The Irish Dance Studio Faculty

Our qualified faculty is committed to providing professional dance training in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Our goal is not only to teach dance skills, but to incorporate life skills and lessons into each student's learning experience. Dedication, teamwork and perseverance are just a few skills that can be carried from the dance floor into our students' daily lives. We feel that the challenges and stimulation provided by the art of dance helps to promote a healthy body as well as a sharper, more active mind. We have seen over the years how the process of learning steps, building the steps into sequences and combining the sequences into full routines creates not only a wonderful sense of accomplishment, but also increases the amount of self-confidence in every child.


"Our goal is not only to teach dance skills, but to incorporate life skills and lessons into each students learning experience."



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Yvonne Kelly-Gunovski, TCRG, ADCRG - Studio Director

Yvonne was born in Dublin, Ireland and after moving to Canada, started Irish dancing with the Bonnie School of Irish Dance. After a few years Yvonne moved to the world renowned Butler Academy, under the tutelage of Mae, Paddy & June Butler. Yvonne won many Canadian and North American championships and attained a silver medal at the World Championships. In 1980, Yvonne opened her first Irish dance class in Scarborough, and over the next decade expanded to London, Windsor, Detroit & Chicago. During this time her dancers attained titles at the Canadian and Mid-West US Championships in both solos and teams. At the World level Yvonne's dancers continually made finals, culminating in a top five finish. In 1994, Yvonne decided to make Irish dancing a "full time job" and opened a studio in Newmarket, expanding quickly to where the Irish Dance Studio is today. Having attained status as an Adjudicator, Yvonne has judged at competitions in Canada, the United States, and the World Championships in Ireland. Yvonne has also served on the Irish Dance Teachers Association of Eastern Canada as Recording Secretary, Treasurer and Regional Director. She has served as Vice President of An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha and continues to represent the Region, in Ireland, as Regional Director and a Representative of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America. And during all this Yvonne has found time to run a number of Canadian Championships and the 2007 North American Championships (Ottawa). As much as Yvonne loves Irish dancing and all it has to offer, in her spare time she enjoys watching her sons play hockey and lacrosse.

Yvonne's philosophy: Work hard - do the best you can - no one can ask more.

Favourite Song: LeeAnn Womack - I hope you dance....

 

"If you get the chance to sit it out or dance.......I hope you dance."



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Joanne Vanderloo, TCRG – Studio Director

Joanne started her dance career at the age of six, and throughout her extensive training, studied many forms of dance; Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, National/Folk as well as traditional Irish Dancing. As a competition dancer, Joanne achieved a “best overall dancer” award and earned numerous scholarships, trophies and medals for her work. In the field of Irish Dance, Joanne is a former Canadian Champion and a two-time silver medalist at the World Championships of Irish Dancing. Professionally, Joanne performed with the Folk Ballet Theatre and the New Vic Theatre Company in Toronto, and has performed at various venues across the GTA including Molson Amphitheatre, Harbourfront, Hart House and the Canadian National Exhibition. Joanne has been teaching dance since 1982 and opened her own studio in 1986, after completing a three year dance teacher training program at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University). She is a member of the Canadian Dance Teachers Association – Stage Division, as well as a member of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of Canada, the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America and An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha in Dublin Ireland. Throughout her teaching years, Joanne has been the recipient of many honours, from Teachers Choice Choreography Awards to the 2004 Top Teacher Award.

If she had any advice for her dancers, it would be this:



"Always work hard. Love what you do. The dance window
of time is so short….enjoy every moment."



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Emily Babyn, TCRG - Instructor & Choreographer

Emily began dancing with The Irish Dance Studio at an early age, quickly moving through the ranks of competition to become a championship dancer.   A multiple-time Canadian Champion and Senior Belt Winner, Emily has ranked top three at the North American, Great Britain, and All Ireland Championships, as well as a fourth place finish at the 2011 World Championships in Dublin.  She has performed in the North American and European tours of "Lord of the Dance", and in the Busch Gardens-USA production of "Emerald Beats".  In 2010, she danced in Taiwan alongside Michael Flately in "Feet of Flames", to an audience of one hundred thousand.  In addition, Emily was a special guest performer with “Lord of the Dance” at the 2010 World Championships.  Most recently, she was a cast member with the show "Ireland" for two North American stints, and has just returned home from a four week North American tour with "Celtic Crossroads".  The subject of a feature article on “Health & Technique”, she was also the “cover girl” for the July 2010 issue of Irish Dancing Magazine, published in the UK. Emily brings to the Irish Dance Studio a background in Kinesiology, knowledge which she imparts to her students about the importance of muscle strengthening & stretch for optimal performance.

