MELISSA MAHADY WILTON, M.A. Executive and Co-Artistic Director; Member of the International Dance Council (CID)
Instructor Ballet, Company, Pointe, Young Dancers
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 and completed intensive teacher training in the Vaganova method with the Open World Dance Foundation, under the direction of renowned master international coaches Irina Kolpakova, Ekaterina Shchelkanova and Anton Boytsov. She holds a Certificate of Merit with Honours from master teacher Finis Jhung’s ballet teacher intensive training. Melissa 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. She has completed Level I Teacher Training, Level II Turnout Training for Young Dancers, Level II Flexibility Training and Level II Pointe Intensive with internationally renowned dance physiotherapist Lisa Howell; including: developmentally-sensitive progression and assessment of dancers, functional anatomical study of posture, flexibility, core stability, classical and pointe technique, mechanics of the hip, jump technique and recovery from injury, spinal mobility, arabesque, injury recovery and management. She is certified in the Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels of the leading-edge dance conditioning program, Progressing Ballet Technique, and is a Master Teacher of wheelchair ballroom dance -- the only teacher in Canada certified by the American DanceWheels Foundation. Melissa has completed the Progressive Pointe Method Basic Training pointe shoe fitting certification under the direction of DanseMedica founder and internationally renowned fitter Josephine Lee; she is the only certified pointe shoe fitter in our region.
Melissa has coached numerous students who have gone on to successfully audition for both summer intensives (Alvin Ailey School, Gelsey Kirkland Academy, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Jörgen) and post-secondary performing arts programs (George Brown Dance, Sheridan College, Randolph College, Queen's University, Brock University, Simon Fraser University, University of Alberta, Concordia University). She is a proud member of UNESCO's International Dance Council (CID) and DanseMedica, an international community of Dance Specialists that share ideas, create relationships and build projects to further dance education and training. She was honoured to be one of a dozen dance educators from across Canada invited by George Brown Dance/Canada's Ballet Jörgen to participate in a national research task force on the future of dance education and performance in Canada. She has a current CPIC and First Aid.
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 former Dance Engagement Coordinator, Melissa liaised 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. Melissa is honoured to be nominated by the Kingston community and chosen as a recipient for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to community and exemplary attributes of service and dedication.
Looking to bring a dance conservatory experience to Kingston, Melissa founded the The Conservatory with Anthea Morgan, where she 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, and Adult Ballet. It is her great privilege to share the joy and beauty of dance, and she hopes to offer integrity, inspiration and inclusion to the community.
ANTHEA MORGAN, M.A., E.C.E. Co-Artistic Director; Member of the International Dance Council (CID)
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 and UNESCO heritage cultures, with respect for inclusive and diplomatic cultural practices in multicultural Canada. As a dance educator who has specialized in Early Childhood Education and as a beneficiary of ballet teaching legacies from both a Fokine and from the Vaganova tradition, she hopes to share the harmony and fluidity of movement that the Vaganova and Russian classical style encompass, as well as the diversity of styles she experienced as a professional dancer (Danish, English, Spanish, Balanchine), as a means of inspiring joy of dance, technical clarity and the profound experience of the beauty of classicism within the context of holistic practices.
Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in a blended family, the older generation of whom were Baianas do acarajé, repositories of the oldest form of samba, now inscribed by UNESCO, and of African, Portuguese and Indigenous traditions, Anthea’s early dance experiences reflected the values of these cultural confluences. She studied ballet with Irine Fokine, whose teachers, illustrious dancers from St. Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet, included Anna Pavlova, her godmother, Mikhail Fokine, her uncle, and Alexandra Fedorova, her mother, who taught Alicia Alonso, founder of the National Ballet of Cuba. In her final year, Anthea also trained with Luba Gulyaeva, a former Kirov soloist and student of Naima Baltacheyeva, Agrippina Vaganova’s assistant.
Anthea danced professionally with the National Ballet of Canada with such luminaries as Karen Kain, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ekaterina Maximova, Carla Fracci and Alessandra Ferri, and with the Canadian Opera Company. She has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Stuttgart Opera House, National Arts Centre, and Kennedy Centre, in repertoire featuring the works of Petipa, Balanchine, Bournonville, Ashton, MacMillan, Cranko and Fokine.
