With a background in the world of international folk dance, Lily Barrette has worked for over 18 years in coordination and management in the dance education field. For more than 12 years she served as assistant director of teaching at the Les Farandoles dance school in Chicoutimi. Over the years she has developed great expertise in organization, planning and supervision, and with all the logistics involved the smooth functioning of a dance institution. Lily Barrette joined the Ballet Divertimento team in 2007.
Born in Cuba, Zaylin Lopez Hernandez studied at the Academia Vincentina de la Torre where she graduated with a diploma in classical ballet and teaching. She then became a member of the Ballet de Camagüey, the second largest company in her native country. After touring nationally and internationally, she continued her artistic development as a professional teacher of school-age children. Before joining the Ballet Divertimento faculty in 2011, she also attended many international seminars on the professional-level teaching of classical ballet.
Born in Colombia, Liliana Pérez Jaramillo received a bachelor of arts from the Incolballet school. She then went on to study methodology with Clara Carranco of the National Ballet of Cuba, teach at Incolballet, and perform as ballet soloist with the Ballet de Cali. After performing in France, Cuba and the United States, she entered several international competitions and received a silver medal in Peru. In Canada, she made her teaching debut at Ballet Divertimento in 2006 after having danced with the Alberta Ballet company.
Amélie Rajotte holds a degree in choreography from the Conservatoire National de Région de Grenoble in France. She then went on to perform with many leading choreographers, dancers and teachers in Paris. In 2006 she obtained a Diplôme d’État (state qualification) in contemporary dance pedagogy from the CEFEDEM, Normandy. She is trained in Laban movement analysis and Bartenieff fundamentals, and studied experiential anatomy with Trisha Bauman at the Centre National de la danse de Pantin in Paris. In Quebec she studied choreography at UQAM. Amélie has taught at Ballet Divertimento and Collège de Montréal since 2007 while also pursuing a career as a dancer, performer and choreographer.
In association with Yves Saint-Pierre and Sylvain Poirier, Sonya Stefan created Bande Interdite, a group dedicated to contemporary dance research, creation, production and dissemination. She has worked with many prominent artists and dance companies, including the Toronto Dance Theatre, Cas Public, Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, Montréal Danse, Le Carré des Lombes and Dance Theatre David Earle. Sonya is also a filmmaker and recently presented her work at the Montreal World Film Festival, Toronto Moving Pictures Festival, the Trieste Dance Fund, Buenos Aires Video Danza and International Video Dance Festival in Japan. She joined the Ballet Divertimento School faculty in 2006.
Odette Lalonde began her performing career as a member of the Les Grands Ballets Canadiens corps de ballet. In 1974 she joined Ballets Jazz de Montréal as a principal dancer, where she remained until 1991. She has toured extensively, performing and holding master classes in more than 50 countries. She also directed the professional development program and served as pedagogical director of the École des Ballets Jazz de Montréal. She taught for several years at École Secondaire Pierre-Laporte where she also coordinated the dance program. She joined the Ballet Divertimento faculty in 2004.
Seryozha Petrosyan began dancing at the Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Spendiarov in Yerevan, Armenia, and was a teaching assistant at the Yerevan Ballet and Choreography College (YAOBT). From 1973 to 1986 he performed leading roles in a wide repertoire that included Gisele, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and La Fille Mal Gardée at YAOBT. In addition to teaching at the Yerevan Ballet Academy, he choreographed a number of ballets for television and stage. He was bestowed the title Artist Emeritus of the Republic of Armenia in 1978. Retired from performing since 1988, Mr. Petrosyan joined the Ballet Divertimento faculty in 2001 and currently focuses on teaching and choreography.
Victoria Yakobov earned a ballet degree in Baku, Azerbaijan and subsequently obtained an undergraduate degree in teaching the French language. In a career that has spanned more than 30 years, she has performed with Azerbaijan State Theatre Opera and Ballet Company, and the Azerbaijan National Ballet. She went on to teach ballet in Russia and Israel. A highly experienced teacher, she has helped shape the careers of ballet performers at all levels and has taught at Ballet Divertimento since September 2003.
A member of BJM (Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal) for 17 years, Eric J. Miles has performed frequently throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. He has worked with such world-renowned choreographers as Crystal Pite, Aszure Barton, Mia Michaels, Debra Brown (Cirque du Soleil), and Ulysses Dove (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater). As a visiting professor, Eric J. Miles has taught master classes in contemporary jazz and modern techniques in Canada and abroad. His choreographic works have become part of the repertoire of major companies including BJM (Montreal), Arts Umbrella (Vancouver), Wright State University (Ohio), Vineland Regional Dance Company ( New Jersey ) and the Domaine Forget (Charlevoix) . He joined the Ballet Divertimento faculty in 2009.
Marie Parisella studied dance at UQAM and traveled to Spain in order to improve her art of choice, Flamenco. She started her career in one on the first ballet schools in Quebec, Les Lacasse-Morenoff, and was a member of Arte de Espagna Company as a dancer, choreographer and a coach for decades. With more than 25 years in showbiz and teaching, she joined Ballet Divertimento in 1993.
