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.

Vocal Coach

Vancouver born soprano, Dr. Gina Oh is ranked top voice teacher in the tri-cities area 5 years in a row. She has been honored as one of the most influential Korean Women of The World of 2008. Gina completed her doctoral studies in Voice Performance in French at l’Université de Montréal; her  master’s degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston and her bachelor’s degree from UBC. Gina shares her valuable time pursuing a high level of music outreach by way of teaching premium technique and creating performing opportunities.  With voice students represented at BC Arts Provincials for the past 10 years, Gina is passionate about inspiring others and building community through music.

With classes in Musical Theatre and Choirs along with private vocal training, Pro Arté is excited to be associated with Dr. Gina Oh and these outstanding offerings that provide even more diversity of excellence in training at the Centre.

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

Emily was raised in Maple Ridge, BC and began her training with Avril Johns at the age of 4. She later trained at the National Ballet School and The Goh Ballet Academy before beginning her career with the Alberta Ballet in 2006. Over the next 10 years with the company, Emily performed many ballets including Swan Lake, Othello (staged by Kirk Peterson),Madame Butterfly(Stanton Welch),The Fiddle and Drum (Jean Grand-Maitre) and Alice in Wonderland (Edmund Stripe).

Some of her favourite roles with Alberta Ballet were Arabian in The Nutcrakcer, Demon is Love lies Bleeding,Pas de Deux #4 in Songs of a Wayfarer by Emily Molnar and Balanchine’s Serenade- russian girls. After 10 years with the company, Emily retired and returned home to BC to raise her family.Emily’s dancing and teaching abilities have been greatly influenced over the years by many great people including Wen Wei Wang, Mr Chen and Mrs. Lin, Elyse Bourne, Yukichi Hattori,Peggy Baker, Karen Kain, Jean Grand-Maitre, Beverly Bagg among others.

Through her teaching Emily hopes to inspire and encourage her students to pursue their dreams of a professional career while focusing on strong technique and artistry.

“I’ve been lucky to have had the influential training that I did, so I can’t wait to pass on to future dancers”

Emily

Dance Educator

Alex recently completed a year of full-time training with the Conteur Academy in Toronto, a contemporary dance company, and while there she trained and competed with a Toronto hip-hop crew, K9collective. Returning to Vancouver, Alex trained with KTL company and is now part of the Advanced Illustrative Company. Along with performing for community events and competing with Illustrative, Alex has also worked with a few music artists in various music videos and appeared in movies and commercials. Dancing is her voice and her passion – and she is inspired most when she has the chance to share this passion with others. Alex is looking forward to sharing her passion with all her students.

Guest Teachers

Dance Educator

Born and raised in Vancouver, Amber received her training with Goh Ballet Academy, Arts Umbrella, The Banff Centre Dance Training and Ballet British Columbia’s Mentor Program. Upon completion of her training, she established herself as a professional dance artist in Vancouver and has danced for various companies and choreographers, including: Joe Laughlin (Joe INK), Gail Lotenberg (LINK dance), Judith Marcuse (Judith Marcuse Projects), Lola MacLaughlin (Lola Dance), Martha Carter (Marta Marta Productions), Jennifer Mascall (Mascall Dance), Day Helesic (MovEnt), Lee su-feh (battery opera), Karen Jamieson (Karen Jamieson) Dance Company), Josh Beamish (MOVE: the company), Dana Gingras (Animals of Distinction), Ruckus Company Productions, Adam Shankman, Mark Godden, Marla Eist, Jennifer Clarke, Emily Molnar, Wen Wei Wang, Cori Caulfield, Lina Fitzner and Heather Laura Gray.  She has also been featured as a guest artist with Company 605.  She has also performed and toured with Neworld’s Theatre of King Arthur’s Night and will be returning to work with Animals of Distinction in 2020.

As a choreographer, Amber’s work has been presented in various venues in Vancouver, across Canada, and internationally at the Chapter Arts Centre (Wales), the NW New Works Festival in (Seattle), and the BAAD!ASS Women Festival (Bronx, New York).  In 2019, Amber was invited to reimagine the classic work of The Firebird for Ballet Kelowna.  Collaborations and creations in theatre include This Stays in the Room (Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre), am a (with Mindy Parfitt), Miscellaneous Productions and #whatnow with Alley Theatre.

In 2008, Amber established her own Vancouver based contemporary dance company, the response.

www.responsedance.com

Instagram handles: @response.dance @a.f.b_

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.

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