Associate CSC-CICB (Cecchetti Ballet)
Michele began her study of dance as a young child in St. John's and has been dancing ever since. In addition to her local training, over the years Michele has attended many summer programs for teachers at such places as The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and the National Ballet School. She has spent all of her adult life developing skills and experience in working with young children to ensure that her dancers have a safe, technically sound and fun introduction to dance. In addition to working directly with all of the students in her ballet program, Michele has always developed or sought out teachers to bring a full range of expertise to the students of Mount Pearl School of Dance.
Over the years, many teachers have passed through Mount Pearl School of Dance, most of them developed right here at home under Michele's guidance and encouragement. Some have gone on to careers outside the world of dance, but several have continued in the career they began here. Michele is very excited to again be introducing new, enthusiastic teachers to her students while continuing to provide the same stable foundation in dance that has been a part of the tradition at Mount Pearl School of Dance.
Erika Wilansky began her journey with dance in Montreal, QC. She grew up immersed in an environment that was alive with music and performance whether on the streets or in the schools and community centres. She studied Modern dance, Jazz, and Hip Hop as part of her regular high school curriculum as well as extracurricularly.
Erika has been teaching dance for the past 26 years and is now a co-owner of Mount Pearl School of Dance as well as Red Hot Productions Commercial Dance Company
Erika danced professionally for Martha Carter's "iDub" in 2006, and has choreographed for local productions such as "Our Divas do Christmas on Broadway" and KittiwakeDance Theatre's "Reflections".
Erika is a founding member and the Choreographer of local Hip Hop crew, "Soul Steps Crew", who placed 1st in the Hip Hop and BBoying competition "Hustle To Get Here 3". Soul Steps Crew have had the honor of performing in opening acts for Cas Public and the 605 Collective in the Festival of New Dance. In 2010, Erika was the Hip Hop judge for a local dance competition "Do You Think You Can Dance" as well as Hip Hop competition The Recipe in Halifax. Erika has choreographed for Canadian pop vocalist Vita Chambers, who opened at Mile One Centre for Mariana's Trench.
MA, NBS – TTP (Dip.), RAD RTS, Associate Diploma – Cecchetti Canada, AISTD Dip., AISTD, BATD, PBT Certified
A native of St. John's, Beth graduated with Distinction from the Teacher Training Program of Canada's National Ballet School and holds a Master of Arts in Education (Dance Teaching) from the University of Bath. Beth has also successfully attained teaching qualifications from the Royal Academy of Dance, Cecchetti Canada, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (Modern Theatre, Tap, National), and the British Association of Teachers of Dancing. Keenly interested in dancers' health, Beth is also a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine Science (IADMS).
Beth is currently working towards her certification (TCRG) as an Irish dance teacher with An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (known as CLRG, the Irish Dancing Commission). Through her affiliation with Becky Chapman TCRG and Laura Hopper ADCRG, TCRG of Rising Tide Irish Dance Academy, the CLRG has extended remote teaching status to students of MPSD, enabling our Irish dancers to have the same opportunities to compete in feiseanna and complete Irish exams as other CLRG students worldwide – a first for Newfoundland.
Beth was awarded a scholarship by Canada's National Ballet School to participate in ‘Dance for PD', an introductory training program for dance teachers in developing dance classes for adults with Parkinson's Disease. She completed the first level of training in Toronto in January 2015 and in 2016 co-created the “Dance for Life with Parkinson's” program with Katie Prowse in conjunction with the Parkinson Society NL. Beth was the recipient of the 2019 Beth Holloway Bursary for Continuing Education, where she completed the advanced certification with David Leventhal of ‘Dance for PD' in Toronto in January 2020.
In December 2016, Beth travelled to Sydney, Australia to present a paper she authored at the “Dance Teaching for the 21st Century: Practice and Innovation” conference. Beth also performed for Queen Elizabeth and other senior members of the Royal Family during ‘The Patron's Lunch' in London in June 2016 as part of the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations.
