MELISSA MAHADY WILTON, M.A. Executive and Co-Artistic Director; Instructor Ballet, Company, Pointe, Theatrical Jazz, Latin
Melissa Mahady Wilton is a former Senior Manager of Strategic Planning at Deloitte Consulting. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Queen’s University, where she was awarded the W.R. Thompson Prize; Medal In Psychology; Ontario Graduate Scholarship; Queen’s University Graduate Award; A.Z. Arthur Prize; Queen’s University Graduate Fellowship; R. Samuel McLaughlin Fellowship; and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. Ms. Mahady Wilton has formally trained in classical ballet (Vaganova, Cecchetti), ballroom (international, social), Latin (international, social), wheelchair dance, flamenco, Spanish classical, tap, jazz, Afro Cuban and numerous cultural dances. Melissa applied to, was accepted and completed intensive teacher training in the Vaganova method with the Open World Dance Foundation, under the direction and mentorship of renowned master teachers and international coach Irina Kolpakova, Ekaterina Shchelkanova and Anton Boytsov. She has also studied with Inna Stabrova, Master’s Choreography; Vaganova State Academy of Ballet and Choreography, St. Petersburg, Russia. Melissa holds a Certificate of Merit with Honours from master teacher Finis Jhung’s ballet teacher intensive training. She also holds dance medicine certificates in foot and ankle function, injury prevention and assessment, pointe readiness and shoe fitting, and adolescent dancer health from the Harkness Centre for Dance Injuries, at NYU’s School of Medicine. Melissa is certified in the Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels of the leading-edge dance conditioning program, Progressing Ballet Technique, and was recently selected as one of 100 international participants to take part in renowned dance physiotherapist Lisa Howell's on-line dance teacher training intensive. She is a Master Teacher of wheelchair ballroom dance; the only teacher in Canada certified by the American DanceWheels Foundation. She has a current CPIC.
Building upon her clinical and dance training and commitment to therapeutic arts, Melissa is the founder and director of ConCorpsDance Inclusive Dance Programs, a Kingston organization devoted to dance for people of all abilities. Her expertise in inclusive dance has been recognized by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Kingston, the Kingston Arts Council, the Ontario Communities in Action Fund, Exceptional Families Magazine and Queen’s Alumni Review. She has presented master workshops to Variety Village, Bloorview Kids’ Rehabilitation Centre, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, and Queen’s University. She is the creator and head of the dance program at H’art Centre, and provides inclusive programming to school and community groups. She is the Choreographer for Peerless Productions, a production company she founded with Kathryn Mackay and David Archibald, dedicated to presenting professional theatre for all abilities, whose works have been supported by the Kingston Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.
As the City of Kingston’s Dance Engagement Coordinator, Melissa liaises with professional dance artists to create residencies, master classes and educational events, under the Ontario Dances Program. She was appointed by Ontario Dances to lead an inaugural dance outreach project in four Northern Ontario communities, and has been asked to serve on Ontario Arts Council dance grant juries. She is the former Chairperson of Canada DanceSport, host of the 2009 World Senior Standard Ballroom Dance Championships. Under her leadership, Canada DanceSport became a leader in the management and organization of ballroom dance events, and her consultation was sought by international dance sport leaders in developing their own programming.
At The Conservatory, Melissa co-directs the Ballet Program, directs The Conservatory Ballet Company, and teaches First Steps, Young Dancers I and II, Ballet I/II/III/IV/V, Pre-Pointe, Pointe I/II and II/III, Conservatory Company Technique, Adult Ballet, Theatrical Jazz, and Latin Dance. It is her great privilege to share the joy and beauty of dance, and she hopes to offer integrity, inspiration and inclusion to the dance community.
ANTHEA MORGAN, B.A. (Honours), E.C.E. Co-Artistic Director; Instructor Ballet, Repertoire, Flamenco, Spanish Classical
As a former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and flamenco teacher for Esmeralda Enrique’s Academy of Spanish Dance, Anthea’s aspiration is to foster classical dance and a UNESCO heritage culture, with respect for holistic, sustainable, inclusive, and diplomatic cultural practices within multicultural Canada.
Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, she was trained in classical and Iberian dance traditions. Professionally, she danced with the National Ballet of Canada for seven years with such luminaries as Karen Kain, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ekaterina Maximova, Carla Fracci, Alessandra Ferri, David Nixon, Fernando Bujones, Susan Jaffe, Peter Schaufuss, Robert Tewsley, Aleksandar Antonijevic, Evelyn Hart, Chan Hon Goh and David MacAllister. She apprenticed with the Royal Ballet Covent Garden and did contract work for Ballet Jörgen and the Canadian Opera Company. In addition to touring throughout North America and Europe, Anthea has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Stuttgart Opera House, National Arts Centre, and Kennedy Centre. She has had the privilege to dance both classical and neo-classical repertoire featuring the works of Petipa, Ashton, Balanchine, Bournonville, Cranko, Tetley, Kudelka, MacMillan, and Fokine. Anthea trained in the Russian Classical method with Irine Fokine (Mikhail Fokine’s niece and Anna Pavlova’s goddaughter) and in the Vaganova method with Luba Gulyaeva (soloist with the Kirov/Mariinski Ballet).
After retiring from the National, Anthea taught flamenco for Esmeralda Enrique’s Academy of Spanish Dance in Toronto. In 2001, she founded 1000 Islands Flamenco and Spanish Dances, the region’s first Spanish dance school.
Anthea is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Classics with a McLaughlin/Bracken Fellowship at Queen’s University. Her primary research interest involves the study of ancient dance imagery featured in a UNESCO heritage site in Tuscany, Italy. Other research interests include study of classicism through foundational models. She is the recent recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowship.
She has a diploma in Early Childhood Education which has facilitated better understanding of child development, learning environments, holistic practices and role of culture in the lives of children. In addition to being one of the first Emergency Caregivers hired for KFB Kingston Military Family Resource Centre, she has specialized in the provision of flexible and stable care for over twenty years for families working in the OPP, diplomatic service, Queen’s University and United Nations. She has a current CPIC.
After a visit to the Vaganova Academy facilitated by Slava Fadeyev in 2018, she was invited to return to the Vaganova Academy to learn more about the Pavlova and Fokine legacy. The invitation was extended because her work with children for the past twenty years reflects the continuity of Anna Pavlova’s and Irine Fokine’s belief that kindness and humanity is the foundation of cultural experiences for children. In 2018, as an alumnus of Irine Fokine whose mother Alexandra Federova trained Alicia Alonso, she was also invited to observe class with the National Ballet of Cuba. This same year, she applied to and completed the Open World Dance Foundation's Vaganova teacher training intensive, under the direction of Irina Kolpakova, Ekaterina Shchelkanova, and Anton Boytsov. These experiences impressed upon her the merit of sharing universal cultural languages with children, particularly non-verbal languages such as dance, because these languages help people to find common ground and shared truth in a divisive world.
In sharing the purity, simplicity, and fluidity of movement that the Vaganova and Russian style encompass, as well as the diversity of styles she experienced as a professional dancer (Danish, English, Spanish, Balanchine), she hopes to inspire joy of dance, technical clarity and the profound experience of the beauty of classicism.
SAM CROSBY, B.A., C.D.T.A. Instructor Modern and Contemporary Dance, Tap
Sam began dancing in Port Colborne, Ontario, under the tutelage of Ava (Balogh) Dalcourt of Ava Balogh’s School of Classical Ballet, at the age of 4. Ballet and tap were her first passions, which would soon be followed by jazz and lyrical styles. Sam engaged in formal examination studies under Ava’s instruction for Ballet (ISTD), and with Donna Moreau in Tap and Jazz (CDTA). As her levels advanced, she also embarked on Teacher Training through CDTA, garnering levels and certification in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern Dance.
Sam has had a variety of experiential training, including classes at Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT), with the Niagara Civic Ballet Company and with Peggy Baker’s Teacher Intensives. She has performed extensively. She has been trained/certified in CanFitPro, Pilates Mat, POUND, Zumba, NIA and Block-Flexibility. She has a current CPIC.
