We Are an Awesome Team of Dance Professionals
Taylor is an accomplished Teacher, Choreographer, Professional Dancer and Adjudicator well known in the dance community. Her lifelong love affair with dance continues to flourish in all aspects of the dance industry. Taylor has taught professionally for many prestigious dance companies over the past 20 years. She brings with her over 20 years of experience teaching dance specializing in Jazz, Acrobatics, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Modern, Gymnastics/Tumbling, Stretch/Technique, Open and Musical Theatre. Entering the dance world at the young age of 3, her many years of training have won her countless awards, scholarships, and titles at competitions throughout Canada and the United States. Taylor went on to further her dance training and completed a 5-year Regional Arts Program with a major in dance, graduating with honors in Dance Technique, Theory and Injury Prevention, after that she attended York University’s dance program.
Taylor is a member of the Canadian Dance Masters of America Ch.#38 certified in Acrobatics and Ballet. The British Association of Teachers in Dance certified in Jazz and Tap, The Royal Academy of Dance, Advanced Ballet and Performing Arts Educators of Canada certified in Acrobatics and Jazz. Throughout her training, Taylor was fortunate enough to receive instruction in Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, with some of North America’s most renowned Choreographers, Tina Landon, Richard Kim, Mia Michaels, Napolian & Tabitha D’umo, Fatima, Peggy Baker and Stelio Calagias just to name a few. Every summer Taylor aims to Rejuvenate her teacher’s training while attending various Conferences, classes and Seminars to learn new styles and techniques from some of the most well-known teachers in the dance industry.
Paula was introduced to the world of performing arts at three years old and has never looked back. She has written, directed, stage-managed, and acted in plays and improv competitions. Paula’s dance training includes a variety of disciplines with a focus on tap, jazz and ballet and she continues to attend a variety of workshops throughout the GTA. She has participated in competitions in both Canada and the United States. As an instructor with 20 years of experience, Paula has had the delight of teaching all ages and has found each age group to bring something exciting and different to the classroom.
Paula has obtained diplomas in Human Resources, Office Administration and as well as a certificate in Medical Administration. She uses her education and 15 years of executive experience in her role as Studio Manager.
She looks forward to passing her enthusiasm and passion, for dance and drama, on to her students at The Dance Element.
Minou Hendrikx has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ryerson University where she trained with instructors such as Nadia Potts, Flora Lojekova, Karen DuPlessis, Vicky St.Denys, Stelio Calagias, Maureen Consolati, Audrey Looker and Malcolm Gayle.
Minou is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) where she also received her Teaching Diploma. Minou received her teaching certifications for Ballet and Stage from the British Association Teachers of Dancing (BATD). Minou has also passed her Advanced Ballet exams from the Imperial Society of Dance (ISTD), BATD and RAD.
Minou is a well-travelled dancer having competed and performed throughout Canada, United States, England, Scotland, and Wales. She was also a guest artist for the Windsor City Ballet and Miss Dance of Canada 1990. After a successful professional and competitive career, Minou turned her attention to training future dancers and has been teaching for over 30 years.
Minou’s students have been very successful in all of their graded ballet exams ranging from Primary to Grade 8 and Vocational exams from Intermediate Foundation to Advanced 2. Apart from exam work and year-end recitals her students have competed locally and nationally receiving top awards. Many students she has trained have established themselves in the dance industry.
Minou dedicates herself to the next generation of dancers by passing on her experiences and knowledge.
Brittany Castiglione is an award-winning choreographer and dance instructor, extensively trained in all disciplines of dance including jazz, tap, hip-hop, ballet, contemporary, acrobatics and modern.Throughout her many years of training, she has received numerous titles, awards and scholarships within Canada and the United States.Brittany graduated from Ryerson
University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance Dance. Following university, she was accepted into Springboard Danse Montréal where she furthered her training in contemporary dance. She has also trained, assisted, and worked with many world renown choreographers and artists across Canada including: Linda Garneau, Caroline Torti, Robert Glumbeck, Roberto Campanella, Evelyn Hart, Louis Louberge -Coté, Vicki St.Denys and Nadia Potts.
