Studio Directors


ALEX ASHLEY

YOUTH PROGRAM DIRECTOR

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 Dance in Nova Scotia. She has also taken workshops with internationally renowned choreographer Mia Michaels in Contemporary Dance.  Alex has been a competitive dancer traveling to New York City and she has performed at Disney World in Florida. She has 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 joined Charb Arts in 2013 and quickly fell in love with the artistic environment Lori had created. She found her home here and continues to be excited by such dynamic and promising talent that walk through the doors of CAS.  “Dance is music made visible.” — George Balanchine

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 Dance in Nova Scotia. She has also taken workshops with internationally renowned choreographer Mia Michaels in Contemporary Dance.

Alex has been a competitive dancer traveling to New York City and she has performed at Disney World in Florida. She has 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 joined Charb Arts in 2013 and quickly fell in love with the artistic environment Lori had created. She found her home here and continues to be excited by such dynamic and promising talent that walk through the doors of CAS.

“Dance is music made visible.” — George Balanchine

CRISTA CARSON-PAVAO

KINDER PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Crista is a native Bostonian and started her dance training at the RDS performing Arts Centre. She holds a BFA in dance from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and is a graduate of the DTCB dance education training course. While in Boston she performed with the Harvard summer dance repertory program and soon after had the opportunity to study with the Bella Lewitzky dance company in Los Angeles. For the next decade she would call New York City home where the amazing energy of the city kept her in a creative epicentre helping to build her unique skills as a freelance teacher and performer. Her love of travel, spirituality and people brought her around the world to Europe, Australia and the South Pacific, as well as spending considerable time in Central America.  Her next steps would then take her to Toronto where she would soon start carving out her space as a popular pre-school dance teacher. Over the next few years she created a unique “Kinder-dance curriculum” for the The Beez Kneez Nursery Schools and successfully implemented that program throughout their 4 locations.  Crista is a proud Mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Her gentle nature and playful humour help to establish a trusting bond with her young students. Her main goal as an educator is to build self-confidence and independence through music and movement.  “Enjoy Life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Crista is a native Bostonian and started her dance training at the RDS performing Arts Centre. She holds a BFA in dance from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and is a graduate of the DTCB dance education training course. While in Boston she performed with the Harvard summer dance repertory program and soon after had the opportunity to study with the Bella Lewitzky dance company in Los Angeles. For the next decade she would call New York City home where the amazing energy of the city kept her in a creative epicentre helping to build her unique skills as a freelance teacher and performer. Her love of travel, spirituality and people brought her around the world to Europe, Australia and the South Pacific, as well as spending considerable time in Central America.

Her next steps would then take her to Toronto where she would soon start carving out her space as a popular pre-school dance teacher. Over the next few years she created a unique “Kinder-dance curriculum” for the The Beez Kneez Nursery Schools and successfully implemented that program throughout their 4 locations.

Crista is a proud Mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Her gentle nature and playful humour help to establish a trusting bond with her young students. Her main goal as an educator is to build self-confidence and independence through music and movement.

“Enjoy Life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

VÉRONIQUE CLAASSEN

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER & COSTUME DESIGNER

Véronique has an English & History 4-year BA from the University of Toronto and a Diploma in Fashion Design from George Brown College. She has worked as a product developer in the fashion industry and in costume construction for various theatres in the city including the Tarragon Theatre and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.  At one time Véronique ran her own fashion label, selling her clothes to shops in Soho, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, and continues to lend her considerable costume design skills to our in-house recital team.  Happily for the studio, Véronique is also an ace book keeper with over 17 years’ experience with various small business clients. Her expertise is an indispensable part of our studio’s continued success.  Hobbies & Whimsy: Tiki collector with a penchant for toadstools and mid-century furniture. Always crafty, Véronique’s hobby is making beautiful things.

Véronique has an English & History 4-year BA from the University of Toronto and a Diploma in Fashion Design from George Brown College. She has worked as a product developer in the fashion industry and in costume construction for various theatres in the city including the Tarragon Theatre and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

At one time Véronique ran her own fashion label, selling her clothes to shops in Soho, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, and continues to lend her considerable costume design skills to our in-house recital team.

Happily for the studio, Véronique is also an ace book keeper with over 17 years’ experience with various small business clients. Her expertise is an indispensable part of our studio’s continued success.

Hobbies & Whimsy: Tiki collector with a penchant for toadstools and mid-century furniture. Always crafty, Véronique’s hobby is making beautiful things.


Instructors


PORTIA WADE

BALLET, 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.

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.

CHRISTINE WALKER

MODERN, CONTEMPORARY, JAZZ, HIP HOP

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

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

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 focusing her attention more towards musical theatre. Kaitlind has performed in Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre production of Mary Poppins.  Alongside performing, Kaitlind has been teaching and choreographing for studios across Ontario. She finds great honor in training and growing the love for dance in young students.

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 focusing her attention more towards musical theatre. Kaitlind has performed in Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre production of Mary Poppins.