Outside of Newfoundland, Beth taught in the Associates Program at Canada's National Ballet School (2006-2008) in addition to working as a ballet assistant in the Professional Ballet Program Summer School (2008 & 2009). She has guest taught in England as well as lengthier contracts in Ontario and County Donegal, Ireland.
Since returning to NL in 2009, Beth's students have gained acceptance to post-secondary programs at Canada's National Ballet School, Victoria Academy of Ballet, Alberta Ballet School, York University, and George Brown Dance. Professional ballet summer program acceptances include: NBS, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Alberta Ballet School, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Joffrey Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, Quinte Ballet School, Orlando Ballet School, Goh Ballet Academy, Ballet Jorgen, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and VBA.
Beyond the private dance sector, Elisabeth works as Associate Choreographer in TaDA! Events' “Our Divas Do Christmas' (2014-Present) has also been a choreographer with Beyond the Overpass Theatre (Gander, NL), with credits including ‘Nunsense' (2016) and ‘I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change' (2017). Elisabeth is a past board member of Kittiwake Dance Theatre, past executive member of the Dance Teachers' Association of Newfoundland, and a founding company member of Red Hot Productions.
Following her 12th year as Co-Artistic Director of Mount Pearl School of Dance, Beth is looking forward to the future of MPSD with great anticipation and excitement!
Additional Dance Accomplishments:
- Successfully attained Advanced 2 ISTD Tap, Modern Theatre, National Dance, Advanced 1 RAD Ballet and Cecchetti Ballet exams
-Successfully attained Grades 1 – 10 CLRG Irish dance exams
-Certified Progressing Ballet Technique teacher (Halifax, 2018)
- Royal Ballet School London, UK: “Inspire” seminars: Level 1 (2016), Level 2 (July 2017). Teacher Observation Programme (Covent Garden Upper School, 2017)
- RAD teachers' courses: Grades 1-3 (Halifax, 2012), Grades 4-5 (California, 2014), Intermediate Foundation & Intermediate (Toronto, 2011), Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1 & Advanced 2 (California, 2014)
- Maritime Conservatory for Performing Arts' ‘Summer Intensive 2012' teachers' course (Halifax, NS)
- Attended the ISTD Teachers Summer Residential School in Chichester, UK (2011), ISTD2 Summer training in London, UK (2016)
- Alumni of the Rockette Dance Education program, Rockette Summer Intensive at Radio City Music Hall (2008)
- Completed 'The Art of Teaching, The Teaching of Art' summer course at Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (2004)
Amanda Chretien is a versatile dancer and choreographer who began her dance training at the age of three. Training and studying in a variety of styles, today Amanda focuses her energy primarily on Jazz Funk, Hip Hop, Jazz, Burlesque, Tap and Contemporary. Much of Amanda’s passion for dance has been fostered through the Mount Pearl School of Dance where she has been teaching since 2007, and became Co-Artistic Director in 2010.
Amanda was a member of the Mount Pearl Show Choir, which gave her the opportunity to perform all over the world, including Disney, Florida and Disney, Japan. In 2010, Amanda was the recipient of the Dance Teachers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador 'Aspire' Scholarship. In 2011 she was successful in making it to “Final Week” in Toronto for the fifth, and final, season of the hit TV series “ So You Think You Can Dance Canada, where all the finalists from the cross-Canada city auditions competed. Some of her other performance credits include “Our Divas Do Christmas” (2009) and “White Christmas” (2011), both produced by TaDa! Events. Amanda has also completed her Advanced 1 I.S.T.D Modern Exam.
Amanda is the founder of “Red Hot Productions”, a local company that produces an annual commercial Burlesque show involving the entire dance community. She is also one of the founding members of the “Hustle to Get Here 3” winning crew “Soul Steps”, as well as a founding member of “Newfounddance”.
