TONYA WEJR, RAD RTS
owner/director/instructor (ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, tap)
An award-winning choreographer and certified RAD instructor, Tonya has been teaching dance on Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley for 20 years. After a number of years teaching at other studios, Tonya followed her dream as she opened her own studio, Kick It Up A Notch Academy of Dance, in Aldergrove, BC.
Tonya grew up dancing at Kirkwood Academy in Nanaimo, BC where she trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical jazz, musical theatre and hip hop. She was named the Vancouver Island Representative at the BC Provincials for ten consecutive years and played principal roles in productions such as Annie, the Wiz, the Nutcracker, Copelia, and the Little Mermaid. As her dance career matured, Tonya had the opportunity to be seen by audiences around the world as she was offered feature roles in music videos by Juno-nominated band Sekoya, a supporting role in Center Stage 2: Turn It Up, and named to the top 100 on the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
Through all this experience, Tonya came to the realization that her true passion is teaching. As a result of instruction with a focus on strong work ethic, dedication, and joy of dance, her students have demonstrated the contagious passion and positive character that Tonya exudes in each and every one of her classes.
Vanessa received her formal training from Kirkwood Academy of Dance. During her time at Kirkwood, Vanessa toured internationally with Royal City Youth Ballet to Alaska, Mexico, Disneyland and on Carnival Cruise Lines. Along with these performances, she has also taken part in The Nutcracker, Copellia, Cinderella and various National Dances.
Vanessa has attended the Parksville Summer Intensive, Kirkwood (Nanaimo) Summer Intensive, Toronto Dance Theatre Summer Intensive, Ballet Jörgen Summer Intensive, Arts Umbrella/Ballet BC Summer Intensive and Royal City Youth Ballet’s Summer School in order to further her training. She has also worked with choreographers such as: Joe Laughlin of Joe Ink, Desiree Dunbar, Judith Garay, Rob Kitsos, Karen Jamieson, Heather Grey, Heather Dotto, Bengt Jörgen, and Crystal Pite.
Vanessa has done Royal Academy of Dance ballet for over 20 years, where she has obtained her Advanced level in the RAD syllabus at the age of 14 and became a registered RAD instructor in 2011. For the past 10 years, Vanessa has taught both ballet, jazz and contemporary dance to all ages. In 2014, Vanessa was one of the youngest RAD teachers to put a candidate through their Solo Seal Award in Canada.
Vanessa also obtained her Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance from Simon Fraser University in 2012. At Simon Fraser University she was a part of the Off Centre Dance Company and studied under Judith Garay ( the owner of Dancer’s Dancing) Rob Kitsos, Cheryl Prophet, Marla Eist, Farley Johansson, Megan Walker Straight and many others. Vanessa has a goal to work for her Masters in Dance through the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England.
Vanessa joined our team in 2015 and has brought a style that combines strong teaching with fun and creativity to our ballet program.
TARA LENKO, RAD RTS
Tara completed her formal ballet training at the Cameron Academy of Classical Dance in Langley, BC. She eventually had the opportunity to train with Miss Tonya in a variety of other genres and, following graduation, joined Tonya in completing the Royal Academy of Dance Teaching Certification Program.
Tara has been a professional ballet teacher since 2008 and has a philosophy that aligns so well with that of Kick It Up A Notch. Her strong professionalism, and care for her students, works to create dancers with strong technique and a love for ballet. Her creative choreography and costuming make the year-end performance a moment to remember for all her students.
Not only is Tara a talented teacher and choreographer but she has also completed her post-secondary education in costuming for stage and screen.
Sara was born in Langley and became a competitive athlete at the age of 5. For 6 years she performed on beam, floor, bars and vault. Following that, she competed competitively in a dance group for 4 more years.
Sara has attended workshops and conventions hosted by Mia Michaels, Wade Robson, Benji Schwimmer, Blake McGrath, Napoleon & Tabitha D'umo to name a few. She has performed at charity events such as synergy dance convention and various competitions throughout BC and Washington State. Sara has received many awards including “It’s all about Teamwork” from American Dance Awards National Tour, Canadian National Dance Championships and Dance World Cup for her numerous performances. She was even a contender for Cirque Du Soleil. Sara has experience in lyrical, jazz, hip hop, contortion, acrobatics, ballet, pointe, modern and contemporary, including tumbling, trampoline, stunts, acro and gymnastics.
Sara is a level 2 certified gymnastics and trampoline coach. She is also first aid certified and has completed her respect in "Sport and Making Ethical Decisions" courses.
She has been coaching gymnastics for 4 years. She loves watching kids succeed and learn while having fun. “The biggest reward is seeing an athlete learn a new skill and then watch them get excited about achieving and mastering the new skill.” Sara loves being a coach and sharing her passion for gymnastics. She encourages her students to strive to do their best.
Instructor: Hip Hop
Melissa started dancing at the age of 13 and began learning the basics to many dance forms. Melissa has competed and performed throughout North America and Europe including; The International Edegem Folk Festival in Belgium, The Centre of Performing Arts and The Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, Canada. She has won numerous awards at competitions and dance conventions including winning silver at the Hip Hop International Dance Championships in August 2013. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, she performed with the Surrey Celebration Dance Team in front of thousands at many events including the Olympic Torch Relay. Melissa recently studied with the Drive Dance Centre’s Scholarship Program in which she broadened her knowledge in contemporary, ballroom, ballet, and jazz.
Melissa joined our KIUAN team in 2014 and has helped build our hip hop program with dedication, energy, and brilliant choreography. She also teaches throughout the lower mainland and currently performs with The Surrey Celebration Dance Team and Project Soul Productions.
Instructor: Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Tap, Contemporary
Bio coming soon!
Instructor: Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary.
Halle was born in Abbotsford with her love for dance starting when she enrolled at a studio at the age of 4 She has been passionate and committed to the competitive dance world since she was 6 years old and has trained in a variety of styles including Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Ballet, Hip Hop, Acro, and Stage.
Through her dance career, she has been a performer/competitor in The Dance World Cup (silver medal), Disneyland parade, and Canada Day parades. She also performed in the music video, "The Best Days", by Natalie Eve Lyons
As a youth, she was awarded a scholarship for the Hollywood Summer Tour in 2014 where she travelled to California and worked with big names in the industry such as Fik-Shun (So You Think You Can Dance winner, 2014), Cati Jean, BBoy Flo Master, Antoine Troupe, Flii Stylz, Eden Shabtai, and Maria Foti.
Halle has volunteered her time and sharing her passion for dance through assisting local professional teachers from ages 13-17. She joined our KIUAN team in 2015 and has brought such a caring, dedicated and professional style to our studio that helps bring out the best in every student.