Sept 2017 to June 2018
Performance and Competition Teams
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Our professional instructors are fully qualified and believe in building self-confidence in each student in a positive learning environment.
Rochelle Gartner (B.A. Dance, S.T.A.R.S) - Artistic Director
Rochelle started dancing at age 3 and now is an international performer who has over 25 years of professional teaching and performing experience in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern and Hip-Hop.
She has performed throughout the world including Japan, North America and Europe. Some of her past credits include: Principle dancer with Las Vegas Company Farrington Productions that performed the Rio Las Vegas show in Atami Japan, "Spirit of a Nation" Victoria, BC; choreographer for CBS movie of the week "Papa's Angels"; Disney's "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"; 1988 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies; "Legends Alive Tour"; dancer with Princess Cruises, dancing on the American Movie Channel's TV series "Hell on Wheels" and most recently performing in Dancer's Studio West "AIR".
An alumna with the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede and the Stampeder Outriders, Rochelle is the founder and Artistic Director of Dance with France's Calgary Dance Studio and Professional Division "Artists Elite", which is a Dance Performance Company and Talent Agency.
Rochelle holds a BA in Dance from the University of Calgary and has also danced professionally on Princess Cruise line circuits for 7 years, performing in over 18 different Broadway Musical and Las Vegas style production shows.
Miss Rochelle has an undying passion for dance and performance. She absolutely loves witnessing the growth in her students and fellow performers from year to year!
Sarah Katz (B.F.A and B.Ed, S.T.A.R.S) - Instructor
Sarah has been teaching dance and swimming for 10 years. She has bachelor degrees in Education and Fine Arts, and has been active in dancing, swimming, drama and gymnastics for over 20 years. With her positive personality, Sarah is extremely excited to have been teaching at Dance with France for over 7 years, and choreographing for Artists Elite International. She is looking forward to another great year of dancing.
Edgar Gilbert-Reyes - Hip-Hop Instructor
The Canadian dancer, choreographer, producer and artist, Edgar Reyes, has channelled his visionary and creative energy into Alberta's urban dance community. His love for the art and his unparalleled strive for excellence has led him to carve a new path in the world of performing and teaching.
Edgar is one of Calgary's leading choreographers that emerged from traveling around the world and training in Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Swing, Latin & Funk styles by the Bugaloos. Training in California and New York, Edgar's skills and knowledge resulted in a long term opportunity to work along side Luther Brown that lead him to showcase his talents by working with such artists as Keisha Chante, Eva Avila & Blake McGrath.
Edgar spent many years training as a jazz dancer at DJD and achieved great success as a top 5 male dancer on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE season 3, working with choreographers Sabrina Matthews & Mia Michaels. Being one of the founders of illFX Entertainment, Edgar is busy producing high end entertainment for corporate Calgary.
Dance with France welcomes Edgar to our teaching staff!
Rebecca Leong (BA Child Services) - Instructor
Rebecca has been dancing since the age of six, focusing on Jazz and Tap technique. She has been teaching at various studios including preliminary dance classes in Germany and adult Jazz in New Zealand. She has over five years of professional dance group experience including various performances in Calgary and area, and intense training. Rebecca has finished all her "Canadian Dance Teachers Association" exams in both Jazz and Tap, and has completed performance exams for Jazz and Tap from the "British Association for Teachers of Dance". Rebecca has a passion for performance and teaching performance routines and technique. She enjoys working with children and helping them to discover themselves through the expression of dance.
Sofie Vielfaure - Instructor
Born and raised in a small French community in Manitoba, Sofie moved to the big city of Winnipeg to pursue dance at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Since then she has achieved her Advanced 2 certification with the Cecchetti Society of Ballet.
In 2009, Sofie played Charlotte in the Jubilations Dinner Theatre production of Sexy Gals In The City. In 2013, while living in Edmonton, Sofie graduated from the Theatre Arts program at MacEwan University. She has also had the opportunity to train in Paris, New York and Montreal with artists such as Saxon Fraser, Tara-Jean Popowich, Amy Gardner, Les Twins, Megan Lawson, Lil C and Nicholas Archambeault.
