The artistic staff at the Martha Hicks School of Ballet come from many diverse, professional backgrounds such as the National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute and other recognized dance institutions. The aim of our staff is to provide a positive and caring atmosphere as a background for learning the discipline of dance. Whether the student is 3 or 20 they will feel welcome and encouraged to explore the magic of movement. In addition to the primary instructors, many of our classes also have trained assistants who aid the teacher in demonstrating steps and technique as well as correcting the students. Professional pianists accompany and inspire every creative movement and ballet class.
MHSB also prides itself on a high level of administrative service to its clients. There are three full time staff members who work diligently to ensure parents are kept well informed of every aspect of their programs. Martha Hicks is always pleased to speak with parents who have any questions or concerns.
Martha Hicks was born in London, Ontario, where she began ballet lessons at the age of five. She continued her training in Toronto and upon completion of high school entered the full-time dance program at George Brown College.
After intensive training in ballet, modern, jazz and choreography, she was accepted into the Teacher's Training program at the National Ballet School.
In 1990 Martha graduated from the three year program with the school's honour of distinction and began teaching immediately. In September of 1992, Martha returned to the Lawrence Park area and opened her own school - The Martha Hicks School of Ballet. The school started with one venue and 60 students. Through love, dedication and hard work, Martha has built one of the biggest and most reputable schools in Toronto. Today MHSB has eight locations providing over 1000 aspiring young dancers with superb training in an energetic, caring environment.
A multi talented artist and performer, Ms. Andrew has been extensively trained in New York and Los Angeles and is pleased to be re-based in Toronto. Formally trained in acting, singing, and dance, Ms. Andrew is a graduate of the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, and is currently a member of the faculty. Along with numerous other professional theatrical accomplishments, Ms. Andrew is proud to have been an original cast member of the Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical ‘RAGTIME’. While on Broadway, Ms. Andrew performed in concert with Chita Riviera, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, Glenn Close, and Rosie O’Donnell.
Britanny LaRusic began her dance training at Truro Dance Academy in her hometown Truro, Nova Scotia. She completed the Teacher Training Program at The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts where she graduated with a diploma as well as her CDTA associate in ballet and jazz. Moving to Toronto to continue her training, LaRusic graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatres’ Professional Training Program in 2013. At TDT LaRusic has performed works by choreographers Marc Boivin, Rachel Browne, Peter Chin, Jennifer Dallas, Christopher House, Allen Kaeja, Louis Laberge-Côté, José Limón, Sharon B. Moore, Tedd Robinson, Julia Sasso, Heidi Strauss, and Darryl Tracy.
Since graduation LaRusic has become a Principal Barre certified teacher and has performed work by Michelle Silagy in the Soul Pepper Dance Awards. She currently teaches at The Young Dancers’ Program at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, at The Martha Hicks School of Ballet, and continues to work along side Michelle Silagy on an ongoing project, teaching children with disabilities at Beverly Public School.
Megan Nadain, a native of North Vancouver, British Columbia, is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, for which she received scholarships from the School, the Hnatyshyn Foundation and the BC Arts Council. She is a company member with Dancetheatre David Earle, and has worked independently with Darryl Tracy, Typecast Dance Company (Missy Morris), Toronto Heritage Dance and Event Horizon Dance (Miranda Abbott). Megan currently works as a rehearsal director for The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and as a dance teacher at Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Martha Hicks School of Ballet and several independent schools in Toronto.
Bio coming soon.
Jesse Hargraves started dancing at the age of three, and has now been a professional instructor, choreographer and dancer in and around Toronto for over seven years. Being in the industry during this time has given her opportunities to perform on television, in music videos, as a back up dancer for multiple singers and in live performances for many major events. For over two years Jesse performed around the southern United States and Caribbean in large production shows on Carnival Cruise Lines. She has gained vast experience as a versatile teacher, teaching both industry professionals as well as students at recreational/competitive studios and in workshops around the city. Jesse has also had the opportunity to choreograph for large events, including performances for clients at banquet halls, in high end restaurants, as well as a section of a show sheco-choreographed in "Panamania" for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Styles Jesse has professionally taught and performed in include hip hop, contemporary, tap, jazz, jazz funk, Las Vegas showgirl, Broadway, ballet (RAD level 2 certificate), acro, musical theatre, swing, country and samba.
