Rosita is the Director of RainWood Dance Studio. She began to dance in early childhood with ballet at the age of 4 and jazz at the age of 8. In Victoria, at 12, she studied jazz dance at Spectrum Dance and Kidco Co. directed by Kerry Lynn Krich. Rosita started sharing her skills and passion teaching dance to children at the age of 15 and choreographed competitively for her peers throughout high school in the Greater Victoria Music Festival. She continued to study contemporary dance at Simon Fraser University while she taught dance to children and adults in several dance and fitness studios in Vancouver. At 20 years of age she moved to Chile where she studied dance and performed with the dance company Abraxas on a weekly national television show. Later she had the privilege of mentorship from her aunt, choreographer Vicky Larrain, with whom she studied and performed dance theatre for 6 years.
She arrived to Salt Spring in 2012 with her husband and three hip hop dancing sons. After many years away from dance, she was inspired to get back to it by Naomi Jason's classes and production of Imaginelle, as well as other workshops and performance opportunities offered on island. She taught modern, jazz, salsa, beginner flamenco and hip hop to children and adults mainly with the Salt Spring Arts Academy. Choreography is her passion and she would love to see collaborative creative work on Salt Spring that brings dancers and choreographers together to inspire and support each other. She is eager to inspire people of all ages who have never danced to take that first step and, for those that have done so, to develop their technique and enjoy the empowerment of full self expression through dance.
Sue is our Musical Theatre, Tap and Jazz teacher. She brings us her skills, talent and experience as a teacher and a performer in Vancouver, Victoria and here on Salt Spring Island where she has inspired and shared her love of the performing arts with her students through Salt Spring Arts Academy. Her training in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contact improv and other forms of improvisation combined with an extensive background in music, voice and theatre gives her students the unique opportunity to experience many performing arts genres and the various creative connections between them. She is also an experienced director which enriches her teaching process with practical applications and a high standard of showmanship. Sue nurtures each students’ individual artistic growth while modeling and instilling the joy and responsibility of collaborative classes and company structure. We are excited that she is with us to mentor beginners as well as more advanced children and adults as they grow into their fullest artistic expression!
Tap and Musical Theatre
Samara was born in Vancouver and was raised on Salt Spring Island from the age of two. She began dancing at the age of four at Salt Spring Arts Academy. For the last twelve years she has studied Classical Cecchetti as well as RAD Ballet, Character, Ukrainian, and Gypsy Dancing from the introductory to the advanced level. These classes were instructed by Lisa Hall and Jill Smith. In 2014 she was accepted into the Gulf Islands School of Performing Arts where she has been focusing her studies for the last two years in Modern/Contemporary Ballet, Choreography and Performance under the instruction of Sonia Langer, Jill Smith ,Lisa Hall, Bruce Smith and Jason Donaldson. She has participated in Summer Intensive programs with the Dance Arts Academy in Vancouver and Helix Dance based in Parksville. She has taken Master classes under Crystal Pite during her tour of the Kidd Pivot Company, Josh Martin and Lisa Gelley from Company 605 and Shaye Kubler as well as several others. She has performed in many productions including Night Circus and Pinocchio with GISPA. Samara continues her training with GISPA this year and will also attend Lynda Raino's Dance Studio for further training. She is eagerly looking forward to sharing her passion for dance with students in the upcoming season and we are looking forward to her classes and performances too!
Vani was born in Chile and came to Canada at the age of seven. He lived with his family on Cortes Island where he quickly became a regular performer, dancing and lip syncing for the Cortes community. He learned hip hop with no instructor or internet connection at the "school of the family living room" until he grooved his way to Salt Spring Island in Grade 7. At SIMS he quickly connected with Lee Sigmund in charge of the dance program in 2012, and was an active dance student until the end of Grade 8 when he had the opportunity to co-teach. He continued to take dance at GISS and in grade 10 became a part of GISPA. Studying under his mentors Jill Smith, Lisa Hall and Sonia Langer, Vani's dance was infused with contemporary ballet technique, bringing his creativity and showmanship to a new level. In the GISPA program Vani has shown many of his own choreographies and strong performance skills. He has participated in the Street Groove Hip Hop convention and placed 2nd in their Prove your Groove dance off in 2015. Vani is always looking for opportunities to grow as a dancer and instructor and is eager to inspire others to love hip hop as much as he does. We are very excited to have him teach and perform with us!