Brittany has had the opportunity to be a part of Helix Dance Project performance of “Unearth” choreographed by Linda Garneau, as well as dancing for Typecast Dance Company, Collective Elite, Mia Martina and ProArteDanza. Brittany’s love and passion for dance are what brought her to teaching, specializing in Acrobatics, Contemporary and Jazz. She continues to choreograph and teach at studios throughout the GTA. Brittany strives to bring out the best in her students by teaching confidence and determination. She aims to demonstrate that dedication to training, technique, and artistry results in a successful and versatile dancer. She is excited to share her enthusiasm and passion for dance with all of her students.
Moving to Mississauga from Toronto at the age of 9, Sam began her dancing career at the Theatre of Dance Arts. There she trained and competed in acro, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, lyrical, open and musical theatre for 10 years winning overall awards as an open and acro soloist and group member. Following a very successful career at TDA, Sam moved on to teach at Meyerhofer Academy of Dance in Cambridge for two years while attending Wilfrid Laurier University where she majored in English and minored in Political Science and History.
Sam became very involved in dance and charity while studying at WLU where she choreographed and danced for ‘Fashion N’ Motion’ – a dance-based production put on annually with all proceeds going to a charity chosen by the production team. Sam also broadened her dance experience by becoming a dance instructor at WLU’s athletic complex where she taught students ranging from the ages of 18-25 contemporary, acro, jazz and lyrical. Upon the creation of Wilfrid Laurier’s first competitive dance team in her third year of studies, Sam grasped at the opportunity to become a part of this exciting endeavour. She became a contemporary choreographer and key dancer for the team competing across the province against other universities. She was awarded an overall highest group mark for her choreography on her large contemporary group.
Once completing her undergrad at WLU, Sam moved abroad to Scotland to complete her secondary teacher training with specialties in English and History at the University of Glasgow. Immediately after graduation, Sam moved to London, England to begin her teaching career in secondary History where she stayed for three years. It was here that Sam developed and honed her teaching skills in regards to special education, children with disabilities, and challenges of the gifted and talented.
Since moving back home to Canada in 2013, Sam has been thrilled to share her passion for teaching in both the academic and dance world and is currently a high school teacher in the Peel District School Board.
Passionate would be one of the words to describe Melissa Costa’s relationship with dance. Raised in Mississauga, Melissa began attending dance classes from an early age and developed a unique interest in all genres of dance. Since then, her dance career has included local and international competitions in both Canada and the United States.
Melissa has been dancing for over 20 years with over 20 years of teaching experience. Melissa has increased her love of dance by involving herself in teaching all ages. She has been working as a dance teacher/choreographer for institutions all over the GTA and Greater Ontario area. Melissa spends the rest of her days working at TD Wealth Financial Planning.
Melissa’s credentials include a Business Management, Marketing Diploma from
Humber College and is currently working toward her Financial Planning designations. Melissa continues to add to her knowledge and training platform such as Maureen Rae’s Yoga Instructor, CanFit Fitness Instructor, and Zumba to name a few.
Melissa is an outgoing individual with a drive of energy like no other. She adds a huge emphasis on her daily teachings to add a positive, motivating, and fun class for her students. She is creative and spontaneous, but ultimately, it’s the love of dancing that thrills her the most in life. Melissa looks forward to sharing her energy and enthusiasm with her students at The Dance Element.
Natalie has been involved in the dance community for over 30 years as a competitive dancer, teacher and choreographer. She has trained at various well known studios in Brampton and Mississauga as well as attended Cawthra Park Secondary School for the Arts as a Dance Major. Although her primary teaching focus is Acro, she has had extensive training in Jazz and Lyrical, as well as in Tap, Ballet, and Modern. During her time as a student, Natalie had the opportunity to travel to many local and national dance competitions, competing in all dance forms.
Natalie’s love for teaching began during her final years at Cawthra where she had the opportunity to choreograph a routine for the dance program’s final year end showcase. This first piece she created was honoured with an Outstanding Choreography Award presented to her by the school’s Arts Program. It was then where her desire to teach and create was discovered.
Over the years, Natalie has taught at many studios across the GTA both competitively and recreationally. Her students have competed at various competitions across Canada and the United States winning numerous awards. Some of these include: First Overall Junior, Teen, Senior, and Novice Soloist, First Overall Duet/Trio, Overall Small and Large Group, Choreography Award, Highest Acro Mark, as well as one student receiving a perfect score at Nationals for her Acro solo. Most recently, one her students was offered a scholarship to attend the Joffery Ballet Summer Program in New York City.