Sam completed her undergraduate degree at University of Guelph in Sociology and English. After touring with her band, Sam Crosby and the Cavalry, she re-entered the Dance Education world. Sam was the Interim Ballet Director at Port Colborne Dance Academy from 2000 – 2002, where she conducted classes in Cecchetti Technique, in Musical Theatre, Urban Funk, Percussive Dance and Contemporary/Modern. She was also responsible for yearly examinations with CDTA in Classical Ballet.
Sam attended Teachers College at Canisius in Buffalo, NY, where she specialized in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Special Education and Multicultural Studies. She acted in the capacity of TA in Multicultural Education, and graduated with a 4.0 average. After moving to the Eastern Ontario region, she taught at the junior high level for 4 years before transferring to the secondary level.
Sam founded Bread of Life Dance Theatre (BOLDT), acting as Artistic Director from 2006-2013. There, Sam partnered with a variety of local agencies to provide affordable and accessible dance training for young dancers, where she was actively involved in curriculum development and instruction, scheduling, community outreach and fund-raising for local agencies including Leeds Grenville Interval House and a variety of community housing organizations. Sam's students took part in yearly examinations and competitions.
Sam led York University’s ABQ Part 1, Part 2 and Specialist programs from 2010-2013, certifying teachers in the art of dance instruction in the schools (elementary and secondary). Sam ran a very successful dance program for secondary students at Thousand Islands Secondary School from 2009-2015. Many of Sam’s students have pursued professional dance careers, and have attended post-secondary dance programs both here in Canada and abroad. Sam has worked as a dance coach, choreographer and movement designer for many years. Her credits include Grease (BOS), Alice and Wonderland (BOS), The Boyfriend (TISS/BCI), Oklahome (TISS), Little Shop of Horrors (TISS/BCI) and Godspell (TISS/BCI). She has co-directed summer theatre experiences (with Todd Noel and Mary Wonnacott-Styles).
Sam is very excited and honoured to be joining the wonderful staff of The Conservatory, and she looks forward to collaborating with staff and students on this dance journey.
SYLVIA BERMAN, B.F. A. (Dance) Guest Artist-in-Residence; Instructor Improvisation and Composition
Sylvia Berman graduated summa cum laude from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance in 2020. During her training at Purchase, Sylvia studied ballet, contemporary and modern techniques (Graham, Cunningham and Limón), as well as improvisation and choreographic composition.
As a member of the Purchase Dance Company, Sylvia performed works by George Balanchine, Bettijane Sills, Eve Chan, and Norbert De La Cruiz. For her senior project, she performed a solo entitled “For Sylvia” by renowned Montreal choreographer, Helene Blackburn. Sylvia also danced in numerous student works, and participated in student run shows outside of the Conservatory, most recently being cast in a mixed bill performance at Triskellion Arts in Brooklyn, NY. She choreographed two pieces for the Dance Theater Lab stage entitled, “Taking On and Putting Off,” and “CHAOTIC NEUTRAL.” In addition to live performances, Sylvia has been both creator and collaborator in interdisciplinary dance art. She was MC and collaborator for “FaceTime to Mars” a student run show exploring digital and live performance. Sylvia recently created the dance film, “Hurry Up Kids, Before I Lose You Again” and is in the process of creating a film project featuring solo dances in various site specific locations in Kingston, Ontario.
Sylvia has performed works of master choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Crystal Pite, Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian, Alonzo King, and Doug Varone. She’s attended many workshops and international summer intensives, including The Paul Taylor Summer Intensive, The Arts Umbrella International Summer Intensive, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet Summer Intensive, and the Doug Varone Winter Intensive.
Sylvia began her training at the Peabody Preparatory school in Baltimore, Maryland, before moving to Kingston. In 2012, she was accepted into the professional training program at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada. At QBSC she performed lead roles in classical ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Giselle. In her final year at QBSC, she choreographed a piece titled “Nara” for the Student Showcase.
Sylvia has also taught improvisation at the Quinte Ballet School Summer Intensive.
We are thrilled to welcome Sylvia to The Conservatory as an Instructor and Guest Artist-in-Residence, where she will teach Improvisation and Composition and lead the creation of new works.