Artistic Team

Elizabeth Dawn Snell

Artistic Director
Teaches Ballet, Jazz, Silks, Modern

A professional dancer, aerialist, choreographer and instructor in Toronto, Elizabeth is the Artistic Director and founder of Artists’ Play School of Dance.

Recently, Elizabeth has been featured as a aerialist with Hit & Run Dance Productions, Disney, La Rouge Entertainment and Zero Gravity Circus.

Elizabeth has danced with Corpus, Parahumans Dance Theatre, The International Tango Festival, and has worked with choreographers such as Siona Jackson and Diana Lopez.

Elizabeth has created and performed many small works and produced four larger productions which premiered at festivals and showcases such as Series 8:08, Festival of Independent Dance Artists (fFida), Atlantic Fringe Festival, Toronto Fringe Festival 2008 and 2009, LABCAB Festival and her own productions, Artists’ Play…a Cabaret!.

Elizabeth was trained classically at the Brandon School of Dance, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and was mentored by Arnold Spohr. After training in Jazz, Modern and Contemporary at JazzArt, Grant MacEwan and the Banff Center of Fine Arts, she then went on to graduate from the George Brown Dance Diploma Program where she studied under Ballet Jorgen. She has been training with aerial mentors in and around Toronto. Elizabeth continues to educate herself as an instructor and performer through various professional development programs.

Elizabeth has toured England with Parahumans Dance Theatre, where she facilitated work- shops for children in public schools. She has also worked for Arts for Children in public schools and was the dance instructor in the AFC Arts Adventure camp in 2007, besides creating and directing her own performing arts summer school. She has choreographed many musicals in high-schools and created in-depth performances for her students to perform at community events such as public school fun fairs, the Riverside BIA’s events and large scale year end performances for her own school.

Having been performing and teaching in the Riverdale/Leslieville area since 2003, she is thrilled to be sharing her love and knowledge of dance with children and adults alike at Artists’ Play School of Dance. Elizabeth is excited to maintain working within various schools and communities aiding with the introduction of professional dance and creative movement to children and youth.

Jason Vanstone

Co-Artistic Director
Teaches Hip-Hop, Jazz, Mighty Moves, Rock Girlz

A professional dancer, instructor and musician, Jason is the Co-Artistic Di- rector of Artists’ Play Dance Theatre school and company.
Jason co-choreographed and performed with Artists’ Play at The Atlan-tic Fringe Festival, fFIDA, Toronto International Dance Festival and various cabaret improvisations and performances. Other performances include the Fritz Helder and the Phantoms and Parahumans Dance Theatre. In televi- sion, Jason was aired on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation as an opening credit hip hop dancer.

Jason studied jazz, ballet and modern at Ryerson University and had the opportunity to work with David Earle, D.A. Hoskins, Mark Christman, Stelio Calagias and Nadia Potts. He was chosen to show work in the Ryerson Cho- reographic Works 2002 with his piece “Lost & Calling”. Having trained at various schools in the west since the age of 5, Jason acquired many styles which lead him to flourish in contemporary, hip hop and jazz.
Musically, Jason writes, plays and produces his own music for dance pro- ductions and for his own band, Along the Lines. His first piece for stage, ‘A City Reflection’ was showcased as part of Artists’ Play’s “Love & Life” in the 2007 Atlantic Fringe Festival. Since then Jason has created music for larger productions such as “The Reservation and “HeartSurge”.

Jason has choreographed various musicals for high schools and communi- ties across Canada and continues to create work for dancers of all ages. He has taught creative movement at various schools in the GTA. Jason is thrilled to be sharing dance with children and adults as the instructor of Mighty Moves, Rock Girlz, Hip Hop and DanceStylz at Artists’ Play Dance Theatre.

Jennifer Fell

Teaches Aerial Silks

Jennifer Fell is an Aerialist, Fire Performer, Dancer and Teacher. She is a graduate of the George Brown Dance Performance Program. Jennifer has performed with such companies as A2D2 Aerial Dance, Blue Ceiling Dance, Circus Orange, Goodness Gracious Fire Dancers, Koba Family Entertain- ment, La Belle Danse Baroque Company, LaRouge Entertainment and Zero Gravity Circus. She has also choreographed and performed for the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra in their production of Lord of the Rings, with Diana Lopez Soto and Draught Horse Productions and as a guest artist for The Dance Institute in Markham. Jennifer currently teaches for Artists’ Play School of Dance and The Circus Academy.Having toured Canada, across North America, to Barbados, Dubai and Bahrain, Jennifer is happy to be home in Toronto sharing the love of aerial and dance with those eager to learn.