She has a Master’s degree in Classics (Queen’s University) and was the recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowship and of a McLaughlin/Bracken Fellowship. Her archaeological research on ancient dance imagery featured at a UNESCO heritage site in Tuscany, Italy, is being published. In 2019, she was invited to speak at Canada’s first Symposium for Cultural Diplomacy by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, a UNESCO International Bureau of Education partner, because insights from her study of ancient dance models, of post-colonial perspectives and of dance “dialogues” in samba and flamenco, inspired advocacy for fairness in artistic exchanges and respect for human rights in diplomacy.
Anthea has a diploma in Early Childhood Education and a current CPIC. She specialized in provision of flexible and stable care for diplomatic service, Queen’s University, CFB Kingston and United Nations families (1997-2018). As a reflection of her commitment to providing dancers with the safest, most current, scientifically-supported training, Anthea has completed Level I Teacher Training, Level II Turnout Training, Flexibility and Pointe Specializations with internationally renowned dance physiotherapist and master teacher Lisa Howell; including: developmentally-sensitive progression and assessment of dancers, functional anatomical study of posture, flexibility, core stability, classical technique, mechanics of the hip, jump technique and recovery from injury, spinal mobility, arabesque, injury recovery and management. She has also completed Level 1 PBT.
Certified in Vaganova methodology by former Kirov Principal artist, Irina Kolpakova, a student of A. Vaganova (2018) and by former Mariinsky artists Ekaterina Shchelkanova, a student of L. Safronova, and Anton Boystov (2018 and 2021), through the Open World Dance Foundation, Anthea also learned pas de deux methodology from the danseur’s perspective with former Kirov soloist and Vaganova graduate, Yaroslav Fadeyev (2019). While preserving foundational progressions, transcendent elements of the Vaganova and Russian Classical methods and the fluidity of the Mariinsky style, Anthea, in alignment with Irine Fokine’s approach, fosters authentic artistic expression through classes tailored to dancers' learning processes, aspirations and needs. Invitations to the Vaganova Academy (2018, 2019, 2020), and to the National Ballet of Cuba (2018) were extended in recognition of Anthea’s dedication to holistic practice, as a continuity of Anna Pavlova’s and Irine Fokine’s belief that humanity is the foundation of cultural experiences. Insights from these opportunities impressed upon Anthea the merit of sharing cultural languages in a manner that respects diverse local contexts and global connectivity. This is especially so for non-verbal languages such as dance, because these can help people in a divisive world to find common ground and shared truth. She is a proud member of UNESCO's International Dance Council (CID).
As Co-Artistic Director, it is Anthea's privilege to share a vision for ballet education, in which the older legacies of single teachers are transformed into new legacies of collegiality, where traditions are informed by diverse perspectives. Anthea’s commitment to inclusivity, aims to keep ballet’s access “open”, as an intangible culture that belongs to humanity.
JENNIFER REES; Instructor Modern and Contemporary, Musical Theatre Jazz, Tap, Choreographic Collective
Jen's early education in classical ballet (Royal Academy of Dance) were with; Terry Grantner, Dawn Martino, Linda Lawrence and Lyse Hébert. She studied ballet extensively and successfully completed her elementary ballet examination (RAD). The strong foundation of ballet allowed her to expand into jazz, modern, tap and musical theatre with ease. As a competitive dancer, she was awarded overall placements, scholarships, artistic awards and frequently recognized for her technique. Jen has been teaching and choreographing for over 20 years to all abilities and ages, and loves making her classes a safe-space for all. She adores creating original choreography for each unique dancer and has prepared numerous successful candidates for examinations in both Royal Academy of Dance and British Academy of Teachers of Dance syllabi. Jen has performed in numerous musicals including, Footloose (Urleen), Fame (Iris), Cabaret (Texas and Tap-Dancing Gorilla) as well as choreograph ed Little Shop of Horrors (Kingston Summer Theatre) and Gypsy (Western Musical Theatre). While travelling to Paris, Vancouver and Montreal, she has taken classes in ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and tap. For three consecutive summers, Jen danced with Peggy Baker during her weeks in residence and performed her choreography of Move, Poems and Body and Breathe and Chorus. In 2019, she attended the Dance Educators' Seminar at the National Ballet with Peggy Baker (Contemporary), Christine Wright (Ballet), Sylvain Lafortune (Partnering) & Jennifer Bolt (Teacher Seminar). As often as possible, you'll find her away in Toronto for an extended weekend to attend classes and continue to learn new styles, techniques and teaching approaches. Jen has a current First Aid certification and CPIC. We are excited to welcome Jen to the The Conservatory community!
