The Pro Arté Faculty

Pro Arte Centre is pleased to have a team of world-class, certified teachers with a vast array of experience and expertise. Being guided by best practices and ensuring the health and safety of our community, we are ensuring social distancing and self isolation. We place these operating mandates as priority and, as such, Pro Arte is currently operating with a small group of our faculty. However, we acknowledge that the wealth of offerings is enriched by the contributions of teachers that are not onsite during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Ahmadi

Executive Director

Ms. Ahmadi is a seasoned professional in organizational development and administration.  With over three decades of experience in fund advancement and marketing, systems and planning she brings both knowledge and familiarity with administrative structures, development and marketing as well as team-building skills.   Her experience includes working with international funding organizations, not-for-profit management, marketing, fundraising and publications and working through challenges facing organizations that seek to embody and encourage positive change in the world.

Giving back to the community and investing in the lives of the next generation has been a particular focus and passion for Ms. Ahmadi.  She has held, and continues to hold, leadership positions in not-for-profit organizations that address the educational and training needs of young men and women in both high performance and recreational activities.  It is her privilege and pleasure to be able to apply her experience and expertise within the environment of Pro Arte Centre to encourage a new emerging generation of leaders in the fields associated with performing arts.

A few thoughts from Ms. Ahmadi’s blog:

It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are. Maxim 785. Publius Syrus. (42 B.C.)

I end all of my email communication with this quote. It reminds me that each of us must live our lives with authenticity, true to the values that we hold dear — disregarding the expectations of others — even those who are dear to us.

Why is this important?

At the risk of sounding clichéd, life is short and each moment is to be treasured. Every experience is one that should be affirming, building and nurturing both ourselves and others. One is not capable of achieving this end if one spends one’s time second-guessing the thoughts and opinions of others. This quote resonates strongly as it underscores that we — or I — must be more concerned with pursuing our goals with passion, striving for excellence.  Our values and our purpose that we hold paramount must remain fully in sight, and our daily work – our engagement with others – must build and support achieving these ends.

Ben Cooper

General Manager & Director of VISCERA

Mr. Ben began his ballet training at the age of nine with Jean Butterworth School of Dance, in the United Kingdom. Mr. Ben trained with The Royal Ballet School under the teachings of Kathryn Wade, Richard Ramsay, Neil Westmoreland, Steven McRae, Ed Watson, and Hope Keelan. Upon graduation, Mr. Ben attended Trinity Laban CAT Scheme under the direction of Martin Collins. Mr. Ben studied under many amazing teachers such as Lee Smikle (Rambert, Matthew Bourne) and Stephano Roasato (Merce Cunningham Company). During Mr. Ben’s time at Laban, he was fortunate enough to dance with various choreographers including Akram Khan, Wayne Mcgregor, Darren Ellis, and Matthew Bourne. Mr. Ben also had the opportunity to perform in “The Fairy Queen”- a 1590 British Opera.  In 2013, Mr. Ben continued his training at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Mr. Ben’s main area of study was Graham under the direction of Dr. Ross Mckim (National Ballet of Canada). While at Rambert, Mr. Ben learned the art of sound and lighting for dance performance. Mr. Ben found this highly rewarding as he had the opportunity to light a piece on Sky Arts under the direction of Sir Robert Cohen.  In September 2019, Mr. Ben returned to education to complete his Master in Practice of Manual Osteopathic Science, with an emphasis on helping dancers through injury and rehabilitation. Mr. Ben has taught ballet, contemporary, pointe, pas de deux through advanced levels at a variety of studios in England as well as in Calgary as well as now at Pro Arte.  Mr. Ben is very excited to be at Pro Arte to be the Director of VISCERA and over see dancer wellness.

