Our Staff

Lori Charbonneau, Director, Charb Arts Toronto

Lori Charbonneau

Artistic Director & Owner

Lori began ballet and gymnastics at the age of 6 years old. It was clear to her parents that Lori was a happy little girl jumping and twirling her way through recreational, regional and provincial level gymnastics, hoping one day to make it to the Olympics; that was until she auditioned for The National Ballet School. At the ripe age of 9, Lori moved to Toronto to train classical ballet and where she remained until she graduated as a professional dancer. 

Lori returned to The National Ballet School to further her professional teaching education where she received her teacher's accreditation and became a member of the Imperial Society of Teacher’s of Dance. Lori discovered a burgeoning arts culture in Burlington, Vermont, and was determined to find a way to participate and collaborate with other artists. This dance- art experiment culminated with a concert led by the band Phish, on the eve of the millennium 2000, dancing for 85,000 excited Phish fans in the Florida Everglades on the Big Cypress Indian Reserve. It would kick start an artistic journey to discover what dance communities around the world were producing.

Lori was curious to find out how dance and other media were integrating on the world stage and this took her to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Flushed with her exposure to the high tech influenced world stage, back at home, Lori dove into producing multi-media dance pieces including collaborations with other Toronto artists such as Toronto jazz musician, Don Thompson.
Lori’s love for artistic amalgamation has blossomed over the last decade or so into her own special curriculum for recreational dancers, ranging in age from 3 years old to adults.

Alexandra Ashley

Dance Instructor

A native of Nova Scotia, Alexandra is a singer, actor, dancer and choreographer. She began her first dance class at age 3 and has studied ballet, jazz, modern, tap and hip hop. She has studied at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Los Angeles; The Banff Centre, Banff; Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Winnipeg; National Ballet School, Toronto and Dance Zone and Coastal Ballet in Nova Scotia. She has also taken workshops with internationally renowned choreographer Mia Michaels in Contemporary Dance.

Alex has also been a competitive dancer traveling to New York City and she has performed at Disney World in Florida. She has also performed with Lenny De La Pena of DoDat Entertainment, Hali’s Angels, Coastal Theatre and Neptune Theatre in Nova Scotia. She was also a dancer in the Disney movie, “Camp Rock 2-The Final Jam”.

Alex not only has a passion for performing, but has enjoyed instructing dance from a young age. At sixteen she was teaching at multiple dance schools in Nova Scotia and has continued to teach since becoming a Torontonian.

Alex is passionate about the growth and development of young dance artists, and she provides an inviting environment that allows dancers to discover their creativity. She wants her young dancers to build confidence and have enjoyment while experiencing different dance forms.

Alex recently had the opportunity to join the Charb Arts Summer Program 2013 as an instructor and she is very excited to be teaching such dynamic and promising talent this coming year.

 “Dance is music made visible.”  ~ George Balanchine

Abigale Godfrey, Yoga Instructor, Charb Arts Toronto

​Abi Rose

Communications Director

Abi Rose has an MA in Communication & Culture, has a background in photography and music, and is a certified, experienced yoga instructor. Having spent significant time in Cuba over the past number of years, she is fluent in Spanish, in addition to her first and second languages, English and French.

Having joined the Charb Arts community in 2013 as a yoga instructor, as well as a dance and art co-instructor, her role has grown. As of Spring 2018, she is the Communications Director at the studio, overseeing operations and optimal functioning of our growing arts and dance centre.

She is committed to contributing to the continued building of a healthy, inclusive and inspiring educational environment. You can find Abi in the studio on the weekends facilitating with our 2-5 year old students, and during the week working behind the scenes to keep our growing studio thriving.

Crista Carson-Pavao

Director of Kinder Programs & Dance Instructor

Crista's passion for dance started early. She's a native Bostonian and started her dance training at the RDS performing arts centre where she was introduced to all forms of dance. She holds a BFA in dance from The Boston Conservatory and is a graduate of the DTCB dance educators training course. While in Boston she performed with the Harvard summer dance repertory program and soon after had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and study with the Bella Lewitzky dance company. One of her dreams came true when she moved to NYC and began performing with some NY based dance companies and appearing in music videos. She would call NYC her home for the next decade, freelance teaching and choreographing. In 2004 she fell in love with a Canadian, got married and relocated to Toronto. Over the last few years she has been settling into her new country and continuing to grow as a teacher. Her main focus is to emphasize the freedom that dance can offer all the while trying convey the message of self-love to her young students. Her gentle nature and playful humour has made her a popular freelance pre-school and kinder dance teacher in Toronto. Her goal as an educator is to establish a trusting bond with her students and build their self-confidence through music and movement. Her inspiration is her greatest achievement so far, her son Carson.

