Toronto Dance Teacher Expo 2017 Faculty



Having studied, taught, and performed extensively, Kim’s training and technical expertise shine through all of her classes and choreography. But it’s her contagious energy and compassion for each and every student that sets Kim apart in the industry.

Kim began training at 3 years old. From the very start, she loved every second of dance. By age 8 she was training in ballet 30 hours a week, and at 12 years old she received 3rd at the National Tap Event sponsored by Gregory Hines. In fact, Mr Hines was so impressed with Kim that he travelled to her studio in Dallas to give her private lessons.

At 24 years old, Kim moved to L.A. where she quickly achieved success as a sought-after dancer, booking jobs with Britney Spears, N’Sync, Michael Jackson, among many others.

Despite her success, Kim felt drawn to teaching and soon decided to focus her career strictly on training dancers. As she often says, “It only takes a second to make a child feel special and maybe change their life… and from there that child could someday change the world.”

She first joined Adrenaline on the convention circuit before being picked up by the largest dance convention in the world, JUMP. For six years, Kim taught everything from ballet and jazz to hip-hop to thousands of students a week. After that experience, Kim joined NUVO as the Children’s Director. Focusing on technical development, she gained a reputation for inspiring young dancers to be more than excellent performers, but also to be excellent people.

The longer she taught, the more other instructors wanted to learn from her. In city after city, Kim’s teacher seminars drew huge crowds as she motivated countless instructors to be the best educator and role model they could be for their students. Additionally, many of her own students have gone on to achieve incredible success, working with some of the most talented artists in the dance and film industry.

These experiences led Kim to retire from the convention circuit to focus on the success of Changing Lives. Kim now travels across the country working directly with studios to educate their faculty and implement her teaching philosophy, along with speaking engagements, parent seminars, and business consulting.

Through it all, Kim’s number one priority has and still remains being a good mom to her two wonderful girls—and instilling in them the same vibrant faith in God that fuels her love for others and joy in dance.

With Kim’s experience and reputation in the industry, she enjoys strong relationships with a wide range of teachers and choreographers. So please let us know if you’d like to book a certain instructor for your studio and we’ll see what we can do!


For more than 15 years, Lauren Ritchie has been studying, researching, and educating dancers on the physical, emotional and mental intricacies of dance. Lauren has made it her life’s work to support dancers to be their best – mind, body and spirit. Recognizing the lack of mental skills training in dance, Lauren has created programs and exercises dedicated to educating and empowering dancers mental health and fitness to optimize their training. From her MEd in Coaching Studies to a BA in Professional Communications, to multiple Yoga certifications and an accredited Art & Science of Coaching Certification, Lauren has a unique blend of education and resources that offer a holistic training approach for dancers.

Lauren has firsthand knowledge of the attributes required to achieve and sustain peak performance. She was a highly competitive and decorated dancer having classically trained in ballet, jazz, tap and lyrical. After completing her A.R.A.D, Lauren knew she “wanted to dance” but had little guidance and awareness of the true process of transitioning into a professional dance career. This is why Lauren has created and hosts The Dance Podcast; an invaluable resource dedicated to inspire and educate dancers, teachers, and parents through candid conversations with industry professionals. 

Lauren is an established facilitator and speaker, delivering workshops to prestigious schools and training programs like the Alberta Ballet School and Harbour Dance Centre. She is the co-founder of the Dance Teacher reTREAT AND has also facilitated and contributed to the DTRC’s on the Move workshops speaking to aspiring dancers in Calgary.  Her career achievements had also been recognized as she was a recipient of the Edmontonian’s Top 20 under 30.

Lauren’s engaging and encouraging teaching style has inspired dance teachers and students across the country to use dance as a practice of high-performance living and an exploration of their unique self. 


Suzanne Blake Gerety is the director of, the leading online resource for dance studio owners world-wide, she provides information and inspiration to start, run, and grow your business.

Suzanne is the second-generation owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios where she and her mom, Kathy Blake, continue to run a thriving studio, which has been in the family for 40 years. Suzanne was born into the dance studio life and brings the perspective of an owner, educator, mom, and businesswoman to her work.

Suzanne and her mom, Kathy are the long time featured columnists for Dance Teacher Magazine’s, “Ask the Experts”. She regularly teaches and presents business seminars at the Dance Teacher Summit, Dance Teacher Connection, and for other various industry events. Her love of marketing combined with her real-life examples make the information she provides timely and immediately useful for audiences.

