Artistic Faculty

Bleiddyn Del Villar Bellis

Bleiddyn Del Villar Bellis

Artistic Director

Fellow and Examiner CC-CICB, Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma

director@victoriaacademyofballet.ca

Ms. Bellis completed her formative ballet training in Victoria, British Columbia, under the guidance of Christine Richardson, Fellow and Examiner CC-CICB. She has worked as an international guest teacher, lecturer and choreographer throughout British Columbia, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, and England.

Before locating to the UK in 2003, Ms. Bellis was a faculty member of Vancouver’s Arts Umbrella and other schools located throughout the lower mainland. In the UK, Ms. Bellis taught for the Liverpool Theatre School and Kate Simmons School, teaching in the lower/upper schools and Teacher Training College Programs. As a fulltime staff member at the Hammond School in Chester, England, she choreographed for the Senior School’s professional touring company, and was instrumental in establishing the Cecchetti Method within the vocational school’s curriculum.

Ms. Bellis is a Fellow and Examiner for Cecchetti Canada, holds diplomas in Applied Anatomy, and continues to hold her Fellowship status with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Throughout her career, she has been recognized with many awards and scholarships including the Margaret Saul Scholarship by Cecchetti Canada (formerly Cecchetti Society of Canada) for her completion of the prestigious Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma in London, England. Because of her dynamic and inspirational teaching style, she has been a frequent guest teacher and lecturer for organizations such as the British Ballet Organization, Cecchetti Northern Scholars in Manchester, England, the Cecchetti Northern Associates of the UK, and “Dancing Days” (British Ballet Organization, Elmhurst School of Dance Birmingham, UK), Random Dance UK, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (Summer Intensive), Cecchetti Canada – Manitoba, Alberta and BC branches, Ballet Victoria, Ballet British Columbia, and The School of Ballet du Monterrey, Mexico. Her former students are currently working in renowned Canadian and American companies and around the world, such as at the English National Ballet, Semperoper Ballet Company and Karlsruhe State Theatre of Baden (Germany), with Matthew Bourne (London, UK), and in London’s West End Musical Theatre productions.

As Director of the Victoria Academy of Ballet, Ms. Bellis founded the Professional Training Program (PTP) and the Post-Secondary Bridge Program (Fully Designated by the Ministry of Advanced Education PTIB). Under her leadership, VAB has become one of Canada’s finest training institutions with students attending various academy programs from around the globe. Along with the expertise of her renowned and experienced professional faculty, Ms. Bellis has created an environment where artistic excellence is pursued in a nurturing and caring environment.

Ms. Bellis continues to examine nationally, and guest teach internationally, allowing her to inspire and motivate students and teachers alike.

Andrew Pronger

Andrew Pronger

Assistant Director/Principal

M.F.A – Creative Industries QUT, L.C.I.C.B. former Qld Ballet, Enrico Cecchetti Diploma, A.B.S. Diploma

andrew@victoriaacademyofballet.ca

Mr. Pronger completed his professional studies at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne, receiving the Graduate Diploma in Dance. Subsequently he worked under teacher Janice Heale, completing all Cecchetti Major Examinations including the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma. Throughout his professional career, he has supported the Cecchetti Society as a guest teacher, choreographer, performer and adjudicator as well as being the State Organizer for the Cecchetti Ballet Australia – Queensland Branch, organizing workshops, competitions and examination sessions. In Canada he been a member of the Cecchetti Canada – BC Committee.

From 1992 to 1996, Mr. Pronger was a member of The Queensland Ballet. He performed diverse selection of the company’s repertoire from classics such as Giselle to new contemporary works. Mr. Pronger also had the opportunity to dance with Australian Ballet on a number of occasions and worked with many notable figures of Australia’s dance including Kelvin Coe, Garth Welch, Lucette Aldous and Valrene Tweedie.

Following his years at Queensland Ballet, Mr. Pronger broadened his horizons to a variety of dance styles through his work with the Australian Folkloric Dance Company, Toadshow Productions (Glamalot – Knights in White Satin), and Pointeblank Productions (Dare to Dance) for the Queensland Arts Council’s School Touring Program. He was the Principal of River City Dance in Brisbane (1997-2011).

In 2011 Mr. Pronger completed his MFA at Queensland University (Creative Industries – Dance). Also in 2011, Mr. Pronger accepted the position of Assistant Director at Victoria Academy of Ballet in Canada where he is developing Professional Training Programs for Canadian and International students alongside Bleiddyn Bellis and KerryLynn Turner.

