Jane Elliott - Creative Director/Owner
Jane Elliott has been the owner and director of Ballet Etc… for the past 27 years. Dancing since the age of 4, Jane attended the National Ballet School in Toronto for more than 5 years beginning at the age of 9. During this time, Jane toured with the National Ballet of Canada’s Nutcracker and was also a summer student at the Banff School of the arts twice. Upon returning to St.Catharines, Jane attended Grantham High School and taught for the Marian Macpherson School of Ballet, which she subsequently purchased and is now Ballet Etc… Jane is an honours graduate from the Dance and Performing Arts program at George Brown College in Toronto under the direction of Lois Smith and Nadia Potts and has attended numerous teacher training workshops including those offered at the National Ballet School. Since retiring as a professional dancer in 1989, Jane has focussed on teaching and her family. Sharing her knowledge and love of dance has been her priority for more than 27 years. Providing quality dance education in a caring and structured environment is the goal of the studio and all of it’s staff. The art of dance truly can give each child “ Grace To Last a Lifetime”.
Cecchetti Syllabus Ballet, Lyrical
Since graduating from the National Ballet School teacher’s program, Eva Romanowski-Annett has committed herself to the art of teaching dance. Appreciating all dance forms, she has been on staff at Ballet Etc for over 27 years, teaching ballet, pointe, creative dance and modern. She has also taught dance in the Fine Arts department at Brock University. As former chair of the Ontario provincial branch of the Cecchetti Society of Canada, Eva has tried to foster the Cecchetti method, training students in their examinations ranging from Standards to Majors levels. She has also had the privilege of teaching at various workshops in Southern Ontario. Willing to learn as she is teaching, Eva continues to further her own development by attending workshops throughout Canada. Throughout her training, she has valued good teachers who inspire. Eva hopes to continue that same tradition with her students, providing them with the tools to be the best they can be.
Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Acro
Rachel Spencer has been on staff with Ballet Etc… since its opening in 1995. She enjoys teaching ballet, jazz,
hip hop, lyrical, acro and contemporary in both the competitive and recreational streams, as well as running BE’s successful summer dance camp programs. Rachel is also a Total Barre™ Qualified Instructor. Certified in Cecchetti ballet, her primary ballet/creative movement classes additionally incorporate LPCW syllabus. Appreciating the inspiration found in continued growth, she attends yearly teachers training through avenues such as National Ballet School of Canada, Dance Teacher Summit NYC and numerous facilities in Toronto; most recently attaining her teachers certification as an Acrobatic Arts instructor.
Known for pushing the boundaries in both choreography and in the expectations of her students, her approach has afforded students the catalyst to their own professional careers in the dance world. Branching out beyond the studio setting, her versatile teaching reputation has allowed her the opportunity to share her love of dance in the classrooms of the District School Board of Niagara for over 10 years.
Rachel is dedicated to bringing enthusiasm and creativity to each class; fostering an environment where each student can develop respect and love of dance, themselves and the world around them.
Cecchetti Syllabus Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical
Sarah Kirkness has studied many dance forms since the age of 3 and has developed an enthusiastic, musical and detailed approach to teaching. Sarah began her training in her home town of St. Catharines at The Marion McPherson School of Ballet (now Ballet Etc…) as a child and has continued to increase her knowledge of performing art at the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, Ryerson University (Professional Dance Program), and the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School, among others. Earning numerous awards and accolades from the competitive dance circuit, she is now a teacher and mentor to students at schools in St. Catharines. Sarah is an Associate to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and the Cecchetti Society of Canada. She has a passion to share the gifts of dance and music with children as each new encounter in her dancing inspires her to teach and share with her students as much as she can about how the body moves and expresses!
