying Ballet(RAD), Jazz, Tap(CDTA) & Modern. During these early years she furthered her training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Summer Sessions and L’Ecole de Superieure de Danse in Montreal. In 2003, she graduated with Distinction from the 3 year Teacher Training Program at the National Ballet School in Toronto. Jennifer obtained her teaching qualifications in both the Royal Academy of Dance and Cecchetti syllabi and was the recipient of the Carol Chadwick Award.
Upon returning home to Nanaimo(2003 -2010), Jennifer taught at Kirkwood Academy as a full time dance teacher She was also the Ballet Mistress for Kirkwood Productions and the Co-Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Kirkwood Youth Dance Company for 5 years, touring with the company in LA (Disneyland Magic Music Days, on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, The Edge and Millennium) and New York (Alvin Ailey, Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Centre)
Since 2010 Jennifer has worked at Arts Umbrella as the Professional and General Dance Program Liaison and full time Ballet teacher in the Professional and General program. She was also the Children’s Rehearsal Mistress for the Alberta and Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” productions in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo for the past 4 years.