Faculty
Faculty Bio Photo of Derek Piquette

Derek Piquette

Dancer, director, choreographer and teacher Derek Piquette began dancing at the young age of 10 in his hometown of Chicopee, MA. From there his dance career accelerated quickly. By the age of 16, he received full scholarships for several ballet intensives and won several National Titles. Derek then moved to Miami to follow his dreams of becoming a professional dancer, training over 50 hours a week and teaching at Stars Dance Company.

As a performer, he was a principal dancer in the Bridge To Artists productions of Carmen and The Maid. He has also performed in the Paul Mitchell Fashion Show, Revlon Hair Show and MOVE the World Charity Event. One of the most exciting experiences in his young career took place in 2015, when he competed on Season 12 of So You Think You Can Dance, finishing among the top 4 stage dancers and performing for over 37 million viewers. He followed up his appearance on the show with the So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour, performing in 70 cities across North America.

In early 2017, Derek launched his newest project, Intrepid Dance Company, which had its first performance entitled “HER” that he directed and choreographed. Currently Derek has a lead role in Cirque Du Soleil’s KOOZA as the “Trickster” traveling under the Big Top in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Singapore and China. One of Derek’s most recent endeavours included competing as a finalist on NBC’s World Of Dance Season 3.

As a teacher and choreographer, Derek has worked for various dance organizations including On the Floor, Hit the Floor, CLI Studios, Mather Dance Company Online, Acrobatic Arts, Step Up 2 Dance, Twilight Dance Convention and Top Ten Dance Challenge where he has judged, taught, and assisted top choreographers in the industry.

His career has taken him to destinations throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Central America, Australia, China and Singapore where he has taught at over 200 competitive and professional dance studios. Since 2014, Derek has choreographed more than 350 award winning pieces, including pieces for stars on Dance Moms, Disney Channel’s Backstage and So You Think You Can Dance.

Derek currently teaches and assists for On the Floor: The Ultimate Dance Experience, working with young dancers all over North America. He has also choreographed pieces and been a principal dancer in On the Floor’s Gala for SickKids Hospital in Toronto for 4 years and has helped raise over $250,000 for the ChildLife Program.

With his inspirational drive and love of dance, Derek has achieved many professional and artistic goals and helped other dancers do the same.  Derek is especially focused on working with young dancers around the world, hoping to instil in them his enthusiasm for dance and inspire them to become the best they can be.

A natural teacher, Derek has an exceptional way of connecting with his students, whether it be in class, through choreography or through performing. He makes a lasting impression, leaving his students touched, encouraged, and educated.

Mitchell Jackson

Mitchell Jackson first discovered his love of dance in the small northern Ontario city of Sudbury. While most dancers learn their first steps as children, Mitchell did not begin dancing until he entered Sudbury Secondary School and was introduced to jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary dance, and musical theatre. His passion for dance eventually led him to Toronto.

Within two years of beginning his competitive career Mitchell won numerous awards across North America. Television has also beckoned: Mitchell has performed on CTV, Much Music's Best Dance Crew, MTV News, Rogers TV, Breakfast Television, So You Think You Can Dance Canada and as a back-up dancer for many artists. You can also see his choreography on season 2 of Disney Channel's "Backstage". Mitchell also just finished choreographing on NBC’s “World Of Dance” starring Jennifer Lopez.

Still only in his twenties, Mitchell has become a much sought-after choreographer and teacher. Last year alone he choreographed over 200 award-winning routines. He is training dancers across the globe, prepping them to become professionals in the dance industry. He has taught at the some of the largest studios in the world, and has trained dancers who have performed with Ne-Yo, Usher, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and are currently appearing as leads on the hit show The Next Step. Dancers who have worked with Mitchell have also appeared on So You Think You Can Dance US and Canada.

Never one to stay idle, Mitchell has been involved in local theatre in Toronto and both choreographed and performed in the Miss Universe Canada Charity Event. He also cofounded On the Floor (OTF), a program of competitions, conventions and workshops, focused on training and educational opportunities for dancers. OTF also includes a fundraising component in support of SickKids Hospital in Toronto. The money raised by OTF is used to provide dance parties and other entertainment to the patients. These events give the young patients a chance to forget their troubles and focus instead on having fun. In the past 6 years, the OTF team has raised over $250,000 for the hospital.

As Mitchell said in a recent profile in NorthernLife.ca, the kids are always really excited for these events and cannot wait for the dancers to come. It is moments like these—when he can share the incredible joy of dance—that inspire Mitchell to continue on the path life laid out for him, starting on that high school stage in Sudbury and leading him to a rewarding career doing what he loves.

Linda Garneau

Choreographer, educator, and PhD candidate in Dance Studies at York U., Linda is the artistic director of the Helix Dance Project, whose works include The Waiting Room, Rain, Unearth, and Integration.

