Director, In Studio
A graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program, Kate Kernaghan received her Royal Academy of Dance Teacher’s Certificate, as well as her Associate from the Imperial Society of Teacher’s of Dancing. She is also a Fletcher Pilates Licensed provider as well as a CanFit Pro Personal Trainer. Having had former students go onto Canada's National Ballet School, The Ailey School, the School of Alberta Ballet and Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Ms. Kernaghan’s dedication to teaching and to her students never goes unnoticed. Ms. Kernaghan’s wealth of teaching experience in both the dance and fitness community lend to her confident, dynamic yet caring teaching style.
Portia is a Certified Yoga and Pilates instructor, a Personal Trainer, a former Registered Nurse as well as a lifelong wellness enthusiast. Portia is passionate about health and wellness and brings enthusiasm and positivity to every class she instructs.
Johanna Bergfeldt was born in Sweden and trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School. She has an extensive performance background beginning with Östgötabaletten in Sweden where she worked for six years. She later joined Norrdans, and Barents Dance Ensemble. She came to Canada in 2000 and was a dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre for six years. She has worked with numerous choreographers and companies including Kate Alton, Louis Laberge-Côté and ProArteDanza to name a few. Ms. Bergfeldt has been nominated three times for a Dora Mavor Moore Award. She teaches regularly at Canada’s National Ballet School, Dance-teq, GMD, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and Toronto Dance Theatre, as well as teaching Pilates at Riverdale Pilates.
Argentinian born Mercedes Bernardez had an international performing career as a Principal Dancer and as Ballet Mistress in several ballet companies in Argentina, Chile and Venezuela. Ms. Bernardez was Artistic Director at Quinte Ballet School from 1997 to 2003, before moving to Calgary to become Ballet Mistress at Alberta Ballet. Ms. Bernardez has been a guest teacher for Richmond Academy of Dance and Dance Umbrella in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ms. Bernardez now teaches company class for both The National Ballet of Canada and Ballet Jörgen Canada.
Shavar "Caution" Blackwood has had the opportunity to work with choreographers and performers such as Allen Kaeja, Luther Brown, Sean Cheeseman, Siona Jackson, Mandy Moore and Bill T. Jones.
His passion for dance lets him take his ideas of the Hip Hop culture to the next level by fusing it with different forms of dance such as Contemporary, House, Vogue, Popping and Krump. These principles led Mr. Blackwood to achieve a Top 14 spot on Season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada and to perform in the Lifetime movie Aaliyah The Princess of R&B, Family Channel’s Naturally Sadie and with artists such as Cascada, Mcfly, George Nozuka, Divine Brown and Jacksoul.
Mr. Blackwood has taught for many institutions such as Canada’s National Ballet School, City Dance Corps, OIP Dance Centre, among others. He has choreographed for events with SickKids Canada, Toronto’s Choreographers’ Ball, Bazaar, Fever, TDSB Martin Luther King Remembrance Day celebration at Roy Thompson Hall and was the winner of Manifesto Dance Competition.
Annemarie Cabri is one of the few Teaching Artists with extensive experience in Brain-Compatible Dance Education. She trained in this unique method of teaching after a performing career with Het Nationale Ballet, Judith Marcuse Repertory and as a freelance dance artist. Now Cabri is primarily located in Toronto, as Teaching Artist with The National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Opera Company and Canadian Opera Children’s Company. Born in Montréal, Cabri trained with Joyce Shietze, Merrilee Hodgins, Celia Franca and graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School. Passionately interested in how dance spurs creative thinking and learning, Cabri’s classes and private sessions meld the power of movement with well-loved stories from the stage. Her versatility has allowed her to choreograph for those who are non-dance-trained in a variety of settings and Cabri’s work is often a celebration of the everyday focusing on relationship, place, and easeful joyful dance.
Originally from France, Anna Elena graduated from the National and Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance in Lyon in 2000. She had a performing career starting as a Corps de Ballet member with the Ballet of the Opera in Bordeaux under the artistic direction of Charles Jude. The company Repertoire included many classics including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Giselle and Don Quixote, as well as pieces from the Balanchine Repertoire; Four Temperaments, Who Cares and Serenade. She then joined the Landestheater in Linz, Austria as a Soloist where she danced more contemporary works. Since 2012, Anna has performed in several ballets and operas with the Paris Opera Ballet. While continuing to perform, she built on her teaching experience at the Conservatory of the 5th and the 17th district in Paris. She received her ballet teaching certificate in France in 2005. Since moving to Toronto, Anna has guest taught at George Brown College, Dance Teq Centre, Extension Method and Metro Movement.
