Teaching 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 CSCCIB. She has worked as an international guest teacher, lecturer and choreographer throughout British Columbia, Canada, 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 Program. As a full time staff member at the Hammond School in Chester, England, she choreographed for the Senior School’s professional touring company, Taudevin, and was instrumental in establishing the Cecchetti method within the professional school’s curriculum.

Ms Bellis is a Fellow and Examiner with the Cecchetti Society of Canada, holds a diploma in Applied Anatomy, and has been awarded the Certificate in Dance Education by the ISTD. Throughout her career, she has been recognized with many awards and scholarships including the Margaret Saul Scholarship by The 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 Society Manitoba, Alberta and BC branches, Ballet Victoria, Ballet British Columbia, and The School of Ballet du Monterrey, Mexico.

Her former students are currently working around the world in companies such as 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 Artistic Director at the Victoria Academy of Ballet she has developed the Professional Training Program and founded the fully Accredited Post Secondary Bridge Program. Ms Bellis is passionate about passing on her knowledge and inspiring students and young 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 was originally trained in Bundaberg under the tuition of Michelle Matthew. He commenced full-time training in 1986 at Sydney’s McDonald College. In 1990 Mr. Pronger graduated from the Australian Ballet School attaining his Diploma in Dance. Returning to Queensland in 1991 Mr. Pronger was introduced to the style and technique within the Cecchetti syllabus. Under the guidance of teacher Janice Heale, he completed all Cecchetti Major Examinations including the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma. Throughout his professional career, he supported the Cecchetti Society as a guest teacher, choreographer, performer and adjudicator.

From 1992, Mr. Pronger joined the The Queensland Ballet. He performed a diverse selection of the Company’s repertoire from classics such as Giselle to new contemporary works like Jabula by Natalie Weir. Before joining Queensland Ballet, Andrew danced on several occasions with The Australian Ballet. He has had the privilege of working with many notable figures of Australia’s dance history including Kelvin Coe, Garth Welch, Lucette Aldous and Valrene Tweedie.

After leaving Queensland Ballet, Andrew 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. After returning from London, Mr. Pronger undertook the Cecchetti syllabus teaching examinations. He gained his Associate of the I.S.T.D. with Distinction. In 1999 Mr. Pronger also gained his Associate Diploma with the ISTD and in 2001 received his Licentiate. He has also successfully passed the Fellowship examination.

In 2011 Mr. Pronger completed his Masters of Fine Arts at The Queensland University of Technology. Mr. Pronger was the Principal of River City Dance (Indooroopilly Academy of Dance) from 1997 until 2011.

In 2011 Mr. Pronger accepted the position of Assistant Director at Victoria Academy of Ballet in Canada where he is working developing Professional Training Programs for Canadian and International students. Former students of the school are currently in dance companies in Australia, USA and UK as well as attending specialist dance institutions in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, New York and Wellington. Mr. Pronger has been the State Organiser for the Cecchetti Society of Australia – Queensland Branch. In this role he was involved with studios and teachers from Northern NSW to Far North Queensland organizing workshops, competitions, examination sessions and in the general running of the Qld Branch.

KerryLynn Turner

KerryLynn Turner

Bridge Program Director

ARAD, RAD RTS, 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 .

Ms. Turner danced with the company for 6 years creating roles and working with many internationally renowned dancers/choreographers including; Jean Grand‐Maitre (Alberta Ballet), Dominique Dumais (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 (New York City Ballet), Crystal Pite (Kidd Pivot), Emily Molnar (Ballet B.C.), and John Alleyne. During the course of her career, Ms. Turner performed as a soloist and/or a principal artist in several important works; “A Vile Parody of Address”, “There, Below”, “15 Heterosexual Duets”, “Split House Geometric”, “In the Course of Sleeping”, “Chiaroscuro”, “Rubies”, “Tema Celeste” and “Zero Hour”, and was a guest performer with the National Ballet of Canada, Hong Kong Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Banff Festival Ballet and multiple times at the Canada Dance Festival.

Upon retiring from the professional stage, Ms. Turner took a short break from the dance world locating to London, England where she earned Distinction in the Royal Academy of Dance’s Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma program (PDTD). 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.A. Ms. Turner has been a guest teacher numerous times for the Vancouver Cecchetti Society at workshops and the Cecchetti Awards, and is currently working towards her teaching certification for the Cecchetti syllabi.

