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LEANNE KLASSEN: Studio Director

Leanne has been teaching dance classes to students ages 4-adult for over 35 years and has been involved in dance for over 45 years, beginning at the young age of 5 when she started taking ballet classes.  This led to studying classes in jazz & tap as well, then eventually to musical theatre, modern and lyrical.  Over the years, Leanne performed in many festivals, fashion shows & performing arts shows including Hamilton Ti-Cat half time shows and Hamilton's sesquicentennial celebration.  Leanne attended the University of Waterloo where she studied the dance program, and furthered her training in ballet, jazz, modern and choreography, while also studying music, kinesiology, anatomy, child psychology, drama and dance history.  After graduating, she taught classes in jazz, ballet, tap, acro and modern for different studios throughout the Niagara Peninsula and performed with several dance companies before opening her own studio in Grimsby (her hometown) in 1999.  Starting at a modest location with only 50 students, Beyond The Barre Dance Company has grown to a thriving studio with some of the best teachers and choreographers the area has to offer.  Her studio's students continue to excel in their dance studies, winning numerous awards & scholarships at competitions and going on to study dance after high school and dance professionally or teach.  Her students have also been accepted into the National Ballet of Canada's prestigious summer school, the Hamilton City Ballet's production of The Nutcracker and Ballet Jorgen's production of Swan Lake.  Some of Leanne's competition awards include Highest Overall Senior Mark, Overall Adjudicator's Choice, Best Overall Senior Choreography and Most Unique Concept.  Leanne also credits her amazing teaching staff who have helped raise her studio to be one of the best in the area while maintaining a close, family atmosphere.  Her goal is maintain the fact that dance is a discipline as well as an art form and to share her love of dance with as many students as she give them the same wonderful memories, life skills and experiences that dancing gave to her.  Leanne is a proud member of Dance Ontario and P.A.A. (Professional Adjudicator's Alliance).

MELISSA SILVA:  Competition Director

Melissa is an award-winning choreographer best known for her innovative concepts and is a proud member of the Professional Adjudicator's Alliance.  Her work at competitions has received top honors including highest overall mark, best overall choreography 3 years running and teacher recognition awards for her astounding work as a whole.  She is also a part of the Sheridan College staff, teaching in their performance preparation course.  Melissa has been training and studying the art of  dance since the young age of 5 and through her career she also became a professionally working singer and actor.  Melissa spent 3 years in NYC after she was the sole recipient of the National Scholarship Award to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.  After graduation she has continued to work professionally and throughout her career has grazed stages in Hamilton, Burlington, Toronto, L.A., N.Y.C.  and overseas.  She has been fortunate enough to be a part of some amazing casts and dance companies.  Some of her favourite characters played have been Shirley Temple in A Day In Hollywood, and Millie from Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Most recently, Melissa was seen as a star dancer and singer at Lake Compounce Theme Park in Bristol, Connecticut and then as Sue in Rock Around The Clock with the Koogle Theatre Company in Burlington.  She also starred as lead character Tamara in an episode of Cold Blood on the Oprah Winfrey Network.  Melissa is extremely passionate about being a choreographer and dance educator and so continues her own training with the best such as Tyce Diorio, Brian Friedman, Desmond Richardson, Tessanra Chevez and Linda Garneau to name just a few.  The incredible passion she has for her craft has allowed her to guide her students to become performers recognized for their ability to connect honestly and emotionally through their performance and technique.  Melissa is known for being the Queen of Clean when it comes to her routines and with her extensive knowledge and career, she has helped to guide her students to receive top honours and scholarships of their own along with starting their own dance careers.  Melissa's passion and desire to help all students is a beautiful energy that pushes the dancers to be the best they can be. 

MARIA MALEK: Ballet Director
This very talented and experienced dancer and teacher was born and went to school in Egypt.  She started training professionally at age 9 when she was 1 of 10 out of 1,000 to be accepted to attend the Professional High Institute of Ballet in Egypt instructed by Russian teachers.  In 1974, she moved to Montreal.  Here, the Grand Ballet liked her Russian style of dance so she continued to be in many productions such as the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Life of Strauss, Don Quixote, Gizelle and many others.  With a diploma to teach ballet professionally in the Russian Vaganova style, she teaches many group and private classes from which her students have gone on to great success.  Her dance education credits include The Academic Ballet School in Cairo, High Institute of Ballet in Cairo, Governmental Institute of Theatre Arts in Moscow, The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.  She has performed and taught with Ecole de Ballet de Danse Art de Montreal, Hungarian National Dance Academy in Budapest, Rainbow Stage Theatre in Winnipeg, McGill University, Les Ballets Russes de Montreal, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Cairo Ballet Company in Egypt. 