Giorgio Galli was born in Italy, he trained at Teatro alla Scala Ballet School in Milan and The Royal Ballet School in London, England. Mr. Galli is a member of the Corps de Ballet of The National Ballet of Canada as well as a Soloist with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. Mr. Galli has been part of the faculty at In Studio since 2014 and is also a guest teacher for The National Ballet of Canada. Mr. Galli is known to be an enthusiastic, high-calibre instructor with an infectious love of movement and incredible musicality. He pays attention to each dancer’s abilities, creating a safe space that encourages calculated risks and technical breakthroughs. Whether he’s teaching professional or recreational students, his light-hearted yet technically demanding approach develops individual artistry, musical intelligence and expressive quality of movement rooted in clean classical technique.
With over twenty years of training in various forms of dance, Rachelle has achieved notable credits in film, television, theatre and choreography. Her professional resume includes a certificate in musical theatre from The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. Throughout her endeavours, fitness has always been an important element in her life. As a result, Rachelle has become a certified Body Conditioning By Dancers instructor, Personal Trainer, Program Developer and Fitness Competitor. Rachelle believes in helping and encouraging others to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives; socially, mentally and physically. With this in mind, she promotes freedom of movement and expression as well as active and healthy living.
Raised in Fonthill Ontario, Jessica began dancing at the age of 3 and immediately found her passion for movement in the studio. In 2012, Jessica began her four year undergraduate degree at Ryerson University where she received a BFA in Performance Dance. After graduating, Jessica had the absolute pleasure of being selected to participate in Springboard Danse Montreal. Jessica has worked with Toronto based artists including Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Adelheid (Heidi Strauss), Vicki St Denys, Jane Alison McKinny, Naishi Wang, and Sylvie Bouchard, and internationally acclaimed choreographers including Johannes Wieland, VIM VIGOR, Belinda McGuire, and Michel Getman. In 2018, Jessica was selected as one of Peggy Baker Dance Projects’ RBC Emerging Artist Interns. She is a member of Nostos Collectives, a Toronto based company of emerging artists, and a Barreworks certified barre fitness instructor.
Jessica is an active performer, teacher, and student in the Toronto dance community, and is passionate about continuing to learn, grow, and share her knowledge with others.
Eric Hall has danced professionally with companies across Canada, including Ballet Kelowna, Ballet Victoria, and Suddenly Dance Theatre in British Columbia, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in Quebec, Ballet Jorgen and Opera Atelier. His favourite character that he’s performed (also his alter ego) is Dr. Frankenstein!
Imparting knowledge he has gained from his professional experience as well as from his training at institutions such as the Quinte Ballet School of Canada, George Brown Dance and the School of Alberta Ballet, Eric creates movement inspired by a large variety of instructors including Mrs. Nancy Kilgour, Mr. Murray Kilgour, Mr. Owen Montague, Mr. Chi Chun, Ms. Svea Eklof, Ms. Kathleen Rea, and Ms. Christine Wright.
Since beginning teaching Eric has had the pleasure of teaching at various schools such as the Ballet Victoria Conservatory, Victoria Academy of Ballet, Metro Movement, Extension Method, the Sean Boutilier Academy of Dance, and now excitingly at In Studio!
Eric incorporates his knowledge from his Massage Therapy studies, and approaches ballet from an anatomical perspective, and is known for creating musically inclined and movement-oriented classes.
Candice received her professional training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Professional Division, and Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program. She has Fellowship standing with the Cecchetti Society of Canada, and has an extensive background in music. Candice has also worked as a ballet accompanist and teaches Music for Dancers and Teachers. Her classes are considered to be technique-based and fast-paced, with a strong musical focus. Teaching credits include York University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto’s Hart House, Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program, the Quinte Ballet School of Canada, Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, and Metro Movement. Candice also regularly teaches children’s classes and is invited to adjudicate and guest teach across Canada.
