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Laurie Raymond, Director
A graduate of the Ryerson Theatre School Dance Program, Laurie Raymond has trained in Jazz, Tap,  R.A.D. and Cecchetti ballet, modern and ISTD National.

Laurie performed professionally for many years, and has had the honour of dancing with Me’irim Dance Company, Dance Co.2,  and tap performances with William Orlowski. She has also been featured in music videos by Alanis Morissette, Beverley Mahood, and several specials for the CBC.

In 1991 Laurie founded PBJ Dance Projects, a professional contemporary dance company that toured and performed in a variety of theatres and festivals to great critical acclaim. Following in 1997, Laurie created a vibrant “young company” featuring youth dancers working with professional choreographers. The PBJ Young Company lives on as the Pre Professional Program, here at CCDC.

Laurie’s extensive experience and multi-disciplined training fuels her fresh, open-minded approach to teaching dance. Laurie not only directs the operations at CCDC, she teaches a full class schedule to all age ranges in tap and modern.  She is also concurrently teaching jazz dance to the Music Theatre Majors at Etobicoke School of The Arts in the Toronto District School Board. Her past teaching experiences include numerous workshops at private studios and public schools throughout Ontario. As a choreographer, she has set works on students at Unionville Secondary School, Mayfield Secondary School, Etobicoke School of The Arts, Cardinal Carter, and Earl Haig Secondary School.

Finally, Laurie’s commitment to the children she teaches extends beyond the studio. Over CCDC’s 11 years of operation, she has pursued a community-focused plan whereby CCDC dancers can be found performing and volunteering at a variety of local community events, and her Pre44 Professional Program dancers have launched several community-positive fundraising initiatives to support their work at the studio. CCDC is not only squarely located in the heart of the Junction, it is the heart of dance in the Junction.

 
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Irene Yacoub

Irene began her training with Cairo Opera Ballet. She was a member of their corps de ballet at the age of 16, performing Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, among other repertoire. After receiving her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from McGill University, Irene went back to dancing at Ballet Divertimento under the direction of Victoria Yakabov and Serge Petrosyan. She then continued her training with Ballet Ouest, Ballet Jorgen, and Ajkun Ballet. She has been teaching for many years in studios across Toronto and Montreal. Irene's love for dance is carried over into the passion she has for teaching and sharing her knowledge with her students. She always brings creative and challenging ideas forward to her dancers in order to promote growth and love for the art of ballet. We look forward to having Irene teach most of our ballet classes this season.

 
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Indiana Mehta -  Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer and Actor

Indiana, born & raised in Mumbai now based in Toronto, making the move from Bollywood to Hollywood. Indiana is currently working on a Hollywood film as a principal actor & Hip Hop Dancer. She started dancing at the young age of 3, since then she continued training in Indian Classical Dance (Bharatnatyam). At the age of 18 she watched ‘Chicago’ and ‘All That Jazz’ and put her mind to becoming a Jazz dancer. That’s when her dancing journey began.

Training – The Lewis Foundation of Classical Ballet, India

Laine Theatre Arts, UK – National Diploma in Performing Arts

Qualifications – ISTD Ballet & Modern

Indiana is trained in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Street funk, Hip Hop, Heels, Bollywood & Bharatnatyam. She has worked with some of the top choreographers in the Bollywood industry assisting them in TV reality shows and TV awards. In the UK, Indiana has choreographed for various Mayoral events. Since moving to Toronto in mid 2018, Indiana has worked with choreographers like Leon Blackwood, Lindsay Aquin, Dragon Talent Management (LA), Bageshree Vaze, Ria Aikat. She has choreographed and showcased at dance events in the city like Fever After Dark (MOD club) and For the Ladies (School of Groove). Indiana was invited by the Randolph College Kids Program to choreograph a contemporary piece giving it an Indian twist. Indiana has taught over 50 comp and recreational studios in the GTA, training kids in Hip Hop, Ballet & Jazz. Indiana also works at Metro Movement (Drop in studio in Toronto) as a substitute to Philip Nero & Kalie Hunter, covering their Jazz classes at both professional & beginner level. She is also on the sub list of City Dance Corps & DanceLife x studios in downtown Toronto. Indiana’s strength lies in fusion of various dance style. She is extremely passionate about working with a diverse community of dancers. Indiana’s energy and drive to teach has reflected in her work in India, UK & Canada. She continues to push kids to be their best at performing, technique & discipline as a dancer/artist.

Her moto – One should never stop learning; versatility is the key to taping current dance industry.

 
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Nicola Pantin, Instructor/Director/Choreographer/independent dancer. 

Selected Stratford Theatre choreography:  Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Tempest. Other selected theatre includes TNB, YPT (Jacob Two Two, The wizard of Oz, Seussical, Charlie Brown) Yoshimi (La Jolla) Expect Theatre, Humber River Shakespeare, Charlottetown (Bittergirl) Shanghai Theatre Academy, Sheridan (Brantwood, Parade, Little Women, Imusicals) Nicola has received 2 Dora awards and 3 nominations. Selected Film: The Table Dance, Year of the Lion (Moze Mossanen)  Stuck, Big Chief Ballet (Jenn Goodwin) Nicola also performs as an independent dancer locally and internationally.  

Nicola has taught extensively throughout Canada, Trinidad, Honduras and Shanghai at various private dance schools, high schools, colleges (George Brown, Randolph, ESA, Wexford, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Stratford Shakespeare Education department) and professional dance studios (Dance Teq, Toronto Dance Theatre, Metro Movement, Urban Studio Theatre) She has taught all ages and levels and has also acted as adjudicator at dance festivals and as juror at arts high schools. 

