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Introducing our staff…
Melissa Mahady Wilton, M.A.
Young Dancers Program, Ballet (Coaching and Conditioning, Ballet Company), Pointe, Broadway Jazz, World Beat
Melissa Mahady Wilton holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Queen’s University, where she was awarded the W.R. Thompson Prize; Medal In Psychology; Ontario Graduate Scholarship; Queen’s University Graduate Award; A.Z. Arthur Prize; Queen’s University Graduate Fellowship; R. Samuel McLaughlin Fellowship; and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. Her research on bullying and victimization has been published in scholarly journals. Ms. Mahady Wilton has formally trained in classical ballet (Vaganova, Cecchetti), ballroom (international, social), Latin (international, social), wheelchair dance, flamenco, Spanish classical, tap, jazz, Afro Cuban and numerous cultural dances. Melissa is presently enrolled in formal certification training for the Vaganova Syllabus, under the mentorship of renowned master teacher Inna Stabrova, Master’s Choreography; Vaganova State Academy of Ballet and Choreography, St. Petersburg, Russia. She earned a Certificate of Merit with Honours from master teacher Finis Jhung’s ballet teacher intensive training. Melissa holds dance medicine certificates in foot and ankle function, injury prevention and assessment, pointe readiness and shoe fitting, and adolescent dancer health from the Harkness Centre for Dance Injuries, at NYU’s School of Medicine. Melissa is a Master Teacher of wheelchair ballroom dance; the only teacher in Canada certified by the American DanceWheels Foundation.
Building upon her clinical and dance training and commitment to therapeutic arts, Melissa is the founder and director of ConCorpsDance Inclusive Dance Programs, a Kingston organization devoted to dance for people of all abilities. Her expertise in inclusive dance has been recognized by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Kingston, the Kingston Arts Council, the Ontario Communities in Action Fund, Exceptional Families Magazine and Queen’s Alumni Review. She has presented master workshops to Variety Village, Bloorview Kids’ Rehabilitation Centre, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, and Queen’s University. She is the head of dance programming at H’art Centre, and provides inclusive programming to school and community groups. She is the Choreographer for Peerless Productions, a production company she founded with Kathryn Mackay and David Archibald, dedicated to presenting professional theatre for all abilities, whose works have been supported by the Kingston Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.
As the City of Kingston’s Dance Engagement Coordinator, Melissa liaises with professional dance artists to create residencies, master classes and educational events, under the Ontario Dances Program. She was appointed by Ontario Dances to lead an inaugural dance outreach project in four Northern Ontario communities., and has been asked to serve on Ontario Arts Council dance grant juries. She is the former Chairperson of Canada DanceSport, host of the 2009 World Senior Standard Ballroom Dance Championships.
At the Kingston School of Dance, Melissa co-directs the Ballet Program, directs Ballet Company, and teaches Imagine Dance, Pre-Primary Ballet, Primary Ballet, Ballet 1/2/3/4/5, Pre-pointe, Pointe 1/2 and 2/3, Ballet Coaching and Conditioning, Broadway Jazz 1/2 and 3/4, and World Beat. It is her great privilege to share the joy of dance.
Ballet, Repertoire & Pointe
Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, she was trained in classical and Iberian dance traditions. Professionally, she danced with the National Ballet of Canada for seven years with such luminaries as Karen Kain, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. She also danced with the Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Ballet Jorgen Canada and the Canadian Opera Company. During those years, she performed at The Met, Kennedy Center, the National Arts Centre, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Classically, she trained in the Vaganova/Russian method with Irine Fokine (Mikhail Fokine’s niece and Anna Pavlova’s goddaughter) and with Luba Gulyaeva (soloist with the Kirov/Mariinski.) After retiring from the National, she taught flamenco for Esmeralda Enrique’s Academy of Spanish Dance in Toronto. In 2001 she founded 1000 Islands Flamenco, the region’s first Flamenco dance company and school.
In sharing the beauty and fluidity of movement that the Vaganova style encompasses as well as the diversity of styles she experienced as a professional dancer (Danish, English, French, Spanish, Balanchine…), she hopes to inspire technical clarity and joy of dance.