Head of Wardrobe
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre
Kim Franic began her dance career at the age of 4. By the age of 8, she was a competitive soloist and group dancer. She represented Canada at the world level, bringing home many awards and participating in guest appearances. Kim was also graded under the RDA in Tap & Jazz and Highland SDTA. It was during her experience as a Teacher’s Assistant in her teen years that Kim decided teaching dance was her passion. She pursued dance studies at York University, Ballet Jorgen, Randolf Academy as well as countless conventions and workshops. Kim’s well-rounded dance training consists of tap, jazz, musical theatre, baton, ballet, modern, and highland dance. In 1995, Kim returned to Niagara to bring her love of dance to her community –teaching recreational and competitive classes. She founded Niagara’s Twirling Maple Leafs and became a member of TU and NBTA. In recent years, Kim has volunteered her time to teach dance at local elementary schools, youth groups, as well as assisting with school musical productions.
Cecchetti Syllabus Ballet, Modern
Heather Kendell is originally from Ontario, where she received her initial dance training. Heather
performed with local ballet company, Danse Elite, as first soloist and member of the corps de ballet in the
company’s production of The Nutcracker and was a guest performer in the Niagara Symphony children’s
production, Garfield. Prior to leaving Ontario, Heather received a Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies degree from Brock University, then moved to British Columbia to continue her dance training and post-
secondary education at Simon Fraser University (SFU). She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with
a major in Dance and minor in Kinesiology, as well as a Certificate in Health and Fitness from SFU. Heather attained her Associate status with ISTD, Cecchetti Branch and was granted top honours by receiving a “pass with distinction”. She received her Associate Diploma status and attained her Licentiate status with the Cecchetti Society of Canada. Heather successfully attained the Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma. She has her Licentiate membership in the Ballet and Modern Divisions CDTA, BC Branch. Heather continues to upgrade, and seeks to diversify, her teaching certifications. She has completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program and is a registered instructor with Yoga Alliance. Heather has completed a 20-hour Yin Yoga teacher-training program as well as a 20-hour Restorative Yoga teacher-training program. She is a certified Pilates Level 1: Mat instructor through Body Harmonics and has completed certificates in Gait Analysis, SI Joint. She completed the Progressing Ballet Technique Teacher Training Certification Program as well as received certificates from Allegro Performance & Wellness. Heather has served on the executive boards of various dance organizations. She volunteered as a
member of the Katherine Labelle Dance Society, which became Modus Dance, the Canadian Dance
Teacher’s Association, BC Branch and the National CDTA Modern and Ballet Committees. During that
time, Heather had the honour of being a BC Representative at the National CDTA ballet syllabus meetings
and took part in the development of the National CDTA Ballet Examination Syllabus. Heather also served
as the Secretary for the Cecchetti Canada BC Committee. Heather also wrote the Junior Modern Examination Syllabus and a portion of the Senior Syllabus for students studying modern dance, which is now being used Nationally by the CDTA. She was the National CDTA Modern Consultant for 2 years. Heather was also a Ballet and
Modern Examiner for CDTA but resigned in 2014 to focus on teaching. Heather gained ample performance experience by working with Danse Elite, Off Centre Performance Company, The Company Experience, Ballet du Printemps and CollabArt Creations. She performed in works by Shannon McMurchy, Claire French, Sylvain Brochu, Santa Aloi and Cheryl Prophet. She has had much success with her former company, DansArts et al., and now Inertia Dance Co. Heather has 20+ years experience as a well-respected dance instructor responsible for developing strong, artistic young dancers in a kinesthetically appropriate manner. Many of her students have been
accepted into professional training institutions, gone on to perform professionally and have even become
Heather is excited to be joining teaching faculty of Ballet Etc...!
Jessica Weaver has been a dance educator within the Niagara Region for over 20 years. She loves sharing her joy of dance with everyone. Over the years Jessica has taught a variety of dance styles to ages ranging from pre-school to adults. She has choreographed dances for competitive and non-competitive dance teams. Her competitive dance teams have won numerous awards. Her students have gone on to continue their love of dance at colleges, universities, with dance companies as well as teaching dance. She loves seeing so many of her former students still continuing their love for dance whether it be teaching, creating, performing or taking classes just for fun.
