Faculty

Jen  

Jen Groff Owner / Artistic Director

Jen has been teaching for over 15 years in and around Edmonton and Grande Prairie, and also introduced structured dance lessons to a number of smaller communities in Alberta. Her experience, creativity, and commitment to excellence make her an ideal leader.

Jen has been formally trained in two tap syllabi—Al Gilbert, up to and including grade 9, and I.S.T.D., through Advance level 1—as well as two ballet syllabi—Vaganova and I.S.T.D. Jen has danced twice in Disney World, placed first in Hoctor’s Dance Caravan Competition in Florida, and finished second in the Grande National Championship. She has participated in many competitions in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and danced in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Alberta Winter Games.

Since she has been teaching, Jen has won numerous choreography awards for her dances and her students have been named as “most outstanding”, and “most promising” at many competitions. She has taken groups to British Columbia, to Los Angeles, to Disneyland, to New York City, and aboard the Royal Caribbean “Mariner of the Seas” for performance, training, and competition. Jen has also been asked to choreograph for Edmonton and Grande Prairie’s Festival of Trees and Edmonton Contemporary Dancers. Many of her students have gone on to dance professionally in Edmonton, Vancouver, New York, and on cruise ships.

 Julia  

Julia Friesen – Cecchetti Associate Diploma CSC-CICB

Julia has returned to Grande Prairie after four years studying at the University of Calgary where she has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in contemporary dance with a specialization in Ballet. While at the U of C, she received training focused mainly in contemporary dance from world-renowned artists and instructors, as well as ballet and pointe from the professional division of the School of Alberta Ballet. In addition to her university education, Julia aspired to attain an associate diploma within the Cecchetti ballet technique; after three years of intense instruction with the top Cecchetti experts in Canada (also through the School of Alberta Ballet), she received honours for her associate diploma examination.

Hilary Schmidt Hilary Schmidt

Hilary grew up dancing in Grande Prairie, Alberta, where her love and passion for dance brought her to the Vancouver dance scene in 2009. She was accepted into the prestigious Source Dance Company, under director Joanne Pesusich, where she trained and flourished for three years while developing her own unique style in all genres of dance. She had the privilege of choreographing a tap piece for The Source in her last year with the company. Hilary is known for her charismatic teaching style, her joyous spirit, and her quick tapping feet. Some of her credits include: So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Toyota Canada, LuluLemon Athletica, M.A.D.D Rhythms Canada, Disney Magic Music Days, The International Law Organization and BC Hydro to name a few. To further Hilary's passion for teaching, she is currently working towards her education degree. She is extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to train and dance with the industry's best. She looks forward to sharing her passion with all.

 Brooke

 Brooke Shaw - Preschool Coordinator

Brooke has been dancing since age 3 starting with tap, her first memory of dance was in tap class with her batton... She's never tapped since.  At the age of 12 she started competitively dancing. She has been dancing at Diverse Dance Company (then NOW Dance) since 2008, her favorite memory was the Troupe Cruise Trip. Brooke's favorite styles are hip hop and lyrical.   Brooke has  worked in Playcare, Preschool Programs, and planning and instructing Summer Camps for 2 summers.  Brooke has been teaching dance for 5 years, and every year gets more fun.  She has built relationships with not only the children but the parents too.  Her experience in childcare make her a "Preschool Whisperer".  Brooke has recently became the Preschool Coordinator for Diverse Dance Company.  

 

Miranda VanderZee

Miranda VanderZee

Miranda danced on and off throughout her childhood in Grande Prairie but started taking dance seriously when she was 13 with disciplines including ballet, modern, lyrical, jazz, and hip hop.Miranda completed her Grade 8 RAD Syllabus ballet exam with distinction, as well as distinction in her RAD Intermediate Foundation ballet exam.  Miranda has attended many dance festivals as both a dancer and a teacher and has won awards including Choreography, Most Outstanding, Most Promising, and in 2013 won a scholarship to a Summer in L.A. intensive with Be Discovered.  Be Discovered has recently approached Miranda with an opportunity to dance in an Alumni performance in New York City, New York which she will be going to in the spring of 2015.Miranda has been teaching dance for three years now, and is extremely passionate about not only showing kids the basics, but giving them confidence to step out of their box and not be afraid to show who they really are in the classroom, on stage, and in everyday life.