Co-Owner / Artistic Director
Lesley has been dancing and performing since a young age, and has been teaching for twenty-five years. She received her training from Gini Foley, and various studios throughout the Victoria, BC area. Her performing experience includes being Dance Captain at Butchart Gardens, performing in the opening and closing ceremonies at the Commonwealth Games, and the opening ceremonies at the BC Summer Games. Lesley’s award winning choreography has had the opportunity to perform at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival’s Honours Performance—a performing arts concert where only one dance from Festival was chosen to perform. Most recently, Lesley’s Senior Jazz group won the Adjudicators Choice award in both 2013 and 2015 at the Dream Team Dance Competition, Surrey. Lesley has been developing the Jazz Program at the studio since 1990, and became co-owner of Allegro Performing Arts Centre in 2001.
Nadine Cowland, AISTD (Dip)
Co-Owner / Artistic Director
Tap, Jazz, Jazz Technique
Nadine started her extensive dance training with The Parksville Ballet School under the direction of Linda Klassen. She is proud to have had the opportunity to perform on stage with the “Tap Dogs” in Dancers for Life and to train and take workshops with masters such as Bev Aitchison, Joe Laughlin, “Lady” Dianne Walker, Jason Samuels Smith, Lane Alexander, Brenda Bufalino, and tap legend Jimmy Slyde. Nadine’s career in dance has taken her to Europe where she trained at the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) Headquarters in London and Chichester, and at the Amsterdam Dance Centre in Holland. Nadine has passed her Advanced Tap and Modern exams with Distinction, and has received her teaching qualifications (ISTD) in Tap and Modern. Nadine also holds her Associate Diploma teaching status with the ISTD, and her students achieve high standards in their dance exams. Being a student of Pilates for over 10 years, she is able to incorporate this training into her classes to help her dancers find core stability and to execute their dance movements more efficiently, as well as to assist with injury prevention. Nadine’s students and choreography have won numerous awards including the prestigious Rose Bowl for Jazz (three consecutive years, DanceArts Festival) and Tap, as well as winner and runner up placing for her Tap and Jazz soloists at the Provincials. Nadine has also had the pleasure of being invited to guest teach and choreograph at studios across Vancouver Island. Nadine has been developing the Tap and Jazz Technique program at Allegro Performing Arts Centre since 1997, and became co-owner of the studio in 2001. She truly loves choreographing and teaching, and is passionately dedicated to sharing this art form with her students.
Jennifer Viinikka, AISTD
Co-Owner / Artistic Director
Pre-School, Modern, Lyrical, Tap, Jazz
Jennifer started her dance training at the age of three with Dance Experience, in Edmonton, Alberta. She trained in Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and Cecchetti Ballet, Modern, Tap and Jazz. For many years, she performed in “The Nutcracker”, with the Alberta Ballet School. She has also performed in the opening piece at the AMPIA Awards; and in 1995, she was recognized by Canada Council as a Canadian Artist, for her performance and choreography in “Dance Explosions”. Jennifer attended Grant MacEwan College, where she did an intensive Professional Teacher Training Program, focusing on Ballet, Modern, Anatomy and Physiology. Since living in Victoria, BC, she has passed her Advanced Modern exam, as well as her Associate Modern exam (ISTD) Jennifer’s innovative choreography has won such awards as the Rose Bowl trophy for Modern—awarded to the strongest Modern piece at the Danceworks Festival! Jennifer has been developing the Modern, Lyrical, and Pre-School program at Allegro since 1997, and also enjoys teaching classes in Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. Jennifer became co-owner of Allegro Performing Arts Centre in 2001.
Katherine received her ballet training in Montreal, Canada and London, England. While still a student, she performed with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens and the Boston Ballet Ensemble. Her career as a professional dancer took her to Germany, where she danced with the Berlin Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, and as a soloist with the Komische Opera Ballet. Over the years she has danced an extensive solo repertoire, and has performed throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan. After a performing career of 14 years, Katherine became head of teaching staff for the Dance Academy of Berlin. Since her transition into teaching she has taught Classical Ballet internationally at all levels, ranging from young children to professionals. Katherine has been developing the Ballet Program at Allegro since 1997.
David Roland has danced, choreographed, and taught classical ballet in Europe and North America for nearly three decades. Formerly a soloist with the Berlin Ballet and principal of Oakland Ballet, Mr. Roland has danced principal roles in all the major classics, as well as prominent works of the Balanchine, Tudor, Bejart, Van Manen, Panov and Nureyev repertoires. His choreographic experience spans a gamut of musicals, operas, dance theatre and original ballets. Recent accomplishments include choreography for the inaugural “Peter Pan” for Ballet Victoria, among other works such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter & the Wolf”. In 2007, Mr. Roland created dance scenes for Pacific Opera’s “Don Giovanni”. He is also active as a character dancer for Vancouver’s Royal City Youth Ballet and Vancouver Island’s BOUNCE Project. In addition to his training at San Francisco Ballet School and CalArts, Mr. Roland has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland. Supplementary training in Flamenco, historical dance (former member of Germany’s acclaimed KH Taubert Historische Tanzensemble) and various national dance styles have served to round off his passion for the art of dance.
