Faculty 2018-19

Odessa Wowk

Odessa is a graduate of the University of Calgary, with a degree in Dance from the Faculty of Kinesiology and the Faculty of Fine Arts where she studied dance pedagogy, performance, choreography, and human anatomy. She also holds a Dance Diploma from Grant MacEwan College in addition to her training and advanced certificates in ballet (RAD & ISTD), tap (ISTD), Jazz (ISTD), hip hop, modern, contemporary, lyrical, and Ukrainian folk dance. She trained in Latin and Afro-Cuban dance styles at the University of Havana, Cuba, and has taken classes at The Edge in Los Angeles, and at Broadway Dance Centre and Steps On Broadway in New York City.

For several summers as Head of Dance at Camp Manitou, Ontario, Odessa taught children ages 7 through 16 in the dance program of the summer sports and arts camp. Locally, she is invited into Edmonton and Greater Edmonton area schools to provide dance instruction to both teachers and students.

As a performer herself, she has performed and competed across Alberta, as well as in Florida, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. She continues to attend major workshops and competitions to keep herself aligned with the latest developments in the dance world, as is evidenced in the numerous choreography awards she continues to receive in dance competitions annually.

Since the studio’s inception under Odessa’s direction, Zero Gravity has won numerous dance and choreography awards and scholarships at festivals and competitions in Edmonton, across Alberta, and in the United States.  Several high score dances as well as soloists and duets have been invited to perform in competition final dance-offs, resulting in additional awards and scholarships.

With over fifteen years of teaching and choreography experience behind her, Odessa is honoured to welcome to Zero Gravity Dance students from Edmonton, St. Albert, and beyond.

Paula McWilliams NBSTTP, RADTC, BGS, BEd

Paula is a graduate of the teacher training program at the National Ballet School and also holds a Bachelor of General Studies degree with a minor in Dance, and a Bachelor of Education degree from Simon Fraser University. As a registered RAD teacher Paula has been teaching ballet for 15 years, in that time building a strong ballet program at the Dance Connection in Ladner, BC. Currently she is also a teacher with Edmonton Public Schools. A former dancer with Dance Alberta performing company, Paula has danced in ballets such as La Sylphide, Family Scenes and Festival. She has worked with Susan Toumine, Anette av Paul and Arnold Spohr. While at National Ballet School she worked with Carina Bomers, Mavis Stains and Nancy Gilmore.

Paula believes in bringing the love of dance into her ballet classes while helping students become thoughtful technical dancers. She is excited to be part of the Zero Gravity Dance team.

Colleen Boe ARAD RTS

Colleen was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and is a fully registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance. She received her initial training at the Alberta Ballet School with Deborah Morgan, Lambros Lambrou and founder Ruth Carse. She completed her Advanced Level 2 Ballet Examination with distinction, becoming an Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance. During her student training, she performed with Alberta Ballet Company and appeared often as a dancer with the Edmonton Opera and the Edmonton Musical Theatre Association.

Colleen became a company member of Alberta Ballet and the Banff Festival Ballet before going on to study at the Quinte School of Dance in Ontario and then the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Performing classical repertoire pieces including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides and Giselle, Colleen had the opportunity to appear on stage with exceptional artists like Evelyn Hart. During this time, Colleen studied with many renowned teachers and choreographers including Brian McDonald (Les Grands Ballet Canadiens), Choo Chiat Goh (Goh Ballet), Gretchen Ward Warren (University of South Florida), Laura Alonso (Cuban Ballet), Alexander Grant and Reid Anderson (National Ballet of Canada), David Earle (Toronto Dance Theatre) and Sandra Neels (Merce Cunningham Dance Company).

Colleen obtained her Teacher’s Diploma in 1989 from the Royal Academy of Dance under tutelage of Deborah Morgan and Ross Brierton. In over 20 years of teaching, Colleen has prepared hundreds of students for ballet examinations, adjudicated dance festivals, won choreography awards and developed a solid reputation for quality ballet instruction. Colleen’s professional experience and her lifelong passion for dance make her a well-respected member of Edmonton’s dance community.

Colleen brings impeccable credentials and a wealth of teaching experience to the school. She endeavours to train dancers to think critically and creatively as well as develop a deeper understanding of themselves and the art of ballet. She is pleased to be able to share her experience with the students of Zero Gravity Dance.