In 2012/2013 Amanda moved to Toronto, Ontario to pursue a career in professional dance. While living in Toronto, she was a dancer for Kwame Mensah in “Toronto’s Original Choreographers Ball” (December 2012, June 2013), a dancer in Diana Viselli’s concept video “Dream Girl” and taught Hip Hop at Martha Hicks School of Ballet. Amanda received a five week dance contract to perform in Dubai, United Arab Emirates through CMart Worldwide Productions and Lindsay Ritter Dance. There, she performed three times daily for the Dubai Shopping Festival. Amanda was thrilled to become a member of “The Cast”, a leading professional Hip Hop company under the direction of Angela Mahoney and Danny Davalos. This company gave her the highest quality training at the leading drop in studio in Toronto, O.I.P. Amanda’s music video credits include ; “Alive” (My name is Kay), “Tonight is the Night” (Eleven Past One), Nightbox, and Blake McGrath.
Danielle McGettigan M.Ed, B.Sc, B.Ed, AISTD
Danielle McGettigan has been performing on stage as a dancer and musician since the age of four and joined the teaching faculty of MPSD in 2007.
Life for her is music and rhythm, and this shines through in her one-of-a-kind, ever-evolving choreography and teaching style. With strong roots in Irish-Newfoundland step dance, Danielle expanded her horizons to all forms of tap dance. After a decade of training, she achieved Associate (Honours) status with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) in 2004. She has a versatile love, passion and knowledge for music theory, jazz, modern, hip-hop and musical theatre and of course all things TAP!
Danielle is committed to bringing the ideas, history and style of rhythm tap to her students while igniting a strong work ethic, technique and repertoire to help them find their own voice as dancers and performers.
A founding member of the East Coast Rhythm Project, Danielle has trained with Heather Cornell of Manhattan Tap, working with jazz musicians and percussionists. Her journey so far has allowed her to train and gain experience from many teachers, both locally and internationally. Career stage highlights include the CBC Soiree ’99 concert, St. John’s Maple Leafs Dance Team, George Street Festival, NL Folk Festival, Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man”, Juno Awards, ISTD Summer School, DTAN’s Dance Collage, East Coast Rhythm Project's "Hear Us Out", Red Hot Productions, Here Kitty Kitty Productions, TaDa presents Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” (2011, 2012) and Our Divas Do Christmas, Festival of New Dance…and the list goes on!
Also a high school teacher and event coordinator, Danielle holds a B.Sc in Applied Mathematics, a B.Ed in Intermediate/Secondary Education, and a M.Ed in Educational Leadership.
Mikayla has been a member of the MPSD faculty since 2014, and has been dancing since the age of 8. Irish dance has always been her passion, and she loves nothing more than sharing that passion and excitement with others. Mikayla is currently working towards the completion of the TCRG teachers certification with the Irish Dance Commission (An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha).
Mikayla also holds a B.A. in Gender Studies and English.
MAPS, B.Sc (Hons)
Maria Learning began dancing at the age of 5 in Conception Bay South, where she was born and raised.
She has taken lessons in a variety of dance disciplines, however she fell in love with Irish dancing at the age of 7. Irish has since become her true passion, having trained in both hard shoe and soft shoe dancing for over 15 years.
Maria’s current goal is to obtain her TCRG teacher’s certification with the An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, the Irish Dance Commission.
Most recently, in 2019, Maria attended the Irish Dance Festival in Ireland where she received amazing instruction from some of the best Irish teachers in the world, as well as the 2019 Eastern Canadian Regional Oireachtas.
She is excited to take what she learned in from both trips to further her own dancing as well as her students. Maria has also completed a Masters in Applied Psychological Science at Memorial University and currently works in Applied Health Research.
Performance credits include many productions of The Nutcracker, as well as Red Hot, Dance Teachers Association Awards, 2016 and 2017 Our Divas Do Christmas, as well as several 5678 Showtime and Dance Quest competitions.
AISTD Dip., R. Aud (C), MSc Audiological Science, BA
Allison is an instructor with the Dance For Young Children Program at MPSD, and has been a member of the teaching faculty since 2014. Allison completed a certificate in dance performance studies from George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario (2014) and holds her Associate Diploma in tap with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (2017). Allison has achieved intermediate levels with Royal Academy of Dance (Ballet), Cecchetti Canada (Ballet) and ISTD Modern Theatre.
