Vlad

Born in Russia, Vlad trained at the Ballet Academy (Vaganova System) and Rimski-Corsakoff Conservatory with a major in choreography. During this time, he received full training in Musicology/Music History, Composition, Music Theory and piano (certified musician).
Prior to opening VDC, Vlad was on the dance faculty at various professional schools such as Randolph School of the Arts, Sheridan College and Dance Teq, which is located within the National Ballet of Canada.
Over the years Vlad has become known for his innovative choreography and emotional story-telling through dance. He is frequently invited to guest teach at various workshops in the U.S. and Canada and to create choreography for professional dance companies and film. The short dance film “In a Moment”, directed and produced by Kuperman Brothers (both graduates of Vlad’s Dance Company) is currently being shown at film festivals in North America and Europe.
In 2010 Vlad launched “Bridge to Artists”, a contemporary dance program that provides dancers with a professional company experience.

Irina Antsiferova

My formal education as a ballet dancer started in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I danced professionally under a full time contract for 13
years (1977-1990). After defecting to Canada in 1990 I was a freelance dancer for a few years and then started to teach ballet at competitive dance studios in Ontario. In 1997 me and my husband Vlad began a new chapter in our life and opened our own studio in Richmond Hill Ontario. Since I was a young girl, I always knew dance would be a part of my life.

Over the past 18 years we have continued to grow into one of the top competitive studios in Canada, producing many successful professional dancers and choreographers.
I have extensive training and experience in cosmetology and make up. Currently working as a costumes designer for dance productions in Toronto and designing costumes for Vlad’s Dance Company.  I am an eternal student. I read a lot, love to travel and hope to semi-retire on an island somewhere while still continuing my education and inspirng others to reach for their dreams.

Polina Cancellara

How long have you been with VDC?                                                                                                                 

  Since it opened its doors in 1997!

What do you love about teaching?                                                                                                                    

  I love teaching the youngest students because they are so uninhibited and eager to learn everything you give them. They  have not yet developed self doubt and fear which are major road blocks in our everyday adult life. I strive to nurture that state of pureness in my students and try to implement this philosophy in my own life. Be confident and take a chance!

What was the coolest life experience you’ve had because of dance?                                                     

As I was laying on a beach in Los Cabos, Mexico looking at the giant cruise ship which was my home for 7 months,  I distinctly remember thinking ”Wow, I get paid to do this. This is my JOB!” it was the coolest moment by far. The friends I’ve made there, I continue to keep in touch with to this day.

Do you have other interests?                                                                                                                                 

Right now my only other interest is my daughter who just turned two, as you can imagine this keeps me pretty busy. Aside from toddler culture (and watching Frozen 10 times a day)  I have a Photography business.

Tell us something nobody knows about you.                                                                                                  

  I love Karaoke!

Amanda Pietrantonio

How long have you been with VDC?
I started working at VDC in August 2012 – and what a rollercoaster of a three years it has been. What I have taught over these years and been taught by my students and staff members, I wouldn’t trade for anything.

What do you love about teaching?
Results. My favorite thing about teaching is watching my students achieve their goals, learn a new trick, or even just watching their progress from week to week. Children are the most special beings and I enjoy learning from them as much as they learn from me.

What is your most memorable moment as a dance student?
Hands down would be the time I ate a slice of pizza on stage in 8 counts during a tap group – don’t worry I turned around and put it all in my dad’s shirt pocket that I was wearing. And yes, my mom would get me a fresh slice every time. I was quite the character back then! Still miss being on stage every day.

What was the coolest life experience you’ve had because of dance?
The coolest life experiences I’ve had are all thanks to dance. I’ve travelled, made lasting friendships, and even moved Cities because of dance. It’s taught me much more than I ever learnt at school.

Do you have other interests?
Studio life has definitely taken over the majority or my extra curricular time for as long as I can remember. Being in the studio is one of my favorite places to be. When I’m at home, I am usually doing studio related things. On the occasional day off, I love spending time with friends and family. Visits to Ottawa happen as often as they can. The people who love me and have made me in to the person I am today are what I value most.

Tell us something nobody knows about you.
Not too many people know this, but I have an alter ego and her name is Jessika. She is absolutely insane (maybe an outlet for my crazy?), but can sure make the people I love laugh ☺

Robert De Oliveira

How long have you been with VDC?
I haven been teaching since September 2013. I have grown incredibly close to the kids and am so thankful to have such driven and dedicated students.

What do you love about teaching?
The best part about teaching for me is growth. Watching my students grow, master a new style or step, etc. I love sharing my knowledge and styles with all different ages of kids and seeing them mature and develop in different ways.

What is your most memorable moment as a dance student?
I didn’t grow up in the dance competition scene so I don’t have quite the same memories as all of my wonderful and fortunate students. For me, the most memorable moment of my dance life was being selected as a cast member for Monsters of Hip Hop 2012. I was amoungst 11 other extremely talented dancers and we were trained by some of the greatest choreographers in the industry. Definitely an experience that I will never forget.

What was the coolest life experience you’ve had because of dance?
Touring Canada for sure. Towards the end of 2012, I was selected to be one of Victoria Duffield’s (Canadian Pop Star) back up dancers. We started our tour on the west coast and travelled all the way across the country to the east coast. Not only was being on stage almost every day amazing, but seeing almost all of Canada was also incredible.