Jessica was awarded the 2018 Dance Educator of the Year (studio division) from the Canadian National Academy of Dance Education. She is a graduate of the dance program at Grant MacEwan Community College. Jessica is a certified Level 3 Progressing Ballet Technique instructor. She is a graduate of CNADE-DTTP level 1 and 2. Jessica was also a cast member for Dance Glass under the direction of Alice Burke. Jessica was co-choreographer for New Song Center for the Arts productions of The Nutcracker (2015), Cinderella (2016) and Peter Pan (2017). For the Catholic Women's League Ontario Provincial Convention (2015) Jessica choreographed and organized a flash mob. Jessica is a Central Educational Assistant for the District School Board of Niagara. She has been instrumental in starting dance teams at two elementary schools within the DSBN. She has taken the dance teams to the DSBN Dance Day held at Centennial High School. As well as the DSBN Best Dance Crew competition and workshops.
Jayla Mathews has been a dancer since the age of 3, quickly becoming involved in all genres of dance at a competitive level at 8 years old. During her years of dance, she was the recipient of many awards while attending dance workshops as well as throughout the competition circuit as an ensemble member and solo performer, including ‘Top Star Soloist’ in 2016. Currently, Jayla is entering her fourth year at Brock University, studying to become a high school teacher in both history and dramatic arts departments. While completing her studies this year, Jayla has also been given the title of President of Brock’s Urban Hip Hop club along with being the choreographer of their competitive team for the 2021/22 season. Jayla began her choreography journey beginning with the musical ‘Footloose’, presented by Innovative Arts in 2014. From that moment on, she continued to create pieces both for fun and performances, as her love for dance only grew. In 2018, she went on to earn her full teaching certification with Acrobatic Arts. This syllabus is designed to teach Acro safely and effectively in dance studios, providing hands on training opportunities for upcoming teachers. Soon after, Jayla began choreographing at her childhood studio for the competitive circuit as an acrobatic teacher. Recently, Jayla has been a student of the International Dance Mentorship, participating in workshops and tutorials focusing on the genre of hip hop. This mentorship allowed her to be mentored by industry professionals around the world, including Carlo Darang, director of Choreo Cookies based in San Diego. This program allowed Jayla to be trained in the fundamentals of hip hop, while also learning about the dance industry as a whole. Jayla is thrilled to be a part of the Ballet Etc... faculty and share her dance knowledge!
Nicole Robb is an experienced dance teacher from Toronto who has relocated to the Niagara Region. Nicole has almost 10 years of experience teaching at the competitive level and has a formal education from York University in Dance. Nicole has also been working with the students at Canada's National Ballet School during the majority of the pandemic and has learned a lot from that experience. Her specialty is in jazz and aside from teaching at the competitive level, Nicole has conducted many successful technique workshops and seminars in both Vancouver and Toronto. She has won choreography awards at competitions and has been commended for her timeless style and upbeat flair in the pieces that she creates! Nicole likes to get back to the roots of what makes jazz, jazz and has a deep appreciation for both classic and contemporary jazz styles. Nicole also has extensive experience with contemporary and lyrical both in choreography and technique classes. Nicole believes in creating strong dancers with a solid technical base as well as a comprehensive knowledge of each dancer's kinaesthetic awareness in space, and therefore she tends to prioritize conditioning in my lesson plans. She also emphasizes musicality in her classes and encourages dancers to find their own personal style that suits them best. Nicole provides a healthy and safe space (both physical and mental) for youth to develop as dancers and work with them in a collaborative effort to get the most out of their training and meet their personal goals!