Bev Bagg

Ballet Mistress

Ms. Bev began her training in both RAD and Cechetti in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has transitioned from a dancer into a master teacher. She was accepted at the Royal Ballet School in London, England, and danced soloist and principal roles with the PACT Ballet Company in South Africa for 15 years. Among the roles she performed were Bluebird and Princess Aurora from The Sleeping Beauty, Odette/Odile from Swan Lake, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Swanhilda in Coppélia, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Giselle in Giselle, Kitri in Nureyev’s production of Don Quixote, and the lead in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations. She has also performed works by renowned choreographers such as Jiří Kylián, John Cranko, Goh Choo San, André Prokovsky, and Sir Frederick Ashton.  Ms. Bagg has a diploma in biomechanics and physiology from the University of the Witwatersrand and integrates this knowledge into her teaching. Since immigrating to Canada, Ms. Bagg has been invited as a guest teacher to various companies and schools in the USA and Canada. She was Ballet Mistress of Ballet BC and Alberta Ballet and has been instrumental in staging Swan Lake and Giselle for South African Ballet Theatre and Washington Ballet.   Spanning over 40 years of a passionate and very successful career as a professional dancer, teacher and coach, Ms. Bagg is able to draw on this experience and offer a rich and insightful approach to teaching and coaching. She establishes an environment of positive energy and demands excellence in a nurturing and inspiring manner.

Dance Educator

Ms. Sophia began her training in ISTD Ballet and Modern at Pro Arte at age seven. She went on to complete RAD Advanced 2 Ballet, ISTD Advanced 2 Ballet and ISTD Advanced 2 Modern as well as her Licentiate Teachers qualification in Ballet and her Associate Teachers qualification in Modern. Students training with Ms. Sophia have consistently attained the highest marks in ballet and modern examinations. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from Simon Fraser University. She was a member of Pro Arte’s CatchingART Aspirant Company in 2013 and 2014. Music is a passion for Ms. Sophia.  She uses her voice as a solo vocalist at her church and also appears singing jazz standards in restaurants around Vancouver.  Piano is her instrument of choice and she has completed her grade 10 RCM piano examination. She appeared in Theatre Under the Star’s “Hairspray” (2015), “Mary Poppins” (2017) and Cinderella (2018). Ms. Sophia is also an award-winning choreographer with credits including local high school musicals, ‘Cabaret for a Cure’, and numerous pieces presented in competitions and showcases. Being a teacher is something that Ms. Sophia has aspired to ever since she was a young girl and she is thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with dancers of all ages as they discover the beauty of dance!

Dance Educator

Frankie Warren is a dance alumni at the University of Calgary. Completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in four years, she is eager to seek professional opportunity. Specializing in contemporary, hip-hop, and jazz with a background in gymnastics has enabled her to progress in the modern and commercial dance world. Frankie is very passionate, social, athletic and utilizes creativity as a ritual in everything she does. Throughout her experience performing andchoreographing within the university setting; Warren’s major achievements have been performing for Cirque Du Soleil in the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Pan Am Games, and working for Gros Morne Summer Music in two accredited productions over the past three years. Warren also choreographed and performed on the Sage Theatre in the IGNITE Festival for emerging artists. The Convoluted, choreographed by herself showcased how the advancement of technology and the human minds are correlated; yet withholds our ability to integrate within society. Warren is now living permanently in downtown Vancouver. Since her move, Warren has joined the KTL hip-hop company and was given the position as the lead dancers for the EP “IOU2”, released by the LA artist Lido. While Warren progresses in her practice, she will continue to pursue professional work fulltime

Dance Educator

Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Alisha trained with the Professional Training Program at Pro Arte Centre and graduated as a member of the CatchingART Contemporary Ballet Theatre Company with Artistic Director, Astrid Sherman. In 2013, she moved to London, England and graduated with a BA (Hons) at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. While in England, she danced with Rambert Dance Company in their productions of Itzik Galili’s “A Linha Curva,” and “The Creation” by Mark Baldwin. She was also privileged to work with a wide variety of teachers and choreographers such as Darren Ellis, Antonia Francheschi, Kerry Nicholls, Arielle Smith, Jason Mabana, Charlotte Edmonds and Chris Thomas.