Wendy trained at the Royal Ballet School in London, England. She holds the Royal Ballet School Teaching Diploma, Registered Teacher and Associate status of the Royal Academy of Dance and also Advanced 2 Ballet in R.A.D., I.S.T.D. and Cecchetti Syllabi. In addition she also attained Associates in Cecchetti Ballet and National Dance and the Benesh Notation Teaching Diploma. She is currently an Examiner and Tutor of the Royal Academy of Dance and has worked extensively across Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Great Britain. Former students of Wendy have been accepted to the National Ballet School, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and Quinte Ballet School.
Ms. Huang is very passionate about changing lives through teaching and training. She enjoys teaching boot camp and HIIT, you will leave her class feeling motivated, invigorated, sweaty and strong.
Kate Knox is an established dancer and instructor known for her versatility, infectious energy and encouraging class environment. She has extensive training on ballet, modern, jazz, cabaret and physical theatre. Kate has earned her BFA in Performance Dance from Ryerson University, her RAD Intermediate, and shortly after earned her CanFit certifications in personal training and group fitness. Kate has also gone on to work with notable Canadian artists such as The Canadian Opera Company, Second City Toronto, Motus O Dance Theatre, City Dance Corps and Kaeja d’Dance. She has performed at large events for companies like Volvo, Wal-Mart, Rotary International, Mastercard Fashion Week and Sick Kids Hospital. With over 18 years of teaching and choreographic experience, Kate is an energetic and supportive teacher, educating both young and old, from absolute beginner to professional. Currently, Kate is the co-artistic director of the vintage cabaret company High Society Cabaret, as well as the artist behind Knox Harter, the Cheesecake Darling.
Sarah Koekkoek is an independent dance artist, educator and choreographer. She was born in Burlington, Ontario and trained in the Professional Division at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. She has danced with The Washington Ballet, Canada’s Ballet Jorgen, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and The Chimera Project as well as participating in several dance residencies at The Banff Centre for the Arts. Sarah is also a Licensed Provider of the Fletchers Pilates Method.
Cynthia Macedo was born in Carmel, California and entered the National Ballet School at the age of 10 under the directorship of Betty Oliphant. Upon graduating, Cynthia joined The National Ballet of Canada. As a soloist with the National Ballet, she worked with many directors and choreographers such as Erik Bruhn, Rudolph Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, among others. Upon retiring from dancing professionally, Cynthia pursued a teaching career. She is currently a company teacher and rehearsal coach with Canada's Ballet Jorgen, a full time ballet instructor and choreographer George Brown College, adjudicator and an open class teacher at Dance-Teq in Toronto.
Nancy MacLeod is a certified Level 4 Essentrics instructor who has been teaching for over five years. She has a background in theatre performance and producing. A long-time fitness enthusiast, with Essentrics she discovered for her the perfect blend of strengthening and active stretching that she was long searching for. She found that in addition to building strength, it rapidly improved her flexibility and her balance, and also almost immediately relieved pain from an injury. She loves sharing the techniques with others and teaches group classes at a number of Toronto clubs, in corporate sessions, and with private clients.
Megan Nadain, a native of North Vancouver, British Columbia, is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer and dance educator. She is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, for which she received scholarships from the school, the Hnatyshyn Foundation and the BC Arts Council. Ms. Nadain is a company member with Dancetheatre David Earle and has worked independently with Darryl Tracy, inDANCE, Toronto Heritage Dance and Event Horizon Dance. In the summer of 2014, she performed with Dancetheatre David Earle in Dusseldorf, Germany at the tanzmesse dance festival. Ms. Nadain is a faculty member at the School of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre and she directs the Core Apprentices for the CCDT Company. She also teaches and rehearsal directs at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and teaches in several high schools in Toronto.
Kevin Pugh is a highly admired teacher in the Toronto dance community. Kevin was a principal dancer with The National Ballet of Canada for 13 years, seven of those years in which he danced as a Principal Dancer. Kevin took his highly applauded success as a featured performer and transformed it into a successful career as a ballet teacher.
