meet our team!
Owner, Artistic Director
Dance has always been an enormous part of Lina’s life. Lina Lewis was born and raised on Vancouver Island, where she began dancing at the age of three. She spent most of her childhood and adolescent years in a studio or on a stage where was trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern/contemporary, musical theatre and lyrical. She attended the University of British Columbia where she studied Kinesiology, and later received her Bachelor of Science from the
University of Waterloo. In 2003, Lina made the long journey to the North and planted her feet firmly in Yellowknife founding Bella Dance Academy, where she ran the studio and taught many styles of dance for over a decade.
Lina also continued to dance throughout the years. She has danced in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and across the North as a company member for Crazy Legs Contemporary Dance Company. She has also been involved as a dancer, actor and choreographer with Ptarmigan Theatrics Musical Theatre Company and also as a dancer, member and choreographer for the Yellowknife Dance Collective. Lina has worked with several dance companies such as Sursaut Dance Company and with many choreographers such as Matt Marr, Mia Michaels, Davida Monk and Tara-Jean Popowich. She travels bi-annually to the Dance Teacher Summit in New York City and constantly networks with other studio owners, choreographers and dance instructors across North America. In 2011, Lina founded the Bella Beats high performance youth dance team and over the past six years has lead hundreds of dancers across the continent to dance at various conventions, competitions, down Main Street with Minnie and Mickey in Disneyland, California and under the bright lights on Broadway in New York, NY.
Although Lina has recently followed her heart back to the west coast, she still leads a team of 400 students and 20 employees at Bella Dance. Most recently, Lina has partnered with a former instructor and mentor, Irene Booth to create Elevate Dance Centre. Lina and Irene are elated to be working together and serving the Westshore! Outside of the dance studio (or inside sometimes!), Lina is a mom to four beautiful babes, yoga instructor, personal trainer and wellness coach to many amazing women and fabulous teen girls. Lina is forever thankful to those who have shaped, inspired, challenged, taught and supported her throughout her life and dance career. Lina is excited to be
back at the studio teaching more this year. She works hard to ensure that each and every student leaves the studio with a spring in their step and confidence under their wing. She believes that every student has unique strengths and through dance, movement and music, teaches her students to embrace their own beauty and love who they are – strengths and weaknesses.
Dance Troupe I & II, Combo 4/5/6, Parents & Tots, Dance Sampler, Musical Theatre III/IV, Jazz 5/6, Tap IV, BooTy
I am so thrilled to be returning this season as Studio Director at Bella Dance, and I am eager to get dancing with all of our new and returning students.
I will be teaching all ages of dancers this season, from our smallest tots and their parents, to some of our 2018 graduating students. I want all students to feel comfortable taking risks and challenging themselves at the studio, knowing that there is a support system in place for whenever they may need guidance. I want to help these dancers develop confidence in themselves, to become mentors and leaders in their community, and to recognize that their strengths and weaknesses may sometimes be the same thing. I know that hard work and dedication can make a genuine difference, and hope to instill this value in all of my dancers.
I can't wait to see you all at the studio very soon!
Tap I, Mini Movement 2/3, Hippity Hop I/II
I was born and raised in Yellowknife. I have been dancing since the age of four. This will be my first year teaching, I've also assisted with classes for the past two years. I will be teaching Tap I on Wednesdays, Mini Movement 2 and 3 on Saturdays as well as Hippity Hop I/II on Saturday.
I was on the Bella Beats dance troupe for the past three years. Over those three years I learned so much from traveling and working with other dancers. I have trained in Jazz, tap, ballet, modern, hip hop and contemporary. I have also performed on Broadway, and in many Yellowknife events.
I'm so excited to start teaching my own classes this year. Can't wait to meet, teach and see all these little dancers grow!
Hip Hop I & II
I was born and raised in Yellowknife and have danced at Bella Dance Academy for 13 years. I also recently finished my third year with the Bella Beats Dance Troupe and was a Dance Instructor last year. I have trained in Hip Hop, Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, Ballet and Pointe. I have performed at various events in Yellowknife, danced on Broadway and recently performed as the Nutcracker understudy.
This year, I will be co-teaching Hip Hop I and Hip Hop II. This is my second year teaching and I am very excited to meet and dance with my students! This will be an exciting year for me. I will continue to train in dance, teach, and will also be continuing High School!