David Cox has been dancing since the age of 2, as he was brought into this world by a musical family. His father a Motown artist and his mother a dance teacher. At 13 he made his first trip to NYC on scholarship and that would change his life forever. Studying with some of the best dancers in the world he began to realize that tap dance was his passion not forgetting his extensive training in jazz, ballet and modern. Since becoming a professional he has gone on to perform for and at the following: YTV Achievement Award Winner 1999 Dance Category, 'Bojangles' the Showtime movie starring Gregory Hines, the international sensation 'STOMP', Juno Awards, Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, The Duke Ellington Society, Save The Last Dance pt2, talked Tap and Tapped with Shelagh Rogers (Sounds Like Canada CBC Radio 1) , Bravo Fact 'The Hoofers Club', Dance Arts Vancouver & Judith Marcuse Projects (ICE: Beyond Cool, FIRE… Where There's Smoke, and EARTH=HOME), ADIDAS, Pro Arte Danza's The Jazz Cracker, Ballet Creole's Soulful Messiah, Ruckus Co Prod's Ricochet, LKTYP's "i think i can", Hoofers House Harlem NYC. Numerous corporate functions include former T.O Mayor David Miller's Inaugural Ball, Coca Cola, Hit N Run Productions and has performed for the speaker of the house, and His Majesty Prince Charles to name a few. He has been on MTV Canada as a choreographer and dancer for "MTV Live: Dancing with the Hosts" and Much Music's Black History Month. David has shared his passion with the world as a featured performer in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies and is a sought after adjudicator and teacher across North America. He is also proud to be a member of a band called Theatre Crisp where he taps as added percussion. He is regular faculty at the Tap Dance Centre in Mississauga among other surrounding area studios. His happy go lucky and energetic attitude is contagious to those around him, and urges others to pick up a tap and discover the music they can make. Here's to the 2nd Balcony...Keep it Copasetic!
Melissa Silva is a passionate, award-winning choreographer best known for her innovative and creative concepts. She has been named and won Best Overall Choreographer both regionally and nationally countless times over the span of her career. She is a very sought after contemporary/lyrical teacher and choreographer who has also won many teacher recognition awards and the highest mark of many competitions. Melissa has spent the past decade as a Competitive Director, a proud member of the Professional Adjudicators Alliance and faculty member at Sheridan Collage. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and understanding from all sides of the business. Melissa has been training and studying the art of dance since the age of 5 and also became a professionally working singer and actor. She spent 3 years living and working in New York City after she was the sole recipient of the National Scholarship Award to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Throughout Melissa’s career she has performed on stages in Hamilton, Burlington, Toronto, NYC, LA and overseas on a cruise ship. She has been fortunate to be a part of some amazing casts and companies. Some of Melissa’s favorite roles played are “Millie” from Thoroughly Modern Millie, “Queenie” from The Wild Party, “Shirley Temple” from A Day in Hollywood, “The Narrator” from A Christmas Carol and “Sue” from Rock Around the Clock. Melissa also spent a summer as a principal dancer and singer at Lake Compounce Theme Park in Connecticut where she shared the same stage as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald many years before her. You can also find her on The Oprah Winfrey Network starring in the TV show “Cold Blood” as the principal character Tamara Tadum. Melissa is very passionate about her dance education and has had the privilege of training with the best in the world. Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, Desmond Richardson, Tessandra Chevez and Brian Freedman just to name a few. Melissa’s extensive education and career have allowed her to guide her students onto professional careers of their own and she does so with a humbled heart. She takes her craft very seriously and is driven by a passion to help cultivate raw, honest, sincere work in order to create not just dancers but artists of the future.
Skye Rogers is a multi-disciplinary performing artist, currently based in St. Catharines, Ontario. In December 2019, she graduated from the Randolph College for the Performing Arts, and is currently pursuing a Certificate in the Studies in Arts and Culture program at Brock University.
A deep love of community and a passion for connection through storytelling are the guiding principles at the root of everything Skye does; her most treasured projects being those that involve creative collaboration with other artists. In 2020, Skye was honoured to have worked alongside other emerging artists as a dancer/choreographer in the creation of a digital work entitled “Babel”, through Expect Theatre’s Beats + Intentions training program, and she was most recently a part of Theatre Oculus’ Digital Creation Residency. Throughout the years, Skye has also delighted in several opportunities with Toronto writing-duo Johnston & Johnson as an original cast member and assistant director in several of their new musicals.
As dance is her first love, Skye is a proud teacher and choreographer. She began dancing at just two years old, and is grateful to have been involved in professional performance opportunities from a young age, including Ballet Jörgen’s “The Nutcracker”. She is excited to continue both learning and educating as she begins new endeavours in choreographing, and hopes to bring her diverse background in the arts to offer a unique, holistic perspective to her teaching.
Office StaffHelmy Flus - Office Director
Kelly Cutler - Office Manager
Kim Franic - Head of Wardrobe