Theatre credits include four seasons with The Shaw Festival, as well as productions for Canadian Stage, Charlottetown Festival, Citadel Theatre, National Theatre Centre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Tarragon Theatre Company, and Sheridan Theatre. Other credits include the Opening Ceremony for the Pan Am Games (Guadalajara), Juno and Gemini Awards, as well as choreography for Stars on Ice, skating exhibition programs, and music videos.

Linda continues to enjoy freelance choreography, teaching both at home and abroad, and generally dancing of all sorts.

Kelly Shaw

Kelly has been a professional freelance artist in Toronto since graduating with honours from Ryerson University’s Performance Dance program in 2010. She has also attended and trained at Quinte Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet and Springboard Danse Montreal.

In recent years Kelly has had the pleasure of working as a collaborator and performer with ProArte Danza, Human Body Expression, Alysa Pires Dance Projects, Helix Dance Project, Gadfly, TOES for Dance, Frog in Hand, and Transcendance Project and was recently nominated for a 2018 Dora Mavor Moore award for her ensemble work in Human Body Expression’s “Chasing the Path”.

She has appeared in Dance Ontario Weekend (Toronto), the Toronto Fringe Festival, Capezio ACE awards (New York), Dance Matters (Toronto) and works with Hit and Run Productions. Kelly is also a freelance dance teacher and choreographer who set work at ProArte Danza’s Aspirante SIP program, as well as Ryerson University's Conservatory prep program this past August 2018.

She has also recently been certified as a barre fitness and pilates instructor.

Alisha Lucchese

Alisha Lucchese is a dancer and choreographer from Toronto, Canada. She has returned from her residence in Los Angeles, CA where she worked and performed professionally. Prior to her residence in the U.S., she trained in a multitude of dance styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics, hip-hop, and lyrical/contemporary.

Alisha's professional experience in Toronto has extended across film, music videos, and concert performance formats as she transitioned to Los Angeles. She has assisted Emmy Award-Winning Choreographer Mandy Moore on "Dancing With The Stars" as well as assisted both Mandy and Misha Gabriel on "So You Think You Can Dance" and also for the opening reception at “The Emmys" (2014).

Alisha has taken part in choreographing for events, including "The Dance Teacher's Summit Fashion Show" (2017), Kan Wakan's Music Video "Like I Need You." (2015), On the Floor’s SickKids Gala 2017 “TV Land”, as well as co-choreographed a production performance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”. Alisha also works as a demonstrator and judge for Break The Floor Productions’ JUMP Dance Convention. She was the assistant choreographer for a Disney Channel Original Movie “Zombies” and choreographed on one of the biggest TV shows in the UK, “Strictly Come Dancing” along side Emmy Nominated Choreographer Chris Scott.

Most recently, she has completed her work as a dancer for Lorde on her “Melodrama World Tour”.

Edgar Hpa

Born and raised in Cuba, Edgar graduated from the Benne Moré Cuban School of Arts and trained in multiple forms of dance including ballet, modern, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop, contemporary, and Latin & Ballroom. Edgar has been dancing professionally since 1988, and his style and technique have set him apart from other dancers.

When Edgar moved to Canada, he was part of Ballet Creole, one of the most prestigious Afro-Caribbean dance companies in Canada. For 3 years he travelled around Ontario enriching the lives of elementary school students by teaching dance and music.

Edgar has had the pleasure of teaching Latin and Ballroom dance programs at many schools from daycares and elementary to high schools and colleges. He feels that Latin & Ballroom dancing is an excellent skill that can be used throughout a lifetime, and takes joy and pride in opening youngsters' eyes to this fun, physical art form.

Edgar has worked and choreographed for many dancers from Canada's So You Think You Can Dance, The Next Step, Much Music Video Awards, Hip Hop Artists Classified, SonReal, Pan American Games, and the new hit TV series Backstage.

Edgar is a strong believer in giving back and has dedicated his passion for dance to various foundations such as Serving Charity, KOL Hope Foundation, Scleroderma Society of Canada, Community Living and many more.

Other choreographic credits include CityTV Breakfast Television, Italfest, Mississauga Celebration Square, Rogers Cable and Mississauga Arts Council Festival, and Family Channel's Big Ticket Summer Concert.

Angelina Leofanti

Angelina is a Toronto-based dance artist, choreographer, and instructor, whose passion for dance began at the young age of 4 at a small studio in her hometown of Markham, Ontario. She is technically trained in the various styles of Jazz, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Lyrical, Ballet, and Hip-hop, and began teaching and training young dancers at the young age of 15.

In her professional career, Angelina has learned from – as well as performed alongside – some of the city’s top-rated professionals, and feels extremely fortunate to have been raised in in a city with so much raw passion and talent.