Hip Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical
Desiree began her dance training at age three. Her dance background includes Hip Hop, Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap and Musical Theatre. At a 2005 audition, Desiree was chosen by “Rising Moment” to represent Canada for Hip Hop dance. Desiree has trained in LA with top Hip Hop choreographers Shane Sparks, Super Dave, Dante, Gus and Fusion. Desiree’s performing experience includes dancing as a Lost Boy in Ballet Victoria’s “Peter Pan”, and playing Jasmine in “Alladin”. Desiree is a Company member of The Peninsula Young Performers, and as a soloist she has been the recipient of many awards and scholarships from competitions and conventions. In 2015, Desiree’s choreography for Senior Company won the top award at Synergy Dance Competition. Desiree has been directing the Hip Hop program at Allegro since 2005.
GINA SINCLAIR DAVIS, ARAD RAD RTS, AISTD, bbodance RTS, CDTA RTS
Gina Sinclair Davis is a Ballet Major and graduate of Arts Educational in London, England who brings in-depth knowledge to every class with her more than four decades of experience in performance and in training dancers. Her teaching qualifications include Royal Academy of Dance Associate (Advanced Certificate), Registered Teacher Status, CBTS Mentor and Life Member. Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Associate in Ballet, National and Modern. bbodance Registered Teacher Status Ballet. Canadian Dance Teachers Association Registered Teacher Status Licentiate in Ballet, Modern and Multicultural. She is also a Choreographer, Master Teacher and Adjudicator. Ms. Sinclair first performed professionally at the age of eight years old, and later danced with professional ballet and modern dance companies. Ms. Sinclair has taught and continues to guest teach in the UK, Canada, Mexico and the USA and has taught lead and support roles in “The Nutcracker”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Giselle”, “Cinderella” and “Swan Lake” for American, Canadian and Russian Ballet Companies. She has created numerous pieces of award winning choreography using a diverse selection of composers and dance styles including Ballet, Ethnic and Musical Theatre. Ms. Sinclair has been named as one of the world’s 17 finest and most respected ballet teachers in Dean Speer’s book On Technique . With a love and passion for teaching she sees her role as the bridge motivating students between the desire to learn, and the opportunity to succeed.
Alicia has been dancing since she was three years old, training in Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Lyrical and Tap, as well as participating in many festivals and competitions. She has extensive voice training and has been singing in various choirs and bands for many years. Some of her favourite theatre credits include performing in “Guys and Dolls” and “The Music Man” at Stelly’s Secondary School, “The Taming of the Shrew” at UVic’s Phoenix Theatre and directing, and choreographing “Once Upon A Mattress” and “The Music Man” at Stelly’s Secondary School. She graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, specializing in Applied Theatre. Alicia also teaches Drama, Acting, Musical Theatre and Dance at Stelly’s Secondary School. Alicia has been directing the Musical Theatre program at Allegro since 2007, where her students and choreography have received many awards over the years.
Caitlin Patterson, AISTD
Tap, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical
Caitlin has danced at Allegro since the age of four. She has trained in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Jazz Tech, Lyrical, Modern, and Hip Hop, and continues to expand her knowledge of dance through regular classes and workshops. She has taken master classes with renowned artists such as Brenda Bufalino, Sam Weber, Travis Knight, Michelle Dorrance, and Joel Hanna. Caitlin began taking exams at a young age, and she received Honours in her Advanced 1 Tap and Modern Exams, and has her Associate teaching qualification in Tap (ISTD). Caitlin was a long-time soloist and a member of the Peninsula Young Performers company, and she and her group have been met with great success. Highlights of her performing career include performing at the Triple Threat Dance Convention for Janet Jackson, being selected to compete in the No Borders dance competition in Vancouver in 2005, and being selected in 2004 to represent Victoria, BC for her age group at the Provincials Competition. She has been the recipient of multiple awards and bursaries as a soloist, and was also the recipient of the Achievement Award for Stage in 2006. Caitlin holds her teaching Associate in Tap and Modern (ISTD). In addition to her great passion for dance, Caitlin also has a dedication to education and has her BSc in Earth Science from the University of Victoria.