Allison was the 2013 recipient of the Dance Teachers' Association of NL 'Aspire' scholarship. She has studied across Canada and internationally, having attended teaching training sessions with ISTD examiner Jackie Hayward in London, England (2019), the ISTD summer school in Chichester, England (2013), and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Teacher Training summer school in Winnipeg, Manitoba (2013).
Allison's love of children shines through in her classes, which focus on rhythm, musicality, strength building and free movement. In addition to her ISTD and DFYC instruction, Allison choreographs for competitions, and can be seen in TADA!’s production of “Our Divas Do Christmas”, where she has been a member of the dance company since 2014.
Allison also works as a Registered Audiologist at the Janeway, and holds her Master of Science degree in Audiology from University College London in London, England (2019).
Lindsay’s love of dance began with ballet at age 3 in Calgary, AB. Throughout the years she has enjoyed training in various styles such as Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Street Jazz, Hip Hop, Broadway, Latin and Irish.
She has performed in the Nutcracker Ballet for 3 years, has been cast as a dancer in the local hit show Our Divas Do Christmas since 2017 and performed in Hollywood Studios and danced on Main-street in Walt Disney World.
Lindsay holds her Royal Academy of Dance Ballet Intermediate Certification and has trained under various professional choreographers in Halifax, Toronto, New York and Florida. Lindsay has been a competitive dancer since the age of 12 at MPSD.
Her love for teaching was sparked when she began assisting in 2014 and has only grown since then. As Lindsay enters her 3 rd year of teaching, she’s excited to get into the studio with old and new students!
Outside the studio Lindsay is a third year Memorial University student aspiring to receive her Bachelor of Education degree.
McKenna is a student at Memorial University and a member of the MPSD competition team training in various styles including hip hop, lyrical, ballet, jazz, street jazz, musical theatre, and tap.
McKenna has been awarded the accolade of ‘Top Soloist’ at The View, Elite, Wanna Dance, Dance Quest, and 5678 Showtime competitions. McKenna has also been awarded ‘Top Young Choreographer’ and ‘Most Promising Pre-professional Dancer’.
Outside of competition, McKenna has also performed in Theatre St.John’s “Legends of Las Vegas”, is a former company member of Kittiwake Dance Theatre (“The Nutcracker”,“Alice in Wonderland”), and performant annually in TaDA! Events’ “Our Divas Do Christmas”. McKenna has also completed ten Cecchetti and RAD ballet exams, and was one of the first Newfoundlanders to complete the Advanced 2 RAD Ballet exam in the province.
Katie Foster has been dancing for over 23 years and began teaching back in 2013. She has trained locally at Mount Pearl School of Dance and with Red Hot Productions in various styles including ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, broadway, jazz funk, hip hop, and heels. Katie has been a company member of Red Hot Productions for 10 years. Being a part of the company has given her many opportunities to perform in concerts, festivals, hair shows, fundraisers, and other events all over Newfoundland.
Katie began assisting in 2012 and quickly fell in love with inspiring and motivating students toward their personal growth as dancers. She started teaching adult heels with Red Hot Productions in 2013, and then joined the MPSD faculty and The Clique (summer and competition team) staff in 2015, where she began teaching in all the different styles she has trained in.
Katie graduated from Memorial University in 2016 with her BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration), however she continues to pursue her career as a choreographer and teacher.
Mary’s dance journey began in 2005 when she first stepped foot in Mount Pearl School of Dance. She has taken classes in many styles including, ballet, pointe, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, broadway, street jazz, tap and irish step. Mary has successfully completed numerous RAD Ballet examinations, several Cecchetti Ballet examinations, as well as three CLRG Irish dance exams.
Mary began dancing competitively with MPSD at the age of 14, and has since competed in many local competitions, travelled to Halifax in 2019 for the Limelight dance competition, and has also travelled to Toronto and Montreal to take part in additional training opportunities. Outside of competing and travelling, Mary has had the joy of spending many years assisting the founder of Mount Pearl School of Dance, Michele Newhook, in the Dance for Young Children Program, Ballet/Jazz combo class and Tap classes. This is where Mary discovered her love for teaching, a joy which she has carried with her to Memorial University where she is currently completing a Bachelor of Education, in the primary and elementary grades.