Since moving to Calgary in 2014, Sofie has performed with IllFx Entertainment at WeDay and The Calgary Stampede. Being exposed to so many talented artists Sofie has developed a versatile style of dance while maintaining the fundamentals of classical technique. Sofie hopes one day to pursue her dream of playing Mimi in a production of RENT!
Ellie Gahan- S.T.A.R.S
Ellie started dancing at the age of 9 at Dance with France. She started in jazz hip-hop and then did more styles like; modern, contemporary, tap, ballet, pointe and hip-hop. From the age of 9 to the age of 18, she completed all of her S.T.A.R.S dance exams. She didn't stop there as when the time came, she completed the S.T.A.R.S teaching program. Ellie went to Central Memorial High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) program for dance. There she trained five days a week for three years. The styles she trained in were classical ballet, contemporary ballet, jazz, hip-hop, Bollywood, swing, tap. The best part about the PVA program was going to New York in grade twelve and taking classes there like tap, turns and jumps class, Horton technique class. Miss Ellie still enjoys learning more about dance and how to improve every day.
Mara Katherina Liao Esnard - Instructor
Miss Mara from Cuba began her career at the age of 7 in rhythmic gymnastics for 3 years.
At the age of 10, she started ballet studies at the Vocational Arts School Alfonso Perez Isaac for 5 years and participated in various competitions and festivals. She continued her studies at the National Ballet School of Havana Cuba. Upon graduating with Excellence, Mara started working as a dance instructor at the Art School in the city of Matanzas and at the same time was hired by Scenic Arts of Matanzas to perform dance shows in a chain of Hotels in Melia, Varadero. Her last job before moving to Calgary was the city anniversary ceremonies. Dance with France is excited for Mara to share her technical talents with our students plus some fun Cuban culture and Salsa Latin classes for adults.
Dannica is entering her third year at the University of Calgary where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree in International Business. Dannica has been dancing since she was 2 years old and hasn't stopped since. She began her training at the Alberta Dance Academy in Okotoks, Alberta before being accepted into The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. After two years with that company she decided to further her dance education with Drewitz Dance Productions until she graduated high school. Throughout high school she was a proud co-captain of her high school basketball team and in her final year she started a competitive dance team that successfully competed at major cheerleading competitions in Alberta. Dannica was awarded the Highest Achievement Award for Drama and an additional scholarship in recognition of her dedication to the dramatic and artistic arts. In 2014 she won a nation wide competition for dancing as well as acting. When she was younger she wanted to become a major role model for her city and has accomplished that goal. Dannica was a member of a professional CFL cheerleading team for two years before she started her own dance company, Outlaw Country Ltd., based in Calgary. She focuses on building her company and encouraging her young dancers to follow their passion for dance. In the future Dannica hopes to use her experiences and skills to contribute to the development of young minds and to increase the support for programs in the arts.
Matt Mozil - Breakdance Instructor
After returning from Europe's breakdance scene, this fantastic B-BOY is heading up our breakdance program. Matt trains intensively in his craft, constantly creating new exciting tricks, and is very passionate about this very popular athletic artform. Our talented and enthusiastic Break Dance Instructor is 100% committed to our award winning DWF Guys Floor Team... who took home 1st Place High Gold Award again at competition this year.
Alondra Steinke (S.T.A.R.S) - Instructor
Alondra has been dancing for fourteen years all here at Dance With France Studios. During the summer when she was 8 years old she joined the Summer Camp at Dance With France Studios (DWF) and loved it. Starting that September she enrolled in jazz-funk on thursday nights, and has been a part of DWF ever since. Dance became her life and at one point she was a student and a student teacher at DWF, dancing with Artists Elite, also a part of the dance program at her High School.