Caleigh Hunter, AISTD
Caleigh began dancing at the age of seven at Allegro Performing Arts Centre, and competed for over 10 years in festivals on and off the island. She participated in conventions, master classes, workshops, as well as being chosen to represent Victoria at Provincials in a group and as a soloist. After living, travelling, and dancing abroad for nearly five years, she is thrilled to be living and teaching back on Vancouver Island. Caleigh founded the Heels In Harmony dance shoe project, and has her Teaching Associate in Tap and Modern Dance (ISTD). Caleigh also has a passion for fitness; she is a BCRPA fitness instructor, has a diploma in Sport Management, and a Bachelor of Sport and Fitness Leadership.
Ursula Szkolak began her training at The Academy of Ballet and Jazz in Toronto under the tutelage of Nadia Veselova-Tencer, a graduate of the world famous Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. She went on to train at some of the most renowned ballet schools including Canada’s National Ballet School and the Kirov Academy in Washington, DC.
At the tender age of 16 after competing as a finalist in New York City’s YAPG, Ursula was offered a soloist position with Columbia Classical Ballet in South Carolina. Here, she had the opportunity to dance such roles as Mrytha in “Giselle”, Destiny in “Carmen”, and the Dewdrop in “The Nutcracker”. On her return to Toronto she continued dancing as a soloist for Canadian Ballet Theatre dancing alongside guest artists from American Ballet Theatre (New York), Bolshoi Ballet (Moscow), Mariinsky Ballet (St. Petersburg) and The Cuban National Ballet.
As a member of the prestigious Banff Festival Ballet for three summers, Ursula had the honor of working with some of North America’s foremost choreographers and teachers including Brian MacDonald, Annette av Paul, Peter Quanz, D.A Hoskins, Vicki Simon and Simone Orlando.
In 2005, Ursula was invited to dance with Ballet Victoria under the then artistic director Jaqueline Sloan and worked with Lynda Raino, Bebe Eversfield and Geraldine Furrer. From 2007 to 2011, she joined Canadian Pacific Ballet (CPB) in Victoria, BC, as a principal dancer and founding member. With CBP, Ursula danced principal and soloist roles in numerous classic and new ballets such as “Giselle”, “The Nutcracker”, “Coppelia”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “La Flute Magique”, “Gaîté Parisienne”, “The Snow Queen”,
“La Source” and Bournonville’s “Conservatoriet”.
Acro, Ballet, Hip Hop
Allison has been a performer since her early years, and a passionate supporter of the performing arts. Most recently, Allison was the director of a small dance school in Calgary, Alberta. She both taught the ballet portion of the program at the school using Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus, and administered the program. She also teaches Hip Hop, Modern Dance and is a certified Acro teacher through Acrobatique. Allison has trained across Canada, namely with the Kanata Ballet School in Ottawa, Ontario, where she studied for over 10 years under former RAD examiner Marcia Caple. In Calgary, Alberta, Allison trained at the International School of Ballet under Umran Suman. She performed for three seasons with Mrs. Suman’s company, Jeunesse Classique Ballet. She has successfully passed her Advanced exams in both Ballet and Modern dance through the RAD, and the ISTD with distinction. Allison is also a singer, and has performed with several choirs as a part of the chorus and as a soloist both in Ottawa and in Calgary. She also has experience as a choral director, and enjoyed her position as a Music Director in her church congregation in Calgary. She has performed lead roles in several musical productions including; Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, Marion in “The Music Man”, and Liesel in “The Sound of Music”. Additionally, Allison is a passionate Montessori educator and loves working with the Montessori method and integrating music and movement in the classroom. She finds it very fulfilling to watch her preschool students and her two children, also receive the benefits of music and dance in their environment.
Lexy is a Performing Arts veteran having started dancing at the early age of two here on Vancouver Island. She loves to strut her stuff on stage, be it dancing, musical theatre, theatre, or singing. She has also done her fair share of film work having been signed to the Barbra Coultish agencies at the age of five. She has studied in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical, and Modern throughout her 19 years of dance. Recently, Lexy has graduated from the Canadian College of Performing Arts and was selected for the intense third year program, Company C. She has worked with many great theater/musical directors (Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Ron Jenkins, James Fagen Tait, Sylvia Hosie, Mathew Howe, Heather Burns, to name a few), traveled to NYC to learn from the pros on Broadway, and has also studied under many great voice instructors. With skills and experience in a wide variety of performing arts, Lexy loves her work behind the scenes, on set, costume designing, and choreographing. A few of her favorite distinctions include; Singing Soloist with the Victoria symphony (Broadway Lights), Love of Tap award (Jeff Hislop), Company C Award (given to one student showing outstanding dedication, work, and skills in Company C), Hound Dog Soloist (Smokey Joe’s Café), Assistant Stage Manager (Pacific Opera Victoria, “Midsummers Night Dream”), and will always cherish her great memories growing up with her Allegro Dance Family.