Faculty and Staff
Dance is a rich and ever-evolving art form. DanzArts Toronto is thrilled to have such a fantastic team of professional, knowledgeable and inspiring faculty and staff providing our students with the best in dance education.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Tara Pillon is a professional dancer, choreographer and dance educator. She graduated with Honours from Ryerson University, where she received a BFA in Performance Dance.
Tara is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of ACE Dance Theatre and The Ballet Lab. Tara has performed professionally with Ballet Creole, Gadfly’s Urban Dance Repertory Company, emiMOTION Dance Company, Avinoam Silverman Dance, and Creativiva. She has participated in Fresh Blood Festival and Dance Ontario Weekend with choreography by David Earle and Gadfly. She has also participated in Gadfly’s very own TUDS Festival, The National Ballet School’s Sharing Dance event, and WeDay at the Air Canada Centre. Recently, Tara was cast as a dancer in the Hallmark film A Nutcracker Christmas and in Diversion a dance film by Avinoam Silverman. Tara has choreographed for Creativiva for events such as the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, Ricarda’s Grand Opening and the Allstate Honor Ring Banquet. Tara received her Certificate for Russian Pedagogy in Amsterdam, Netherlands and is an in-demand teacher and choreographer throughout the GTA. Tara is excited to lead the DanzArts students through the 2017-18 season.
Kaitlin is originally from Wetaskiwin, Alberta, where she studied and danced competitively at Andy and Tina’s Dance FX for 17 years. Upon graduating high school, Kaitlin attended Red Deer College and completed her Music Performance diploma (2009) and her Technical Theatre Production diploma (2011).
In 2011, Kaitlin has the opportunity to work at the Banff Centre for the Arts in their Dance Masters program, where she had the pleasure of working with Artists from the National Ballet of Canada, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Ballet Jörgen Canada, Boston Ballet and Ballet BC. During her time in Banff, Kaitlin also worked with Giocanda Barbuto (choreographer), Jean-Yves Esquerre (Artistic Director – Dutch National Ballet Academy), Lindsay Fischer (Ballet Master – National Ballet of Canada) and Mandy-Jayne Richardson (Ballet Mistress – National Ballet of Canada). She moved to Toronto in 2012 to work with Ballet Jörgen Canada for their 25th anniversary and Stage Manage the world premiere of Swan Lake, which toured extensively across Canada. Kaitlin recently worked with Toronto Dance Theatre as the Assistant Production Stage Manager, where she worked extensively with Christopher House, Jeanine Durning, Joanne Kotze, and Ame Henderson. Kaitlin is incredibly excited to be a part of the DanzArts Toronto team and is looking forward to sharing her love of dance and the arts with the dancers and their families.
Shpresa is a passionate and knowledgeable instructor with over 25 years teaching ballet to both recreational students and aspiring dancers.
Her training is extensive having studied at the Albanian National Ballet school in her youth, she later graduated with honours from the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana, Albania and then went on to achieve a PhD in Ethono Choreography. Bace traveled throughout Europe to share her skills and knowledge of Albanian folk dances and classical ballet. She has taught ballet in Italy, Albania and Canada. Bace also worked in Bonn, Germany in Culture and Education. She has received many awards over the years for her excellent work in dance, education and culture; among them are the Italian Ministry of Culture Awards and the German Academic Exchange Service award. We are thrilled to have her share her expertise with our students at DanzArts Toronto!
Sophia began dancing at the age of 3 and she developed a strong passion for dance ever since! Sophia’s passion for performing on stage developed once she entered the competitive program at age 6.
Within her program, she was trained in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, Tap, Acro, Hip Hop, and Musical Theatre. Sophia had the pleasure of travelling throughout Canada and the United States to compete in several Regional and National competitions. Throughout the various competitions, she received many overall and special awards that recognized her emotional expression in her solos, and scholarships for various dance teams throughout the country. Sophia is a graduate from the St. Elizabeth Catholic High School Regional Arts Program where she majored in dance. The program helped to strengthen and educate Sophia as a dancer, choreographer, and a student. She also participated in the annual school musicals, Footloose, and Anything Goes which showcased her talents in dance, vocals and drama. Sophia graduated with Honours from York University majoring in Sociology in 2015, and is now currently enrolled in the 2 Year Consecutive Bachelor of Education program at Lakehead University in Orillia, where she will be qualified to teach in elementary schools from Kindergarten to Grade 6. She is very excited to join the DanzArts team, and to share her love and passion for dance with the students.
Heather started out at the age of 5 as a figure skater and gymnast and only started dancing at the age of 8 in order to improve her competitive skating. This is when dance became her true passion.
She danced at Lorri’s Dance Place Unlimited as a competitive dancer. She took jazz, tap, acro and ballet. This is where her teaching career began. Heather has completed her examinations through British Association Teacher of Dance (B.A.T.D) in Jazz and Tap her Dance in Ballet. Heather attended the Etobicoke School of Arts from grade 9 to grade 11 where she was then accepted to Silverthorne Collegiate Institute and a graduate of the High Performer Program for Gifted Athletes. Heather is also a Graduate of the Computer Sales and Marketing Program and the General Arts & Sciences Program at Humber College. Heather is still continuing her education at Humber College working on her Fitness Leadership Program Diploma. Heather has been teaching for several years and is well known in the world of dance as a dedicated, hardworking and passionate instructor who strongly believes that everyone has a chance to shine. She has taught and choreographed routines for competitive and non competitive students at several studios all over Ontario. Heather has won many overall awards as well as top scores at several competitions throughout Canada and the United States. Heather continues to teach for several local studios and commits her true passion to continuing her education in dance through teaching and through the eyes of her students. She truly believes that dance is an expression of the soul that is hidden within us and everybody should find the time to let it out and express it.