Mr. Pronger is a sought-after choreographer and teacher. He has been a consultant for the BC Performing Arts Festival (Dance section) and has been instrumental in the development of VAB’s programs for boys of all ages. His expertise and reputation for excellence has earned him invitations to guest teach around the world. In Fall 2019 he was invited to China to give master classes and judge at the Global Dance Challenge – Asia Pacific competition.

Mr. Pronger’s outstanding and inspirational teaching has contributed to many of his students establishing professional dance careers internationally.

KerryLynn Turner

KerryLynn Turner

Bridge Program Director

ARAD, Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma (RAD)

kerrylynn@victoriaacademyofballet.ca

Born and raised in Vancouver, Ms. Turner was trained primarily in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and Vaganova styles of ballet through the Goh Ballet Academy.  At 17, she was the only Canadian competing in the RAD’s Genee Awards in London placing as a finalist.  She then spent one year in the inaugural year of Ballet B.C.’s Mentor Program before being asked to join the company as a full member.

Ms. Turner danced with the company for six years creating roles and working with many internationally renowned dancers/choreographers including; Jean Grand-Maitre (Alberta Ballet), Dominique Dumais (National Theater Mannheim Oper), James Kudelka (National Ballet of Canada, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie), Miko Nissenen (Boston Ballet), Patricia Neary (NYCB Pedagogue, LA Ballet), Michael Schumacher (Ballett Frankfurt), Chris Redpath, Victoria Simon, Michael Byers (all New York City Ballet Pedagogues), Crystal Pite (Kidd Pivot), Emily Molnar (Ballet BC), and John Alleyne (past Artistic Director, Ballet BC).  During the course of her career, Ms. Turner performed as a soloist and/or as a principal artist in several significant works ranging from Petipa to Balanchine to Forsythe to Pite, and was a guest performer with the National Ballet of Canada, Hong Kong Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Banff Festival Ballet and the Canada Dance Festival.

Upon retiring from the professional stage, Ms. Turner returned to London, England where she earned Distinction in the Royal Academy of Dance’s Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma program (PDTD), the only Canadian to hold this diploma at that time.  She also holds her Associate (ARAD) status with the Royal Academy and since graduating has been asked to teach for the RAD in London, as well as summer programs in the U.S. Ms. Turner has been thrilled to guest teach numerous times for the Canadian Cecchetti Society at workshops in Vancouver and the Cecchetti Awards.  She has also taught classes for companies; Ballet Hispanico, Random Dance:Wayne McGregor and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and was the rehearsal director for Ballet Kelowna’s staging of John Alleyne’s A Streetcar Named Desire in 2018.

Ms. Turner’s choreographic work has been praised at competitions, continuing to win excellence in choreography awards, most recently 2019 YAGP Seattle’s Outstanding Choreographer Award. She has also served on adjudication panels for dance festivals as a ballet and contemporary specialist.

Ms. Turner has also appeared as a dancer in various commercials and made-for-TV movies, has had the privilege of performing in the Vancouver Opera’s production of “Faust”, has often performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and modelled in various fashion shows namely for Leone (Vancouver) and MAC Fashion Cares (Vancouver).

Her enthusiasm for teaching and coaching dance has always been for the benefit of the dancer and loving the work that goes into every class, rehearsal and performance.  As the director of Victoria Academy of Ballet’s Post-Secondary Bridge Program since 2013, Ms. Turner’s inspired teaching style passes on her knowledge and experience to instill the fundamental connections and love for the arts in her students that stays with them for a lifetime.

Angela Mousseau

Angela Mousseau

Contemporary Instructor

 

Angela Mousseau is a 2002 graduate of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she majored in modern dance focusing on Horton, Limon and Taylor techniques.  At University of the Arts she studied with directors, choreographers and dancers from The Paul Taylor Company, The Limon Company, PHILADANCO, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Koresh Dance Company, Momix and many others.  Angela has performed in Philadelphia and New York Fringe Festivals, at the National Dance Day in Philadelphia, and with The Next Stage Project (directed by Jana Hicks and AKRNYM Dance Company in New York City).

She also appeared on the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Gardens, NYC in 2003.  Angela’s choreography has been commissioned by studios and companies across the United States and Canada.  Many of her students have gone on to study at The National Ballet, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Toronto Dance Theatre, Ryerson University, Modus Operandi Contemporary Dance Program, Alvin Ailey and The University of the Arts.

