teachers

Our knowledgeable, certified and award-winning instructors provide professional training in a caring and motivational atmosphere.

Our teachers encourage every student to reach their personal best.

The teachers at Protégé Dance Company believe in positive role-modelling, love to teach and respect the needs of all!

teaching faculty

Elizabeth Woudwyk
A.D.A.P.T., Adv. I.S.T.D., Adv. 2 R.A.D.

Elizabeth Woudwyk

Elizabeth has been dancing and competing for over 18 years, under the influential teachings of Jo-Anne Chapman, Janet Venn-Jackson, Karen Kain, Ryan Foley, Kevin Pugh, Linda Garneau and Stellio Calagias. Training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Musical Theatre, as a dancer, Elizabeth was honoured to perform annually at the "Jazz Festivals" throughout the GTA. A graduate from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Public Health and Safety, Elizabeth is also a certified teacher with the Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers (A.D.A.P.T.), while completing both her Advanced in Modern Theatre with the International Society of Teachers Dancing (I.S.T.D.), and her Advanced 2 in Ballet with the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.). She has successfully entered students in jazz and tap exams as well as competitions, where her students have been awarded with top solo and duet marks. As a teacher, Elizabeth is staying current by attending workshops with world renowned choreographers in Toronto and New York City.  Protégé Dance Company is ecstatic to have Elizabeth on faculty, as her excitement, knowledge and talent in dance further educates our students, while enhancing the curriculum here at the studio.


Natalie Jaciw-Zurakowsky
Associate B.A.T.D.

Natalie Jaciw-Zurakowsky

Natalie began dancing at the age of three and shares an extraordinary passion for the art of dance. With over 15 years of dance training as a competitive dancer, in ballet, jazz, tap, acrobatics, lyrical and hip hop, Natalie has been the recipient of numerous awards and overalls in Canada and the United States. As a dancer, Natalie has performed for various shows including the Nickelodeon Celebration Show at Canada’s Wonderland and was presented with the Notre Dame C.S.S. Dance Award at graduation. As a certified teacher with The British Association of Teachers of Dancing (B.A.T.D.) in Ballet, Natalie has taught for the City of Pickering as well as choreographing for numerous dance teams in and around the Ajax/Pickering area including St. Mary C.S.S. and St. Anthony Daniel Catholic School.  In addition, Natalie founded the Dance Pak at Trent University’s Oshawa campus while holding a position of captain and choreographer for the team. Natalie graduated from the Queens/Trent Concurrent Education Program with honours in English and History and is now an Ontario Certified Teacher. Protégé Dance Company is honoured to have Natalie on faculty. Natalie’s passion for teaching is both warm and genuine, as she illuminates the classroom with her endless amount of energy.


Christina Laramee
Associate B.A.T.D.

Christina Laramee

Christina has been dancing since the age of four, where she found her passion and love for the arts through dance. She has been trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, acrobatics, hip hop and bollywood and has been a competitive dancer since the age of eight.

Christina was an award winning choreographer for the Brock University dance team where she taught competitively for four years. In addition, she was also the Vice-President of the Brock University Dance Club consisting of 350 members for one year, and the President of the club the following year. It is with this team that Christina grew her love and appreciation for the art of dance.

Christina graduated from Brock University with Honours with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education and is a Certified Teacher for Ontario. She has also just finished her Masters Degree in Education at OISE, University in Toronto where she continues to learn and grow as a learner. Christina is a certified teacher with The British Association of Teachers of Dancing (B.A.T.D.) in Ballet and continues to teach dance within her classroom and as an enrichment teacher for “The Travelling Stage” bringing the arts into the classroom.

Christina is an ongoing learner, and continues to take drop-in classes and workshops wherever she can to strengthen her knowledge for the art. Christina is excited to be a part of the Protégé family and Protégé Dance Company is equally as proud to have Christina on faculty; where she will brighten each of her classes with her contagious smile and positive attitude while continuing to enrich our programs here at the studio.


Rachel McDonald
Associate B.A.T.D.

Rachel McDonald

Rachel McDonald is certified member of the British Association of Teachers in Dancing (B.A.T.D) and most recently completed her Intermediate Cecchetti Ballet exam.

She has performed in many shows from musicals to weddings to corporate events. She has also performed in shows including Pan Am Games opening ceremonies, a Harlem Globetrotters half time show, the Toronto Argonauts halftime shows, and A Tale of Two Cities Musical.

With over 15 years of dance training as a competitive dancer, in ballet, jazz, tap, acrobatics, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop, Rachel has been won several awards and scholarships in Ontario.

Rachel has choreographed for many years as she was both a dancer and captain of her high school dance team choreographing pieces in all styles. Rachel is continuing her dance education by studying and training daily at The Conteur Dance Academy in Toronto, where she learns not only about physical and technical training but the fundamentals of compositional techniques.

Rachel thoroughly enjoys teaching and looks forward to many more memories shared with the talented students at Protégé Dance Company.


Kelly Grainger

Kelly Grainger

Kelly Grainger has been teaching dance for over 20 years and is excited to join the faculty of Protégé Dance Company this season. She has taught, choreographed, and mentored dancers from 2 years of age to College Level in all disciplines of dance, including jazz, musical theatre, hip-hop, tap, ballet and Irish.