Credits include: Cirque Du Soleil, Kardinal Offishall, The Tenors, Derrick Barry, Vita Chambers, Fito Blanko and more!
Emilio Colalillo is a graduate from Ryerson University receiving his BFA in Performance Dance in 2014. Upon graduation, Colalillo has both danced and choreographed internationally. He has danced for Corpus Dance Projects in Les Moutons, Nuit Blanche and A Flock of Flyers to Japan, Denmark, Sweden and Canada. He also dances for A2D2 where he performs in Toronto at various events and to Bermuda to perform an adagio hand to hand circus act. Colalillo won the Paula Citron Award at the Fresh Blood Festival in 2012 for his choreography with Samantha Raymond in their duet Avadita. Since then, Choreography has become a great passion of his where he founded in 2012 his contemporary dance company emiMOTION. His company has put on several avant-garde full length dance works here in Toronto including Laughter, Love and Lessons, Beauty, Survival, Touch of Psycho,Virilem and Luxuria. His company works have toured to India and USA. Colalillo also enjoys Musical Theatre. He has choreographed, Shrek The Musical and Footloose for Innovate Arts. He also choreographed Alice In Wonderland, Pinnochio, Aladdin, The Little Prince for Creativiva which toured to Singapore, China, Dubai and all over the UAE. Colalillo continues to create and choreograph for his company and other companies as a free lance artist. As a dancer he has worked with Newton Morraes in Testosterone, The Canadian Opera Company in La Traviata, Colin Connor for CCDT, Jeff Dimitriuo and Mark Samuels for PanAm and ParaPan Am Games, the MMVAs and 7Sould. He is also the co-founder of INVERSE - a dance festival that showcases two choreographers to create two new works. Colalillo plans on getting his Masters in Dance and to continue exploring the world.
Jamie is a trained hip-hop dancer who grew up in Toronto and a Martha Hicks Alumni. She started dancing at the age of 3 taking ballet, jazz, modern and hip-hop but fell in love with hip-hop and has been training in hip-hop ever since. She is a graduate from Queen's University where she was Co-President of FLOW Dance Club and a member of FLOW Performance crew. She has taught many kids hip-hop classes, an intermediate/advanced hip-hop class at university and has choreographed various performances, videos and competitions including the Ontario Universities Competition for Hip-Hop, Bring Your Own Beat, The Academy of Hip-Hop Dance Competition and the 7th Annual Dance Battle at Stages Nightclub. She has also performed in the Opening Ceremony for the Panam Games and currently dances with Toronto’s all female hip hop crew, BOSS Dance Company.
Syreeta Hector began her career with Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT), and is currently an independent artist. She is a proud graduate of The National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program and School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Most recently she completed her Master’s of Arts in Dance at York University. As the Artistic Director of The Identity Dance Collective, Syreeta creates work that explores the history and current characteristics of our country. This fall her choreography will be seen in the web series musical, Haunters. Syreeta gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts, and Ontario Arts Council’s continuous support in helping her develop as an artist, and establish her voice as a choreographer.
Michelle Dubinsky began dancing at 8 years of age and has not stopped since! She is trained in Acro, Ballet (both RAD and Cecchetti methods), Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Musical Theatre, Pointe and Tap dance styles. She won many medals and awards as a competitive ballet soloist. Michelle attended Earl Haig Secondary School, in the Claude Watson Dance program. During her studies at McMaster and Western Universities, she danced, taught and choreographed for their dance teams. Most recently, Michelle taught at Dance Steps and the YMCA in London Ontario. She is thrilled to be back at MHSB and excited to share her passion for dance with the students!