Pre-Pointe, Jazz 1/2, Jazz 3/4, Modern II
Hi, my name is Ally Curtis and this is my second year teaching at Bella Dance Academy. This year I will be teaching Jazz 1/2, Jazz 3/4 and Modern II Friday evenings, as well as co-teaching Pre-Pointe on Monday nights. I have 11 years of dance training in Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop and Acting. Over the years I've had the chance to perform in a few handfulls of Bella's year end show performances and Nutcrackers. In 2013, I was Clara in the Nutcracker. I also danced the part of Jessie in Bella's Toy Story 2016.
I've had amazing opportunities through dance such as traveling to areas in Canada such as Calgary and Vancouver for dance conventions where I get the chance to learn from spectacular choreographers from across North America. I've also attended a ballet summer intensive at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Throughout the years of dance I've also danced on a broadway stage in New York City twice with my dance team, Bella Beats and participated in a week long Contemporary dance intensive in Long Beach California. I can’t wait to dance, learn, grow, and teach during this dance season of 2017-2018. See you at the studio!
Boys Hip Hop, Hip Hop I/II
Tap III & Advanced Jazz
Hello!! I began teaching at Bella in 2008 and am extremely excited to be back again for another year. My dance journey began at the age of 3 at Joy's Dance Factory in Lethbridge, Alberta, where I developed my inner desire to dance. I am trained in tap, jazz and ballet, and completed all Brian Foley (jazz) and Al Gilbert (tap) examinations in my youth. As an adult, I enjoy running, choreographing and taking classes whenever I can fit them into my busy family life. I was a member of Crazy Legs Contemporary and am now sporadically involved with the Yellowknife Dance Collective.
For those that do not know me, I am extremely fond of tap and can be found tapping down the halls of the hospital and love stomping something up on my kitchen floors. I have 4 children and I am proud to say that music has become a beautiful part of our day. You never know when an impromptu dance party might happen!
Open Hip Hop & Intermediate Jazz
Hi! My name is Deanna Ehalt-Zawyrucha and I am excited to be back teaching Open Hip Hop and Intermediate Jazz at Bella Dance this year. I have a background in CDTA in jazz and tap dance and RAD in ballet. Through my Arts Education degree, with a minor in dance, I have also experienced hip-hop training. With training in hip hop, I plan to infuse some street jazz into my dance classes. See you all soon at Bella!
Pointe I/II, Intermediate Ballet, Advanced Ballet, Contemporary IV, Advaned Leaps Jumps & Turns
Hi everyone, my name is Kierney Leach, and I will be teaching Intermediate Ballet, Pointe I, and Contemporary IV on Wednesday nights, as well as Open Ballet and Pointe I/II on Saturday mornings. This is my first year teaching at Bella, so I am very excited to meet and get to know everyone! I have danced in the Nutcracker Ballet growing up in Ottawa for many years, and have also performed in Giselle and Coppelia. I am definitely looking forward to choreographing some pieces for Bella's Nutcracker production and end of year show. See you all soon!
Tutus & TIaras I/II, Broadway Babies, Modern I
This is my first year of teaching! In the past two years, I have assisted with Ballet, Tap, and Contemporary. I was born and raised in Yellowknife and have been dancing at Bella since I was three. I have also been a member of the dance troupe for seven years and have been fortunate enough to attended several dance conventions and perform on Broadway (twice!).
I have trained in Contemporary, Modern, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, and Acting! This year I am teaching Tutu’s and Tiara’s I/II, Broadway Babies, and Modern I. My classes are focused on having fun, of course, while still being able to learn and concentrate when needed. I always want my students to be themselves and feel comfortable in my class to ask questions and make mistakes.
Ballet Grade 3, Pre-Pointe, & Junior Ballet
I have danced since the age of four when I took my first Highland dance class in Yellowknife. As I moved around Canada and Europe with my military family, i managed to continue dancing until my teenage years. I happily reconnected with dance as an adult and now enjoy participating in Ballet, Modern, Contemporary and Tap classes whenever I can fit them into my busy family life. I was a member of Crazy Legs Contemporary and am now involved with the Yellowknife Dance Collective as a choreographer and dancer. I am excited to start my ninth session with Bella dance and am looking forward to meeting all my new students.