In addition to teaching and choreographing, Kelly is a sought after performer. Favourite professional theatre credits include Moby Dick and The Music Man at the Stratford Festival, Sweet Charity and Pygmalion at the Shaw Festival, The Wizard of Oz at Mirvish and in the US National Tour, CATS, Seussical, Hairspray, Aladdin, Mary Poppins and Oliver at Regional Theatres.

Kelly trained under the ADAPT (Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers), CDTA (Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association), and Cecchetti Ballet syllabi, and has been awarded several scholarships and overall competitive dance awards including the Provincial Stage Dance Champion in British Columbia. Her training culminated at CCPA (Canadian College of Performing Arts) in Victoria, BC, where she completed a choreographic mentorship under Artistic Director Jacques Lemay. After graduating with honours, Kelly joined the faculty and became CCPA’s Jazz and Musical Theatre Styles teacher. Kelly also teaches jazz at the Randoph Academy, a pre-professional musical theatre college located in Toronto.

Whether on stage or in the classroom, Kelly’s passion for the performing arts is clear. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and experience, and her enthusiasm is always contagious!

 

Lexie Bird
Associate B.A.T.D.

Lexie Bird

At the young age of 3, Lexie started dancing better than she could walk, so much so that her competitive career had taken flight soon after when she was just 7 years old. She was known to be a well-rounded dancer immersing herself in all styles of dance inclusive of but not limited to Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Acro. Along with her passion for dance, spending most of her free time at the studio, Lexie used her acro skills to her advantage and became involved in gymnastics. During her competitive years, Lexie earned high titles along with scholarships through judges choice awards. Completing her competitive career here at Protégé Dance Company in 2012, Lexie also attained her B.A.T.D teaching examinations in acro, jazz, tap and ballet and has also trained under the Cecchetti Ballet syllabus.

Over the years Lexie has preformed in numerous galas and fundraisers including; Starlight Children’s Wish Foundation Gala, Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Gala and United Way Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser. Continuing on her performance experience in 2014, Lexie was chosen to be a member of the Toronto Argos Cheerleading team, where she performed in all CFL Argos home games and in Vancouver for the 102nd Grey Cup. The Argos' community further connected Lexie with additional opportunities stemming from entertainment companies such as Magen Boys Entertainment and Cotton Candy Events.

Currently Lexie is a second year member of Guelph University’s competitive hip-hop team: Atcha Crew.

Lexie’s love for dance continues to grow each and every day, not only does she enjoy performing but is passionate in teaching others and watching them grow.

 

Kristen Smith
Associate B.A.T.D.

Kristen Smith

Kristen began dancing at the age of three and at the age of six, her passion for dance led to a long competitive career where she earned many awards and scholarships. She competed in many genres such as jazz, tap, acro, hip-hop, lyrical, contemporary, ballet, and musical theatre and her passion for acro led her to pursue many years of additional gymnastics training. Kristen gained her teaching accreditation in B.A.T.D in 2012 becoming certified in jazz, tap, acro and ballet. Along with her B.A.T.D training, she has also been trained in the Cecchetti Ballet syllabus and successfully achieved her Grade Six Cecchetti Ballet.

After graduating from Protégé Dance Company in 2012, Kristen continued her competitive dance career competing on both the University of Ottawa and the University of Guelph’s competitive dance teams. During her time on the University of Ottawa dance team, she performed at the half time show of the Capital Hoops game held at the Canadian Tire Centre. Along with her competitive career, she has performed in many fundraising functions such as the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Gala and the United Way Rouge Gala. She has also performed with Ballet Jorgen in their performance of the Nutcracker. In addition, her strong stage performance was noticed and opened the doors to model for several years for Hamilton’s Theatrical Supply.

Kristen is recognized for working with our students during Protégé's Summer Acro Intensives and specialized Aerials and Tumbling classes. Her beautiful style and technical strength will inspire our students to perform with passion while executing precision. Kristen is thrilled to be joining the faculty at Protégé Dance Company and looks forward to passing on her love for dance to the next generation of dancers!

 

Taylor Routledge
Associate B.A.T.D., Commercial Dance Studies Diploma, Performing Arts Diploma

Taylor Routledge

Taylor began her dance training at the age of three, soon after began her career path into competitive dancing at the age of seven. Trained in the disciplines in jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, modern and for her passion for tap and musical theatre, Taylor led her career to amazing audition opportunities. Taylor received her B.A.T.D Teachers Association in jazz, tap, and ballet in 2011 and wanted to continue and pursue with her teaching skills to future dancers.

After graduating from Protégé Dance Company, Taylor took her triple threat training in dancing, singing and acting by attending George Brown College in the Commercial Dance Studies Program and soon after completing the program in 2012, she attended the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts for their two year program in musical theatre training to enhance her skills in performing, talents and techniques and successfully graduated in December 2014.

Taylor has performed in many shows and gala’s, she performed in The Trojan Women for the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2014 with her Randolph Classmates and was dance captain for Randolph Academy’s winter musical production of Curtains. She also performed in the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Gala with some of the Protégé graduates and The Stephen Swartz Fundraiser at the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts with choreographer Stephen Findlay.

Taylor enjoys her passion for dancing, singing, and acting and continues to grow everyday by attending more audition opportunities that come her way. She enjoys performing on stage and showing other dancers her talents and techniques. Taylor is so thrilled to be a part of the Protégé Dance Company family and looks forward to sharing her passion to future triple threat performers… with a smile on her face and bringing joy and energy to the studio every day.