Ms Robledo graduated with Distinction from Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program and was honoured with the Betty Oliphant Award, which pays tribute to the most promising graduate in the field of teaching. She began her career as professional dancer with the National Ballet of Mexico in 1991, where she worked under the direction of such renowned Ballet Masters as Fernando Alonso and David Howard. Katya has been teaching young dancers, adult beginners and professional dancers for nearly 25 years. In addition, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Management from the University of Ottawa, which has led her to venture into research, cultural promotion and production of spectacles. But, what she enjoys the most is sharing her love of dance and promoting the overall well-being of her students.
Calley Skalnik was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and trained at Tulsa Ballet in Oklahoma and Canada’s National Ballet School. Ms. Skalnik joined The National Ballet of Canada as a RBC Apprentice in 2014 and was promoted to Second Soloist in 2019.
Recently, Ms. Skalnik made her debut as Calliope in Apollo. She has also danced such roles as The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Russian Princess in Swan Lake and Kitty in the North American premiere of Anna Karenina. Her repertoire includes The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Cinderella, Onegin, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Winter’s Tale, Nijinsky, The Merry Widow, Frame by Frame, Le Petit Prince, Pinocchio, A Streetcar Named Desire, Manon, La Sylphide, The Dream, Paquita, The Four Seasons, The Second Detail, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Four Temperaments, Genus, Symphony #9, Emergence, Paz de la Jolla, Night and Self and Soul.
In 2016 Ms. Skalnik represented the National Ballet in The International Completion for the Erik Bruhn Prize.
Born in Grande Prairie AB, Jarrett Siddall began his career with the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers and Citie Ballet in Edmonton AB. In 2009 he began training at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre where he was awarded the Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artist Grant in contemporary dance in 2010. After graduating in 2012, Jarrett joined Toronto Dance Theatre. Alongside TDT, Jarrett performs with Vazari Dance Projects and in other independent works.
Tatiana Tchernova is a faculty member at Canada's National Ballet School, and company class teacher at The National Ballet of Canada. She was a Principal Dancer with The National Ballet Company of Uzbekistan where she performed lead roles in Swan Lake, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and many others. Ms. Tchernova completed a master’s degree at the Moscow Institute of Dramatic and Fine Arts and attended the Paris Opéra Ballet School programme at New York University. As a Guest Teacher, Ms. Tchernova has worked with the National Ballet of Korea, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Finnish National Ballet, among others. She has been a faculty member of the Jackson Mississippi International Ballet Competition since 1989.
Alejandra Valiente is a professional performer, instructor, adjudicator and choreographer who specializes in Ballet, Floor Barre and Competitive Ballet Choreography. With 35 years of extensive experience performing and teaching, Ms. Valiente graduated from The National Ballet School in Mexico City and went on to receive her teaching certificates from The Royal Academy of Dance, Vaganova, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) Associated, Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) and Cecchetti. She has worked as a performer in classical and neo-classical ballet, folklore European and musical theatre and as a choreographer for TV shows as Sesame Street. She worked as Creative Director for Conexion en Movimiento in Mexico and worked on events such as the Para Pan Games Guadalajara 2011 and the presentation of the mascot at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Ms. Valiente is committed to sharing her knowledge to help all generations of dancers to understand the value of ballet technique through their dance journey.
Victoria Wells-Smith has been teaching multiple styles for 15 years. She enjoyed four years of employment at The School of Alberta Ballet with classes in Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Conditioning and Musical Theatre. Victoria has choreographed several pieces that have been presented internationally, including Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, The Canadian Embassy Dublin, Parliament Hill and on The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. She choreographed the Atlantic Canadian premieres of Mary Poppins, Spamalot, Mamma Mia! and Shrek. Victoria completed a choreographic apprenticeship at The School of Alberta Ballet where she also assistant rehearsal directed the youth cast for The Nutcracker. Victoria rehearsal directs the youth cast for Ballet Jörgen’s The Nutcracker.
Sarahi was born in Mexico and started her dance training at the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico and completed a year at The Rock School of Dance Education in Philadelphia. She danced with Ballet Metropolitano de Monterrey and the Ballet de Monterrey in the Corps before joining Canada’s Ballet Jörgen in the 2015-2016 season. Most recently, Sarahi performed with the Canadian Opera Company in their production of Rusalka. She is now freelancing with different projects as well as teaching.