Resident Teachers & Coaches
Artistic Director: Astrid Sherman (Ballet Technique, Pointe, Contemporary Ballet & Conditioning)
Executive Director: Sarah Ahmadi
Ms. Ahmadi is a seasoned professional in the area of organizational development and administration. With close to three decades of experience in fund advancement and marketing, systems and planning she brings both knowledge and familiarity with administrative structures, development and marketing as well as team-building skills. Her experience includes working with international funding organizations, not-for-profit management, marketing, fundraising and publications and working through challenges facing organizations that seek to embody and encourage positive change in the world.
Giving back to the community and investing in the lives of the next generation has been a particular focus and passion for Ms. Ahmadi. She has held, and continues to hold, leadership positions in not-for-profit organizations that address the educational and training needs of young men and women in both high performance and recreational activities. It is her privilege and pleasure to be able to apply her experience and expertise within the environment of Pro Arte Centre to encourage a new emerging generation of leaders in the fields associated with performing arts.
A few thoughts from Ms. Ahmadi’s blog:
It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are. Maxim 785. Publius Syrus. (42 B.C.)
I end all of my email communication with this quote. It reminds me that each of us must live our lives with authenticity, true to the values that we hold dear — disregarding the expectations of others — even those who are dear to us.
Why is this important?
At the risk of sounding clichéd, life is short and each moment is to be treasured. Every experience is one that should be affirming, building and nurturing both ourselves and others. One is not capable of achieving this end if one spends one’s time second-guessing the thoughts and opinions of others. I guess that this quote resonates strongly as it underscores that we — or I — must be more concerned with pursuing our goals with passion, striving for excellence. Our values and our purpose that we hold paramount must remain fully in sight, and our daily work – our engagement with others – must build and support achieving these ends.
Choreographer-in-Residence: Stephana Arnold (Ballet Technique, Pointe, Contemporary Ballet & Conditioning)
Ms. Arnold attended the National Ballet School of Canada where she received the prestigious Peter Dwyer Award and Honours standing on her Intermediate and Advanced Cecchetti Ballet Examinations. Upon graduation, she danced with several small companies before joining the National Ballet of Canada from 1992-1995. In 1996, Ms. Arnold joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and quickly rose to First Soloist. She danced a wide and eclectic variety of principal and soloist roles from Concerto Barocco, Nutcracker, Queen of Spades, Giselle and Symphony of Songs to name a few. She was also a favourite muse for many choreographers and worked with such names as Eduoard Lock, Shawn Hounsell, O’had Naharin, Jiri Kylian and Kevin O’Day. 2003 brought Ms. Arnold to Ballet BC where she danced an extensive array of principal roles, from the Woman in Conversation Piece, Tatiana in Faerie Queen, Stella in Streetcar Named Desire and her most notable and last, Carmen in February 2007 and where she was also company teacher from 2004-08. Currently, Ms. Arnold is a sought after teacher for both classical and contemporary as well as adjudicating at dance festival competitions. She is also an ISSA certified personal trainer, conducting her own fusion body conditioning classes. There are plans to see her choreographing for both Ballet Victoria & Coastal City Ballet in this next year’s season.
and Pro Arte Pre-Professional Program Instructors Teaching & Holistic Support Faculty:
Classical Ballet & Pointe: Beverley Bagg, Tania Brossoit & Yana Dragieva
Contemporary, Modern & Contact Improv: Desiree Dunlop & Kimberley Dixon
Pilates: Susie Higgins
Yoga & Nutrition: Dhana Musil
Physiotherapy: Erika Mayall
Composer in Residence
Michael Conway Baker
Guest company teachers/Choreographers for 2016/17 Season included: Vincent Hantam (Scotland), Candice Michelle Franklin (New York), Andrea Downie (Toronto), Andrea Pena (Montreal)
Guest company teachers/Choreographers for 2015/16 Season included: Clare Guss-West (Switzerland), Candice Michelle Franklin (New York), Rachael Poirier (Vancouver), Andrea Downie (Toronto), Danielle Clifford (Vancouver), Beverley Bagg (Alberta), Heather Myers (Vancouver)
Guest company teachers for 2014/15 Season included: Alex Ossadnik (Ballet Master for Ballet Idaho), Charla Genn (Juilliard NY), Beverley Bagg (Pact Ballet Principal, Ballet Mistress for Alberta Ballet), Megan Walker-Straight (Principal Cunningham Company; SFU Staff), Stephanie Saland (NYCB Principal), June Cloete (Zimbabwe)
Guest company teachers for the 2013/14 Season included: Xing Bang Fu, Amber Funk Barton, Suzanne Ouellette, Nicole Caron, Beverley Bagg, Alyssa Stevens, Stephanie Saland
Guest company teachers for the 2012-13 Season included: Amber Barton Funk, Suzanne Ouellette, Justine Chambers, Megan Walker Straight and Beverley Bagg.