During the day, Natalie continues her teaching passion as a school teacher teaching Special Education in Brampton. Her goal is to inspire every student she teaches and is very excited to be teaching at The Dance Element.
Lauren is a professional dancer and movement facilitator. She is well-versed in Jazz, Lyrical, and Contemporary and specializes in Acro and Pilates. Over the past decade, she has helped shape the lives of many children and adults through her unique approach to training that not only develops successful dancers but also healthy habits for an overall balanced lifestyle.
Lauren aspires to get dancers up and moving in a fun innovative way that not only trains the body but also their minds to acquire body awareness. She strives to keep her classes positive and uplifting while also keeping dancers challenged and dedicated.
Lauren has had a successful competitive dance career and worked with renowned choreographers such as Talia Favia, Hani Abaza, Mia Micheals, Amanda Cleghorn and Paul Becker. She has been well recognized by many competitions across Canada and the US. During her graduating year, she was among the highest-scoring female soloists in multiple competitions in both Canada and the US.
Lauren graduated from competitive dance in 2016 and has since then performed in the Pan Am Games as well as choreographed many award-winning numbers across Ontario. She is always furthering her knowledge with continuing education courses and is constantly building on her repertoire.
Lauren is a Body Harmonics Certified Instructor and is Anatomy for Motion Certified.
Elvira began dancing with The Dance Element at the age of 6. She stayed dancing at the studio competitively for 13 years, competing in hip-hop, jazz, open, lyrical, tap, acrobatics,and contemporary, along with the execution of RAD ballet, character work, and pointe. As a result, she received all of her RAD certifications up to Advanced Foundations. Elvira comes from dance, music, and fitness background, growing up in both the dance studio, her family-owned gym, and an extremely musical household.
Elvira is a certified ISSA Group Exercise Instructor. She believes in combining creativity and passion with strength and perseverance when teaching dance, while also maintaining an open and comfortable relationship between dancers to allow the mental well-being of students to be a priority.
Elvira has performed dance from a young age. She performed an acrobatic solo for the children’s television show Giselle’s Big Backyard’s “Jay Jay’s Jam” at the age of 9. Throughout her childhood and teen years, she continued performing and competing solo and group numbers within Ontario and The States. Elvira specializes in hip-hop and contemporary and collected multiple awards throughout her dance career primarily in these styles. After being heavily inspired by her teachers at The Dance Element, Elvira became interested in an urban fusion between hip-hop and contemporary, that incorporates the classic street styles of popping and animation with the fluidity and emotion of contemporary. After finding a unique methodology, she began to perform pieces of choreography that suited her specific style, winning multiple special awards such as the “All your own” and “Spectrum” special awards, along with receiving the highest mark in the hip-hop discipline and the 4th highest senior soloist score at the 2019 Candance Dance Nationals. She has also performed at competitive dance-offs with her group as well as with her solo routines and competed at the CNE Rising Star talent competition with hundreds of spectators.
Elvira enjoys the things in dance that haven’t been seen before and incorporates unconventional ideas by having a unique, quirky and unusual, yet beautifully emotion-striking dance style, which she conveys through her choreography and performances. Because of her musical upbringing, she feels music is a huge part of the dance art form and should be celebrated alongside it, and this makes for pieces that are strongly influenced by music and deeper meanings. Elvira’s fresh outlook and new and innovative ideas make her excited to share her interesting, pleasantly unorthodox, and free outlook of dance and choreography with the next generation of dancers.
Mariano Abarca is an extraordinary instructor, enthralling performer, and accomplished choreographer. Mariano’s passion for dance was cultivated at an early age – he was raised in a home enveloped by music, thus, his body inevitably became his instrument. Initially, Mariano was exposed to and continued to excel in, the Latin styles of dance: salsa, meringue, and the Columbian folk dance, Cumbia. His apparent natural ability, and intense appreciation of dance, ultimately, inspired him to study alternative styles of dance – hip hop, b-boying, popping and locking.
As a teacher and choreographer, Mariano has been working in Toronto for excess of ten years. His incredible musicality, his diverse skill base (hip-hop, b-boying, popping, locking), his remarkable experiences as a performer, his knowledge of the history and growth of hip-hop in Canada, and his willingness to share all that he knows with his students, make him a rarity in the world of hip-hop. His dancing abilities, combined with his passion for teaching and choreographing, render him one of the best instructors in North America.
