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WHO WE ARE

MISSION: Provide exceptional training for all in a caring and safe environment, with customer service that exceeds expectations.

VISION: To be a positive guiding force in the community, fostering and developing connection, friendships and leadership through the arts. 

 

MEET OUR FACULTY

The Faculty at Dance Theme Academy is passionate about sharing their love and knowledge of dance. They have trained with some of the best dance educators and choreographers and continue to develop their skills by yearly professional development. While each team member brings their own unique style and personality to each class, Dance Theme Academy’s faculty all have one thing in common … energy! 

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SHARI VANDERWOUDE

Owner/Artistic Director

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KATIE MacEACHERN

Assistant to the Director

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VINCE AKINYODE

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MICHELLE McBRIDE

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KIANNA KALYTA TRAN

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THOMAS BOIVIN

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AURORA PACHKOWSKI

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JOLIE VAN

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KAREN DOIDGE

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BOBBI PAYNE

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KATIE WILLHOEFT

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DEBBIE ENGLAND

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JANE PORTER

MEET OUR SUPPORT TEAM

Amanda

Office Manager

Crystal

Office Team

Bobbi

Music

Dallas

Office Team

Katie

Competitions

Kianna

Office Team

Aurora

Office Team

MEET OUR FACULTY

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Vince Akinyode

Hip Hop

Vince began teaching 15 years ago and has had outstanding results as both dancer and instructor. As a dancer, along side his dance crew White Chocolate, he has performed openings for many talented artists such as Ashanti, Shawn Desmond, Ludacris, Chris Brown, Boyz to Men, 112, Chingy, Genuine and the 2009 Canadian Grey Cup half time show in Calgary Alberta Canada.

He was also featured on “So You Think You Can Dance” seasons 1, 2 and 4. He was also the recipient of the “Choreography of the Year” award at the all Hip Hop competition “Artists Emerge” judged by Jojo Diggs and Rhapsody James as well Represent in 2016 judged by Kolanie Marks and Dytto. With his company “Eye Candy Studios he taken first place at World of Dance Arizona 2016 and World of Dance Edmonton in 2017,World of Dance Las Vegas in 2018 and again at World of Dance Arizona in 2019. He has also been asked to do choreography for Team Canada Hip Hop that competed in Austria in 2016 and will be competing in Denmark in 2017.

His routines include such dance styles as House, Street, New School Choreography, Diva, Krumping and Break Dancing. Vince’s easy going attitude combined with his passion for his art and sharing it with others creates a great learning environment for all his students.

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Thomas Boivin

Hip Hop

Thomas Boivin started his dance life at a very young age. When he was three his parents put him into recreational tap classes and then at the age of six into hip hop classes. Thomas instantly fell in love with the art of dance because it was a fun and easy way to express him self.

Thomas has had many opportunities to teach along side some of Edmonton’s greatest choreographers in both the genre of tap and hip-hop. He currently attends Spruce Grove Composite High School and is in grade eleven. He is also one of the newest faculty members at The Dance Place in Spruce Grove.

Thomas Boivin has worked with many great choreographers and dance icons such as Barbara Vargas, Danny Neilsen, Jenna Werhun, Alexander Chung, Sarah Reich, and Josh Capulong to name a few. Thomas currently teaches hip Hop classes at The Dance Place and also assists the other hip-hop instructor Raymond Bulatao with his classes along side Patricia Perez. He frequently performs around Edmonton at different shows, festivals, and fun events that are held throughout the year. Thomas is now sixteen years old and still frequently attends many dance workshops and conventions to stay current with all styles of tap and hip hop. Throughout his dance career he has received many titles, scholarships, and awards for his craft. Most recently he won the title of Mr. Teen Candance in Calgary AB. At the end of the 2014/2015-dance season, Thomas was accepted into an internationally known professional hip-hop group called NXG Company (1st Place WOD LA 2015, 2nd Place Pegcity Movement 2015), and also won the Varsity All Star Category at Artist’s Emerge 2016 with the Semi-Professional group called Spirit Boys. Ever since then he has been training and performing with them all over North America. He is also apart of a semi professional group called Bathtubbs (Edrick Ochoco, Emily Tubbs-Way) and is apart of The Next Steps Program (Jenna Werhun). He seeks to improve not only himself but encourages everyone else to grow and learn along side him.

Thomas continues to take regular classes at The Dance Place and The Kore Dance Studio. He has performed in many shows for Feats Festival (Albert Dance Alliance), Hip Hop For Hope 2015, Stars Of Hope, Stand Up For Love, 2012 Alberta Winter Games Opening Ceremony, For Kids By Kids, Building Dreams, and many more to come in the future.