Kari DeChamplain-Pipella

Kari is presently a yoga instructor at several St. Albert yoga studios. She teaches a variety of yoga styles and especially loves teaching yoga to children and youth, from preschool to high school, showing them that moving the body makes kids feel good. Her background includes 15 years as a gymnastics instructor during which time she choreographed many and various floor routines. In addition, she is herself an active dancer in an adult jazz/contemporary group — she still loves to compete and perform!

Kari hopes to pass along her passion for movement, an understanding of working within the body’s capacity, and an ease in making the most difficult skill look effortless.

Courtney Woods

Involved in the Alberta dance community for over 25 years, Courtney Woods has had the amazing opportunity to train under some of the most influential individuals in the diverse dance industry all over Canada and the United States, and in numerous styles, including jazz, tap, ballet, hiphop, funk styles, modern, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, African, and Latin. With over 15 years of experience on the competition circuit, completing Advanced exams in both A.D.A.P.T Jazz and Tap, and training with a specialization in tap, musical theatre, and hiphop, her passion for the Art ensures a desire that the Alberta dance scene is not only a great place to learn and grow as an artist but remains a cultural hub for the Performing Arts.

Courtney has been a part of numerous shows and events including  Rhythm in the Garden, the Lilac Festival, multiple seasons of Dance ExplosionsWest Side Story, a month-long tour of Hip Hop Saved My Life in mainland China, and most recently a multi-genre dance production, A Dance Journey — Traveling in Time, for the 2017 Edmonton Fringe Festival. She has adjudicated at festivals all over Western Canada; has danced in numerous tap, hiphop, and contemporary shows in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Chicago; was a founding member of two tap companies: “MADD Rhythms Canada”, and “Fab Feet”; and continues to work in numerous Early Learning Programs, Jr. and Sr. High schools and Special Needs programs across the province.

While ensuring today’s dancers learn and master the steps is her principal goal, Courtney hopes to also clarify the roots and history behind the Art form so that her students begin to fully appreciate how dance has evolved and where it is undoubtedly headed.

Kelly Stabile

Kelly is very excited to be a part of the Zero Gravity Dance team. She has had a passion for dance since a very young age when she trained in ballet, jazz and tap for many years, and continues to love every form of dance today. It especially brings her great pleasure to watch her daughter dance in all her performances, leaving her to feel tremendously proud of all her daughter has accomplished in dance so far and excited to see her grow and continue to develop new skills.

One of Kelly’s fondest performance memories is choreographing and performing in the opening and closing ceremonies of Edmonton’s 2001 World Track & Field Championships. Currently teaching pre-school in St. Albert, where she lives with her husband, daughter and son, Kelly loves working with young children. Her position allows her to exercise her own crafts skills while helping children to begin to develop their own talents. Her patient and understanding nature, along with her love of being active and involved in many activities make her an ideal dance instructor.  Her Intellidance Method Certification only adds to her many qualifications.

Kelly looks forward to teaching in the preschool and pre-competitive programs at Zero Gravity Dance and “can’t wait” to help her students reach their full potential and accomplish their dancing dreams.

Danielle Hall

Danielle has been involved in gymnastics since she was two years old when she first began learning gymnastics skills. Her favorite part of gymnastics has always been performing during competitions where she was able to shine. She eventually moved on to competing in trampoline and tumbling gymnastics until injury stopped her dream of being on the national team. Her love of performing, though, never left her and with her gymnastics background she found dance to be the perfect place for her, and dance then led her to musical theater.

She has been actively coaching recreational and competitive gymnasts for nearly a decade. Specializing in trampoline gymnastics as well as choreography for beam and floor events, she regularly choreographs individual routines for competitions as well as group dances for festivals.

Danielle looks forward to helping her students at Zero Gravity Dance reach their true potential by teaching them how to control their bodies through complex movement, making everything appear graceful and easy – to truly shine in their performances.

Abby Wong

Abby started dancing at the age of three and has continued to be involved in the dance industry ever since.  She is trained in many disciplines but focuses her teaching and choreography extensively in jazz, lyrical and contemporary dance.  Abby has traveled to multiple places within Alberta and British Columbia, as well as Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas to train, compete and expand her love and knowledge of dance.  In her many years of training Abby achieved her Master’s Certification in Vaganova Ballet Technique and has won numerous scholarships including the prestigious Lindsay Thomas Memorial Award.  The recipient of this award is decided upon by Edmonton area teachers and is presented annually to the dancer who exemplifies great sportsmanship and dedication to the art of dance.

Abby’s passion for dance is evident in her teaching and for her, the greatest experience as a teacher is being able to instruct and inspire the next generation of dancers.