JESSICA YOUNG: Recreational Director

Jessica has been a member of Beyond The Barre Dance Company from the time she was 8 years old where she was trained in multiple disciplines both recreational, and competitive. Following her graduation as a dancer from Beyond The Barre, she took over our “baby” program at the studio, teaching all our youngest students. As a Registered Early Childhood Educator, and as a dancer herself, Jessica is able to foster the love of dance in our students, and has been able to help them shine as they discover the world of dance. She has gone on to train our “Munchkin Competitive Team” who have represented the studio as the youngest competitive dancers on the team, winning both overall and special awards at competition. Jessica’s goal is to help all students at Beyond The Barre find their love for dance, and create a family atmosphere for each and every one of our dancers. 


Brittney has been dancing since the young age of  three and began competing at the age of seven.  She has trained at multiple dance studios finishing off at Rhythm Plus Dance Co.  Training in multiple genres, she focused primarily on acro, ballet, modern, contemporary and jazz.  As both a competitive and recreational teacher, Brittney and her students have received multiple special awards and choreography awards at competition.  Throughout her training she has been molded by many inspirational teachers and has had many opportunities to further educate herself and grow as a dancer and instructor.  She was part of Team Canada in 2003, travelling to Boston and working with choreographers Alex Wong and Blake McGrath.  She also traveled to Poland for the jazz, ballet and modern team.  In 2012, Brittney joined the Dance Masters of Canada Chapter 38, taking part in different pageants and educational opportunities .  In 2015 she was announced as the new Miss Dance of Canada.  Brittney continues to promote her love of dance by teaching all different genres while continuing to further her own training.  She is a certified Acro instructor through Dance Masters of America.  Along with dance, Brittney is also pursuing a medical education to help further understanding of the human body to aid in her teaching techniques.  Brittney is excited to further promote the love of dance with her students and help them reach their goals.  "If you dance with your heart, your body will follow". 


Kendra started dance at a young age and found her passion in life.  Trained in modern, contemporary, hip hop, ballet and jazz she was able to continue her passion at George Brown College in their Dance Performance Foundations.  Since graduating, Kendra has performed across Canada and throughout the world including India, the Middle East and the U.S.  Kendra has been a member of many dance companies around Toronto including Toronto Aerial Dance Project, Grace 'N' Style and Black Magic to name a few.  She has also been a guest choreographer for the Toronto Hot Rock Dance Team as well as a performer and choreographer with the Hamilton Modern Dance Company under the direction of Dave Wilson.  She has created 2 full length shows for the Toronto Fringe Festival with her dance company Kinetic Elements.  Her choreography has been called powerful, electric and dynamic.  Kendra is a fully certified teacher in modern & urban dance through the Performing Arts Educators of Canada.  She has developed her own program called Decipher to use movement and dance as a tool to help young dancers recognize their strengths, build confidence and develop their self-esteem. 


Emily began dancing at the age of three and has been involved in the dance world ever since. She trained as both a recreational and competitive dancer for 15 years at Burlington Studio Dance, studying many disciplines such as ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, modern, contemporary and tap, and obtaining high marks in RAD ballet examinations as well as CDTA jazz and tap examinations over the years. Throughout her many years of competing Emily found a true passion for tap and chose to further pursue this discipline as she started her career as a teacher. With a drive to teach and improve technique, coupled with a meticulous eye for detail and cleanliness, Emily’s choreography has received numerous special awards, overall standings, top scoring placements in regional competitive dance showdowns, as well as winning Shine’s Intermediate Young Choreographer’s award in 2014. Alongside tap, Emily has also taught many jazz, ballet, lyrical and stretch and strengthening classes of varying ages and levels of difficulty including choreographing for annual recitals and Nutcracker performances.  Emily is currently pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology as well as a diploma in Fitness and Health promotion at the University of Guelph and Humber College. Her knowledge of the ways in which the human body functions and its limitations paired with her love for teaching and caring for others allows her to be a motivating and well-rounded teacher who encourages goal setting and reaching new levels in the dance field for all of her students.


Dustin is a competitively trained gymnast and dancer.  Beginning his acrobatic career in men's gymnastics at age 9, he won many overall awards at competitions across southern Ontario.  Dustin started his dance training when he was 13 In Brantford, Ont. at Dance Discovery under the direction of Carol-Ann Balicki-Bradley.  Then, at 16, he decided to continue his training at The Academy of Dance under the direction of Nancy English-Van Dyk.   He is highly trained in acrobatics, jazz, tap, ballet and lyrical and holds the titles of Senior Mr. Dance of Western N.Y. DMA Chapter 8 (1996) and Mr. Dance Canada DMA  Chapter 38 (2000).  He started dancing professionally when he was 17 and has performed around the globe on cruise ships, Canada's Wonderland (All Shook Up), Panda Dance Company's The Nutcracker, opening ceremonies of the Ontario Summer Games, Electric Circus, music videos, film and television.  As a coach and educator, Dustin has seen his students go on to perform on cruise ships, music videos, film , Cirque du Soleil & Rock of Ages (Las Vegas).  His choreography and creative concepts have won him and his students many special awards, overall high score awards & choreography awards.  Over the years, Dustin has been on staff at Rhythm Plus Dance Company(Stoney Creek), Bojangles Dance Arts (Kitchener) and Leeming Danceworks (Ottawa).  Dustin is also on staff at The Academy in Brantford and Let's Dance in Kitchener where he is also the acro choreographer.  Not only is Dustin a regular at various summer workshops and intensives, he is also a regular guest teacher at many studios.  For the past 2 seasons, Dustin has been an adjudicator for Bedazzled Dance Champions and loves it very much.  In 2012 Dustin became a member of Dance Masters of America and a certified acro instructor with Dance Masters of Canada Chapter 38.  "Live, Love, Breathe, Dance"