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Karen Doidge

Ballet

Bio Coming Soon!

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Debbie England

Tap, Adult Tap

Debbie England began her dance training at private dance schools in Edmonton and continued her dance training at Grant MacEwan College, various workshops and studios in New York and Los Angeles. She trained in all disciplines of dance but tap won Debbie’s heart and she excelled in her tap skills enabling her to pass her knowledge and passion on to her students.

Debbie’s natural ease with children makes her a sought after adjudicator and teacher. Her students do well in both exams and on stage and her choreography awards are numerous! She has been a guest instructor, choreographer, examiner and adjudicator for workshops, competitions and festivals across Western Canada.

Debbie has successfully entered students into competitions and is a recognized instructor of the Al Gilbert Tap Syllabus. She loves teaching and watching students develop their tap skills. She is proud to be celebrating 40 years of teaching along with Dance Theme!

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Kianna Kalyta Tran

Lyrical, Contemporary, Early Childhood Classes

Kianna has been dancing at Dance Theme Academy since the age of three. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to study a multitude of genres including Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Acro and so much more. Kianna has also had the opportunity to attend workshops and intensives in places such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Pittsburgh to take classes with teachers from all over the world. She has also completed multiple exams through Acrobatic Arts and R.A.D. Ballet with a level of distinction.

Kianna began to assist in classes through Dance Theme’s STAR Team program back in 2014 and quickly fell in love with teaching. Dance has provided Kianna with the stability and confidence to express herself and feel at home, and now being a teacher, she aspires to do the same for others.

Kianna is currently studying Early Childhood education in university.

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Katie MacEachern

Musical Theatre, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary

Katie started dancing at Dance Theme when she was three years old and was immediately drawn to the performing arts. She studied Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Musical Theatre and Hip Hop at both private studios and conventions in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. As well as dance, Katie took extensive vocal training and acting classes. Katie received roles in St. Albert Children's Theatre's productions of What a Knight, High School Musical and Legally Blonde. After graduating high school, Katie moved to Toronto where she studied dance, vocal and acting in a three year program at The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, graduating with her Diploma.

Since returning to Dance Theme where she shares her passion for teaching and the arts with her students, she has continued to learn and grow at conventions and conferences. She is certified in Acrobatic Arts, Alixa Flexibility and Rythm Works Integrated Dance.

Katie continues to share her passion with her students through many different styles of dance.

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Michelle McBride

Acro, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary

Michelle began her training with R.A.D. ballet, but became a multi disciplined dancer shortly after. She has studied jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, modern, musical theatre/acting, piano, trumpet, as well as Ukrainian, Latin and Polynesian dancing. Michelle has been fortunate to study under many talented instructors over the years, abroad and at home, including Alberta Ballet’s Ruth Carse and Shumka’s Terry Mucha.

At a young age Michelle joined a performance company that toured Canada and the United States, enriching her enthusiasm for performing on stage. Today she continues her dance/acro education through classes with Leaders in Fitness, IBBFA, Acrobatic Arts, Alixa Flexibility, TADA hand balancing, Aerial Arts, Baton Arts, gymnastics, yoga and strength training. Michelle performed with local Polynesian group, Tropical Breeze. Currently Michelle choreographs and performs with Vixen Fatale Dance Force.

Michelle is a certified Acrobatic Arts instructor and is excited to steward this program at Dance Theme.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Aurora Pachkowski

Acro, Ballet

Aurora began her dance training at the age of three and was inspired her mother who also danced. Aurora fell in love with the idea of preforming on stage. The dance studio has always been her second home. I moved to Dance Theme Academy at the age of seven. Her love of dance has continuously grown over her many years spent at Dance Theme. She has trained in Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Modern, Acro, ABT ballet and R.A.D ballet. She eventually found her true calling, even though she had trained in many different disciplines, and ballet will always be her favorite. She has trained in the R.A.D Curriculum her entire life. Including completing her Grade 8, Advanced 2 and Level 4 Discovering Repitoire R.A.D exams with distinction. Aurora is trained in the Acrobatic Arts Curriculum, as well as completing numerous exams and being a demonstrator for the teacher certification courses.

Aurora began her teaching experience at Dance Theme as a Star Team member at age fourteen. Shortly after becoming a Star Team member she knew she wanted to teach and share her knowledge of dance with young dancers.