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

JUSTIN DAVID

HIP HOP

Justin grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and moved to Toronto at the age of 19 to pursue his dance career. In his youth, Justin began as a self-taught dancer and was the captain of his high school dance team for many years. His ability to choreograph came naturally as he was pushed forward into the leadership role.  Over the past decade, he has worked with the best in the industry and has had the opportunity to train and work with renowned choreographers throughout Canada and the United States. Some choreographer’s he has worked with are; Luther Brown, Tanisha Scott, and Jaquel Knight. His training includes hip hop, African dance, stepping, street jazz, Caribbean and South American styles of dance.  Justin has danced in countless music videos, commercials, movies and award shows. He has had the pleasure of working with major recording artist’s such as: Drake, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Demi Lovato, and more. Dance has brought Justin across the World including: China, Cuba, Mexico, New York, and Los Angeles.  Over the years, Justin has been fortunate to lend his skills and instruct all over Canada. He has choreographed shows and music videos. He has taught students ranging from 5 to 25 years of age. His upbeat and high energy dance styles have pushed him to succeed in his own career but also to help guide his students in their own training.

Justin grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and moved to Toronto at the age of 19 to pursue his dance career. In his youth, Justin began as a self-taught dancer and was the captain of his high school dance team for many years. His ability to choreograph came naturally as he was pushed forward into the leadership role.

Over the past decade, he has worked with the best in the industry and has had the opportunity to train and work with renowned choreographers throughout Canada and the United States. Some choreographer’s he has worked with are; Luther Brown, Tanisha Scott, and Jaquel Knight. His training includes hip hop, African dance, stepping, street jazz, Caribbean and South American styles of dance.

Justin has danced in countless music videos, commercials, movies and award shows. He has had the pleasure of working with major recording artist’s such as: Drake, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Demi Lovato, and more. Dance has brought Justin across the World including: China, Cuba, Mexico, New York, and Los Angeles.

Over the years, Justin has been fortunate to lend his skills and instruct all over Canada. He has choreographed shows and music videos. He has taught students ranging from 5 to 25 years of age. His upbeat and high energy dance styles have pushed him to succeed in his own career but also to help guide his students in their own training.

 
Born and raised in Toronto,Canada, Myrosia first started dancing just before her 3rd birthday.She first started her training in Ballet,Jazz,West African, Tap,Hip Hop and Acro-gymnastics. She also received her B.A.T.D in teaching dance at the age of 16, as well as 2 Honor Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Sociology & Communications( Media). In 2013,the well versed dancer decided to take her years of professional training and move to New York City and shortly thereafter, Los Angeles.  Myrosia has had many opportunities to work with great choreographers and creative directors such as Aakomon Jones, Fatima Robinson, and Micheal Rooney to name a few. Myrosia has worked with such artists as: Drake, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson to mention a few.  “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also trust”

Born and raised in Toronto,Canada, Myrosia first started dancing just before her 3rd birthday.She first started her training in Ballet,Jazz,West African, Tap,Hip Hop and Acro-gymnastics. She also received her B.A.T.D in teaching dance at the age of 16, as well as 2 Honor Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Sociology & Communications( Media). In 2013,the well versed dancer decided to take her years of professional training and move to New York City and shortly thereafter, Los Angeles.

Myrosia has had many opportunities to work with great choreographers and creative directors such as Aakomon Jones, Fatima Robinson, and Micheal Rooney to name a few. Myrosia has worked with such artists as: Drake, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson to mention a few.

“To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also trust”

SHELBY LYNN

VOCAL, PIANO

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.

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.


Guest Instructors


Zachary Cardwell is a Toronto based dancer, teacher, and choreographer and a graduate of the Arts Umbrella Post-Secondary Dance Program in Vancouver, BC. Zachary has worked with Zata Omm Dance Projects, Dusk Dances, and Nostos Dance Collectives. He has toured Holland performing in the ITS festival. He has also performed in Netherlands Dans Theatre and Korzo's Shortcuts XL.  With a deep passion for ballet and contemporary dance, Zachary has taught throughout the city—with an introduction to the field assisting here Charb Arts Studios back in 2011! Humbled to be returning to fertile roots, Zachary is interested in positive dance environments that can foster growth in both art and life.

Zachary Cardwell is a Toronto based dancer, teacher, and choreographer and a graduate of the Arts Umbrella Post-Secondary Dance Program in Vancouver, BC. Zachary has worked with Zata Omm Dance Projects, Dusk Dances, and Nostos Dance Collectives. He has toured Holland performing in the ITS festival. He has also performed in Netherlands Dans Theatre and Korzo's Shortcuts XL.

With a deep passion for ballet and contemporary dance, Zachary has taught throughout the city—with an introduction to the field assisting here Charb Arts Studios back in 2011! Humbled to be returning to fertile roots, Zachary is interested in positive dance environments that can foster growth in both art and life.

Samar Hejazi

ART

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.

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.