Hannah Wong

Hannah has been dancing since the age of three, starting her training at a daycare centre alongside her mother as her teacher.  Hannah has trained in several disciplines that include jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, modern, musical theatre, hip hop and street jazz, eventually receiving her Master’s Certificate in Vaganova Ballet Technique.  She has had many travel opportunities to both compete as well as to participate in and assist with workshops throughout Canada and the U.S.  She has trained and worked with choreographers such as Travis Wall, Stacey Tookey, Liz Tookey, Joanne and Alex Persuich, Jordan Clark, Sarah Dolan, Sabrina Phillip, Tokyo, Drea Lee, Kelly Konno and many more.  Hannah has received many awards for her hard work and dedication, such as being offered dance company opportunities.  She is now a full time dancer in Drea Lee’s street jazz company based out of Edmonton.

Hanna’s dedication to her work shows through her students, where she always has a smile on her face while motivating them to work to their full potential.

Bryna Lindstrom

Bryna has been dancing since the age of six, having trained in a variety of styles including ballet, lyrical, jazz and contemporary. She has been able to gain experience, expand her expertise, and grow as dancer through performances and competitions which she has participated in since 2007, as well as through the numerous RAD ballet examinations that she has completed. Her ballet training especially has also allowed her to display her skills in professional performances with the Alberta Ballet Company as a dancer in their annual Nutcracker productions from 2009 through 2012, as well as its 2010 production of Sleeping Beauty. Furthermore, the knowledge and skill that her training has given her allowed her to obtain feature dance roles in the Paul Kane High School productions of The Addams Family (2016) and the Little Mermaid (2017).

Bryna will bring a positive and enthusiastic atmosphere to the studio, and help foster an environment in which all dancers can express themselves and grow.  Assisting dance classes since 2014, she cannot wait to continue sharing her love for dance and mentoring young students as a teacher at Zero Gravity.

Alysha Ambrosio

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alysha commenced her dance experience at the age of four. She first fell in love with jazz, then broadened her training to include ballet, tap, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop. In addition, Alysha trained and performed with Pacific Island Dance Troupe for four years performing traditional Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Filipino folk dances at nursing homes, private parties, festivals, and fundraisers. At the age of ten, she joined Zero Gravity Dance and pursued her passion under the guidance of Odessa Wowk and its phenomenal faculty while expanding her experience and passion for dance by competing and training in Alberta and Las Vegas.  In 2013, Alysha began volunteering as an assistant teacher at Zero Gravity, working with numerous children ages three to twelve in disciplines including jazz, tap, hip hop, and ballet. Alysha has received several awards and certificates including her RAD Intermediate Ballet Examination with distinction.

As part of the Zero Gravity family, Alysha hopes to spread her passion and continue to share her experience with younger students. She is excited to meet new students, inspire others, and share her love of dance.

Vince Akinyode

Vince began teaching 10 years ago and has had outstanding results as both dancer and instructor in such a short time.  He is not only an active member with performing group White Chocolate, but his career has given him the opportunity to work with many talented artists such as Ashanti, Shawn Desmond, Ludacris, Chris Brown, Boyz to Men, 112, Chingy, and Genuine.

Vince’s numerous performances have included dancing for the royal visit of Queen Elizabeth, the official Juno after-party viewed by Alice Cooper, and at the 2009 Canadian Grey Cup half time show in Calgary.  He has also been featured on “So You Think You Can Dance” seasons 1, 2 and 4.  As an instructor, Vince has taught award-winning groups that have performed all across Canada.  He was the recipient of the “Choreography of the Year” award at the all Hip Hop competition “Artists Emerge,” judged by Jojo Diggs and Rhapsody James.  His routines include such dance styles as House, Street, New School Choreography, Diva, Krumping and Break Dancing.

Vince’s easy going attitude combined with his passion for his art and for sharing it with others creates an exciting learning environment for all his students.

Shyia Gray

Shyia began dance at the age of three and for a decade studied all styles: jazz, tap, ballet, hiphop, lyrical and musical theatre.  But she came to realize that her true passion lay with hiphop, and at that point it became her focus.

For the past several years Shyia has danced with Eye Candy, performing with the crew at World of Dance in Seattle in 2015, and more recently with Kore dance studio as well.  She has danced at Hiphop International Canada, at the Women’s FIFA World Cup, at Hiphop for Hope, and at 4KBK the past two years.  She teaches competitive classes and has also run summer dance camps for beginners since 2015.

Shyia is excited to be a new member of the Zero Gravity Dance team and is looking forward to sharing her passion with her Zero Gravity students.

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