Christine Walker recently won "Best Dance Instructor" with the Toronto Star 2019 for the Reader's Choice Awards with St. Clair Dance Collective. She is a professional dancer, teacher, choreographer, actor & model with over 20 years of dance experience. She began her training in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and contemporary at Sheila Parkins School of Dance, Ethel Bruneau’s Tap School & Ballet Divertimento. Walker then moved to Toronto and graduated from Ryerson University with a BFA in Dance (2013).
Christine has performed in contemporary dance with junior company in T-Danz Festival (2009) in France & Spain, performed with the Stella Adler’s Studio of Acting with the MADAIR project in NYC (2010) and worked with Louise Bedard at Springboard Danse Montreal (2010). She was an actress and dancer in Naught Theatre Company, Something is Wrong, in Toronto (2013). She has performed in music video 'This Wild Heart' by The Nursery and most recently dancer in music video by Hollerado (2017).
She worked as a professional dancer with Creativiva (2015-16), Bash Fx and Kulkat Entertainment (2018). A winner in Latin Ballroom in Bronze & Silver with Canada Dance Council (2016), and most proudly a hip hop dancer for the Opening Ceremonies for the Pan AM Games with Cirque du Soleil in Toronto (2015). She also was featured in a photoshoot for Seed9 magazine “Poor But Sexy” in Toronto.
She has also trained at many renowned summer camps such as Perry Mansfield, USA (on scholarship) with works by Nicholas Villeneuve & Sidra Bell; Domaine Forget, CAN with works by Edgar Zendejas; Broadway Theatre Project, USA, O Vertigo, CAN, Movement Invention Project, NYC & Kenny Pearl’s Emerging Artist’s Intensive, CAN.
With a passion in teaching, Miss Walker has taught in over 250 public/private schools, dance studios, community centres, daycares and arts camps teaching well over 1000 students in dance education. Her mission is to provide high-quality dance classes to all ages and abilities!
“A true educator at heart, Christine is bright, cheerful, charismatic and has a special talent for encouraging and inspiring others” – Former Colleague, Dance Instructor.
A prairie girl at heart, Liisa Smith grew up dancing in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Throughout elementary school she trained, performed, and was examined in studio tap and jazz dance. During her high school years, she relocated to Karachi, Pakistan and Zug, Switzerland. Not having the studio setting she was used to, Liisa took the opportunity to continue her training by teaching younger students and peers through after school dance programs, running her own Saturday morning classes for young kids, and working as teaching assistant for her high school dance teacher. Artistically Liisa dove in to choreographing and improvising in the forms she already knew and was introduced to modern dance. Learning about this genre of dance opened her mind to new ways of expression through movement and encouraged her to pursue a post-secondary education in dance.
Now a Toronto based artist, Liisa has an Honours BFA in dance from York University and has reveled in the opportunity to train and perform with many accomplished artists living in and travelling to the city. Liisa is Founder and Artistic Director of random acts of dance; a charitable dance organization that creates, performs, and produces contemporary dance including a community-minded festival: Your Dance Fest.
Interest in spontaneous composition and fusing dance forms, has led to Liisa's diverse physicality in her creative and pedagogical pursuits. Working as a choreographer, dancer, and teacher, she is fascinated by how each modality of her art form informs the next. Liisa’s choreography incorporates both small gestures and grandiose movements. In the culmination of the two, her dancing is expressive and emotive while still physical and engaging.
As an educator, Liisa strives to teach finding joy within hard work and a love for movement that endures. Her classes are constantly evolving as she learns new information through teaching experience, diving in to her own creativity, collaborating with other artists, learning more about anatomy and dance science, and researching the history behind the dancing we do. She moves forward by learning from the past and being open in the present moment.
Liisa is a mother of two who lives in the St Clair West neighbourhood. She loves handy work, the feeling of fixing something, and diving into a new craft or building project. She is passionate about the environment and tries to put eco ideas into action in her volunteer work with St. Clair Reduces. Liisa has a need to get outdoors every day and loves board games and a good cup of tea.
Deanna LeFort’s love for dance began at a very young age through her classical training in Ballet. Training under Stephanie Landry and Wendy Holt, Deanna successfully achieved all of her Royal Academy of Dance Examinations, including her Advanced 2. She progressed by adding Jazz and Tap to her technical repertoire, and was a competitive dancer in Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop, and Musical Theatre. Deanna became a dance assistant at the age of 12 and has 4 years of experience teaching children from 2 to 18 years of age. She is also a member of the BATD, as she completed her Teacher’s Associate Jazz and Tap examinations.
