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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. 


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". 


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.


Jennifer Lennie has over 25 years of dance experience in a variety of styles including ballet (R.A.D. and Cecchetti), jazz, and modern. She completed her training at the Edmonton School of Ballet where she achieved her Intermediate Level in Cecchetti ballet.  Jennifer was a member of the Edmonton Festival Ballet, performing classical and contemporary ballets throughout Alberta, including Swan Lake, Peter and the Wolf and Alleged Dances at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. She also has an H.B.Sc. in Ecology and Geography from the University of Toronto, and was a member of the University of Toronto at Mississauga Dance Team.  Jennifer has taught ballet in Caledonia and Stoney Creek, Ontario and is now excited to join the team at Beyond the Barre. She brings with her a passion for the performing arts, and dedication to helping each dancer reach their full potential. 


Beatrice received her dance education at Lois Laxton Dance Studio where she completed her advanced PAEC examinations in ballet, jazz, and tap. In 2014, Beatrice began teaching at the studio at both a recreational and competitive level in the styles of ballet, jazz, tap, acrobatics, hip hop, and musical theatre. As a member of ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), Beatrice has appeared in television shows such as “How to be Indy” and “Skatoony” and commercials for Canadian Tire, Maple Leaf Chicken, and Smart Bread. In addition, Beatrice has played the roles of Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables, and Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Beatrice is very excited to begin a new chapter of her dance life and share her love of dance with the Beyond the Barre family!


Miguel found his passion for dance at a young age, and has been able to teach and inspire young dancers all over the world. He is one of the most sought after hip hop choreographers working today. Miguel has choreographed for the Emmy award winning television series on PBS ‘Odd Squad’ and ‘Odd Squad: The movie’. He is on the Dance Attack workshop and student expo faculty and the Co-founder and Choreographer of the hip hop crew ‘The ARTillery’. Which placed 1st at World of dance Michigan 2018 and 3rd at the Beatdown in 2016. Miguel is also the choreographer of the youtube sensation dance crew ‘3rd motion’. Miguel choreographs numerous award winning routines all over Canada, some of the awards include; Top choreographer, Top soloists, Top duet/trio, Top scoring routine, and Top scoring hip hop routine to name a few. Miguel continues to develop his technique and refining his talents by training all over Canada and USA.  Miguel was the assistant choreographer for the 2011 Canadian national hip hop team, and was a performer with Airtight Entertainment. He mentors his students with a fundamental message: with hard work and dedication, anyone can achieve greatness.   Miguel has had the opportunity to take his talents worldwide including Trinidad and Tobago instructing dance and Afro Caribbean drumming. He always takes time to give back to the community by volunteering at orphanages sharing his many joys and talents with others. He always encourages his students to get involved in different community projects as it builds the passion they have for dance.


Emmalyne found her passion for dance at the young age of three.  Her love and commitment for the art of dance has continued ever since, thanks to Lindsay Campagna, Melissa Bock and many others. Emmalyne has trained extensively in Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Acro, Tap, and Hip Hop.  Emmalyne has been a competitive dancer since the age of 10 and has challenged herself to take her success to the next level by attending The Conteur Academy in Toronto, Ontario. This two year program has allowed Emmalyne to continue to study and train beyond her formative years in the studio.  She has continued to grow technically and hone her skills and gain a portfolio of knowledge to aid in professional opportunities. While at The Conteur Academy, Emmalyne has studied Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Floor, Pilates, Yoga, and Partnering. She has studied under the expertise of Eryn Waltman, Kelly Shaw, Dani Matte, Ryan Lee, Nicholas Eichenberger, Julia Cratchley, Sheona Bell, Jacqui Wells, and Scott MacDonald.  Emmalyne graduated The Conteur Academy in June 2018, and is ready to share her knowledge with others.  Emmalyne is certified from the Royal Academy of Dance in Intermediate Ballet, and Elementary Jazz from CDTA.  Emmalyne has had the privilege of attending many workshops and intensives in order to further grow as an artist, such as Fresh Dance Intensive, Move Dance Convention, Nuvo Dance Convention, Intrigue Dance Intensive, and The Joffrey Experience NYC. Emmalyne is overjoyed to be teaching at Beyond The Barre and looks forward to inspiring the next generation of dancers.