A professional team that truly
care about the kids they teach.

 

 

Meet the 2018.2019 studio a faculty

 

Ashley Mastin
Studio Director

 

Studio A Dance Academy Inc. Director- Ashley Mastin has been involved with dance for over 30 years. She began her training at an early age and studied extensively throughout Canada and the United States. She has competed successfully at countless dance competitions across the world in the disciplines of jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical and musical theatre. In 1997, she was selected to be a part of the I Love Dance International Tour and travelled to Sydney, Australia performing at various events including an exclusive performance at the Sydney Harbour. The following year she was chosen to be part of the inaugural Power Pak Troupe through Star Power Talent Competition and toured Las Vegas, Orlando and Dallas.

She has trained with some of the best teachers across the world including Gus Giordano, Stelio Calagias and Siona Jackson. Her teaching career spans over 18 years and includes dance instruction in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, acrobatics, musical theatre and hip hop. She has completed her Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus and was involved in the CDTA Jazz and Tap Examinations. Ashley has participated as a judge at some of North America’s leading dance competitions and is a certified member of the International Academy of Dance Adjudicators. She has also guest taught at workshops for various studios across Ontario. Her choreography has won numerous awards and cash scholarships including Creative Concept, Outstanding Senior Choreographer, Choreographic Excellence and Best of the Show! Ashley has also obtained her Business Degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Her professional work includes dancing with the Toronto based Company “Je Danse”, under the direction of Siona Jackson. Ashley has also performed in music videos and at various industrial events across Ontario. She still continues to train to give her students the utmost in style, dance knowledge and technique. She is thrilled to be living her passion: dance!


JANINE RITCEY
Office Manager
& Dance Instructor

 

Janine began her dance career at the age of three in Grimsby, Ontario. Eventually she began training as a competitive dancer in Mississauga at the age of eight and she hasn’t looked back since! During her competitive dance years Janine trained in various forms including ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, hip hop, acro, musical theatre and pointe, while also training in gymnastics. She has worked with and taken classes in New York City as a VIP dancer at The Dance Awards with Stacey Tookey, Mandy Moore, Mia Michaels, Teddy Forance, Misha Gabriel, Kenny Wormald, and many more. Her training enabled her to win numerous awards and scholarships in competitions throughout Canada and the United States. 

Janine is now in the process of completing her ADAPT and Acrobatique syllabus to be a certified instructor in Jazz, Tap and Acro at the Junior, Intermediate and Advanced levels. She also took part in the Canadian Dance Expo 2016 to further her knowledge by attending teacher seminars alongside her Studio A coworkers. Janine has worked closely with dance shop owner Mira Leone over 6 years gaining great experience in client relations, management, scheduling and costuming. She has also gained experience working with Kick it Up Dance Competition while announcing dancers, organizing music and inputting scores…yet “another side” of dance! Janine’s love for dance continues to grow with each year which brought her to Studio A as the Office Manager in 2014. She has enjoyed her past year of experience as a recreational and competitive dance teacher and is thrilled to bring this passion to Studio A in this coming season!


elisa berdusco
Dance Instructor

 

Elisa found her love for dance at the age of 3, and began competing by the age of 5. She trained in various styles of dance including contemporary, ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, tap, musical theatre, modern and acrobatics. Alongside her training at Studio A Dance Academy, she attended Cawthra Park Secondary School and graduated from the Regional Arts Program as a dance major. During these four years, she thoroughly studied pedagogy, various modern techniques, stage production, kinesiology, and the choreographic process.

Throughout her years as a competitive dancer, Elisa earned several scholarships, and special awards including ‘Artistic Embodiment’ and ‘Stunning Technique.’ She has also been given the opportunity to perform in festivals, fundraisers, and theatre productions, and showcase her choreography at multiple school shows and dance competitions. She has completed the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, and participated in the Canadian Dance Teacher’s Association examinations for modern jazz and classical ballet.

Elisa has now moved onto studying Marketing Management at the University of Guelph, with ambitions to one day combine her passions of dance and business into a career. To broaden her experience in the dance industry, Elisa currently attends open classes downtown and leads dance camps during her summers. Looking forward to inspire dancers of all ages, Elisa is excited to join the Studio A team as a dance instructor this upcoming season!


KELLY JONES-HART
DANCE INSTRUCTOR,
BALLET PROGRAM

 

Kelly’s love for dance started at age three in jazz and tap classes and grew to include ballet, lyrical, Highland and contemporary dance.  After competing in Canada and the U.S.A., she continued her dance education at Ryerson University where she graduated with Honours and received her R.A.D. teaching certificate in 1998.  Upon graduation Kelly performed Highland dancing across Ontario and in Scotland with the Scottish Dance Company of Canada.  In 2005 she received her Masters from York University’s dance department and presented her research paper “Applying Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences in Ballet Training” at the World Dance Alliance conference.  While at York University Kelly taught an elective dance course to undergraduates and presented her choreography in the graduate student performance. Kelly is a RAD. Ballet teacher who enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for dance with students of all ages.  Kelly focuses on developing strong technique while infusing her classes with joy and creativity.  Students are encouraged to find an emotional connection with movement and to develop a love for dance as a form of self-expression. Kelly has had much success entering students in both Vocational and Graded RAD exams and looks forward to another great season at Studio A!


COURTNEY STOLARSKI
DANCE INSTRUCTOR

 

Courtney began her dance training at the age of three. She is a motivated and enthusiastic teacher and choreographer. Courtney displays excellence in all disciplines of dance and her training has allowed her to win numerous titles and awards in competitions throughout Canada and the United States. 

