ARTISTIC FACULTY

Professional Training Program

Catherine Taylor
Artistic Director

Catherine Taylor is now in her 10th year as Artistic Director of the Quinte Ballet School of Canada, having joined the faculty in 2012. Born in Toronto, Catherine received her dance education at the National Ballet School of Canada. Following her graduation, she moved to Winnipeg to study with David Moroni at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.  Prior to joining the teaching staff of the RWB School, Catherine danced as a member of the RWB corps de ballet, performing in ballets by Sir Frederick Ashton, John Neumeier, Kurt Jooss, Oscar Araiz and John Butler. At the invitation of Arnold Spohr, Catherine joined the artistic staff of the RWB. As the Assistant to the Artistic Director, a position that she held for over 20 years, she worked with many international choreographers, such as Van Manen, Van Dantzig, Sir Peter Wright, Jiri Kylian and works by Balanchine. Along with teaching company class she was responsible for staging much of the Company’s repertoire. Catherine also returned to the stage as a character artist in roles, including; Juliet’s Nurse in van Dantzig’s Romeo & Juliet, Berthe in Sir Wright’s Giselle, Lead Hungarian and Queen Mother in Swan Lake and Queen in Sleeping Beauty.

After moving to Ottawa in 2000 with her family, Catherine continued to work as a guest teacher and rehearsal director with Ballet Jorgen, Ballet British Columbia and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. During this time, she has been a guest faculty member with the RWB’s Professional Summer School and Dance Intensive, Banff Centre’s summer dance program, Arts Umbrella in Vancouver and Cedar Lake Dance, New York. Also during this time she was on the faculty of The School of Dance, Ottawa.  Cathy has served as a jury member for Manitoba Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Heritage Canada and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. She is an alumnus of both the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and National Ballet School.


Desirée Botting
Assistant to the Artistic Director
Ballet, Pointe, Repertoire, Conditioning

Desirée started her professional dance training at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada under the direction of founding Artistic Director, Brian Scott. After graduating from the Professional Training Program, she completed the Cecchetti teacher training program. She has performed with the Cuballet de Vernon in Havana, and Toronto’s Desrosiers Dance Theatre. Desirée has been with the Quinte Ballet School of Canada for over fifteen years as an instructor within both the professional and recreation divisions, and also acts as the Assistant to the Artistic Director for the Professional Training Program.


Gizella Witkowsky – Ballet, Pointe, Repertoire

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Gizella Witkowsky graduated from the National Ballet School and joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1975 and enjoyed an illustrious 20-year career with the company. During that time she performed lead roles in all of the major classical ballets, and has worked with many world renowned choreographers and had the honour of performing with some of the world’s greatest dancers.  Ms. Witkowsky also has extensive experience in theatre and dance productions both in Canada and abroad. She has taught master classes at numerous Ontario dance festivals. Ms. Witkowsky continues to help develop and inspire future generations in the world of arts.


Alina Adjemian, A.I.S.T.D. (Cecchetti), T.T.P., P.A.E.C. (Ballet, Pointe, Variations)
Ballet, Contemporary Ballet, Pointe, Repertoire, Modern Basic

After dancing professionally for many years with Ottawa Ballet, P.M. Jazz, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, Ontario Ballet Theatre and Atlantic Ballet Company, Alina Adjemian transitioned to choreography and teaching through The National Ballet School.  An instructor for over 20 years, she taught and acted as Dance Department Head at Toronto’s Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, Jaymor School of Dance and High Points Dance Academy.  Alina has trained many young professionals that have gone on to join professional ballet companies across Canada and Europe or have joined productions such as Mama Mia, The Producers and Chicago.


Kristina McIntosh – Ballet, Pointe, Dancing  with  Parkinson’s

Kristina McIntosh trained at the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement, Quinte Ballet School of Canada and dance intensives at Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh Ballet School and Princeton Ballet School. Upon graduation, she attended Ryerson University, graduating with a Theatre Diploma and Royal Academy of Dance teaching certificate. Kristina performed with the Paula Moreno Spanish Dance company before starting her teaching career with the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement. In 2000, Kristina joined the faculty of the Quinte Ballet School of Canada for both the Professional and Recreation divisions. She has a teaching certificate from the Cecchetti Society, and also runs the Dancing with Parkinson’s program at QBSC.