Mariano is one of Toronto’s premier b-boys, and, unquestionably, an audience favourite. He is famous for his incredible footwork, and innovative style of intertwining popping, b-boying, and hip-hop.
As an established Toronto b-boy, Mariano led his crew, “Bag of Trix” to international acclaim at “The Battle of the Year 1999” in Leipzig, Germany. Mariano’s crews have, furthermore, earned championship titles in UK, Korea, and here in Canada.
Mariano’s extraordinary style has allowed him to dance in several music videos, commercials, and television programs. Thus, he has worked with artists such as Vivica Fox, Tom Green, Mya, K-OS, Wyclef, Arrested Development, Grand Master Flash, De La Soul, Rob Base and DJ Easy Rock – to name a few. Remarkably, he was provided with the exceptional honour of performing for the Prince of Wales. Mariano Abarca is a role model, an innovator, and a true urban artist.
Stefanie has always had a passion for dance and has been involved in the dance industry for over thirty years. She began dance at the age of three training in jazz, tap, ballet, acrobatics, lyrical, hip hop and modern; studying RAD, Cecchetti, ADAPT and DMA syllabus. Stefanie also has been trained in artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and aerial circus arts. At fourteen she received an invitation to a private audition for Cirque Du Soleil in Montreal. Stefanie has competed since the age of six at national and international competitions and has been rewarded with such scholarships as Overall Soloist and Most Promising Senior Dancer. Stefanie has appeared in various print work, commercials, television shows, and runways; working with Chatelane, Holt Renfrew, PAN AM games and Tiny Talent Time, to name a few. She was also the face of The Big Sisters champagne running in Chicago. Stefanie is a graduated from Mayfield Secondary School of the Arts where she received an Arts Letter for her contribution to the dance program as well as one of only two Scholarship recipients for her outstanding choreography in Mayfield’s musical productions and dance shows. She has been teaching both recreational and competitive dance for over 15 years now, she has produced many award-winning routines and is often recognized for her unique and innovative choreography. Her students have won numerous overall high scores and scholarships at several competitions. Her choreography has won such awards as the Judges Choice award for “PRECISION” and the Highest Score of the competition. Stefanie continues to teach, choreograph, adjudicate and conduct workshops at various studios across the GTA. Stefanie is a well-respected dance teacher and her passion for dance shows through her student’s achievements. She loves being able to pass on her experiences, knowledge and talent to all aspiring students.
David Cox has been dancing since the age of 2, as a musical family brought him into this world – his father a Motown artist and his mother a dance teacher. At 13 he made his first trip to NYC on scholarship and that would change his life forever. Studying with some of the best dancers in the world he began to realize that tap dance was his passion, not forgetting his extensive training in jazz, ballet and modern. Since becoming a professional, he has gone on to perform for and at the following: YTV Achievement Award Winner 1999 Dance Category, ‘Bojangles’ the Showtime movie starring Gregory Hines, the international sensation ‘STOMP’, Juno Awards, Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, The Duke Ellington Society, Save The Last Dance pt2, talked Tap and Tapped with Shelagh Rogers (Sounds Like Canada CBC Radio 1), Bravo Fact ‘The Hoofers Club’, Dance Arts Vancouver & Judith Marcuse Projects (ICE: Beyond Cool, FIRE… Where There’s Smoke, and EARTH=HOME), ADIDAS, Pro Arte Danza’s The Jazz Cracker, Ballet Creole’s Soulful Messiah, Ruckus Co Prod’s Ricochet, LKTYP’s “I think I can”, Hoofers House Harlem NYC. Numerous corporate functions include former T.O Mayor David Miller’s Inaugural Ball, Coca Cola, Hit N Run Productions and has performed for the speaker of the house, and His Majesty Prince Charles to name a few. He has been on MTV Canada as a choreographer and dancer for “MTV Live: Dancing with the Hosts” and Much Music’s Black History Month. David has shared his passion with the world as a featured performer in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies and is a sought-after adjudicator and teacher across North America. He is also proud to be a member of a band called Theatre Crisp where he taps as added percussion. He is regular faculty at the Tap Dance Centre in Mississauga among other surrounding area studios. His happy-go-lucky and energetic attitude is contagious to those around him and urges others to pick up a tap and discover the music they can make.