Upcoming: Shrek (Sheridan) Sister Act (LOT) and James and Giant Peach (YPT) Beats and Intentions (Expect Theatre/Nuit Blanche) Les Moutons (Corpus/China tour) Hogtown (Campbell House) 

 
 

Clea Chapman
Clea comes from Newfoundland, where her love of dance and music blossomed in the rich artistic culture. Here she trained extensively in various styles of dance, such as Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz and Jazz Funk. Clea taught ballet in Newfoundland for four years before moving to Toronto to further her dance education and teaching experience. Clea is currently completing her final year in the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School. Throughout her training she has successfully completed numerous vocational examinations in Cecchetti Ballet, RAD Ballet, ISTD Modern Theatre and ISTD National Dance.

In 2013 and 2017, Clea was awarded the "Aspire Scholarship" from the Dance Teachers' Association of Newfoundland. She used this scholarship to attend the Cecchetti Ballet Summer School in 2013, and to further her dance education at Canada’s National Ballet School. In 2019 Clea was awarded her Associate in ISTD National Dance.

Clea also has an interest in performing and choreographing for various local musicals and theatrical productions. Some of her credits include Vayu (2013), Beauty and the Beast (2014) and D is for Dows’y Poll (2019).

As a teacher Clea aims to inspire her students through training the fundamentals of dance technique and artistry, while also teaching them valuable life skills.

 

Andrew Merrigan
Andrew Merrigan is originally from Edmonton, Alberta and has been tap dancing since he was 3 years old. He has performed, studied, and taught in New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Vancouver, Calgary, Portland, and Chicago. As a teenager, Andrew was fortunate to study with many pioneers of the art form, including Dr. Harold "Stumpy" Cromer, Dr. Jeni LeGon, Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Arthur Duncan, and Professor LaVaughn Robinson. Andrew approaches tap dance as half dancer, half percussionist, and is extremely proud of the advances his students at CCDC have made in the past two years. Andrew would like to thank them all for their efforts, Laurie Raymond for being an incredible influence and studio owner, and his parents for their constant support. 

 
 
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Rachel Fraser (BA-ECE)
Rachel has an education career spanning two decades, and is an integral part of the Pre-School Dance and Play program at CCDC. Upon completion of her studies at Ryerson University, Rachel taught pre-school at St. Clement's Early Learning School in north Toronto from 1994 until 2001. After starting a family of her own, Rachel returned to teaching at a variety child care centres in the Junction, ultimately joining CCDC in 2014 (Rachel's own children have been dancing at CCDC since 2006). Rachel provides a learning environment based on creative play, active involvement and engagement of all the senses. 

 
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Yvonne Ibay Nichols,  (BFA Hons)
As a young child with energy to spare, Yvonne’s mother decided to channel some of that energy into dance. This love of movement has since been present through her whole life; studying ballet, tap, jazz, and then concentrating mostly on Competitive Highland Dancing.  When she retired from competing, she joined two professional Scottish dance companies, The Tunnochbrae Ceilidh Dancers, which performed alongside the renowned 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums and the Scottish Dance Company of Canada. 

She continued to diversify her training and subsequently graduated from the The Professional Training Program of The School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, the summer program of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre in New York City, and in 2015 received her BFA Hons in Dance from YORK University.  Professionally, she has enjoyed performing across North America as a Highland dancer in International Tattoos and stage productions, as a modern dancer in various performances, travelling across Canada as mascot performer, and as an aerialist with Gravityworks on hoop, silks and trapeze for festivals and corporate events.  One of Yvonne’s passions is her work with Famous PEOPLE Players, a black light theatre troupe in Toronto, where she collaborates with developmentally disabled adults. Most recently, she directed and choreographed the production Bringing Life to Light in collaboration with the Ontario Science Centre for March Break 2014.

Yvonne has been teaching and choreographing for over 25 years in many capacities throughout Ontario; including various camps and schools,  Parks and Recreation, Providence Healthcare, CHIRS, and continues to explore and create here at CCDC.

 

Justine Comfort
Grew up on a small farm in St.Anns, ON before moving to Toronto as an emerging dance artist. Justine is a graduate of York University where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Specialized Honours in Dance and a Disciplinary Certificate in Dance Science.  Upon graduation she received the Dance Scholars Award for her outstanding work in both practical and theoretical dance research. Since graduating Justine has had the privilege of dancing in works by Julia Aplin, Susie Burpee, Jesse Dell, Rock Bottom Movement, Hanna Kiel, Anandam Dancetheatre, Jillian Peever, Forcier Stage Works, Tracey Norman, Alison Daley and John Ottmann. Justine is one of the founding members and artistic directors of the contemporary dance collective, Half Second Echo. This past summer Justine had the opportunity to dance at the ImpulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival where she trained under artists Kenji Takagi, Risa Steinberg, Hagit Yakura, Kira Kirsch, Marta Coronado, Laura Aris, Benoit Lachambre and Frey Faust.

Justine began teaching Acro over ten years ago at Expressions Dance Company.  Since then Justine has broadened her teaching to include other styles of dance and conditioning.  She is certified to teach Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers and Limón Modern Technique at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Utilizing this knowledge and experience Justine teaches at several dance schools in the GTA as well as Mississauga and additionally as an Off-Ice Conditioning and Dance instructor at several Figure Skating Clubs in the Niagara Region.