KAREN PHILLIPS; Instructor, Bellydance
Karen is the founder and director of Nobody's Watching Middle Eastern Dance Studio. She has been teaching bellydance since 1998. Karen’s philosophy of dance is simple: bellydance should be fun!
After many years of jazz dance and classical ballet, Karen took her first bellydance lesson at the age of fourteen and has never looked back! Karen has studied most forms of bellydance, but is currently focused on modern fusions of traditional Moroccan and Middle Eastern styles. Her own choreographies incorporate traditional movements into unique, perky dance routines, often set to modern Arabic music or to “non-traditional” music by Canadian artists like Loreena McKennitt and Jesse Cook. Her dances frequently include veils, canes, zills, swords, candles, and baskets. Karen has taken workshops and master classes with many of the best dance instructors in North America, including Morocco, Delilah,Yasmina Ramzy, Hadia and Tamra-henna. She has performed, both solo and with her students, in Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto, Syracuse, Rochester, Atlanta and New York City. Karen has a current CPIC. We are thrilled to share her wealth of bellydance knowledge and experience with our Conservatory community!
DANIELLE McTAGGART; Instructor, Bellydance
Danielle began studying bellydance in 2002, and it quickly took over her life, as she fell in love with the movements, music, costumes and community. Over the past 20 years, Danielle has studied both traditional and modern bellydance styles, and is well-known in the regional bellydance community as the leader of Shimmy Kingston, which specializes in Silk Road Style Group Improv, Fusion Bellydance and American Cabaret. Danielle is a certified Bellyfit© instructor and personal trainer, and holds certifications in numerous areas of women's health and fitness, including pelvic floor health, mental health first aid and menopausal health. Danielle loves sharing her passion for bellydance with others, and looks forward to bringing this beautiful art form to the Conservatory community!
KATHRIN TYRYSHKIN, Ph.D.; Instructor, Ballroom and Latin Dance
Kathrin Tyryshkin is a biomedical data scientist at Queen’s University. She holds PhD and MSc degrees in biomedical computing from Queen’s University and a BA degree in computer science from York University. Kathrin supervises and teaches many undergraduate and graduate students who come from both computing and non-computing backgrounds. A skilled and accomplished educator, Kathrin's ability to communicate and explain complex topics has led her to the development of undergraduate and graduate courses on biomedical data analysis for students with no computational background.
Kathrin was first formally trained in Ballroom (Standard and Latin) and Easter European folk dance in a northern city of the former Soviet Union. When she was four years old, she asked her mother, “Take me to the dancing place.” Her mother thought that it was just another flying fancy, but nevertheless said, “Next year, in September, when your brother starts school, if you still want to dance, I will take you.” Kathrin remembered that, and when September came, she told her mother, “It's September, you promised to take me to the dancing school." So, Kathrin started her training at the age of five and trained intensively for 8 years. She participated in many performances and local, regional and national competitions, where she always won a podium place. In 1990, Kathrin’s family immigrated to Israel, where, unfortunately, there were no opportunities to continue ballroom dance training. However, in 2012, Kathrin returned to ballroom dancing and continued training at advanced levels with Gilles and Paulette Masse in Kingston.Kathrin’s love of dance brought her to the Conservatory, where she is currently taking Adult Ballet. She loves the new challenge it presents and especially that it gives her an opportunity to join her daughters on stage.
Kathrin also has an advanced music education. She was formally educated in piano, solfeggio, choir and history of music by attending music school in her birth town (1985 – 1990). After four years of attending the school, Kathrin insisted and persuaded the school to let her study another instrument, which wasn’t the norm. She was the first student in the school who could study both piano and violin. In 1991, after immigrating to Israel, an opportunity presented itself and Kathrin continued her music education until graduating in 1995. She was fortunate to meet a former orchestra conductor and his wife, an accomplished pianist, who had also recently immigrated to Israel from the Soviet Union. The couple quickly set up a music school and an orchestra, where Kathrin had the greatest and memorable experience playing as a second violin.
Kathrin is delighted to be able to teach children and adults the joy of ballroom dancing. Her wish is to introduce others to this beautiful form of dance, that seems to be largely unknown to the current generation. Kathrin’s motivation is to integrate dancing with music and teach students to listen and follow the music for complete and holistic experience of dance. We are thrilled to share her expertise and deep and enthusiastic love of dance and music with our community!