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.
Laurie is very selective about whom she invites to the CCDC staff, and not only expects her teachers to have excellent professional credentials, but also a positive attitude and child-focused sensibility when it comes to creating class work and interfacing with parents.
2017 - 2018’s Faculty
Laurie Raymond – Modern, Tap, Jazz, Artistic Director
Laura Matthews– Modern
Sarah McQueston - Modern
Kimberly Chin - Ballet
Rachel Fraser - Dance and Play
Cheng-ni “Nini” Ho – Ballet
Yvonne Ibay Nichols – Modern, Creative Movement, Ballet, Dance & Play
Christine Walker – Jazz, Ballet, Creative Movement, Hip Hop
Annemarie Cabri - Ballet
Nicola Pantin - Jazz
Justine Comfort - Acro
Cheng-ni Ho, (BFA, TTP Dip. (NBS), RTS-RAD, CSC-CICB)
Cheng-ni (Nini) Ho began her training in Taiwan, where she studied Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Chinese Folk dance and Martial Arts. She moved to Toronto in 2010 and began dancing professionally; her repertoire includes George Balanchine’s Serenade, Martha Graham’s Step in the Street, as well as performances with the Canadian Opera Company.
She graduated with Distinction from the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School and is the proud recipient of the Betty Oliphant Award for Excellence in Teaching. Additionally, she maintains her Registered Teachers Status with the Royal Academy of Dance and her Cecchetti Associate Qualifications. Nini has taught professional dance programs in Taiwan and in private studios in the GTA. She is also a teacher in the Professional, Associates and Adult Ballet programs at the National Ballet School. Nini’s passion for dance is evident in her teaching style and she is dedicated to working with her students to inspire a love of dance that will help them achieve their goals.
Annemarie Cabri -
Annemarie danced with the Dutch National Ballet, Netherlands, and later in the 90’s with Judith Marcuse Contemporary Co. and the independent dance scene in Vancouver, Canada. Annemarie is a guest teacher across Canada including training teachers in Brain-Compatible Dance Education. Each summer Annemarie continues to return to the dance school she founded in Victoria BC where she leads multi-arts programming for children. With a move to Toronto in 2010 Annemarie is artist educator and choreographer with novice movers in the education department of Canada’s National Ballet Company.
“I love to observe someone realizing the power of moving in a meaningful, joyful and expressive way. For them to recognize that this is what dance can be. It is to see in action a thinking, feeling person. I find this a thing of beauty.” - Annemarie Cabri, September, 2016
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)
Christine Walker, (BFA)
Christine Walker is a versatile dancer, actor, choreographer, teacher, and model with over 16 years of experience. Born in Montreal, she began her training at the age of 8 in a competitive studio and continued her professional training at Ballet Divertimento. She then moved to Toronto and graduated from Ryerson University in 2013 with a BFA Degree in Dance.
Some credits include: Stella Adler Studio of Acting with the MADAIR project; T. Danz Festival in France and Spain; Springboard Danse Montreal; Alias Dance Project; Naught Theatre Company; as well as many projects with Creativiva.
She has recently performed with Cirque Du Soleil at the Pan Am Games in Toronto 2015 and has now been competing with Canada's Dance Council in Latin Ballroom Dance.
She has co-produced for The Passion Search Competition, an annual networking event for entrepreneurs, provides Wedding Choreography with her business Walker Dance Studios & works all over Toronto teaching drama, dance, Kids Yoga & private classes to children & adults. With over 5 years of experience, Christine's passion for the arts has brought her to new and exciting heights and is thrilled to be a part of the CCDC family!
Sarah McQueston, (BFA Hons, BEd)
Sarah McQueston is a Toronto-based dance artist and educator. As a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and holding an Honours BFA and BEd degree in dance and science from York University, Sarah has explored many facets of dance through her careers as a performer, choreographer and educator. As a dancer, she has trained nationally and internationally in intensive settings including The Bates Dance Festival, Doug Varone and Dancers, AHHA Productions, and Peggy Baker Dance Projects. Furthermore, Sarah has danced for Jasmyn Fyffe Dance, Ruth Cansfield Dance Company Inc., Lady Janitor, Artists’ Play Dance Theatre, and Debbie Wilson Productions, among others. She has performed works by such notable artists as Molissa Fenley (New York), Danny Grossman (Toronto), Charles Gushue (San Francisco), Christopher House (Toronto), and James Kudelka (Toronto), and has also danced on film for Bravo!FACT, MuchFACT and most recently in an original collaborative co-production, Drop. McQueston was chosen as an emerging artist in contemporary dance for the Young Centre for the Performing Arts mentorship program under the guidance of Andrea Nann and Roberto Campanella.
Presently, Sarah is teaching in the Toronto District School Board and at Creative Children’s Dance Centre as she continues to create and perform independently. She finds tremendous joy in sharing the wonders, challenges and opportunities for personal and artistic growth through dance education. For her, working with students as they move, create, and grow is inspiring and enlivening both as a teacher and as a dancer!
Laura Matthews, (BFA Hons)
Laura is a Toronto-based artist, educator and community animator working in dance, somatic movement, choreography and performance. Drawing on twenty years of dance training in creative movement, modern, contemporary, improvisation, ballet, ad jazz; she continues to teach in studios, communities and schools across Ontario. Laura is a founder of bodymind ConfiDance, and passionately advocates for the experience and presence of the arts in education and in society.
Kimberly Chin, (BFA)
Born and raised in Toronto, Kimberly Chin began her dance training at The National Ballet School in the Junior Associates Program and soon after joined the full time program under the direction of Mavis Staines. During her time at NBS Kimberly had the opportunity to perform the lead child role in the Nutcracker alongside the National Ballet of Canada. In 2009, Kimberly completed her four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Ryerson University, with extensive training in ballet, modern, jazz, musical theatre, improvisation and West African dance styles. At Ryerson she had the privilege to work with renowned artists such as Nadia Potts, Karen Duplisea, Vicki St. Denys, Kenny Pearl, Allen Kaeja, David Earle, and Christopher House. Kimberly continues to study in many dance workshops and intensives including The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, The Ailey School, and ProArteDanza summer intensives. Most recently she participated in Springboard Danse Montreal where she worked with several companies and choreographers such as Compagnie Flak, RubberbanDance, Margie Gillis, Sylvain Emard, Marie Chouinard, Carres Des Lombes, and Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal. As a professional performer Kimberly has worked with Event Horizon Dance, Typecast Dance Co. and The Dance Migration, and recently completed a dance residency at the Banff Centre with Red Sky Performance for the world premiere of Backbone. Kimberly is currently enrolled in the Teacher Training Professional Development Program at the National Ballet School.
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.
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.
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.