Contemporary, Sr. Company, Early Arts Exposure
Sasha French spent her formative years in the Florida Keys studying classical piano and working in the local hospital on a pre-nursing track. During University, French continued her work in hospitals, but found herself drawn back to the arts. While pursuing a BFA in Dance at the University of Florida, she worked and created with arts in medicine programming at Shands Hospital, in Parkinson’s movement therapy research, and founded her touring company. After university, French toured with Moving Current Dance Collective, performed with professional theatre, worked as faculty at a college and as a guest artist in museums and schools. Continuing to create and perform work with her dancers, French went to Duke University to work for the American Dance Festival in arts management and finally returned to the University of Florida as an Artist in Residence. An international move brought her to Kingston in 2014 where she currently runs the advanced contemporary and company classes as well as the early arts education program at the Kingston School of Dance. French is also a teaching artist at the Tett Centre for school and group programming.
Contemporary, Jr. C0mpany, Sr. Company
Originally from Kingston, Kay Kenney grew up dancing at the Kingston School of Dance where she received up to her Elementary Cecchetti certificate in ballet. In 2009 she moved to Ottawa to pursue her studies in dance at The School of Dance Professional Contemporary Dance 3 year Diploma Programme, where she worked with great Canadian artists such as Brian Webb, Susie Burpee, Louise Bédard, Martin Bélanger, Heidi Strauss and Ginelle Chagnon. Kay has performed work for Caroline Barrière, Cathy Kyle-Fenton, Sylvie Desrosiers/Dorsale Danse, Jocelyn Todd/Lawless Dance Co and has worked in collaboration with Andrea Nann/Dreamwalker Dance Co(2014-2015). In spring 2013, she was invited back to Kingston through the Kingston School of Dance under a Kingston Arts Council Grant to create and perform work at The Grand Theatre and last past spring premiered her first full length work, initially/(un)conditionally presented in The first annual Juvenis Festival. Other festivals Kenney has been a part of include Jazz Fest (Ottawa), Dusk Dances (Ottawa), Summerworks (Toronto), Kingston Promenade (Kingston), Nuit Blanche (Ottawa), Quartiers Danse Festival (Montreal) and was the choreographer for A Chorus Line presented by Blue Canoe Productions in the Kick and Push Festiva l(Kingston 2015). Most recently Kenney was invited to perform a new solo work titled 6/26/80 in the second edition of Dark Horse Dance Projects in Ottawa and worked in creation and performance for MayDay Danse (Montreal). For the past 5 years Kenney has performed and choreographed work for Dances By Youth For Youth, a project originally mentored by Peter Boneham and has assisted Boneham during his teachings in Montreal. Currently a company member of Ottawa Dance Directive, where she has worked and collaborated with artists such as Andrew Turner, Melanie Demers, Harold Rheaume and artistic director Yvonne Coutts. Kenney has also been a company member of Social Growl Dance since 2013, under artistic direction of Riley Sims (Toronto), where she also acts a rehearsal director for projects and intensives. Kenney is a very proud member of the Kingston Community and is passionate about evolving the artistic experiences within the city, to open knew doors and give new opportunities for expression and collaboration. She is thrilled to be back teaching at the Kingston School of Dance!
Swing & Lindy Hop
One of Tammy’s earliest memories is dancing along to Swan Lake on the VCR of her parents’ living room at the age of three. She grew up immersed in dance at Spotlight Dance Centre and the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, BC. Although her first love was ballet, Tammy found her true passion when she stumbled upon Lindy Hop (Swing Dance) at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. As she had only been exposed to solo dancing up to that point, she was especially drawn to the joy and magic of conversing with one’s partner through dance, the energy and liveliness of Swing music, as well as the camaraderie the wider Lindy Hop community embodies.
For the past 13 years, Tammy has taught and performed for a variety of community, private, charity, and corporate events in and around the Limestone City (www.LimestoneSwing.com). Some career highlights include dancing in the Fort Henry Tattoo, performing to live Swing/Big Band music by the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, and teaching annual Vernacular Jazz Dance workshops for Shad Valley Queen’s. Tammy was a founding member and coach for the Swinger’s Dozen, a performance troupe based out of Queen’s University, and has won awards in partnered social dance competitions such as the Canadian Swing Championships in Montreal and Blues Blast in Ottawa.
Tammy joined the teaching staff at the Kingston School of Dance in 2013, offering group classes and private lessons in Lindy Hop. She is excited for the coming dance season, and she looks forward to sharing her love of Lindy Hop with you!
Tap & Acro
Boys Street Dance & Hip Hop
Jazz & Mini Dance