She has had the opportunity to work with the industry’s leading professionals in both the commercial and concert world of dance. Her work includes various live performances, music videos and industrial shows. Courtney has had the opportunity to work under the instruction of Linda Garneau for Helix Dance Project’s company show ‘unEarth’ and with Toronto based company, Alias Dance Project, in the production ‘Shifting Edges’. Other credits include CityTV New Year’s Bash, Virgin Mobile Canada, Canadian National Exhibition and So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

Courtney is a graduate from the Performance Dance program at Ryerson University. She has extensively trained in Ballet, Jazz and Modern techniques as well as completed her R.A.D exam syllabus. While at Ryerson, she has had the opportunity to work and train with esteemed teachers and choreographers such as Nadia Potts, Vicki St.Deny’s, Karen Duplisea, Kenny Pearl, Allen Kaeja, Valerie Calam, Heidi Strauss and Robert Glumbek. 

Courtney teaches students of all ages and abilities. She has been recognized with various choreography and concept awards. She has also been a guest instructor at many esteemed dance studios throughout Canada and a member with the Professional Adjudicators Alliance. With a strong focus on technique, she instills the passion, awareness and excitement of dance. She is excited to be returning to Studio A for another season!


KIERA PUNNETT
DANCE INSTRUCTOR

 

Kiera Punnett began dancing at the age of 4 at J.C.B. Danceworks in Richmond Hill. She studied various styles of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, tap and musical theatre. She was part of the competitive team for over ten years as a highly successful team member and soloist and has now been a principal instructor and choreographer for the last five years. Kiera has completed her C.D.T.A. jazz exams at the Elementary level. Kiera has also had the pleasure of working with Marquee Theatrical Productions, where she has choreographed for youth groups, adult casts and their summer camp programs. Kiera pursued her passion for the arts by attending Unionville High School where she graduated with an Arts York Honours diploma in 2008 (Dance). She went on to attend Ryerson University’s Performance Dance program where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2012 where she studied modern, jazz and ballet. She went on to further her education by studying Junior/Intermediate Education at York University (Fine Arts, Specialty Dance). She received her Bachelor of Education in 2013 and is looking forward to sharing her passion and interest in arts education. Since completion of her Bachelor of Education, she has completed additional qualifications including drama and special education. Kiera continues to take classes, attend workshops and live an active lifestyle to share her knowledge with her students so that they are able to become stronger dancers. She is excited to be working with the dancers and staff at Studio A and hopes to inspire the students to pursue their dreams!


Allison Toffan
Dance Instructor

 

Allison is consistently sharing her passion and developing her artistry. Recognized by both the Canada Council for the Arts and FACTOR, she has been awarded grants as an emerging dance artist and a developing musician. She had the esteemed honour to share the world stage with a select group of Canadian artists as a featured tap dancer in the Opening Ceremonies at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

A graduate of the Music Theatre Performance program at Sheridan College, she has returned as a member of the dance faculty, sharing her knowledge and experience with the developing young talent cultivated from across North America.

Allison has had the incredible opportunity to study privately with some of the world’s most sought after masters such as Heather Cornell, Max Pollak, and Brenda Bufalino. She has shared the stage and collaborated with notable Canadian artists Paula Skimin, Tasha Lawson, Dayna Szyndrowski, Danny Nielsen, Travis Knights, Matty Shields, and Heather Cornell.

Her latest development shifts in focus to include the artistic producing of the Toronto Rhythm Initiative. Launched in June 2011, the TRI performed three successful installments featuring live music, comedy, art, and multiple forms of dance, all in collaboration with Toronto’s professional tap dance community. Allison also created a unique opportunity for tap dancers age 13-19 from across the GTA by launching the TRI Youth Ensemble Program.

Internationally, tap dance has taken Allison to LA, NYC, Austin, and Romania. In Canada, she has been a guest choreographer and instructor in Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Ottawa. As a band member, she is a percussionist with the Toffan-Hiltz Collective, The Samba Punk Soundsystem, and The Woodchoppers Association. Allison is privileged to be consistently working with live music and is passionate about connecting and cultivating communities of dancers and musicians, growing together all over the world. 

Allison currently teaches around the GTA and is thrilled to join the team at Studio A!


Mary Swierczynski
Dance Instructor, Ballet Program

 

Mary began her dance training at the age of five with the Alarie School of Dance in Oakville, Ontario.  She then continued her training at the Fleming School of Dance for seven years taking classes in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Musical Theatre.  While there, she completed dance examinations in both Ballet and Modern through the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (I.S.T.D.).  During this time Mary performed in local productions with the Oakville Players, Burloak Theatre Group, and the Brampton Musical Society.

In 1984, Mary began her professional teacher training at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto.  She graduated in 1987 and holds the Canadian College of Dance Teaching Diploma (C.C.D. Teaching Diploma), the Royal Academy of Dance Teaching Diploma (RAD – RTS – Registered Teacher Status) and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Associate in Modern Theatre Dance.  For almost 30 years, she has held teaching positions in Yellowknife, NT, Toronto, Oakville, and Mississauga, Ontario.  It is with a great sense of pride and humility that Mary considers herself a colleague of her past students Ashley Mastin and Tara Schell.  Mary is a longstanding member of the RAD and looks forward to the next chapter in her teaching career with Studio A Dance Academy!