Lindsay has extensive training in all areas of the performance arts.  For more than 25 years, Lindsay has studied and obtained honours in several examinations in R.A.D. ballet, C.D.T.A. jazz, modern, lyrical, musical theatre, vocal and hip hop.  Aside from her extensive dance background, Lindsay's vocal abilities landed her a role as a cast member in the first CTV production of Pop Stars.  She also danced her way into a principle role in Bravo's The Vampire which was a nominee in Edmonton's international film festival.  Lindsay has also won many awards for her choreography at various competitions and in 2011 was awarded Shine's National Senior Choreographer of the Year.  She is always excited to create a breathtaking experience for her audience and students.  Lindsay has worked in all areas of stage from theatre groups, hair &  makeup technician to director of both stage and dance productions such as The Nutcracker.  In addition to her dance and stage credits, Lindsay has an impressive background in health and fitness training through Can-Fit Pro.  As a fully certified dance educator, Lindsay obtained her teaching certificate as full members of both C.D.T.A. and P.A.E.C.  She continues to take master classes in Toronto and L.A. and attends teaching seminars and workshops from coast to coast.
ALICE BURKE (Guest Teacher/Choreographer)

Alice Burke was born in 1971, in London, England. Daughter of Robert Wyatt (Songwriter and prog rock pioneer) and niece of Julian Glover (Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter) Alice was surrounded by an eclectic bunch of musicians, hippies, film actors and authors, Alice was destined for the Arts!  Her extensive career began at Harlow Ballet School. Leo Kersley, principal of Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet (first husband of Celia Franca) took Alice under his wing. This ensured a unique insight into the professional and traditional world of Classical Ballet. After training in mainly Cecchetti and Bournonville technique Alice also trained with The Royal Ballet School as a junior associate. Alice went on to graduate on a full scholarship from the 'London Studio of Performing Arts' studying ballet, jazz, contemporary and voice winning the ‘Triple Threat’ Award. There, Alice trained under such icons as Dame Alicia Markova and Dame Beryl Grey and went on to guest with several dance companies including 'London City Ballet’ and 'The Scottish Ballet'.

Alice has since enjoyed a diverse and successful career as a professional dancer, singer, actress and choreographer performing on stage and screen all over the Globe. Accolades include Dance captain and Production Singer for Carnival Cruise Lines, Magicians assistant for Alex Romenov, Lead dancer, Lead Adage and rehearsal Director for Bodywork Dance Co (Tours included Germany/The Netherlands/Thailand/Ireland/England). T.A for Pineapple Dance Studio London. Television credits include Front Row and Timmy Mallet (ITV England) as a Lead Dancer and Backing Singer for ‘Nigel Planer’and ‘The Dooleys’.  Theatre Credits include : Cassie - West End Tour of Chorus Line. Janet - Rocky Horror. Mungo Jerry – Cats. Donna Marie – Blood Brothers, Guest Artist Niagara Dance Co.  As a choreographer Alice has created several award winning works for several Dance Companies, Dance Schools and Theatre Companies.  Choreography Credits include: Narnia, Blood Brothers, Musical of Musicals the Musical. Plus many overall winners at several dance competitions. Alice is mostly noted for her ability to put a completely original spin on choreography, whilst honoring tradition with her knowledge and high dance vocabulary in all genres.  Alice has also been a respected adjudicator for several Dance Competitions in England and now Ontario. Inspiring new talent with her highly educated critique and kind and passionate encouragement.  As a passionate director, choreographer and teacher and loves to enhance the technique, discipline and heart it takes, to become a true professional artist. Having taught and directed in several countries around the world, from world renowned professional dance companies and dance colleges and schools to troubled and homeless teen programs, Alice is at home in the world of theatre. With her vast experience she is able to handle almost anything whilst keeping a calm head and sense of humour throughout ...Inspired to connect with our community through the Arts, Alice has also volunteered with The United Way, RAFT and Gillian’s Place to provide and facilitate Dance and Yoga (as a certified Yoga Instructor) for vulnerable children and adults throughout Niagara.  Past students are now flourishing in successful careers in Canadian National Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, other Ballet and Contemporary companies, Music Videos, TV and Film and London’s West End, to mention a few. Those went on to other careers have noted Alice's impact on their lives and carried it with them always. Alice is compelled to guide all students and their families to live a life enriched by the arts!