Born in Colombia, Paola Andrea Rodriguez Sterling studied at Incolballet and obtained her diploma in arts as a classical dancer. In Mexico, she won a scholarship and continued her studies at the National school of Classic and Contemporary Dance, where she obtained her bachelor degree in dance education. During her professional career she danced various styles such as classical ballet, jazz, and contemporary. During this time, in addition to attending many workshops and seminars, she competed in several classical competitions which led to her receiving the FARE scholarship of excellence which permitted Paola to come to Canada and continue her studies in teaching by doing a master in education degree (MA) in dance at UQAM in Montreal.
After many years studying Ballet, Chantale discovered the Humphrey Limón principles in the 90s. She has taught modern dance based on those principles since 1997. She attended her first Limón workshop for teachers in NY in 2009. Deeply involved in the professional dance milieu in Montreal, she continues to deepen her understanding and the teaching of the Limón Technique at the Limón Institute (NY) on a regular basis. Every year since 2013, she has hosted the renowned « Limón workshop for teachers » in Montreal.
Chantale teaches at L’Espace du Mouvement where she acts also as artistic and general director, as well as at Collège Jean-Eudes (Option danse). She is a guest teacher and rehearsal director, for many private schools and professional companies (École Nationale de Cirque, Compagnie Aurée Danse Création, compagnie Zogma). She has worked throughout her career with many dance professionals, most notably: Alan Danielson (Limón Institute, NY), Roxane D’Orléans Juste (Limón Dance Cie, NY), Darryl Tracy (Toronto), Marc Boivin (Montreal), Priscilla Guy (Montreal) et Manuel Roque (Montreal).
Professional dancer, choreographer and teacher for over 15 years, Kristen Cere has spent most of her career working in Europe with companies such as the Netherlands Dance Theater, the Graz Opera Ballet and choreographers from all over the world including Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Alexander Ekman, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon.
Over the past years she has given workshops and taught classes in contemporary dance, choreography, floor work and improvisation in Europe and Canada. She presently teaches for Ballet Divertimento and le College Sainte-Anne.
Sylviane Junod had her professional career mainly in the United States where she danced in New York with the New York City Ballet, Kozlov and Friends and Karol Armitage, among others, as well as the Sarasota Ballet in Florida. After a career ending injury, she taught ballet for several years. Following this, she became certified in the Gymnastique sur table T.C.P. method where she could explore and deepen her knowledge of the body in movement from a physiological and anatomical point of view. Since 2005, Sylviane has taught classes in “Force and Flex” in Ballet Divertimento’s Dance-Study program.
Originally from Russian, Natalia Chatilova studied both classical and character dance in St. Petersburg at the world renowned Vaganova Ballet Academy. After graduation she worked with many Folklore and musical companies throughout Russia. In 1996, she moved to Montreal and founded her own folkdance company, Rousskiye Ouzory, and participated in many different international Festivals. In 2005, she began teaching at L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec. Ms. Chatilova has also taught at the school of the Metropolitain Ballet and the Collège Ste. Anne in Lachine. She joined the faculty of Ballet Divertimento in 2015 to teach Character.
Carol Lanctôt, AD, CSC (Associate Diploma, Cecchetti Society of Canada) has over 40 years of teaching experience: adult ballet, creative dance for children, exams in Cecchetti, and floor barre as well as performing in Ballet Ouest’s production of ”Nutcracker”.
Mme Lanctôt has studied with Seda Zaré, le centre professional de la danse de Montréal (diploma in Anatomie Pratique- Floor Barre); Natasha Izbinsky, Vaganova Method; and workshops at National Ballet School of Canada, École supérieure de ballet du Québec, Oleg Briansky (Bournonville, Vaganova & Balanchine methods).
She has taught at École supérieure de ballet du Québec, Conservatoire de la danse de Montréal, l’école FACE, Studio Bizz, Collège Jean-Eudes and Studio de ballet Carol Lanctôt. She joined Ballet Divertimento in 2017.
Born in Montreal, Caroline Namts studied ballet and contemporary dance at Ballet Divertimento in our Danse-Study and professional training programs. During these years, she had the opportunity to work with many top choreographers such as: James Gregg, Alex Ursuliak, and Hélène Blackburn. In the autumn of 2016, Caroline was admitted into the second year of the program at the Montreal School of Contemporary Danse, where she has worked with Sarah Dell’Ava, Sophie Corriveau, Andrew Skeels and Harold Rhéaume. After teaching young children at the Montreal Danse Studio, she joined Ballet Divertimento’s Youth Program teaching team this year.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Canadian choreographer Shawn Hounsell danced professionally with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal between 1989 and 2003. An award winning choreographer, Shawn has created and staged pieces for numerous Canadian companies including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montréal, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Ballet British Columbia, Ballet Kelowna, Les Jeunes Ballets du Québec and Festival Dance Company. Many of his duets have been performed in galas across the globe including the Prix de Lausanne Gala (Tokyo, Japan) and the Cincinnati International Gala of Ballet Stars (Cincinnati, Ohio).In addition his works have been performed by American companies such as Ballet Pacifica and in Europe by the Ballet of the National Theatre of Prague.