Alondra is trained in jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern, pointe and has tried other styles, tap, african, hip-hop, salsa and bachata. She has a background in RAD ballet syllabus and has completed all of the S.T.A.R.S. syllabuses at DWF including the teaching program.
This will be Alondra's tenth year teaching here at DWF as well as her sixth year dancing in Artists Elite (professional adult division.)
She still has a love for learning, training and performing, but her heart is now for teaching, and is hoping to teach for many more years at DWF.
Shy Kotkas found her passion in teaching dance and inspiring young artists after dancing and choreographing professionally for 5 years. Her experience includes Dancing, performing and choreographing Evening Shows, Musicals and Circus acts for all inclusive resorts in the Mayan Riviera Mexico Sirenis and Akumal Bay Resort as well as dance companies Sangre Latina and Tormenta Tropical. Her extensive range of styles has taught her the importance of adaptability in the dance world and gives her a unique touch to add to her classes as she prepares her students for shows, competitions and the professional world of dance. She is a born leader raised in Calgary Alberta, her passion for dance, travel and languages has given her the opportunity to explore dance and train all over the world at I.A.L.S.- Rome, Italy, Studio Harmonic- Paris, France, Energy Dance Complex- Los Angeles, Factory Dance- Toluca, Mexico, and Harbour Dance Centre- Vancouver. She has also always enjoyed the studio life as she explored dance and competition. She had the opportunity to train with great teachers such as Miles Faber (SYTYCD Canada), Rock Mejia (motion pictures - Honey I shrunk the kids, I've Seen You Before), Lauren Van Camp (Royal Winnipeg Ballet) and Majored in Dance in Central Memorials Performing and Visual arts program giving her the fundamentals that prepared her for her professional career in dance and choreography. Now she is excited to join the fantastic team of instructors at Dance With France.
Micheline Rae (S.T.A.R.S) - Instructor
Micheline has many years of training and performing in Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Hip-Hop.
Following a career as an international model with numerous professional modelling agencies, she became the dance/modelling consultant and casting agent for a variety of entertainment companies. During that time, she designed the Personal Development and Modelling Training Program for High Schools and The Bay's Teen Council.
Some of her dance credits include performing for the BMG Country Music Awards, Legends Alive Tour, DWF Pro Troupe for 9 years, The World Police & Fire Games, and Dance Productions at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (Arizona).
Micheline is the owner and Director of Dance with France's sister company, MAG Models, and has choreographed many dance fashion shows for The Bridal Fair & Expo.
France Johnson (S.T.A.R.S, ADAPT, RAD, GILBERT)
France is the past owner and founder of Dance with France Studios, Calgary's number one dance studio for 30 years and running.
France started dancing at the age of 5, and is a Graduate of the University of Calgary Dance Degree Program.
She has an extensive career in the dance industry,
and has choreographed and performed in many TV/movie productions: appearing with Billy Ray Cyrus, "Dirty Dancing" the movie, was 1st place winner at the competition in Los Angeles Greek Theatre, Legends Alive Tours, BMG Country Music Awards, World Police & Fire Games, 1988 Winter Olympics, Choreographer and sponsor of the Calgary Stampeder Outrider Cheerleaders, Radz Roller Hockey, Entertainment for Calgary Flames Play Off Games, and Disney's "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" the series.
France has won First Place Awards from The Calgary Stampede Board for The Calgary Stampede Parade, and has been an Adjudicator for many dance and fitness competitions.
Many of France's students have gone on to professional careers in the dance and entertainment industry.
Jomari started dancing at a young age,
but it wasn't until in 2015 that he did professional hip hop training with illFX education. Shortly after, he participated in some major shows namely Urban Arts Academy Tour, East Side Dance Festival, 10 at 10, Dave Kelly Live and We Day. Jomari now currently
trains with Universesoul Dance Company where he is a member of their advanced all male group, Apollo. Apart from training, he teaches in two studios including Dance With France and does contractual choreography work for multiple high schools around Calgary.
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