ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP

Bleiddyn del Villar Bellis

Bleiddyn del Villar Bellis

Academy Director

Fellow and Examiner CC-CICB, Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma

director@vaballet.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

School Principal & Head of Open Division

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

andrew@vaballet.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@vaballet.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.