faculty

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.

Director

Martha Hicks

Martha Hicks

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.








Teaching Staff

Brigitte Grenier

Brigitte Grenier

Born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Brigitte Grenier has been performing on stage as a dancer since the young age of 5 years old. Performing and competing for over 18 years, she is trained in various disciplines such as Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Modern and Ballet. She continued to dance and teach younger dancers through her years at Laurentian University, where she graduated with a Human Kinetics Degree, specializing in Health Promotion. During this time Brigitte would travel to Toronto every summer to take workshops with leading dance professionals such as Marty Kudelka, Luther Brown, Siona Jackson, Stelio Calagias, Linda Garneau and Shawn Byfield.

It has been through her passion and love for dancing that Brigitte decided to pursue her career and lifelong dream as a dancer here in Toronto. Brigitte is currently part of the Toronto Argonauts Cheerleading team. Being a third year veteran, Brigitte has been awarded the role of captain this season where she will lead her squad through cheers and sidelines during the games and choreograph dances to be performed on field. Brigitte is also a part of the hip hop company The Honeykats with Dance Kraze Productions. Other professional performance include The Jamie Kennedy Show, Dance Ontario 07 and 08, Casino Rama and various corporate events within the city. Brigitte is thrilled and excited to be a part of the Martha Hicks School of Ballet teaching staff for her second year.



Alysha Lockyer

Alysha Lockyer

Alysha began her training in creative movement with the Royal Conservatory of Music at the young age of 3 and shortly after began ballet, theatre and modern dance classes at the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre. During her 15 years at C.C.D.T, she had the opportunity to perform all over Ontario as part of the young professional company.

After high school, Alysha was accepted into the 3 year professional training program at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre where she continued her studies in the Graham-based technique, ballet, Limon, Horton, African, contact improvisation, music and bouffon. In her 3 years, she had the chance to work closely and perform works by many of the industry’s top choreographers including Michael Trent, Julia Sasso, Danny Grossman, Holly Small, Sharon Moore and Sylvain Emard just to name a few.

Upon graduating, Alysha spent most of her time performing. She joined Lotus Urban Dance Company in 2004 where she performed in many of Toronto’s dance festivals, corporate events and fashion shows including Milk & Honey, A Choreographer’s Ball, Diesel/New Religion Fashion Show, Toronto’s Alternative Fashion Week, Stomp Urban Dance Show, and the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser. In addition, she was hired to work with the Italian contemporary dance company “Studio Festi” for the City of Toronto’s Live with Culture celebration.

Alysha has spread her passion for movement, music and physical fitness throughout many studios and fitness centers throughout Toronto. This will be her 10th year of teaching ballet, modern dance, hip hop and fitness to children and adults of all ages. She has worked for the Catholic District School Board, City of Toronto, Royal St. Georges, Upper Canada College, Sports Clubs of Canada, Glendon Athletic Center & Women’s Fitness Clubs of Canada. She is looking forward to another fabulous year at Martha Hicks!



Julia Gropper

Julia Gropper

Julia received most of her dance training in her native Germany. While the focus of her training always lay on Classical ballet (Vaganova based), she is also experienced in a variety of other dance techniques including Modern Dance (Limón and Graham in particular), Jazz Dance, Character, National (Folk Dance), Tap Dance and Ballroom/Latin Dance. As a member of the pre-professional Student Company with DanceCenter in Augsburg, Germany, Julia also had the opportunity to be part of an International Dance Exchange Program with schools in the USA, Canada and Turkey. Apart from being actively involved in performing in various classical productions as well as Musical Theatre, Julia began to discover her passion for teaching and choreography.

After a year of dance studies at the University of the Arts in Arnhem, Netherlands, Julia was accepted in 2009 into the 3 year Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) in Toronto. There, she not only continues her study of the Russian ballet technique and pedagogy, but also was introduced to the Cecchetti Method (ISTD) as well as the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus (RAD). She currently holds her ‘Advanced I’ in Cecchetti, RAD and National Dance. Furthermore, she obtained her Associates with the National Branch of ISTD. Julia is planning on taking her Advanced II exams in Cecchetti and RAD during her next and final year in the Teacher Training Program as well as the teaching qualifications with both, the Cecchetti Society and the Royal Academy of Dance (RTS).

“Teaching dance is not only about sharing my knowledge and love for dance and helping my students to be the best dancer that each of them can be. I found for myself that dance has taught me some indispensable life lessons and skills that have been incredibly valuable even in other parts of my life, far beyond the dance world – you never just teach the dancer, you always teach the whole person.”