Suzanne is a featured contributor in the The FabJob Guide to Become a Dance Studio Owner, FabJob Guides have been featured in stories at The Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine sites. In addition to a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Child Development from Colby-Sawyer College, Suzanne has training and experience in communication and leadership from one of the world’s foremost personal development companies.

Suzanne is a mom of two children, married to a great guy, she loves her family and her dance studio family too! She is a passionate advocate for dance studio owners and dance education throughout the world and brings the resources and support to current and future owners to help them achieve success.

You can follow Suzanne on Twitter: or connect on Facebook:


Sarah Robichaud is a classically trained dancer who has studied and performed extensively throughout Canada, Europe and Moscow where she studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School. She has performed and choreographed for many theatre, film and television projects over the last 15 years. Her passion for an optimum mind-body connection led her to become a certified personal trainer, and later an on air fitness expert for the CBS Early Show In New York City as well as the Steven and Chris show in Canada.

As an author of two fitness books “Getting Fit Without Hitting the Gym” and her 2006 release “Working On The Ball – A Simple Guide to Office Fitness” Sarah has always been promoting healthy living through movement.

Sarah’s interest in Parkinson’s disease began in the spring of 2007 when her client Andy Barrie (formerly of CBC Metro Morning) asked her for help managing his physical PD symptoms through exercise. Sarah was so inspired by the Mark Morris Dance Group’s innovative PD dance program that she went to New York to participate in their first teacher training workshop. Upon her return to Toronto Sarah made it her mission to offer PD dance classes throughout the GTA starting March 2008. Since then Sarah has become a Canadian leader in the field of Dancing with Parkinson’s, a founding member of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network Canada and the only Canadian certified by The Dance for PD organization. 

For more information about Sarah see:​​


Following completion of her studies with the Professional Division at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Claire danced professionally with the Alberta Ballet Company. She is a graduate of the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School and has taught and adjudicated extensively throughout Canada. Claire is an instructor with Dancing with Parkinson’s Canada, which offers movement classes for those living with Parkinson’s Disease. Claire recently certified as Level I Instructor of 3-D WorkoutTM, an integrated fitness program based on the work of Bartenieff and Laban. In addition to her teaching, Claire is also an experienced rehearsal director, an avid music student and a passionate Argentine Tango student.

Claire’s research interests have evolved from years of studio-based, student-centred work, and include dance feminism, radical dance pedagogies and dance as emancipatory practice. She has taught at York University since 1990, joining the full-time faculty in the Department of Dance in 2004 and holding the role of Department Chair from 2010-14.

For the past three years, Claire has been a member of the Pulse Ontario Dance Conference Steering Committee, a biannual conference providing high school students and their teachers with a 3-day immersive dance experience. She has served on the boards of Dance Media Group/Groupe Danse Média, which publishes The Dance Current, as well as CORPS de Ballet International (Council of Organized Researchers for Pedagogical Studies).


Kim O’Neill is an established dancer, teacher, choreographer, director of the O’Neill Academy of Dance, and also a graduate from the University of Western Ontario. She is trained extensively in all dance disciplines.

Kim continues to peruse her dance career, represented by Da Costa Talent Agency in Toronto.  With more than a decade of professional work under her belt, Kim has become an established performer.  She was a featured dancer for the Helix Dance Project, (Linda Garneau), Je Danse (Siona Jackson), has performed at numerous industrial shows including the Celebrity Gala, Crystal Ball Charity Event, the C.I.M Awards, the Contessa Awards, the Steve Nash Charity Event, World Pride 2014, the 2016 / 2017 Hold Em’ for Life Gala, the Gilda Awards alongside Eric McCormack, the Mary Kay Event Gala, and the Chandelier Ball” (Elgin Theatre’s 100th anniversary spectacular ), to name a few. Kim completed a series of appearances on CBC’s “Over The Rainbow, “ “Warehouse 13’s” finale episode (42nd Street segment), and can be seen in the motion picture “Save the Last Dance 2: Steppin Up,” “Camp Rock”, starring the Jonas Brothers, and “Canada’s Smartest Person.”  Kim’s theatre credits include: Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Song and Dance”, Drayton Entertainment’s, “Aladdin”, “Cinderella”, Robinhood, and Peter Pan, Dance Legends, Big Band Legends, Rock n’ Roll Legends, Assistant Choreographer  for “Dance Legends” at the Grand Theatre, “Return to Grace” (Ed Mirvish Theatre, Fallsview Casino, Bangkok Thailand, and Canadian National Tour), had the pleasure of dancing as a soloist for singer, Chad Brownlee, at the 2016 Canadian Country Music Awards,