Jennifer Robichaud

Teaches Acro, Modern

Holding an Honours BFA from York University, Jennifer Robichaud has had extensive dance training in many disciplines, specializing in jazz and con- temporary forms. Jennifer co-founded Larchaud Dance Project in 2004 and currently holds the position as Artistic Director. Larchaud Dance Project combines breakdance aesthetics with contemporary practice, and their highly stylized partnering is now recognized as Larchaud Technique. This Toronto based company has been nationally and internationally recog- nized for its vibrant workshops, cutting edge choreography, and multi- media performances. Select choreographic and performance credits with Larchaud include LDP productions (Elegant Beast/12, Game Over/10, Back to X/09, Caution/07), Illuminite/10, GCDF/10, Beats Breaks and Culture/09, Nuit Blanche/11/07/08, Fringe Shanghai/06, TIDF/06, Wintercity Festival/06. www.larchaud.com

Jennifer also performs with Anandam Dance Theatre and AKA Dance, and has done a range of commercial and video work. She was a featured cho- reographer on the Gemini nominated documentary series Freedom which airs on Bravo. Presently, Jennifer teaches at Gotta Dance, and resides as the guest adjudicator on the entrance jury to St. Elizabeth Secondary School’s Regional Arts Program. A teacher of many disciplines, she is known for her innovative contemporary and creative acrobatic choreography. She leads countless workshops in the city as part of Larchaud Dance Project, and is involved with youth programming and initiatives.

Gigi Uson

Teaches Ballet Variations

Gigi acquired her training at The National Ballet School of Canada and went on to train and perform with Ballet Jorgen Canada. She also trained nationally at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Banff Centre of the Arts, Les Grands Ballet Canadians and Quinte Ballet School.
Gigi started teaching with Artists’ Play in 2013 with the Intermediate classes as well as our summer camps. Her extensive knowledge in ballets and variations brings character and tradition into the classroom for the senior students.
After her career as a performer she returned to school to become an early childhood educator and a deaf and hard of hearing instructor. She is cur- rently employed with the TDSB.

As a fellow Leslieviller, Gigi is happy to be sharing her love of dance at Artists’ Play and in the neighbourhood.

Caitlin Thrasher

Teaches Jazz, Dance Club, Rock Girlz, Hip-Hop

Caitlin trained at George Brown for dance performance. She is trained in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Silks, Tap and Bel- lydance. After graduating she began training around the city of Toronto including working with Danny Davalos and the OIP dance company, Dia- mond Dancers, a Vegas inspired show and also dancing with Carla Cater- wood and her Nuvo Burlesque dance group.
After a couple years of training and working, she joined the Scholarship Dance Program, created by Geneen Georgiev. This opened her up to working with choreographers such as, Leon Blackwood, Hollywood Jade, Jasmine Fife, Miles Faber and more. She finished the program and began working with Hollywood Jade for the summer, dancing at a night club.

While working with the Scholarship program she got a job working with Ballet Jorgen Canada, working with the Nutcracker youth program. She runs the auditions for Ontario cities and teaches the children the choreography for the show with the company. She continues to work for Ballet Jorgen today.
She now works for Love Letters Cabaret, High Society Cabaret, DivaGirl Entertainment and is a freelance Bellydancer. She teaches at the Circus Academy, U Got Active Kids and Artist’s Play Dance.

Vanessa Vici

Teaches Tap, Dance Club
Originally from Thornhill, Vanessa has been dancing since the age of 3. She starting dancing competitively at the age of 7 years old traveling to different places to compete like Orlando Florida, Niagara Falls, Guelph, Waterloo and many more. Vanessa is trained in various dance styles such as Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Modern and Ballet.

At the age of 19 Vanessa stopped dancing competitively and started teaching Jazz and Tap classes at a studio called Young Dancers of Canada, while attending Seneca College for Early Childhood Education. After a year at Seneca Vanessa decided to follow her heart and audition for George Brown Colleges Dance Program in 2010 where she was accepted and attended there one year program. In the midst of her year at George Brown Vanessa had the opportunity to perform in Nuite Blanche and work with some amazing choreographers like Derek Sangster, Dana Bondy, Ray Hogg and Kathleen Rae. Many of these choreographers became mentors to Vanessa and suggested auditioning for Ryerson Universities Dance program.

Upon completion of George Brown’s Dance Program in 2011 Vanessa went on to accept the challenge and audition for Ryerson Universities Dance Program. With a straight acceptance into the program Vanessa spend the next four years working with some of the most inspiring and well known teachers and choreographers such as Hanna Kiel, Vicki St.Denys, Nadia Potts, Tanya Evidente, John Ottman, Kenny Pearl,, Karen Duplisea, Allen Kaeja, Aresenio Andrade, Linda Garneau, Robert Glumbeck, Andrew McCormack and Justin De Bernardi. In her final year, Vanessa had the opportunity to perform a self-choreographed contemporary solo at the Ryerson Theatre in a show called Choreographic Works.

Vanessa graduated from Ryerson University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and is now looking for the opportunity to inspire dancers the way she was inspired throughout her many years of dancing.

Sarah Murphy-Dyson

Teaches Ballet

 

Lyndsey Harpham

Teaches R.A.D Ballet

Jason “Cozmic” Yorke

Teaches Breakdancing + Hip-Hop

Student Teachers

Zoe Ortiz

Teaches Ballet

 

Mariella Santagata

Teaches Ballet

 

Sophie Johnston

Teaches Ballet