Catherine-Marie has been dancing with the Columbus Centre since the age of four; she is currently a student at Loretto Abbey C.S.S and a graduate from the DanzArts dance program. Throughout the years she has trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, acrobatics and lyrical.
She has also competed with our company, and achieved many medals for multiple solos, duets and group dances. At the age of 13 Catherin-Marie decided to stop dancing and further more share her love of dance by assisting with multiple kinderdance classes throughout the years. During the years she learned that volunteering is a way of sharing her passion for dance, which creates a beginning for young dancers. Catherine-Marie is thrilled to be a part of the DanzArtz Toronto dance faculty, and is excited to start sharing her passion for dance as an instructor.
Kathleen Legassick is an independent professional dance artist, teacher and performer based out of Toronto, Ontario. She was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario where she trained for 15 years at the Canadian School of Dance.
Kathleen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ryerson University’s Performance Dance Program. Since graduating in 2014 she has performed with professional companiesincluding; ProArteDanza, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Chartier Danse, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie and ACE Dance Theatre. This summer she toured with Dusk Dances Festival to Toronto, Hamilton, Repentigny and Barrie, as well as with Bouchardanse to Ottawa and Montreal. Most recently, Kathleen performed in The Dark Horse Dance Projects 2017 in Ottawa. Kathleen has over five years of experience teaching dance of all styles to students in the GTA and Ottawa regions. She is thrilled to be apart of the DanzArts Toronto team for the 2017 Season.
Nicole Pillon is currently a student in the undergraduate program at York University, majoring in dance. The program includes classical ballet, modern, improvisation, and anatomy classes.
She graduated as an Ontario scholar from Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, where she trained extensively in ballet and modern dance forms. She has been studying dance from the age of three and has had the opportunity of working with Kimberly Glasco, former Principle dancer with the National Ballet of Canada. Recently she took place in a dance festival in Italy where she trained with instructors from the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Nicole has trained as an associate at the National Ballet School of Canada and has been a senior member of the CCS dance company from its inception, where she has concentrated on ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary styles. Most recently Nicole has had the opportunity to travel to London, England, where she trained at the famous Pineapple Studio in Covent Garden. She has shared her love of dance by teaching young dancers at both the recreational and competitive levels. Nicole is returning as a permanent member of our teaching staff. We know she will continue to bring her passion for dance and be a positive influence on our young students.
Alex was born and raised in Richmond Hill, Ontario and began her dance career at age 4. She trained in all disciplines from a young age, but found her true passion in tap.
Growing up she competed in both regional and national dance competitions, winning overall awards and receiving various scholarships throughout her competitive career. Alex also teaches at Wonderland Dance Company, and volunteers at The Dance Project.
Originally from Ljubljana, Slovenia, Miha has danced and choreographed for many of Slovenia’s most popular singers and performers.
He has also performed and choreographed for live television in the Eurovision Song Contest, Miss Universe Pageant, and Slovenia’s Got Talent. Miha decided to move his career to London in 2010, where he had the chance to perform alongside artists such as Rihanna & Mariah Carey, and was also chosen as one of 80 professional dancers in the London Olympic Opening Ceremonies in 2012. In March 2014, Miha moved to Toronto, and performed on the Much Music Video Awards and Junos with Kiesza. He also works with renowned Toronto Dance Company ‘Gadfly’ on various projects. In 2016 and 2017, he was a company dancer with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, a jazz dance company based in Calgary. He has recently moved back to Toronto. He is a sought after teacher and choreographer, and has delivered classes throughout Europe and North America. His classes offer an emphasis on musicality and athleticism, as well as a feel good atmosphere that always leave students wanting more.
Ali is a BFA Graduate from Ryerson University’s Performance Dance Program, Certified Personal Training Specialist with CanFit Pro, certified Barre instructor and distinguished teacher and performer.
Ali has been dancing for more than 20 years in multiple genres, competed all over Canada and the U.S. and has performed in a number of professional performances in Toronto including spending three seasons dancing for the Toronto Blue Jays. Ali has been featured in commercials for Sportsnet and most notably performed for two Christmas’ at Toronto’s BIA Illuminite Festival, at the Nadia Potts Life Time Achievement Gala and for the David Foster Miracle Gala. Ali has also performed for and worked with numerous choreographers such as Julie Tomaino, Kenny Pearl, Vicky St. Denys, Karen Duplisea, Hannah Kiel, Louis Laberge Coté, Roberto Campanella, Robert Glumbeck and Blake McGrath. Most recently, Ali began her own business, Adagio Performance Training. APT is a specialized company designed to create strength in dancers through sport specific cross training. Ali looks forward to sharing her passion and expertise for fitness and dance with all of the dancers at DanzArts Toronto.