Kim has had the honour of assisting many re-known choreographers including Matthew Clark, Gino Berti, Jeff Dimitriou, Trudy Moffatt, and Sean Cheeseman. She continues to train, adjudicate, and teach master classes across North America, and is also a choreographer for World Performers Canada, and the Five Star Dance Company


The British Association of Teachers of Dancing


Performing Arts of Canada

Dance Masters of Canada 


Tap Dance Centre

Healthy Dancer Canada


Jeannie appeared as the Vocal Coach for CBC’s Over The Rainbow and is in demand as a Voice Teacher and Musical Director. Shows include: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (upcoming), Holiday Inn, The Drowsy Chaperone, Anything Goes, Chicago, Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins (Drayton Entertainment), Seussical (YPT), Kiss Me Kate (Theatre Sheridan), Canadian Women in Song (Angelwalk), The Full Monty (Rose Theatre) and Hair at The Grand (London).  Previous shows include Jersey Boys (Dancap), The Sound of Music (Mirvish), The Rocky Horror Show (Randolph Academy), Side by Side by Sondheim (Sonus Stage Producations) and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Georgian Theatre Festival). Jeannie has toured North America with Riverdance – The Show and toured and recorded extensively with the Elmer Iseler Singers. She has appeared as a soloist with the AIMS Festival Orchestra, Summer Opera Lab, Vocalpoint Chamber Choir and the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir with whom she was a Vocal Coach for seven years. Jeannie is Vocal Division Head at the Randolph College for the Performing Arts, has served as conductor of the Intermediate Chorus for the Canadian Children’s Opera Company and as Associate Music Director at Metropolitan Community Church Toronto.  She has also been a keyboardist for Beauty and the Beast, Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia!, Pelagie and Lord of the Rings. Jeannie holds Associateship Diplomas in Voice and Piano from the Western Conservatory of Music and studied Opera at the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. She has a private studio teaching Musical Theatre, Pop and Classical voice and is also active as a Clinician and Adjudicator.


Jill Tirone is the website manager of and owner of DanceFit Marketing. Graduating magna cum laude from The University of New York at Buffalo with a B.A. in Dance Education as well as earning an A.A.S. in Office Technology from Genesee Community College, Jill combines years of teaching dance, marketing, and administrative experience to the content and training she provides members at

She is a regular contributor to Dance Teacher Magazine and Dance Retailer News and you’ll find her teaching and presenting business seminars throughout the US and Canada during the busy summer months.

Jill is a dedicated wife and a mom of two incredible girls and she is committed to sharing her passion for dance and marketing and helping dance studio owners thrive. You can follow her on social @jilltirone.


Rebecca is a versatile and passionate choreographer, teacher and adjudicator
based out of Toronto, Ontario. She is no stranger to the world of competitive dance,
having trained as a multi-disciplinary dancer by some of the industry’s best. In addition
to her extensive dance training, Rebecca merged her academic and dance careers by
receiving her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree and Dance Minor from Western
Most recently Rebecca’s choreography was featured at the APAP Dance
Showcases presented by Peridance Capezio Center (New York City, 2017) and the
Young Choreographer’s Festival (New York City, 2015). She has choreographed and
performed for many other professional and commercial shows throughout North
America including; Fever After Dark, Raise the Rhythm, Fresh Blood
(The Chimera Project), New Blue Festival for Emerging Artists, Toronto Raptors Junior
Dance Pak, Block Party featuring Calvin Harris, Ray-Dance Gala, Sketch (the Canadian
National Exhibition), Toronto Dance Teacher Expo Showcase, Breaking Formality (Echo
Dance Company/York University), Wireless Connection (POV Dance Project, company
member). Rebecca was the choreographer and director of movement for independent
dance film White Flag which was screened at Portland Dance Film Festival (Portland),
Ryerson GLARE Festival (Toronto), Toronto Youth Shorts Festival and 300 Seconds
Short Film Festival where it was a finalist for Best Music Video.
Rebecca has extensive teaching and choreographic experience with students of
all ages and levels. She loves working as a freelance guest teacher and choreographer
and is in constant demand at studios, intensives and workshops across Canada, with
her work receiving much acclaim. She is on faculty with Canadian conventions, the
Audience Dance Rivalry and Dance Attack, as well as a guest faculty member at the
Underground Dance Centre. Rebecca has been recognized for her innovative
choreography, receiving countless awards for her vision and creativity. Many of her
students have gone on to pursue professional dance careers, with students training at
Joffrey Ballet School (New York City), Toronto Dance Theatre and performance dance
programs at Ryerson University, York University and George Brown College.
Rebecca is a proud member for the Professional Adjudicators Alliance and
adjudicates at various dance competitions throughout Canada. She is also a mentor
and judge for Young Creator’s Challenge; a choreography competition that serves as a
platform for budding artists developing their craft. Her passion, energy and enthusiasm
as an artist is undeniable and it is her honour to influence and share with the next
generation of dancers.