In December 2016, Alisha moved back to Vancouver as a freelance dancer and has worked and performed with various artists, some of which include Amber Funk Barton, Heather Laura Grey, Peter Bingham, Jennifer Mascall, and Judith Marcuse. During this time back home, Alisha found a passion for exploring her own compositions. She has choreographed various group and solo works for local studio, competition and charity showings as well as her own professional solo and duo works and collaborations with Ben Cooper and Christian Lagasse which have toured the Island, Lower Mainland, and United States.

In 2019, Alisha moved to Calgary, AB to join Decidedly Jazz Danceworks as their Apprentice. You can find her in their upcoming work through the 2020/21 season.

While Alisha has featured in music videos and film works and while her dance career is very important to her she is also passionate for teaching the next generation. She is an associate teacher with AFSA in Acrobatics as well as achieving her ISTD Associate Diploma in Ballet and Modern. She has dabbled in modeling throughout the years. First modeling at a Breast Cancer Awareness event called “Boobalicious” as well as the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. While in the UK, she used London Modeling Academy to update her portfolio and has used dance to her advantage to perform in body paint at an intimate concert with live music.

Dance Educator

Anneliese Rios is a professional ballet dancer born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She began her ballet studies at the age of four on a combination of the Checcheti and Russian techniques and under the tutelage of Nina Novak, Ruta Butviliene and Rumen Ivanov Rashev. At the age of sixteen, Anneliese graduated from Nina Novak’s Classical Ballet Academy as a Professional Ballet dancer and joined her hometown ballet company Teresa Carreño Ballet. During her professional career she had the opportunity to perform nationally and internationally and dance as Corps de ballet and soloist in ballets as: The Nutcracker, Giselle, Paquita, The Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Les Sylphides, and many other contemporary and modern choreographies. In 2013 Anneliese began to combine her dancing with ballet teaching at her academy of origin. In mid 2014 she moved to BC, Canada where she has been maintaining her training as a dancer while continuing in search of new opportunities to grow as an independent artist, to share her passion for dance, and to improve her skills as a dance teacher. In Canada she has had the opportunity to work with children, teens and adults and share her passion for the dance arts. Anneliese’s teaching is characterized by her emphasis in proper classical technique, musicality and artistic expression. Anneliese has work and been an invited teacher in various schools and dance centres throughout the Greater Vancouver area such as The Boswell Academy of Dance, Harbour Dance Centre, Nanaimo Contemporary Ballet, RNB Dance, among others. Anneliese also worked for three consecutive years at the Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts as the head of the ballet section of their Professional Training Program. Also, and since September of 2018, Anneliese became part of the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts dance teacher’s team.

Dance Educator

Samantha Ryan is a natural performer and engaging teacher who embraces all dance has to offer. A former gymnast turned dance entertainer, Samantha hails from Windsor, but not before stops in LA, Michigan, NYC and Toronto in an effort to discover, shape and develop a career in dance and entertainment.

Samantha Ryan completed the Broadway Dance Centre – International Student Visa Professional Program in NYC before she made her decision to move to Toronto and explore opportunities as a dance instructor and aspiring professional. She has gained certification as a dance instructor in Acrobatic Arts and Cecchetti ballet and as an adjudicator with the Professional Adjudicators Alliance (PAA) and Acrobatic Dance Adjudicators (ADA). Samantha is also on faculty with Dance Attack, a leader in Canadian dance workshops.

In addition to teaching in the heart of trendy Queen West at City Dance Corp, Toronto’s leading centre for dance and artistic movement, Samantha Ryan has had the pleasure of being invited by studio owners from multiple studios from Windsor to Sudbury to lead workshops, contribute to intensives and create choreography for competitive soloists, teams and school play ensembles.

Samantha is a member of ACTRA and the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists. In addition to honing her skills under the direction of some of Toronto and New York’s most proficient entertainers, Samantha has mentored under Toronto’s talented and beloved Allison Bradley and been guided professionally by the incredibly accomplished Amy Allen, one of Los Angeles’ most sought-after choreographers. Samantha’s experiences have allowed her to transition from dance entertainment to musical theatre and in front of the camera, having recently appeared in the movie Work It, a coming of age dance comedy produced by Alicia Keys for Netflix.