Shelby Lynn

Vocal & Music Instructor

Shelby is a songwriter, performer and teacher. She is a graduate of Humber College’s Contemporary Music Program and attended Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Program. She specializes in vocal jazz, folk, popular music and music theatre. She has furthered her studies in piano, guitar and music care. With over 15 years experience, Shelby’s enthusiasm to teach music has led to many innovative works. As a music instructor for toddlers and preschoolers, she has built an excellent rapport with young children. Through the years, she has developed inspirational programs that consist of singing, creative movement and instrumental exploration. Shelby has a genuine desire to help others empower themselves. She has created music programs for children, adults and seniors with special needs, using music as a medium to help improve the quality of day-to-day life skills and well-being. She continues to develop and extensively research music for therapy. Shelby coordinates and runs a Creative Arts Camp for young children, combining Orff instruments, singing, dance and visual arts. She also volunteers as a band coach and instrumental instructor at Girls Rock Camp Toronto, an organization that helps young girls build self-esteem through music education, creation and performance. Shelby has released two original albums receiving critical acclaim and airplay on CBC, campus and community radio nationwide. She continues to perform locally and resides in Toronto.


Art Instructor

Taya is a highly versatile and intuitive artist and educator who brings her diverse skills and enthusiasm to the classroom to encourage, foster and instill a deep love of the arts in the lives of children.

Taya works across many disciplines including fine art, mosaic and tile work, printmaking, urban art & graffiti, sculpture and indeed anything that sparks and captures her interest. She is an accomplished textile designer and seamstress specializing in children’s wear. She trained as a professional makeup artist and practiced in Toronto’s film industry for over 10 years and has deep knowledge of Native and Aboriginal art in Canada.

Over the past 6 years, Taya has worked with the Royal Conservatory’s Learning Through The Arts Program and directly with her local school, as the founder of the ‘Fern Avenue PS Arts Collective’ implementing quality arts programming for school children.

Taya enjoys working collaboratively with teachers and schools to create art programming. She acts as a direct link between artists, teachers, schools and students. She is able to tailor programming to suit curriculum and perhaps most importantly can implement and create much needed access to programming.

When not creating art and connections professionally, Taya is busy drawing, sewing and cooking with her children She serves on various cooperative and school committees, and is active in her community beautifying, enriching and promoting a love for the arts.

Christine Walker

Dance Instructor - Contemporary

Christine is a professional dancer, teacher, choreographer, actor & model with over 20 years of dance experience. She graduated from Ryerson University in dance and has been teaching and performing ever since. A true educator at heart, Miss Walker has taught in over 100 schools, dance studios, community centres, daycares & arts camps teaching well over 1000 students.

Christine has performed in contemporary dance with junior company in T-Danz Festival (2009) in France & Spain, performed with the Stella Adler’s Studio of Acting with the MADAIR project in NYC (2010), and worked with Louise Bedard at Springboard Danse Montreal (2010). She was an actress and dancer in Naught Theatre Company, Something is Wrong, in Toronto (2013). She has performed in music video 'This Wild Heart' by The Nursery and most recently dancer in music video by Hollerado (2017). She worked as a professional dancer with Creativiva (2015) on various dance projects such as Illuminite (2015-16) in Dundas Square. A winner in Latin Ballroom in Bronze & Silver with Canada Dance Council (2016), and most proudly a hip hop dancer for the Opening Ceremonies for the Pan AM Games with Cirque du Soleil in Toronto (2015).

“A true educator at heart, Christine is bright, cheerful, charismatic and has a special talent for encouraging and inspiring others”  – Former Colleague, Dance Instructor

Kaitlind Gorman

Dance Instructor - Tap, Jazz & Musical Theatre

Kaitlind Gorman began her dance training in Pembroke, Ontario. She began with Jazz and quickly expanded to Ballet, Tap, Acrobatics and Hip Hop. After six years at the studio, Kaitlind, moved to Ottawa where she attended an arts high school and graduated with a Fine Arts Certificate in Ballet and Modern.

Kaitlind is a graduate of the Dance Performance Preparation Program from George Brown College where she received the Faculty Award for overall excellence. Kaitlind is currently a member of Breakaway Entertainment, Interactive Entertainment and TDC Entertainment.

Dance credits include: Cirque d’Zouk 2016 (D’Zouk Productions), Oshawa New Year’s Bash (City of Oshawa and Interactive Entertainment), Unleashed 2015 (George Brown College), OM Yoga Distillery District 2016 (City of Toronto and Breakaway Entertainment),APOG Conference 2016 (Breakaway Entertainment), and Musement (Toronto Dance Project). Recently, Kaitlind has been focussing her attention more towards musical theatre. She can be seen most recently in Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre production of Mary Poppins which will be remounted in the spring of 2017.

Alongside performing, Kaitlind has been teaching and choreographing for studios across Ontario. She finds great honour in training and growing the love for dance in young students.

Amy Chen

Dance Instructor - American Ballet Theatre Certified

Amy began dancing at age 7 at the Richmond Academy of Dance, and studied ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, and musical theatre. At age 12 she joined the Richmond Academy of Dance Pre-Professional Division, where she received numerous awards and honours at regional and provincial competitions. During this time, she had the opportunity to study with renown choreographers Travis Wall, Mark Meismer, and Stacey Tookey, as well as perform with renown musician David Foster. At age 16 Amy was invited to Russia to study at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography (Bolshoi Ballet Academy) where it opened her up to the world of Russian ballet. As she was too young at the time to pursue a professional career in Russia, she decided to return to her hometown and finish her academic education.