Emma Kerson – Modern

Emma Kerson (she / her) is a Tkaronto / Toronto-based dancer, choreographer, teacher, and writer. Currently embarking on a Master’s in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto, she is a graduate of Dalhousie University and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (faculty: Young Dancers’ Program, director: Summer Dance Camp). She joined the faculty of the Quinte Ballet School of Canada in 2016. emmakerson.ca


Kareem Byfield – Jazz, Hip  Hop

Kareem has been an instructor with QBSC for over 10 years and teaches Hip Hop and Jazz in both the Professional Training Program and Recreation Division. With a successful teaching career that spans over 20 years, Kareem is also the proud owner of Chemistry Dance Competition, an author and photographer living in Toronto. He has worked across Canada as both an instructor and adjudicator and has choreographed a variety of shows through his previous companies and businesses. Visit kareembyfield.com  and chemistrydance.com


Wayne Corinaldi – Hip Hop

Wayne Corinaldi has over 23 years of experience as a Hip Hop dancer and choreographer.  He has performed at many venues and events including the Much Music Video Awards, Nathan Phillips Square, and the Millennium Celebration in Niagara Falls. Wayne has been a choreographer for the DLM Dance and Entertainment Company, the Harbourfront Centre, and he is currently choreographer with the PSB Dance Academy, Interplay, and the London School of Dance. He has been a Hip Hop instructor and choreographer with the Quinte Ballet School of Canada for over several years in both the professional and recreation divisions.


Recreational Division

Blythe Graziano, Recreation Division Dance Coordinator
RAD, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Adult Ballet, Adult Modern, Contemporary

Growing up in Victoria B.C. Blythe has been immersed in the world of dance from the time she was born.  Having trained with Maureen Eastick at Pacific Dance Centre she established her ballet technique while exploring other forms of dance such as tap with Sherri Black and modern with Linda Raino, among many others.   Eventually this led her to programs such as Peggy Baker’s Summer Dance Program and the Toronto Dance Theatre.  After making the difficult decision not to pursue a career in dance Blythe turned her attention to raising her young family.  It was then that she discovered yoga, and soon found herself dedicated to the practice of Ashtanga.  Under the guidance of David Gellineau at Beach Yoga Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Blythe completed her teachers training and soon began to teach there.  Over the following decade it was here that she developed her own style of teaching, bringing her acute body awareness that she learned through her intense ballet  training to the practice of yoga by focusing on the alignment of the body.  When her daughter began to dance at Quinte Ballet School, she felt inspired and ready to return to her roots of ballet and to be a part of QBSC’s teaching team and RAD program. She is excited to fuse the intuitive alignment and breath control of yoga with the artistry and physicality of ballet.


Allison Nichol- Recreation Division
Ballet, Contemporary

Allison Nichol is a professional dance artist with 20+ years’ experience in classical ballet, contemporary and modern dance and more than a decade of teaching dance to movers of all ages and levels of experience. She is a dedicated and passionate teacher who creates all original exercises and choreographies for her classes. She believes in mindful, healthful movement to keep students dancing for as long as they want to, and she keeps artistic expression at the core of her work.  Originally from Toronto and a graduate of the dance department at the Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA), Allison has a BFA with honours in Contemporary Dance from Concordia University in Montreal as well as a MA in Transdisciplinary Art from the Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland.  Allison works professionally as a teacher, choreographer, and rehearsal director. Her choreographic works have been presented in Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and The Netherlands.


Rebecca Funari – Recreation Division
Pre-Primary, Primary, Tap, Jazz

Rebecca began her training in Winnipeg, Manitoba at Studio One School of Performing Arts where she discovered her passion and love for dance.  At age 11 she won first place in the 11-13 year old Lyrical solo division at the Canadian National Dance Convention.  That same year she auditioned for the professional training program at QBSC.  At 12 years old, she moved from Winnipeg to Belleville and began her professional training career.  In 2014 she had achieved her Advanced 1 in Cecchetti, and a 2nd High School Diploma with an arts certificate. She is thrilled to be teaching at QBSC, a place that she will always consider home.


Heidi Rogers – Recreation Division
Lyrical

Heidi Rogers, a student from the professional training program, will be joining the Quinte Ballet School teaching staff this year. Heidi has been dancing since she was two years old and fell in love with teaching younger dancers at the age of 13. Heidi had the privilege of attending the National Ballet School and Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s summer dance intensives. Heidi has travelled to many dance conventions training under numerous dance teachers from all over the world and is excited to share her favourite teaching techniques she’s learned along the way. Heidi is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with the recreational junior lyrical class this coming year!