Pre-Pointe, Tap II, Open Tap, Musical Theatre I/II, Contemporary III
This is my third year of teaching and I am eager to get started! I have teaching experience with many styles! In the past, I have taught/assisted Jazz, Tap, Modern, Musical Theatre, Mini Movement, Ballet, Hippity Hop, and more! In addition to that, I lead a Creative Movement class for the Summer Program Clients at the Yellowknife Association for Community Living. In all of my classes, students focus on the technique/history of the style, confidence while performing, and most importantly, HAVING FUN!
As of this next year, I will have eleven years of dance training under my belt, as well as eight years of acting experience and fifteen years of vocal/piano training! In order to further my dance education, I have successfully auditioned for the Bella Beats Dance Troupe for the past sixseasons. This has given me the opportunity to train as a high performance/competitive dancer as well as the opportunity to choreograph dances for many different stages and events. One of my proudest moments on the dance troupe was in 2015 when I co-choreographed a production piece for a Broadway show in New York City! I thoroughly enjoy choreographing and have multiple pieces planned for this year! On top of all the choreography, I spend an average of 30 hours a week training through the arts, participate in multiple musical theatre productions here in Yellowknife, and am entering grade 12 at Sir John Franklin High School!
Parents & Tots
Darha Phillpot teaches modern, contemporary, ballet and creative movement to children, youth and adults. Darha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from Simon Fraser University School for Contemporary Arts. She is an accomplished dancer, choreographer and has been teaching classes and workshops for over twenty years. Darha's approach to teaching is to blend play, creativity, and improvisation with highly physical classes where students are encouraged to build skill and strength to support personal expression and find joy in movement. For 2017, Darha is teaching a parents and tots class with her daughter Marley.
Pointe I/II, Intermediate Ballet, Ballet Grade 1/2, Ballet Grade 4, Advanced Ballet
I began teaching at Bella Dance Academy in 2007 and have loved working with the ballet programs ever since then. My own love of dance began when I was six years old and I took my first ballet class - I have danced ever since. At McMaster University, I found my love of modern and contemporary dance and I had several opportunities to perform and tour professionally. Most recently, I was a member of the Crazy Legs Contemporary Dance Company and I am one of the founding members of the Yellowknife Dance Collective. With the support of Bella Dance Academy and the NWT Arts Council, I am currently working to complete a Diploma in Dance Teaching Studies with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). I love learning with my students and working together to discover the best ways to refine our dance practice.
Hi! my name is Linsay Stoodley and I am happily returning to the studio. I love to study dance and began as a student of Ballet Cecchetti method and later the RAD method. At university I continued my studies in dance and received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary. I am looking forward to this new year at the studio! This year I will be teaching Open Ballet on Saturday mornings.
Look forward to seeing you all soon!
Preliminary Ballet, Primary Ballet, Stretch & Strength
I am excited to be back this year as an instructor with Bella Dance Academy! Originally from Labrador, I began dance lessons at the age of 3 and have been dancing ever since. I am a performer and an educator at heart (I hold a BFA, Major in Theatre and a BEd), and I am incredibly excited to meet all of my students!
Modern III & IV
I grew up in Yellowknife and began studying dance at Tate Dance Studio. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an honors major in dance from York University. I have been instructing all ages and levels of classes for twenty years. I was co-artistic director for the Northwest Territories first modern dance company, Crazy Legs Contemporary Dance. I have been instructing ballet, creative movement and in the past few years, exclusively, modern dance at Bella Dance Academy since 2005. I have watched my students grow into young adults and even some have gone on to major in performing arts and create companies of their own. I am looking forward to instructing another exciting year and always encouraging my students to "embrace the weird".
Actors Studio III & IV
I am excited to return as the instructor for the Actor's Studio program. I have had such a great time over the last two years with a great group of performers. I was born and raised in Yellowknife, although I ventured away for quite some time. I studied Theatre Performance at Mount Royal University and continued my studies privately at Company of Rogues in Calgary. While at Rogues I primarily trained in Meisner technique. I have worked professionally for over a decade in theatre, film and TV, radio, and improv. I am looking forward to another challenging year at Bella!
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