Now Amy resides and teaches at several schools across the GTA, including the University of Toronto. Amy is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in PrePrimary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Inspired to build confidence and the freedom of expression through music and dance, Amy is extremely excited to join the team at Charb Arts.

Eva Nitsch

Art Instructor

Eva has been making art since she was little, and teaching since shortly after that. While in school, she assisted in teaching after-school and summer-camp art classes for children. She explored making art with many different mediums while painting murals outdoors for work, and studying at Central Technical School and OCADU in Toronto. Some of Eva's favourite ways to get messy- in addition to drawing with any material available- include mixing way too many beautiful colours while painting, any kind of printmaking, and the entire process of ceramic sculpture.

Eva finds delight in planting and hugging trees, sitting under trees reading books, and travelling the city by bicycle, under tree canopies. This heart-felt appreciation for nature is evident in the children's programing she creates. While encouraging curiosity- about art theory, art history and contemporary art, for instance- she makes opportunities to wonder about wildlife we might find in a forest, an urban ravine or a beloved green space, and this sense of wonder informs her approach to teaching.

After completing her Bachelor of Education, Eva began teaching in elementary schools in 2010, and became an early years teacher in 2014. She loves to facilitate preschool and toddler arts experiences because she gets to see so much learning happening through play.

Samar Hejazi

Art Instructor

Samar has been making art since childhood. From that young age, she has consistently searched for ways to expand her skill set, allowing her to master mediums that span across traditional practices, textiles and digital art. This expansion was developed further through her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ryerson University, where she studied in the Image Arts Department under the focus of New Media.

Samar has shown work in spaces across Toronto, such as Edwards Day Gallery, Arta Gallery, and the Aga Khan Musuem, as well as internationally at the Possum Gallery in Berlin. She has additionally spent time at art residencies in both Berlin and Mexico, which led to a deepening of her knowledge on the conceptual and explorative aspects of art making.

Samar views art as a way of revealing one's internal experience. She believes in the boundary-crossing and playful nature of art-making, and the many ways it offers freedom of expression.

Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg

Percussion & Music Instructor

In his 15+ years as a recording artist, his diverse output has varied from electronic dance, ambient, space-rock and punk to radio-friendly pop. He has composed music for film, television and radio and was commissioned to live-score several short films for TIFF festival in 2014. Moshe has collaborated with Tapestry Opera, Contact Contemporary chamber ensemble, and has toured North America, Europe, and Asia extensively with various musical groups. He is also known to collaborate with visual artists to create work ranging from installation art to book-and-record-sets. In addition, Moshe is an active DJ, remix artist and drum instructor, and he leads a weekly music therapy drum circle at CAMH.

As an instructor, he nurtures positive relationships with music and encourages open-minded creativity while providing a solid musical foundation.

Melanie Billark

Art Instructor

Melanie Billark is a multidisciplinary Toronto based Artist, achieving an advanced diploma in 2011 at Sheridan College’s Craft and Design Program for glass in Oakville, ON. Following her degree she completed a year artist residency at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, ON, in 2012. Melanie graduated from OCADU's Sculpture and Installation program, obtaining her BFA in 2016. She has participated in a number of shows including venues such as Toronto Pearson Airport, Lonsdale Gallery, Canadian Sculpture Centre, Gladstone Hotel, Xpace Cultural Centre, and has shown internationally participating in Treefort Music Fest. Melanie has also won a number of bursaries and awards including The Masonic Foundation of Canada Bursary in 2011 and was recently the recipient for The OALA Ground Award in 2016, for her sculptural work Rewilding. Melanie’s current body of work is focusing on the cross over of art and ecology and interested in where they intersect when thinking about urban planning.

Over the years Melanie has been creating and developing unique arts based curriculum that focuses on a variety of mediums and techniques such as creating community art projects, eco-arts, sculpture and installation, and painting and drawing. Melanie has years of experience facilitating courses, leading workshops, art directing, program coordinating, and presenting lectures across the GTA for people of all ages and skill level. Melanie is passionate about art education, community development, and creating art opportunities that bring people together, in order to create positive change.

Portia Wade

Dance Instructor - American Ballet Theatre Certified

Portia Sophia Wade has spent the past twenty years focused on classical ballet training, from attending Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Programme to receiving her Royal Academy of Dance [RAD] teaching certificate.

Ms. Wade is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the National Training Curriculum. Currently teaching at the University of Toronto, her training has also previously taken her to Nairobi, Kenya, where she taught at the Chance to Dance studio.

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Contact CharbArts

(416) 551-6461

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2238 Dundas St West Suite 111, Toronto ON M6R 3A9
Dundas St West @ Bloor Street //
TTC: Dundas West Station