Mary is so excited to return as a teacher for the Ballet/Jazz combo class this year.
Sara began dancing at the age of 5 and has trained in many styles including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and Irish. Her true love of tap developed when she started her tap exams under the training of Miss Beth, and Sara has completed her Advanced 2 ISTD tap exam. From there she has travelled to England and Toronto to further her training in ISTD tap continuing professional development courses. She has also travelled with the MPSD Irish Dance Team, where she is known as “Nan”, to train at the Irish Dance Festival in Co. Louth, Ireland. Sara has completed Grade 5 in Irish exams.
In recent years Sara can be found teaching jazz and tap on Friday night as well as taking tap classes from Miss Danielle. This past year Sara jumped into the competition world by choreographing tap pieces for her amazing students.
Sara holds a BBA from Memorial University and currently works in office administration. When not at dance she can be found at the hockey rink where she is team manager for her son Eric’s (aka Racecar) hockey team and cheering in the stands.
Jane’s passion for dance began at the age of three when she began dancing with a local dance company in St. John's.
Throughout her career, she has obtained extensive training in Ballet, Jazz, Broadway, Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz funk and Hip Hop. Her main focus has been Hip Hop which she has trained in for over ten years.
Jane began dancing with the Mount Pearl School of Dance in 2014. During this time, she has competed in various competitions; in groups, duets and solos (5,6,7,8, The View, Dance Quest, Wanna Dance and Limelight).
She has also performed in Take The Rock Showcase as a member of the "Graffiti Girls" hip hop crew. Jane has assisted teaching for four years and has continued to express her love of hip hop through teaching for the last three years. Jane has also been an instructor for Freedom Hip Hop Dance Training and currently teaches with The Clique Dance Company as well.
Although the majority of her training has been from the Mount Pearl School of Dance, she has also had the opportunity to train in Halifax, Toronto and New York.
Sophie Lawson is a graduate of the Alberta Ballet School Post Graduate/Teacher Training Program in Calgary. During her time there she trained predominantly under the instruction of Joyce Shietze, Edmund Stripe and Murray Kilgour. Along with numerous workshop and performance opportunities, she also assisted and taught classes in the Alberta Ballet School’s Open Division and Professional Division.
Prior to her time at Alberta Ballet School, Sophie graduated from the Quinte Ballet School of Canada Professional Training Program in Belleville, Ontario. During her training at QBSC she completed high school with honours and received the Ontario Scholar Award. She performed several roles in the Quinte Ballet School “Nutcracker” and Year end shows. Some of her performance highlights while at Quinte include; dancing in the U19 women’s world floorball championship opening ceremonies and “The Ballet Conservatory” set by Henning Albrechtsen of the Royal Danish Ballet. She is thankful for the experience and opportunity to train with many incredible teachers and mentors throughout her years of professional training.
Sophie’s early dance training began in Newfoundland at the age of 3, where she trained in many dance styles including Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Pointe, Hip Hop and Broadway. Throughout her training she has attended numerous dance workshops and summer intensives including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Summer Intensive, Ballet Jörgen Summer Intensive, the Quinte Ballet School Summer Intensives and Broadway Dance Center Summer Workshops. It was after attending the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School at 13 years of age, Sophie decided to pursue her love for ballet. She continued her training locally for a few more years at Coastal Dance Company and Mount Pearl School of Dance before commencing her training at the Quinte Ballet School. Throughout her years of training she has completed her Cecchetti examinations up to and including Advanced 1(Honours), ISTD Modern Exams, as well as her RAD ballet exams up to and including Advanced 2.
Since returning to Newfoundland, Sophie completed her Advanced 2 RAD exam under the instruction of Elisabeth Pardy. She began teaching Ballet at Mount Pearl School of Dance in the fall of 2020 and her love for sharing her passion for dance has continued to grow since then.