Ms. Turner’s choreographic work has been praised at competitions, continually winning awards for excellence. She has also served on adjudication panels for regional Festival of the Arts, including Surrey, Penticton Kiwanis, Quesnel, Peace River North and MADDfest.

Ms. Turner has also appeared as a dancer in various commercials and made‐for‐TV movies, and performed in the Vancouver Opera’s production of “Faust” and with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Further, she has also enjoyed performing/modelling in MAC Cosmetics Fashion Cares, Leone Boutique and other local community charitable events.

Ms. Turner’s extensive professional experience, industry contacts and creative teaching style have been instrumental to the success of VAB’s Post Secondary Bridge Program.

Ursula Szkolak

Ursula Szkolak

Ballet Instructor

ursula@victoriaacademyofballet.ca

Ursula Szkolak began her training at The Academy of Ballet and Jazz in Toronto under the tutelage of Nadia Veselova-Tencer, a graduate of Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. She went on to train with Canada’s National Ballet School, and the Kirov Academy in Washington.

At the age of 16, Ursula was a finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix and competed in the finals in New York City. The following year, she was offered a soloist contract with the Columbia Classical Ballet in South Carolina where she performed such roles as “Myrtha” in Giselle, “Destiny” in Radenko Pavlovich’s Carmen, and “Dewdrop” in The Nutcracker.

Upon to her return to Canada she danced with the Canadian Ballet Theatre (Toronto, ON) and Ballet Victoria (Victoria, BC) as well as guest dancing with various companies in the United States and Europe. She also spent 3 consecutive summers with the Banff Dance Festival. During this time, she had the privilege to work with such acclaimed teachers and choreographers as Arnold Spohr, Tatiana Tchernova, Brian MacDonald (Tam Ti Di Lam, Time out of Mind, Aimez vous Bach), Diane van Schoor, DA Hoskins (Configurations of the Body) Victoria Simon (Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, Serenade), and Peter Quanz (Quantz by Quanz).

In 2007, Ursula accepted a position at the Canadian Pacific Ballet (Victoria, BC) as a founding member and principal dancer. During her years at CPB, she danced in principal and soloist roles in The Nutcracker, La Source, Giselle, Gaîté Parisienne, La Flûte Magique, Conservatoriet, and Scent of Cedars to name a few.

Following Ursula’s dance career, she has been heavily involved with the theatre community in Victoria and has performed as actor in various professional and community theatre groups such as Theatre Inconnu, Langham Court Theatre, Victoria Operatic Society and Outpost 31.

Ursula has always had a passion for teaching, even while she was still performing and she has been teaching at various schools on Vancouver Island since 2013. In 2015 she was invited to travel to Anchorage to set and rehearse the ballet “Giselle” for the Anchorage Classical Ballet with Bridgett Zehr in the title role and opened to positive reviews from critics. Ursula is currently working towards her Cecchetti Syllabus Certification.

 

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.

  • Luba Ellis, Principal Pianist
  • Grace Louis
  • Tanya Kuhn

2013-14:

  • Beverly Bagg (Alberta Ballet, Rehearsal Mistress)
  • Alex Ballard (Alberta Ballet, Ballet Master)
  • Suzanne Ouellette
  • Riannon McLean (Expressions Dance Company, Brisbane Australia)
  • Eric Hall (Ballet Victoria, Dancer)

2014-15:

  • Christine Richardson
  • David Roland
  • Matthew Rees, Simone Donati, Bradley Waller – BalletBoyz workshop
  • Bengt Jorgen (Ballet Jorgen, Artistic Director)
  • Adam Sklute (Ballet West, Artistic Director)

2015-16:

  • Alysa Pires (Alysa Pires Dance Projects)
  •  Christie Cunningham
  • Sylvain Senez (Ballet BC, Rehearsal Master)
  • Kirsten Wicklund, Andrew Bartee – Ballet BC workshop
  • Amber Funk-Barton (the response dance)
  • Curtis Tait – physiotherapist, Tall Tree Health

2016-17:

  • Jane Wooding
  • Meredith Kalaman
  • Jaime Vargas (Ballet Master, Royal Winnipeg Ballet)
  • Constance Cooke
  • Wen Wei Wang 
  • Amber Lamanes
  • Amalia Schelhorn

2017-18:

  • Wen Wei Wang
  • Jorden Morris
  • John Alleyne
  • Constance Cooke
  • Amalia Schelhorn
  • Ursula Szkolak