INSTRUCTORS

Dance Discovery is proud to offer a faculty that consists of passionate and accredited instructors. It is top priority to support every student’s love of dance and provide them the tools necessary in order to increase their confidence and reach their goals. Purely dedicated to student success, instructors collaborate together in order to work towards the high standard of excellence that Dance Discovery sets to achieve.

MELISSA SLOBODIAN

Studio Owner, Director, Instructor
Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Acro, Lyrical, Contemporary

Opening her own studio in 2006, Melissa decided to translate her passion for dance into the creation of Dance Discovery.  

As an instructor, Melissa has the pleasure of taking an active role in her students growth and in celebrating their successes every step of the way. Her students have been accepted into prestigious national ballet programs, as well as recipients of numerous cash prizes, scholarships and top mark awards at competitions across Western Canada. Throughout her career, Melissa has enjoyed the honor of receiving multiple awards for her choreography.

Melissa believes dance should be an outlet where kids can build lifelong friendships and reach their full potential as dancers. Melissa is committed to each student and works tirelessly to determine their individual needs and ideal placement in a program stream or class. There is nothing more rewarding than building a child’s self esteem while they pursue something they love, and it’s because of this that Melissa is committed to providing superior dance instruction in a supportive environment to every student.

BAILEY ENGLISH

Instructor
Ballet (ARAD, RAD RTS)

A graduate with distinction from the National Ballet School of Canada’s Teachers Training Program, Bailey comes to us as a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).  She brings with her not only in-depth knowledge of RAD, but also a wealth of knowledge from other teaching methodologies such Cecchetti and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Bailey has an extensive history in dance from the age of three, including participation in competitive dances and choreography, as well as successful completion of numerous ballet exams. Her performance history includes the Alberta Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She has also travelled throughout western Canada and as far as London, England, to study with the Royal Academy of Dance.  Bailey has studied with various studios in Edmonton throughout her formative years before finding the perfect match at Edmonton Dance Centre. During her time at EDC, she completed her vocational levels with the RAD and was the youngest student accepted to the National Ballet School Teacher’s Training Program at the age of 18.

Upon graduation, Bailey taught at the Calgary Imperial School of Ballet, where she successfully entered students for I.S.T.D. examinations.  Bailey has also served as an adjudicator for Dancing in the Park in the disciplines of ballet, lyrical and musical theatre.

Bailey’s high standard of ballet technique and dedication from every student, parent and teacher makes her a perfect fit at Dance Discovery, as she is able to maintain a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

BRODY KALWAJTYS

Instructor
Contemporary, Lyrical (BEd, BScKin)

Brody is an active teacher and choreographer in the Edmonton area and has trained extensively in various styles such as: Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Ballet, Modern, Ballroom, and Musical Theatre. He has trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and has traveled across North America and Europe taking classes at a variety of world class studios.

After graduating high school, Brody pursued a professional career in dance working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. With this he had the opportunity to learn several different large scale production shows and travel around the globe – from the Caribbean to Asia! Brody has also performed in productions of Don Quixote and The Nutcracker, and has recently performed in promotional events for MAC Cosmetics.

Since returning to Edmonton, Brody has completed his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Alberta – combining his love of dance and movement with his passion for science! Brody believes that everyone should have the opportunity to dance and be active. He has volunteered with different organizations around the city working with people who are experiencing disabilities, and has recently collaborated with other teachers to create a dance program for children with Down syndrome.

Brody has received several choreography awards and his students have received many special awards for their unique achievements. With hard work and an open mind, Brody believes that every dancer is able to reach their full artistic potential!

Brody is thrilled to be working with the students of Dance Discovery this season!

ERIKA WALKER

Instructor
Acro (BEd, Acrobatic Arts, ADTA, Alixa Flexibility, TADA Hand Balancing)

Erika’s love and appreciation for the art of dance began at a young age, leading her to dance competitively for many years. As a student, Erika performed in festivals and competitions in Edmonton and area. In addition to performing, she has assisted backstage and worked with adjudicators at local competitions. According to Erika, one of the most rewarding parts of being a dance instructor is seeing her students thoroughly enjoy themselves as they perform on stage!

Erika is a registered and certified instructor in the Acrobatic Arts Syllabus. She is considered Dance Discovery’s ‘acro expert’ and is in love with all things acro! To advance her technical training, Erika is trained in both the TADA Hand Balancing and Alixa Flexibility method; she combines all methods into her class outline in order to provide students the most diverse training that will allow them to be successful with their efforts. Erika is thrilled to combine her focus on alignment and technique with her love for dance while educating students at Dance Discovery.