Neil Sochasky discovered contemporary dance via philosophy, and studied dance science at York University under Dr. Donna Krasnow MSc PhD. Immersing himself in anatomy and somatic studies, he developed uncommon abilities for analysis and synthesis which have enabled him to overcome major injuries and pursue parallel careers in multiple fields. His approach to technique applies to classical, modern and contemporary dance, and artists often call upon him to resolve persistent injuries. He has taught anatomy at the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal and at the École supérieure de ballet du Québec.
Michael Watts is an international artist based in Montreal who’s worked as a dancer, choreographer and artistic coach. A former soccer player; he started his independent learning in Toronto and quickly moved to Montreal to continue training in different contemporary forms of movement, including forms of floorwork and improvisation. He toured internationally with Dave St.Pierre, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, T.r.a.s.h. Dance/Performance Group, Dana Gingras, and also performed locally for Dorian Nuskind-Oder. Along with his career path as a dancer and choreographer he has been a guest teacher internationally and within Canada, notably at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, l’École Supérieur de Ballet du Québec, Ballet Divertimento, Training Society of Vancouver, Circuit-Est Centre Chorégraphique, EnPiste, TransFormation Danse, Danse à la Carte and more. Michael has also become a new creative face in the Montreal circus scene, and is a regular collaborator with The National Circus School of Canada, and more recently with Les 7 Doigts de la Main. This year he will be presenting work at the CIRCa Festival of Contemporary Circus.
Fabrice trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School. He danced with the Nantes Opera Ballet and Scottish Ballet where he danced a wide range of soloist and principal roles from the classical and contemporary repertoire.
Fabrice originally taught at the Dance School of Scotland and at the English National Ballet School. This academic year he joined the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland faculty after spending the past 10 years in Canada as the pedagogical director of the École Supérieure de Ballet du Quebec. He has also worked internationally as a guest teacher in Japan, Australia and France.
He was presented with the Dame Beryl Grey Award in 1998 by the Royal Academy of Dance through gaining the highest mark in the RAD teaching qualification.
Russian-born pianist Ilya Khodos possesses close to 40 years of experience in teaching, composition and arranging. After immigrating to Canada in 1992, he worked with several dance schools and ballet companies in Ontario and Manitoba. He played for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet company and school before moving to Montreal in 2009.
Tom Mennier is a keyboardist, teacher, performer, arranger, composer and producer. The list of international artists he has played and recorded with includes Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Antony Hegarty, JC Hopkins, Amy Moses, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson. He has worked with the National Theatre School of Canada, Segal Centre, Charlottetown Festival, Banff Centre and contributed to many film projects. He currently divides his time between recording, production, composition and teaching.
Versatile and essentially self-taught, Francis Pomerleau transitions easily between many musical styles. He plays percussion instruments of diverse origins, especially those from Cuba (bongos, congas), South America (cajon, Tamböa), Africa (tar, djembe), and Ireland (bodhran). Since 2006 he has accompanied many teachers at the Ballet Divertimento School. He currently is the drummer for the Blue Gypsy Swing jazz quartet (Gypsy jazz-swing-blues-R&B) which he founded in 2012 with other members of the group.
Martin Swerdlow has over 30 years’ experience as a pianist, composer and arranger. He has performed with the National Ballet of Canada and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Martin Swerdlow has also composed for the stage and film, and was an independent producer of numerous multimedia projects.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies at Capilano University in Vancouver, Ivan Bamford moved to Montreal where he continues to be involved in many different projects. He has played all over North America, from major centres such as New York, Los Angeles and Vancouver, to the far reaches of the Yukon. In France he has performed in Paris, Rennes, Reims and Nantes, and in Romania with Gadzhi-Gadjo. In 2005, Ivan Bambord appeared with Russian pianist Katya Sourikova in London and Baku, Azerbaijan, and again six years later in Berlin. Since 2013 he has played with the Kumbia Gypsy Orchestra, touring the province of Quebec and many towns in Colombia. He also teaches drums and percussion with the Coopérative des Professeurs de Musique de Montréal. He has accompanied contemporary dance classes at Ballet Divertimento since 2012.
Having graduated with Honors in 2000 from the Academy of Music (Piano Faculty) of Odessa (Ukraine), Olga has more than 20 years of experience as an accompanist for ballet classes, as well as with musicians (violin, cello and flute) and with singers. Highly rated as an accompanist, she toured extensively with the internationally renowned violinist, Sergei Trofanov on his tours across Canada, South Korea and China.
Svitlana Kostenko, was born in Ukraine, where she began piano lessons before the age of four.
She studied Piano, Theory, History of Music and Pedagogy at the University of Poltava.
Having graduated, she was invited to become a professor at the Faculty of Choreography, where she also accompanied ballet classes and authored several publications on Musical Education.
She then started her Post Graduate Studies at the Laboratory of Arts Education in the Institute of Professional Education in Kiev.
Arrived in Toronto in 1999 she played for many ballet schools and teachers.
In 2002, she moved to Montreal where she started working for Ballet Divertimento. She has also been working for l’École Supérieure De Ballet du Québec and other professional companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.