Deanna is currently studying at York University in the Psychology and Education programs. She is Co-Captain and Choreographer of Rise Dance Company, a team that competes annually with Universities across Ontario and Quebec. This team has enabled Deanna to further pursue her love for dance and learn new ways to express herself and the stories of others through movement.
Dance has led Deanna to her love for teaching both in dance and academics. She believes that every child learns in a unique way and is dedicated as a teacher to help each dancer flourish into the best dancer and person they can be. She is passionate about making dance more accessible and focuses on inclusion in her dance classrooms, believing every child should have the opportunity to dance.
Rachel has always loved music, dance and theatre since she was a young child. She started ballet and tap at the tender age of 3. Throughout her training years she completed her Cecchetti Ballet exams from grade one to advanced one, as well as ISTD Tap exams from grade one to intermediate. She was part of two youth dance companies, Helix Dance Theatre and Eclat Youth Dance Company on Vancouver Island, where she grew up. This allowed her to work with many guest artists and choreographers such as Monica Proenca and Davi Rodrigues. Rachel also attended the Goh Ballet summer programs in 2014 and 2015.
She grew up in a studio environment, as her mum is a ballet teacher, therefore she was always assisting and being a role model for the younger kids classes. Rachel started teaching children’s ballet and substituting for older kids classes at the age of 14.
When she was 16 she moved to Toronto to attend the two year Performance Studies Program, at George Brown College. She graduated in 2018 with honours, and proceeded into Canada’s Ballet Jorgen’s Mentorship program. This unique opportunity allowed her to work in the company for a year, touring with Nutcracker & performing in Coppelia. During her time as a Mentorship student she had the opportunity to have one on one coaching with Svea Eklof, former principal dancer of Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Rachel also got to work with Alyssa Pires, who choreographed a piece on her and the other mentor students.
Just before completing her Mentorship she got to be a part of the Chimera Project, which is directed by Malgorzata Nowacka- May. They explored with combining classical ballet with Native Hoop dance and partnering. Then to finish off the season she worked with Ballet Jorgen on their Ballet 101 program. This was such a wonderful experience, as she got to teach children from all over Ontario about the love of dance.
Rachel also attended Canada’s Ballet Jorgen’s summer dance intensives in 2016 and 2017. This lead to her becoming a chaperone and leader for the kids in the summer intensives.
Then in November of 2019 Rachel moved to Montreal for a contract in Ballet Ouest’s production of the Nutcracker. During her time touring in Quebec she danced the roles of Snow, Chinese and Waltz of the flowers.
Next she is looking at becoming certified in Pilates, as it’s something she’s passionate about. Rachel is excited to share her love and knowledge for dance with all her students. Expressing yourself through music and movement is so powerful. She loves watching her students grow through creativity.
Hip Hop Teacher
Emilie Kirchgesner is thrilled to join the staff as a hip hop teacher for the St. Clair Dance Collective. Emilie has been dancing, singing, and acting since the age of 3. She grew up dancing competitively in every style, and trained in several musical theatre intensives in New York and Los Angeles. She has been fortunate to train under numerous Broadway actors and choreographers. Emilie was very involved in the Arts in high school while completing her advanced tap and advanced 1 ballet exams. After high school, Emilie moved from Saskatoon to Toronto to attend Randolph Academy and was able to perform at Canada’s Wonderland for two seasons (Halloween Haunt and Winterfest).
Emilie’s passion for hip hop and urban style has landed her several roles in music videos, acting commercials, guest workshops, fashion shoots, and an agency signing. She has also developed her own merchandise (emrosemerch.com) and continues to collaborate with other artists, musicians, dancers, and choreographers on numerous projects.
Emilie continues to push the boundaries of her choreography, and at 20 years old, sees endless possibilities for her dance and performance. She wants to instill her passion and love of dance and movement in all of the students, and hopes that they see the joy and excitement dance brings her. She has taught and/or assisted at many different drop-in, competitive, and recreational studios. She loves the challenge that teaching presents to her, and brings experience teaching dancers of all ages, physically challenged, privates, and large groups. Emilie plans to attend college in fashion design in 2021, while continuing to create, model, and express her passion for performance.