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Bobbi Payne

Early Childhood, Jazz, Heels, Novelty, Musical Theatre

Bobbi is an energetic and passionate teacher who began her dance training at the age of three with Dance Theme. The studio provided her with a versatile background in jazz, tap, hip hop, musical theatre, lyrical and ballet training. As well as studying dance locally, Bobbi travelled to workshops in Calgary, Florida and California,

Bobbi has been teaching for the past five years and her enthusiasm for the studio and her students has led her to become the Preschool Director. Along with her knowledge, she shares an energetic and caring quality with her students. Bobbi has been involved with Dance Theme for the past 22 years and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. She enjoys helping her students find their passion and love for dance and cannot wait for the new season to start!

Bobbi is a founding member The Vixens, a female lead heels/dance program.

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Jane Porter

Tap

Jane fell in love with dance because of her love of movement. She started dance training at the age of seven in ballet, tap, and jazz, and quickly added more classes as she grew older. Jane’s journey with Dance Theme began after moving across the country in 2013, and she quickly found her new dance family! Jane trained in R.A.D ballet, Al Gilbert tap, and Acrobatic Arts taking multiple exams in these syllabi.

Jane began assistant teaching through Dance Theme’s STAR team program in 2014 and fell in love with sharing her passion for dance with other dancers. She hopes that the dancers she teaches experience joy and happiness while taking dance class!

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Jolie Van

Tap, Jazz

Jolie trained in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Musical Theatre and Hip-Hop and has studied with many renowned teachers and choreographers. She has a special affinity for tap, has completed the Al Gilbert Tap Examinations and was a feature dancer in his instructional videos. Her choreography has won numerous awards and has been featured in 'The History of Rock & Roll’, the annual CFLPA All Star Charity Baseball Game, Bridal Fantasy and The Rainbow Gala.

Jolie’s passion for dance and sharing this with students inspired her to direct her own successful studio for fourteen years. During this time she trained hundreds of students in all genres, but tap remained her specialty. Her students excel in both exams and competitions, where her own talent is acknowledged with numerous choreography awards.

Along with teaching her own students, Jolie is continually asked to teach at workshops and summer schools. She also enjoys adjudicating at several competitions throughout Western Canada. Jolie loves to share her passion and knowledge of dance with others!

Jolie is an active board member of the Alberta Dance Educators Association.

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Shari VanderWoude

Artistic Director

Shari is proud to have shared in the lives of countless children, parents and teachers who have been a part of the Dance Theme family for over 40 years.

Her philosophy of teaching and nurturing children to be the best they can be, to recognize their strengths and to challenge themselves has overseen the direction of thousands of students. Many of Dance Theme students have gone on to perform on cruise ships, Disney and professional shows as well as being sought after teachers themselves.

Shari received extensive training in a variety of dance forms through private studios, college and classes throughout North America. Along with dancing, she has had the opportunity to act in several docudramas, T.V. commercials, industrials, movies and films.

Shari’s beliefs and philosophies is the drive for her to create opportunities for people. Her belief in healthy competition and recognition for every dancer’s ability in a positive environment was a driving force behind the formation of two competition/festival companies.

Her belief in philanthropy and teaching this to children was the reason she founded and produced a benefit show called Stars of Hope. Shari felt that her students, as well as dance students from Edmonton and surrounding areas could give back to the community by doing what they love; dancing. Stars of Hope raised over $230,000 for the Kids With Cancer Society.

Throughout all her ventures, Shari’s heart and passion remains with the studio. She loves developing new programs and ideas at the studio to keep Dance Theme fresh and on the cutting edge of performing arts training.

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Katie Willhoeft

Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Katie was born with a passion for the arts and an innate desire to create. She began her dance education as a competitive performer in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary and musical theatre. She prides herself on having completed her Advanced II I.S.T.D ballet certificate, and Advanced ADAPT jazz and tap certificates. Upon completion of her BFA (honours) in Performance Dance from Ryerson University, Katie evolved her training onto the stage, and later into directing, teaching, and choreographing. She has had the privilege of working with incredible visionaries such as Nadia Potts, Darryl Tracy, Kenny Pearl, Vicky St. Denys, Courtnae Bowman, Donald Sales, and Allen Kaeja to name a few. She has had the opportunity to perform contemporary, commercial and theatrical work, starting her career as a principle dancer for Cadence Contemporary Ballet Company, and then went on to perform in musicals such as A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls, Footloose, as well as various Broadway revues, festivals, and tv/film. Katie continues to share her artistic perspective by working with dancers from all over the GTA, and continues to participate in many workshops and classes with industry leaders to ensure that her knowledge and abilities continue to expand. Katie has won numerous choreography awards and special recognition for her creativity, and story-telling. She has an outstanding and proven reputation for compassionate, inspirational, yet challenging dance classes. Katie’s goal is to create a positive environment for her students to take chances both physically and emotionally.