CARMELLE MCKINLAY

Instructor
Ballet (ARAD, RAD RTS)

Carmelle grew up in Fort Saskatchewan and was fortunate to be raised in a large family that was passionate about the arts. She has had extensive training in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Voice and Musical Theatre under some of the most prestigious instructors and institutions across Canada and the United States. She is a certified instructor and mentor with Associate status (ARAD) with The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and has prepared 100’s of students successfully for ballet exams. Carmelle has had the great honor to train, mentor and inspire these students, many of whom are now teachers, choreographers and professional dancers around the world. She prides herself in allowing each dancer a voice in the choreographic process to encourage creativity and ownership.

Always dedicated to expanding her knowledge, she has attended training workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia in the Vaganova method with the Mikhailovsky Ballet, New York City at the American Ballet Theatre where she was successfully certified in the ABT National Training Curriculum and most recently has been certified in The Progressing Ballet Technique curriculum. She has also had the opportunity to attend the Dance Teachers Summit in NYC.

In addition to teaching, Carmelle has choreographed and co-produced Bridal Fantasy, the largest bridal convention in western Canada for over a decade, as well as being an artistic consultant and choreographer for various events and fashion shows at West Edmonton Mall. She continues to appear throughout western Canada as a guest examiner, choreographer, and teacher.

DARBY WATSON

Instructor
Jazz, Lyrical, Tap

Darby started dancing at the age of 3, immediately fell in love and hasn’t stopped since. Growing up in Lloydminster, Darby trained in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical, and musical theatre. As her passion grew she began assisting at age 12 and that progressed into teaching and choreographing by 16. Darby took dance so extremely serious that in Grade 10, she decided to pursue online schooling in order to dedicate more of her time and energy into the one thing she truly loved, dance. 

 After graduation, she was signed to an agency in Toronto, Ontario. Darby moved to Toronto and began dancing and modelling full time. Once she began taking classes she quickly became a full time assistant to Danny Davalos, who was a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. She expanded her knowledge and grew as not only a dancer but a choreographer. Being in Toronto and working with such talented groups of dancers she realized that somewhere along the way her passion changed for being a dancer to being a teacher, so she moved home and has been teaching since. 
 
Darby has been home and teaching for the past six years, and loving it. Nothing makes her happier than watching her students do what they love and being passionate about it. Darby believes in teaching through love and building a child’s confidence to ensure the best outcome for success. She is completely committed to her students and pushes them to reach their fullest potential.  Darby is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach at Dance Discovery and can’t wait to watch her students grow and progress this season! 

KELLIE DRAPER

Instructor
Jazz, Tap, Acro (BEd, Acrobatic Arts, Alixa Flexibility)

Kellie comes to us with over 20 years of teaching experience! She has a diverse background of Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical and Musical Theatre training. With a love and passion for tap, Kellie has extensive experience and knowledge with the Al Gilbert Tap Syllabus and has successfully prepared her students for tap exams. Additionally, Kellie has a passion for Acro and is a certified Acrobatics Arts instructor who assists her students in reaching their potential while successfully preparing them for examinations.

Kellie continues her training throughout  Canada and the US in order to provide her students with the most modern and up to date tools and techniques. She has trained with industry leading professionals that include Denise Wall, Aaron Turner, Anthony Morigerato, Sarah Reich, Chloe Maud Arnold and Jason Marquette; just to name a few!

With a background in Education, Kellie understands that all students learn in different ways and uses various tools and techniques to help her students be successful. Kellie holds a high standard for her students and works with each one individually to help them achieve their highest potential.  Kellie loves watching her students grow both as dancers and individuals and believes there is nothing more satisfying than seeing her students succeed both on and off the stage.

GENENNE GILLIARD

Instructor
Hip Hop, Tap, Jazz, Ballet

Genenne started her dance training at age 3 in London, England. When she came to Canada, she continued her extensive training in Dance and added Figure Skating to her already busy schedule. Genenne has taken her dance exams in RAD Ballet, CDTA Jazz and Tap and Skate Canada for Figure Skating. Involved in many festivals and competitions, Genenne has received numerous awards as a Dancer and as a Choreographer.

Dedicated to her dancing, Genenne moved from Saskatchewan to Edmonton to further her training and graduated from Grant McEwan’s Dance Performance and Dance Teacher Training Programs. Her studies and performances continued on taking her throughout Canada and U.S. Genenne has also served on a Jury for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to adjudicate Dance Project Grants.

Genenne continues to educate herself as an instructor and continues to share her energy, passion and love for dance to her students. Committed to all her students, Genenne provides a positive, encouraging and enjoyable atmosphere, and loves teaching all ages. Genenne is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach at Dance Discovery and looks forward to watching her students grow and progress each year.

RHIANNON MIELNICHUK

Instructor
Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical

Rhiannon was enrolled in her first dance class at the age of 4 and she quickly learned that this was exactly what she wanted to be doing. At the age of 12, Rhiannon moved from Alberta to Ontario and had the privilege of training at a studio that focused on C.D.T.A. (Canadian Dance Teacher Association) examinations as well as performance.