 

 

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Kendra Kelly, TCRG - Instructor & Choreographer

Kendra has been teaching both recreational and competitive Irish dance at the Irish Dance Studio since 2002. Her students have achieved recognition on both Regional and International stages, and as a "dance mom" herself, she has felt privileged to share their pride in their achievements through their dedicated work.

Further Bio to follow

 

 

 

 

 

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Karina Wipper - Instructor & Choreographer

Karina comes from a very physically active background. Having danced since the age of 4, Karina studied Ballet, Jazz and Highland Dance.  She has taken various workshops around Ontario, including The National Ballet School and with Modern dancer, Peggy Baker.

Karina has been on stage as a dancer, music artist,  model and in Musical Theatre.  She starred in 2012 in an independent suspense film as part of the Montreal Film Festival and was nominated for a 2014 Toronto Independent Music Award as a singer/songwriter.  Karina has recently also joined the RS Divas Creative Entertainment Company in Toronto as lead singer for corporate events, working with dancers of all styles.

Karina currently teaches Gentle Yoga, Dance Fitness, Total Barre Workout and Stretch and Strength classes for dancers, as well as Junior and Intermediate Ballet..  She completed her Yoga Teacher Training at the Kripalu Centre, located in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts.  Karina finds yoga and dance to be the perfect balance to her hiking, canoeing, skiing, biking and walking as a way to check in, stretch and move the body in a fun and natural way.

 

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Karen Hoffman - Instructor

Hi!  My name is Karen, and I am a retired Irish dancer and mompreneur.  I began coaching when I was 16 as a ski instructor.

I followed my love of children through my E.C.E. course in college.  I was then a stay-at-home mom with a home daycare for 14 years.  I have 3 great kids of my own, and a lovely daughter-in-law. 

I began coaching gymnastics 15 years ago, and I am a certified level 2 Provincial coach.  I worked for a Montessori school for 5 years, and loved every minute of it.  I ran a session at the bingo hall four our non-profit trampoline club for 10 years.  I also coach soccer and ringette.  I am first aid and CPR trained.

 I now am a stay at home mom again who loves to volunteer, work part time and homeschool my youngest in our household of 3 dogs, a cat, lizard and rabbit.  We love to travel!

I am very thankful to be part of such a great teaching family in the ACRO deparment!

 

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Meaghan Jones - Instructor

Meaghan has been Irish dancing since the age of four and has competed internationally throughout her career.  She is a former Canadian Champion title holder and has placed 4th in North America.  During her time at University, she choreographed and performed at several St. Patrick's Day and culture events on campus.  By returning to the competitive stage and qualifying for her 6th World Championships, she has been an inspiration to those wishing to rekindle their love for Irish Dance.  Some of her notable performances include dancing with The Barra MacNeils at Massey Hall, and dancing with the Toronto Orchestra.  She brings her personal experience and expertise to the studio to help children through adults appreciate the joy of Irish dance.  Meaghan offers classes for both Beginner and Advanced ADULT Irish dancers.

 

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Kellie Nuovo - Guest Teacher

Kellie studied Musical Theatre at Sheridan College and is a graduate of George Brown College’s Dance Performance Studies program, the recipient of the school’s Dean’s Medal and Ballet Jorgen’s Professional Development Accreditation. While a member of the contemporary jazz company, Combustion!, she performed at a variety of venues including the Betty Oliphant Theatre, The Kool Haus, and Harbourfront Centre’s Premiere Dance Theatre. She has choreographed for a number of projects including the short film "Lovegirl" (nominated for four Canadian Comedy Awards), "Cabaret" for Etobicoke Musical Productions, and The Blue Jays Junior Dance Pack. Performance credits include Ontario representative and Dance Captain for The Charlottetown Festival Young Company’s "Les Feux Follets", Italpasta’s “Project Pasta” national commercial, "FFIDA – The Fringe Festival", guest solo performer for "LiveWire" (Celtic duo), Junior Jay’s Saturday Emcee, and the Blue Jays J Force Dance Team. Kellie has been a performer and cast company manager with Holland America Cruise Line since 2009, affording her the opportunity to "see the world" while doing what she loves...dancing!  She is a former competitive and exam student of Dance Unlimited and The Irish Dance Studio.