However, in addition to the outstanding artists that Angelina has learned from and worked with in Toronto, she has been fortunate enough to take her passion abroad on multiple occasions as well. In 2015, Angelina spent 2 months living in Los Angeles, California, training with the industry’s leading professionals and mentors. She has also spent an abundance of time training and performing in NYC: Angelina has performed at NYC’s Young Choreographers Festival, as well as Capezio’s Peridance APAP Showcase.

At home in Toronto, Angelina has been seen on numerous occasions as well, performing in multiple shows and events throughout the city. She has been seen performing with multiple entertainment companies, as well as at multiple events, including the Toronto Dance Expo, Fever After Dark, and On The Floor’s annual SickKids Gala in support of the Child Life Program at SickKids Hospital. Most recently, Angelina has been seen as a lead dancer in Echo Dance Company’s “[in]Sight”, Bridge to Artist’s production of “On The Sawdust Trail”, and was featured on dance segments for YTV’s The Zone.

As an instructor and choreographer, Angelina feels privileged to pass on her passion and knowledge to all of her students in and around the GTA. Angelina teaches at numerous competitive dance studios, where her students and choreography have won numerous awards. Angelina is also one of the key faculty members for On The Floor: The Ultimate Dance Experience.

Faculty Bio Photo of Mariano

Mariano

Mariano was exposed to the Latin styles of dance at home: salsa, meringue, and the Colombian folk dance, cumbia. His appreciation of dance inspired him to study alternative styles of dance – hip hop, b-boying, popping and house.

With over 25 years of experience, Mariano is one of Toronto’s premier Street Style dancers, and, unquestionably, an audience favorite. He is famous for his incredible footwork, and innovative style of intertwining popping, b-boying, and hip hop. As an established Toronto b-boy, Mariano led his crew, “Bag of Trix” to international acclaim at “The Battle of the Year 1999” in Leipzig, Germany. Mariano’s crews have, furthermore, earned championship titles in UK, Korea, and here in Canada.

Currently, Mariano host and produces THE BAZAAR dance showcase, is co-director of FOOTNOTES ELITE dance training program, organizes dance workshops across Canada, competes with TWISTED ANKLES CREW and is developing his ideas and style into a full-length stage production.

Faculty Bio Photo of Derick Robinson

Derick Robinson

"It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer." Derick Robinson has made that transition. After many years of training at the provincial and national levels of soccer, Derick left his sporting roots behind to explore the world of dance. Starting out as just a hobby, dance has grown into more than just a passion; it’s his way of life. Derick was cast to dance in the feature films Fullout and Make Your Move and in Shawn Desman’s “Alive”.

He has had the opportunity to work with such artists as Ariana Grande, Down With Webster, Lady Gaga, Divine Brown, Vita Chambers, Jully Black and Victoria Duffield. He is the founder and choreographer of the all-male hip-hop dance crew, The O.G. Crew (Original Gentlemen). They have competed at World of Dance Toronto, The Canadian Street Dance Championships and on Much Music’s Best Dance Crew. They are the official dancers for Toronto recording artist Trish, who performed at The America’s Next Top Model Live Event in Toronto, which Derick choreographed. Derick was also selected to be apart of the 2013 Monsters of Hip Hop cast. In the summer of 2014 he traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the first-ever “Choreographer’s Cup” also hosted by Monsters Of Hip Hop.

Over the past few years Derick has developed and refined his own style of movement, and after many years of dedication, is now recognized as one of Toronto’s elite choreographers. His work has been seen at The Bazaar Showcase, On Much Music, at The Toronto’s Original Choreographer’s Ball, Fever After Dark and on the World Of Dance Stage. Derick is starting to get global recognition, as he has taught in Montreal, in Vancouver for the Rhythm 2 Dance Winter Camp, in Austin Texas, at Houston's SoReal Dance Studio and also in Los Angeles.

In early 2015 he traveled to Europe to host a workshop tour teaching all over Italy. While overseas he had the chance to display his work at “Intergalactic”, a choreography showcase held in Palermo. During his tour he also taught a class at the “Milano Hip Hop Festival” and he also judged the crew competition for the festival.

Derick believes that creating a connection between the intention, emotion, movement and the music is what makes his choreography so unique. His work has been described as creative, innovative and diverse. Excited to continue his journey with dance, Derick is eager and enthusiastic to bring something new and different to this world.

Faculty Bio Photo of Iain Rowe

Iain Rowe

Iain Rowe was born and raised in Canada and trained at Canada's National Ballet School. Following his graduation in 2004 he joined the Royal Danish Ballet where he performed in a wide range of classical and contemporary repertoire including world premiere creations by Jiří Kylián and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

An increasing interest in the training of young dancers brought him to New York City where he would attain a Master's Degree from NewYork University in 2011.

Since returning to Canada he has continued to work extensively with a diverse range of arts organizations internationally. He is based in Toronto.

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