Do you have other interests?
When I’m not teaching I love to take class/keep up with my own training. Aside from dance I love spending time with my friends and family. I also really love travelling and visiting new places.

Tell us something nobody knows about you.
I don’t think anyone knows how much I love video games (BIG NERD). Whether it’s on my phone or ipad or even xbox – I am a part-time gamer for sure!

Melissa Craig

How long have you been with VDC?
I have been with VDC since 2003. I started as a student and now I’m a teacher!

What do you love about teaching?
I love seeing my students grow as dancers. I enjoy watching them improve year after year and seeing them achieve their goals and dreams.

What is your most memorable moment as a dance student?
My most memorable moment as a dance student was having the privilege of sharing the stage with such talented dancers whom I was also able to call my friends.

What was the coolest life experience you’ve had because of dance?                                                                                                                                                                                                      Travelling around Canada and USA to attend different dance competitions. I had my first experience flying on the plane because of this!

Do you have other interests?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am an avid reader and enjoy travelling.

Tell us something nobody knows about you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hate spiders and thunderstorms.

Leah Lavergne

How long have you been with VDC?
I have been teaching at VDC for 4 years.

What do you love about teaching?
Seeing my students fall in love with Ballet. It’s not always everyone’s favorite because Ballet takes a lot of discipline and the progress is slow but when it happens it is very special.

Do you have other interests?
I am very much into  healthy life style and nutrition. I love to travel around the world, dance and read.

Michael Novitski

Born and raised in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Michael’s introduction to dance came with his first steps. Working with and being mainly trained by Vlad, his father, Michael’s dance career began at a young age. He is trained in all genres and styles of dance and continues to train everyday of his life. During his many years as a competitive dancer, Michael has won numerous Overall Regional Awards. Last summer, he was crowned American Dance Award’s Teen Male Dancer 2014. Aside from competition successes, Michael has begun taking steps into his professional career. In 2013, he was a part of an episode for the Family Channel’s “The Next Step”. He has also danced in the OTF Gala for the last two years and earlier this year played a main role in Bridge to Artists’ show “Notre Dame de Paris”.

Michael’s passion for dance is undeniable.

Jenna Stoikos

Jenna Stoikos is a full-time competitive dancer at Vlad’s Dance Company. She has participated in this program for four years, as well as performing as a pre-professional cast member in Vlad’s “Bridge to Artist’s” contemporary company, performing biannually. Through Bridge to Artists, Jenna has had the pleasure of working with esteemed choreographers such as Vlad, Linda Garneau, Mia DiLena, Robert DeOliveira, as well as performing alongside Toronto’s extremely talented dance community. Under the artistry and integrity of Vlad’s Dance Company, Jenna attends competitions all over North America, placing overall in solos as well as groups. In 2014, Jenna was given the opportunity to compete as “American Teen Dancer of the Year” with faculty members such as Megan Caines and Michael Novitski in 2014. Jenna has also been proud to be apart of overall-winning groups as well as be acknowledged for her commitment and artistry by several judges throughout each competition season. Jenna hopes for another successful year both as a dancer and teacher and wishes everyone the best!

Pauline Karabelas

Pauline Karabelas has been dancing since the age of three. She started dancing at VDC in 2010 as a full-time competitive dancer and has fell in love with the art of dance ever since. At the age of 12, Pauline was assisting many recreational classes before she became a full time recreational dance instructor, teaching the ages of nine and under. She continues to dance at a competitive level studying all styles of dance and attending numerous regional and national competitions all over Canada and the USA. She has had to pleasure of participating in many award winning routines and has received many overall awards, special awards and scholarships in her career.  Pauline is fortunate to be one of the cast members of the professional dance company “Bridge to Artists” created by the artistic director: Vlad in 2010. Coming this December, Pauline will be participating in her 10th “Bridge to Artists” performance and she announces that she is very thankful and excited for this opportunity.

Megan Caines

How long have you been with VDC?
I started dancing at Vlad’s Dance Company 4 years ago

What do you love about teaching?
I love seeing the frustration on the child’s face when they are so close to getting a new trick and all the smiles after they get it! I love watching the dancers improve from the beginning to the end of the year

Do you have other cool interests?
I love fitness, cooking, modelling, acting, socializing, music, editing videos

My 11 year old daughter Marlee has been a part of Vlad's Part Time Competitive team for 2 years.During that time, she has gown up immensely as a dancer, been exposed to the benefit of working within a team environment and has been supported to challenge herself in ways that have built her self esteem, athlethicism and grace. She has been taught discipline and tenacity in a fun and safe environment and I never have to encourage her to go to class; she is super excited when it's a 'dance day'. Thank you to Vlad's amazing teachers for a fantastic experience

Lori Schwartz

Thank you also for pulling us aside when we needed encouragement. We appreciate your sensitivity to kids' feelings and insecurities, and ours of feeling lost and unfamiliar. You all seem to really care about helping our kids succeed, in a healthy, human way, despite all the incredible pressures

My husband and I are so happy with the creativity, discipline, fun and caring that Julianne is experiencing thru Vlad's. She is fit, healthy, and is even more confident and socially thriving due to the nurturing environment here. She calls all her teachers 'dance mom's, dad's and uncles'. She looks up to the juniors and seniors, who know her by name and hang out with them in the hallway and change rooms. Her own group gets along well and always linger together after classes. We call VDC our kids country club