Guest Faculty

Henning Albrechtsen – Guest Teacher, Ballet

Born in Denmark, Henning Albrechtsen was engaged as dancer at Royal Danish Ballet in 1985. Since 1997, he has been on the faculty at the Royal Danish Ballet School. In his career with RDB he danced a variety of soloist and principal roles in classical and neo-classical repertoire ranging from Bournonville to Balanchine.  From 2000 to 2007, he was the Deputy Artistic Director of Royal Danish Ballet. In 2007, he enrolled in the Teachers Training Program for former professional dancers at the National Ballet School of Canada where he completed the one-year educational program and in 2008 was invited back to the Royal Danish Ballet School as a full-time member of the faculty. Henning Albrechtsen has taught at various schools throughout the world including the Paris Opera Ballet School, Royal Ballet School, New Zealand School of Dance, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, the National Ballet School of Cuba and the National Ballet School of Canada. In addition, he has taught the Bournonville technique in Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, and Spain.  In the past few years, Henning has travelled to Belleville to instruct the professional dance division in the Bournonville technique, which has been showcased during the past few Spring Showcases.


Dreda Blow, Guest Teacher, Ballet,
Improv, Contemporary Choreography, Drama

Dreda Blow is a dancer, actor, choreographer and teacher with an enormous passion for theatre and a lifelong appetite for learning! When Dreda graduated from National Ballet School in 2003, she headed straight to Holland to continue training at the Conservatory in The Hague until she landed her first job in the corps with Dutch National Ballet. Eventually she made Northern Ballet in Leeds, UK her home where she worked her way to principal dancer, touring and performing narrative productions with Northern Ballet in the UK for eleven years. She danced some amazing roles like Cinderella, Juliet and Jane Eyre.

Her fascination with the beautiful way movement can tell stories led to enthusiastic studies of physical theatre, commedia and mask work. Since returning to Canada, Dreda has been teaching dance, drama and musical theatre to children and adults, facilitating movement exploration workshops for actors and choreographing her own work. She is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the students at Quinte and can’t wait to share ideas, exploring the body’s expressive potencial with such bright, lovely young dancers

Dreda Blow is a dancer, actor, choreographer and teacher with an enormous passion for theatre and a lifelong appetite for learning! When Dreda graduated from National Ballet School in 2003, she headed straight to Holland to continue training at the Conservatory in The Hague until she landed her first job in the corps with Dutch National Ballet. Eventually she made Northern Ballet in Leeds, UK her home where she worked her way to principal dancer, touring and performing narrative productions with Northern Ballet in the UK for eleven years. She danced some amazing roles like Cinderella, Juliet and Jane Eyre.

Her fascination with the beautiful way movement can tell stories led to enthusiastic studies of physical theatre, commedia and mask work. Since returning to Canada, Dreda has been teaching dance, drama and musical theatre to children and adults, facilitating movement exploration workshops for actors and choreographing her own work. She is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the students at Quinte and can’t wait to share ideas, exploring the body’s expressive potencial with such bright, lovely young dancers.


Valerie Scannura, Guest Teacher
Flamenco

Valerie Scannura had been performing and teaching Flamenco and Spanish dance for ten years prior to founding her own company and school, Ritmo Flamenco in 1995.  Valerie graduated from the National Ballet School’s prestigious teacher training program and taught ballet exclusively for five years before flamenco became her main love. Valerie herself has been traveling to Spain since 1992 and has had the privilege of attending classes at the historic “Amor de Dios” studio as well as all the important flamenco centers in Seville, Granada and Jerez. Established in 1995, her company, Ritmo Flamenco Dance and Music Ensemble integrates the art forms of flamenco with contemporary dance. Based in Toronto, she runs daily classes and company rehearsals with a satellite studio in Prince Edward County. Valerie continues to be invited as a Guest Teacher at QBSC and enjoys working with students in the professional training program at QBSC during the Summer Dance Intensive and school year. To learn more about Valerie and Ritmo Flamenco visit www.ritmoflamenco.net




ACCOMPANISTS

Tibor Csaszar
Tom Dietzel
Sandy Parisi-Unger


GUEST FACULTY

Henning Albrechtsen – Ballet Master Classes, Boys Work, Bournonville Master

Valerie Scannura – Flamenco

Dreda Blow – Ballet, Drama, Contemporary Choreography

Andrea Downie – Conditioning

Drew Berry – Dance Improv

Mark Godden – Ballet, Contemporary Choreography

Andrea Nann – Movement, Motivation Workshops