During her 6 years of training in Ontario, Rhiannon excelled in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Broadway. She successfully passed C.D.T.A. examinations up to the Advanced level with Honors in Cecchetti Ballet, Jazz and Tap. She was honored to be part of a strong dance team known for their technique, performance ability and unique choreography.

Prior to beginning her professional teaching career, Rhiannon had the privilege and opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals in the Ontario dance industry. Working alongside the best choreographers in the area helped sharpen her artistic thinking, and taught her the processes required to produce sharp, unique routines. Rhiannon learned how to bring out the best in each dancer by developing their natural ability, never giving up on them, and fostering a positive atmosphere within the studio.

Rhiannon looks forward to working with the talented dancers at Dance Discovery and imparting her ever-growing passion and knowledge she has gained throughout the years by some of the most experienced and talented dance teachers in Canada.

TAYLOR KIRYLUIK

Instructor
Hip Hop

Taylor started dancing as soon as she could walk and has trained extensively in many genres of dance. She is a creative and versatile performer, teacher, and choreographer with a quirky and fun approach to her craft. Born and raised in small town Alberta, Taylor branched out in high school and graduated from Victoria School for the Arts where she studied contemporary and jazz dance intensively while also learning the history of modern and tap techniques. She continued her study of contemporary and jazz through post secondary and was even scouted to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Dance has allowed Taylor to travel the world performing and training in cities across Spain, as well as London, Paris, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. 

Taylor chose to stay true to her Canadian roots and grow with dance in Edmonton where she competed professionally and worked with BBM, YEGrBombz, and is one of the original members of Mod Contemporary Company through the University of Alberta. She has opened for Hip hop artists KYLE (iSpy), Kirko Bangz, Jadakiss and Jay Sean. Though she loves performing Taylor maintains her career and has found her niche as a teacher. She has been inspiring students with her creativity, style and passion for dance for the past 11 years and is always  looking forward to sharing her love of dance with everyone!

ISABELLA SMITH

Instructor
Contemporary, Lyrical

From the age of 4, dance has been Isabella’s passion. Growing up in Edmonton, Isabella trained as a competitive dancer for 14 years at Dance Discovery in styles such as ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, tap, pointe, and hip-hop. She was also fortunate enough to be able to train abroad from various dancers and choreographers.  Dancing and performing has become such an integral part of who Isabella is and she is ecstatic that she gets to share her love and passion for dance with her students!

Dance has given her the opportunity to travel and train abroad, learning from countless dancers and choreographers around the world. She has been fortunate enough to train at studios such as Broadway Dance Centre and Steps on Broadway in New York City, Harbor Dance Centre in Vancouver, and Millenium Dance Centre in Las Vegas. Aside from training at various studios, Isabella has also received numerous scholarships and invitations to various dance intensives. At the age of 15, she received an invitation to attend the View Dance Challenge Greece Intensive and has been lucky enough to have been invited again at the age of 18. At the age of 16, she also received scholarships to attend various Joffrey Ballet School summer intensives in New York and Las Vegas. Isabella adores performing, but she also loves commercial dancing and has even had the opportunity to dance in a music video for a Canadian artist. She has learnt so much over the years by attending these intensives and training abroad and she hopes to be able to share all that she has learned with her students.

Isabella is currently attending the University of Alberta for her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, hoping to combine her love of physical activity and movement with her love of science. She is looking forward to incorporating everything she learns from her program into her classes.

Isabella hopes to share everything she has learned over the years with her students and she is excited to watch all her students develop their own styles as they learn and grow as dancers and as people. She is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with the students of Dance Discovery and can’t wait to see each and every one of them achieve their goals this season!

MORGAN TILLMANNS

Instructor
Jazz, Tap, Ballet

Morgan began dancing at the age of 3 and immediately found her passion. This passion was enhanced when Morgan joined Dance Discovery’s competitive team, where she trained for 14 years. Within this program she gained competitive experience in the styles of Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Hip-Hop. Through this training Morgan also discovered her passion for teaching. Morgan started as an instructor assistant when she was 13 years old and completed her mentorship under the direction of Dance Discovery’s Owner/Director Melissa Slobodian the past two years. This experience has allowed her to prepare for a fulfilling and successful transition in sharing her passion of dance with the younger generation.

Morgan is currently a student at the University of Alberta and is studying developmental and clinical psychology. When not focused on her post secondary studies and instructing, Morgan spends time volunteering at numerous organizations within Edmonton in an attempt to improve youth mental health and living situations.

Morgan is looking forward to passing along her expertise and passion for dance at the same studio that instilled her knowledge and passion for the past 16 years.