Teija has had deep passion for dance from a very young age and has always known it would be her life path. She started ballet classes as a child on her home island, Pender Island. As she grew and matured she began to take classes at Karen Clark Dance studio in Victoria on a weekly basis, training in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, and musical theater for many years. Upon entering high school in 9th grade she participated in the GISPA dance program, studying under Sonia Langer, Jill Smith and Lisa Hall, and enjoying this offering of technical training and artistry that has seen her grow in ballet and modern dance. She has also been mentored by local dance teachers, Naomi Jason, Kristin Lewis, and taken workshops with Shaye Kubler, Margie Gillis, Crystal Pite with Kidd Pivot Company and the 605 collective among others. With her love for jazz and hip hop still alive and kicking, she travelled to Victoria for training at Vibe Street hip hop dance studio and Stages dance studio. Street jazz has become her favorite groove, and we are proud to have her share her skills, passion and talent with our dance community!
Amber Tuttle was born and raised on Salt Spring Island. She began dancing at a local studio at the age of 4, and hasn’t stopped since. Her dance involves various styles including, jazz, ballet, swing, lyrical, contemporary, stage, popping and hip hop. She started training at Carlson’s at 16 and this past summer attended Urban Dance Camp in Germany for the second time. She has competed successfully in several festivals off-island and performed beautifully many times for our community. Amber taught with Salt Spring Art Academy with dedication. She has demonstrated her abilities as a dancer, choreographer and teacher and is eager to share her skills and love of dance to our students of all ages. We look forward to her classes and performances.
Throughout her early years, Veronika trained in ballet, can-can, tap, and highland dancing. While studying at UBC, she took modern and ballet classes on the side. Having rediscovered her love for dance, Veronika went on to train at MainDance in Vancouver, where she studied contemporary dance and ballet and had the opprotunity to study under many different choreographers such as Massimo Agostinelli. As a youth, she taught dance classes for kids and dance based fitness classes for moms and dads with babies in Vancouver and on Salt Spring Island. Recently she co-created a full length musical, Wild Swans, with Kate Nash, choreographing seven dance scenes with children aged 5-13. Veronika’s love for movement and dance is infectious and is readily shared by her students and her three sons. We are excited to have Veronika's creative mentorship this fall!
Creative Movement, Eclectic & Conditioning
Amy Haysom loves to explore creative movement as a way to express ourselves in the world! Amy trained in ballet and modern as a youth, as well as explored music and singing, performing in musicals both in high school and University. She danced with the Troupe Gestuel while studying in Quebec City, and studied at MainDance in Vancouver in 2006. Amy is a trained yoga teacher and is an Artist in the Classroom for yoga and Acro Yoga. She has taught gymnastics and choreographed gymnastic routines to music. In Acro Dance she weaves her love of yoga and acrobatics, as well as performance and creative expression. Her main joy is to bring creative exploration and a sense of play into her teaching. Come play!
Isabella Law is in her senior year of high school. She lives on Pender Island, and began her dance training at the age of three and instantly fell in love with it. Since starting out in Ballet, she has trained in Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, and Hip Hop styles. Over the years she has been lucky enough to perform in over five GISS Dance shows, worked with Three on the Tree Productions and she spent a year training with GISPA in 2015/2016.
She is so excited to finally be able to pass on the creative skills she has learned with her students.
photo by John Cameron
Julia Carr is a Vancouver-born artist who braids together a livelihood as dancer, interdisciplinary choreographer, educator and emerging photographer. Julia began her professional dance training at Arts Umbrella, in 1996, when she became a member of their youth dance company under the directorship of Artemis Gordon. She now holds a B.Sc. Biology from Acadia University, an MA in Dance Performance from the University of Limerick (Ireland), received the Vancouver Foundation’s 2004/2005 AdvancedArts Study Award to attend the Ballet BC Mentor Program, and was hired to apprentice with EDAM Dance for their 2007/2008 season. Working with Aeriosa Dance Society as a dancer since 2009, Carr wields specialized skills that allow her to dance suspended at heights and on vertical surfaces both in the theatre and outdoors on urban architecture as well as trees. Julia has also been performing Métis jigging sets with Manitoba inspired V’ni Dansi & The Louis Riel Métis Jiggers regularly since 2010. Since 2008, Julia Carr has been acting as Assistant Artistic Director for Dancestreams, a Vancouver-Island based dance company for dedicated young dancers aged 12-19 (www.dancestreams.ca). She also helps schoolteachers use dance to explore curriculum subjects thanks to Artstarts (http://artstarts.com/aicd/julia-carr) & Vancouver Biennale ‘Big Ideas’ resources.