When not teaching, training or under contract, you can often find Samantha Ryan on stage performing in Town as a lead and accompanying dancer by invitation with some of Toronto’s most revered artists at the industry’s most celebrated events including Toronto’s Choreographers Ball and Fever After Dark.

Dance Educator

Alexandra Clancy is a performing artist with a love of dance and a passion for tap. Growing up in Vancouver, she trained at Danzmode and with Vancouver Tap Dance Society’s youth company – Tap Co, developing her skills in all genres of dance. She is also a proud alumna of the School at Jacobs Pillow. As a teacher and choreographer Alexandra has taught internationally, adjudicated dance competitions, and was faculty at the Vancouver Tap Dance Festival. Alexandra was a member of Tapestry Dance Company’s 25th season located in Austin, TX. She has worked for many other great dancers, performing in shows such as Lisa La Touche’s ‘Hold On’, Travis Knight’s ‘The Cholly Project’, Matt Shields’ ‘A Chronological Life Story of a Few Tap Dancers’ and most recently Danny Nielsen’s ‘On Foot’. She has also performed at the Kennedy Centre in DC and at the Vancouver Tap Dance Festival in a show mentored by Heather Cornell. With a unique voice blending tap and contemporary dance, Alexandra has performed her work at the Feats Festival of Dance and the Vancouver Playhouse, and her film ‘Sedated’
was presented at the Cascadia Dance Film Festival. Alexandra was an artist in residence with Dances for a Small Stage creating, learning and performing in Vancouver for the past few years. Her work with musicians was presented at Dancing on the Edge festival as well as Small Stage’s Summer Series. Last summer she performed on the Inside/Out stage at Jacob’s Pillow with her company Soleful Dance presenting ‘Mood Swing’. This past year, she attended the professional
training program at Decidedly Jazz Dance in Calgary. Alexandra is excited to be back in Vancouver continuing to perform, choreograph and teach both locally and internationally.

Dance Educator

Sorami has a strong background in classical ballet, pointe work, contemporary, neo classical and character dance. Born in Nagoya, Japan, she began her ballet training at age 3 at Yukiko Torii Ballet School, and immediately fell in love with the art form. In 2008, she moved to Canada where she continued training at Goh Ballet Academy, Vancouver. Over the course of her training, Sorami has worked with world renowned ballet masters and choreographers, performed various ballets and contemporary works and toured through city’s within Canada as well as abroad in Japan and China. As a ballet teacher, Sorami has been teaching ballet to students in the lower mainland as well as back home in Japan. Her favorite part of being a teacher is when she get to witness students conquer and overcome challenges they previously struggled with. While she is passionate about teaching, she also enjoys performing and expressing herself through movements.

Dance Educator

Tyler has spent many years dancing professionally all over the world on many different stages in China, Europe, as well as many places in both Canada and the USA performing multiple soloist and principle roles. He has trained at many prestigious schools such as San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, American Ballet Theater, Houston Ballet, and Goh Ballet Academy. He then joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet where he danced with the company for 5 years. After his short but fulfilling career with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet he decided to move back home to Vancouver to share his experiences and knowledge of company life and a professional dance career with the next generation.

Dance Educator

Haley has been dancing in her hometown of Smithers, BC, from a very young age, in many styles including jazz, modern, acro, lyrical, ballet, and tap. She was also a competitive gymnast, track athlete, and musician, and then went on to study Musical Theatre at Capilano University. She has taught acro, musical theatre, social “distdancing” classes, dance camps, her own creative works, and has performed in multiple theatre productions around Vancouver. Recent works include Alice and Wonderland the Panto, (Metro Theatre) and Newsies, (Theatre Under The Stars) from which she received the Ovation Award for Outstanding Newcomer, and the Aida Broadbent award for Professional Conduct and Performance. Through performing and choreography experiences, Haley has established her love for creativity and her enthusiasm for dance. Teaching has always been a passion for her, and she wants to continue to inspire future performers to reach for their goals and try new skills. Haley is thrilled to be joining the Pro Arte team and looks forward to bringing her own flair and energy to class.

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