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 regularly 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 in dance competitions and festivals 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.
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.
Alyssa may be one of the newest teachers in Edmonton’s hip-hop scene, but she is by no means new to that style. She has been dancing for over 15 years and has been recognized by industry professionals for both her own dancing as well as for the choreography she creates for her students. She graduated from a performing arts school and has been asked on numerous occasions to return as a guest teacher. She has performed across Alberta, in Toronto, in Spain, and was a member of Hip-Hop Saved My Life, which was one of the first all-hip-hop productions to ever tour China.
Dancing is Alyssa’s passion and she has found her calling in passing on that passion to her students.
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.
Currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce program at Grant MacEwan University, Sarah has been dancing for over the past fifteen years. She has studied ballet, jazz and lyrical dance, and identifies the lyrical genre as her favourite. She has gained experience the past several summers helping at summer camps, working with children ages one through six. During the 2011-12 dance season, Sarah assisted Zero Gravity teachers in the studio by observing the various teaching methods and helping individual students one on one, thus gaining direct experience in the pedagogy of dance instruction. In 2012-13 she gradually took over classes from her mentors and has since become a fully-fledged member of the Zero Gravity faculty.
Sarah has always loved “helping with the little ones” and she continues to look forward to more of the same in the coming dance year.
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 – from dance to karate to camping – make her an ideal dance instructor.
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 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.
Kayla began her dance training in London, England, at the age of three, encompassing ballet, tap, jazz. After moving to Edmonton in 1996, she started training in all styles including musical theatre, modern, contemporary, and hip hop. Kayla grew up in the studio, focusing largely on R.A.D. ballet and Al Gilbert tap examinations. Under the direction of Gail Ledger, she always participated in competitive tap at competitions in the Edmonton area.
As a dancer, Kayla has found success in varied aspects of performance, receiving numerous scholarships throughout her competitive career. She has also received training scholarships to Los Angeles and New York from choreographers such as Shaun Evaristo, Gigi Torres and Candace Brown. She has choreographed and back-up danced for Edmonton artists such as Justin Blais and Esma, participated in the filming of Peep Games music video “Magic,” and opened for musical artists such as Kirko Bangz, Jadakiss and Sean Kingston. Kayla has been a part of many crews/megacrews in Edmonton in the past several years including Toxic Elegance, NGX Crew, NGX Company, BBM, and 3rd Street Beat. She represented Team Canada with 3rd Street Beat at Hip Hop International, making it to the semi-final in both 2013 and 2014.
Graduating from student to instructor, Kayla has won numerous choreography awards at competitions throughout Alberta in all styles including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, musical theatre and hip hop. She was also co-named “choreographer of the year” at Artists Emerge Calgary 2015. She has worked in the Edmonton production industry and was head choreographer for the film “A Raven’s Song” which won a Storyhives funding award and will be broadcast on Telus Optic TV.
Kayla’s goal as a teacher is to share her knowledge, to build confidence in her students, to inspire them to achieve their goals, and, most importantly, to have them have fun. She cannot wait to share her love of dance with the Zero Gravity Dance community in the coming dance season.
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 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.