Dyana Sonik-Henderson

Dyana Sonik-Henderson

Jazz Instructor

 

Dyana is a sought-after teacher and choreographer. She is the Executive/Artistic Director of the Victoria-based dance company Broken Rhythms Victoria Society. Dyana has been hired to set choreography on local and national companies, received grants from the Canada Council, and been a guest lecturer at UVic on the theme of creativity. She has been commissioned to collaborate with artists from a wide range of disciplines, and continues to work with her company on creative projects, most recently being awarded a grant from the CRD to continue her work for a main stage creation. She has also studied and performed with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London, England), Decidedly Jazz Dance Works (Calgary), One Immigrant Productions (Toronto), and Carnival Cruise Lines (Austin, Texas). She most recently completed her honours thesis at UVic on the themes of gender and movement. She is a staple in the Victoria dance community, teaching at local studios, running workshops and creating outreach programs for underfunded arts programs on the Island. She has been recognized with five Pick of the Fringe awards, been shortlisted for Monday Magazine Best Dance company, was awarded the LOLA Project International and has had featured work in Dance Current Magazine as well as Boulevard Magazine.

Amber Lamanes

Amber Lamanes

Ballet Instructor

 

Amber Lamanes has a passion for dance, music and children. Taking her very first “real” ballet lesson at the age of 15, Amber’s teen years were spent for the most part in the dance studio. Though she became instantly obsessed with her ballet studies, she also obtained a thorough grounding in Jazz, Modern, Musical Theatre and Tap.

Formal training as a teacher took place initially at the Edmonton School of Ballet’s Teacher Training Program. Acceptance into The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program gave her intensive instruction in Ballet, Character, Modern, Jazz, Anatomy, Dance History, Music History and Pilates. Before moving to Victoria, Amber taught dance classes at several schools in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.

Amber is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance, a certified Cecchetti Society of Canada teacher and a mother to 2 daughters (both VAB budding ballerinas).  In addition to being a teacher and a mother, Amber is a true dancer at heart, enjoying weekly ballet lessons as the student not the teacher in the classroom.

Constance Cooke

Constance Cooke

Choreographer for Stage, Screendance and Site Specific Work, Educator of Contemporary Dance, Mentor, Somatic Movement Teacher

 

Cooke is an Established Canadian Dance Artist who lives, creates and works on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations, in Victoria British Columbia.  Her choreographic works for stage and screen have been presented in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Germany and The United Kingdom by numerous Festivals, Galleries, Theatres and Presenters such as The American Dance Festival, Dancing on the Edge, The Reel Film Festival, Romp, Dance Matters, Dance Victoria, Media-Net and more. Cooke also self-produces many of her own full length-works, has received commissions from Ballet and Contemporary Companies, as well number of Canadian and International independent Dance Artists.

For over thirty years, Cooke has made a significant contribution to the professional training of dancers in Canada. Former students have gone on to established their own Companies, Professional Training Programs, Independent Careers, Festivals, Presentation Series, and are currently dancing with companies throughout the world.

Cooke is a guest choreographer, teacher, and mentor with Professional Training Programs, Intensives and Mentorship Programs across Canada. As a mentor, Cooke has supported the creation of new works for Stage, Site- Specific Installations and Screendances. As Director of Dance for the Camera she has worked with numerous  dance communities across Canada. These workshops and mentorships have attracted artists from across the Globe.

Cooke teaches contemporary technique, experiential movement, choreographic composition, screen dance, and a new somatic movement practice called Surfacing. Created by Cooke, Surfacing is a creative, embodied practice that encourages receptiveness, curiosity, and a deeper awareness of being. To date Cooke has shared this practice with artists from a variety of disciplines including voice, movement, theatre and visual arts

 Cooke has been the recipient of numerous awards, scholarships and grants from The Canada Council of the Arts, B.C. Arts Council, The Manitoba Arts Council, The Vancouver Foundation, B.C. Hydro, Dance Victoria and Private Supporters.

 

Luba Ellis

Luba Ellis

Principal Pianist

 

Luba arrived to Canada from the Russian Far East and started working for Island Dance Studio with Christine Richardson.

She is highly qualified; she holds Bachelor in Music and Concertmaster and Masters in Education. She has broad experience, accompanying for Ballet Master classes: she worked with Karen Kain, Evelyn Heart, Jean Grand Maître and many others. She is always invited to accompany for touring Ballet companies from Canada and around the world.

Luba is very selective choosing music for each and every exercise: she is steady in tempos and sensitive to character. She truly believes in power of Arts and Culture and her vibrant exuberant personality enhances class works for all levels in VAB.

Luba has a very strong work ethic: she is disciplined, reliable, also very friendly and a pleasure to work with.