Rebecca Brettingham-Filice is the owner and artistic director of Dance Extreme Inc. located in London, Ontario, Canada. Teaching and managing the studio since its inception in 1997, Rebecca and her team have taught over 25,000 students.

She is a certified instructor with Dance Educators of America and Dance Masters of Canada, Chapter #38 where she sits on the board of directors. Rebecca has served as the director of social media for the past 3 years and has served as delegate for over 12 years for Dance Masters of America.  Rebecca graduated from Dance Masters of America’s Teacher’s Training School at Kent State University and the State University of New York in Buffalo.

Rebecca adjudicates for a number of dance organizations, competitions and has taught at various workshops throughout Canada and the United States.  A number of Rebecca’s students have attended professional schools for dance and theater and worked professionally. In 2012, Dance Extreme was honoured to perform at the Summer Olympics in London, UK.


Nicole Garland has over 30 years teaching experience and is the owner and director of Turning Pointe Academy of Dance in Toronto. Celebrating twenty years of business success, Nicole owns and operates multiple businesses in the industry and her studio is currently home to over 800 students and growing.

An entrepreneur at heart, Nicole operates, in addition to her dance studio, a dancewear store, Competitive Costume Consignment Company, and has now co-founded World Performers Canada Inc., to allow students to experience competition on a world stage.

Nicole has been honored with a nomination for RBC’s Women of Influence Award for 2018 and was a guest speaker at the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association (I.D.E.A.) Canadian conference weekend under the direction of Rhee Gold.

With a focus on strong business practices, Nicole feels privileged to join the Toronto Dance Teacher Expo team to share her experiences in business growth and to exchange information and ideas referencing the challenges faced by many entrepreneurs in the studio biz today.  


just music provides music editing services to choreographers of the creative arts and sport
The music that accompanies dance should never take an audience member, judge, or adjudicator out of the piece. By
working with just music, you will end up with a final product that sounds like it was written for you.

Say goodbye to the headaches of skipped beats, inconsistent volume levels, unclear “is it over?” endings, and
other missed opportunities. Not to mention the huge amount of time you will gain back and the stress you will relieve
yourself of. Just music is the answer you’ve been looking for.

Justin at just music has worked with former choreographers of the Canadian National Tap and Hip Hop teams along with
numerous studios, artistic directors, and choreographers across North America and the world. Pieces with music by
just music have won countless awards at festivals and competitions and have been complimented in adjudicators
commentary and notes.


TOKYO grew up studying martial arts and began training at age 5. By 15, he attained several black belts in various arts in addition to training in wrestling, Muay Thi, boxing and MMA (mixed martial arts/cage fighting). At 17, after a promising, undefeated amateur record, just a few months shy of making a professional career out of MMA, TOKYO discovered dance and his life changed drastically. 

Since leaving the fighting world and entering the dance world, TOKYO has been fortunate enough to teach master classes and choreography in the US, Canada, Australia, Central America, and the UK for many studios, companies, colleges, casinos and Cirque du Soleil. Due to TOKYO’s background in martial arts, his approach to dance movement, philosophy and teaching is very unique and has been received and loved by many. 

Aside from teaching and choreographing, TOKYO spent four years directing one of the largest dance competitions in the U.S. Since concluding his positions as a competition director, TOKYO is currently on faculty at the world-renowned professional dance studio Millennium Dance Complex and on several conventions such as NRG, WILD, Intrigue Dance Intensive, and Artists Simply Human. He is extremely excited to give back to those that have given so much to him, through the art of dance!

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