Julia is very happy to join the staff at MHSB and is looking forward to an exciting year full of dance!



Jenna Lyttle

Jenna Lyttle

Jenna Lyttle began her dance training in the Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet at a very early age. After completing all of the Grade Examinations during her adolescence and complementing her ballet training with various dance forms such as tap, jazz and musical comedy, Jenna attended York University to major in Dance. Exploring the realm of modern dance, dance sciences, dance production as well as performance, she attained a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree with Honours. Upon developing a more specific focus in ballet and pedagogy, Jenna pursued her studies at The National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program where she graduated in 2005 with her Cecchetti Associate Diploma. Jenna is very excited to be a part of The Martha Hicks School of Ballet Teaching Staff and looks forward to all that the world of dance may bring!

  

 



Annie Cassar

Annie Cassar

Adept in several genres of dance including jazz, ballet, modern, contemporary, and tap, as well as having experience in hip-hop, Chinese Classical, and Bollywood styles, Annie is a versatile performer, choreographer and teacher.
 

Annie holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Specialized Honours in Dance from York University, and Associate teaching certificates with the British Association of Teachers of Dancing (A. B.A.T.D) in Ballet, Jazz, and Stage. She is also a qualified children’s yoga instructor under the Young Yoga Masters.

Annie has had the privilege of working professionally with several artists within the Toronto dance community including Courtnae Bowman, Emily Cheung, Mayila Dolikon, Danny Grossman, Ame Henderson, Lopa Sarkar, Rina Signa, and Xing Ban Fu. She has performed with such companies as Cadence Progressive Contemporary Ballet, The Little Pear Garden Collective, Xing Dance Theatre. She currently performs with Divine Heritage Artistry.
She has performed at venues such as the Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre, Princess of Wales Theatre, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Royal Ontario Museum, and The Betty Oliphant Theatre plus having danced in and choreographed for Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche, and International Dance Day.  She has also choreographed for Slackwood Productions musical Grow Up for talented triple threat children in the Kingston area. Her film credits include Divine Heritage Artistry’s Bollywood and Bhangra Instructional DVD (2009), and Universal Pictures’ feature film Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010). One of her proudest moments was performing extensively for internationally renowned, Berlin-based artist Tino Segal in his piece Kiss at the AGO.

Along with guest teaching workshops and dance camps throughout Ontario, Annie has a broad experience teaching children to adults, beginner to advanced in a fun, challenging and creative environment.

She excited to continue teaching at the Martha Hicks School of Ballet this season!
 



Kiyoko Makimura

Kiyoko Makimura

Kiyoko started her classical ballet training in Osaka, Japan, and continued in Toronto. She has studied Russian, RAD, and Cecchetti methods of ballet. She is a graduate of the three years Teacher Training Program in Professional Division at Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and also she studied in the Professional Development Program at Canada's National Ballet School. Kiyoko has completed the examinations for Cecchetti Advanced 2, R.A.D. Advanced 1, and National Dance Advanced 2. She recently up graded her Cecchetti teaching qualification to Licentiate with the Cecchtti Society of Canada, and she is also certified for National Dance with Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

Kiyoko has been teaching ballet for various age groups from young children to Adult, for recreational and competitive program in Toronto and the GTA. She has been teaching at MHSB since the 2007-2008 season.

Kiyoko is very happy to be part of the teaching staff of Martha Hicks School of Ballet.

 



Sarah McQueston

Sarah McQueston

Sarah McQueston is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and has also majored in dance at York University and Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo.  She has trained nationally and internationally in intensive settings with Doug Varone and Dancers, AHHA Productions Montreal, Peggy Baker Dance Projects and danced at the Bates Dance Festival.  McQueston’s professional career has taken her across the country to dance for Jasmyn Fyffe Dance, Ruth Cansfield Dance Company Inc., Lady Janitor, Artists’ Play Dance Theatre, Parahumans Dance Theatre and Debbie Wilson Productions.  As well, she has performed works by such notable artists as Molissa Fenley (New York), Danny Grossman (Toronto), Charles Gushue (San Fransisco), Christopher House (Toronto) and James Kudelka (Toronto).  She has also danced in the Toronto Fringe Festival, Dance Ontario Dance Weekend, DIMBY (Dance in My Backyard), Toronto International Dance Festival and on film for Bravo!FACT.  McQueston was chosen as an emerging artist in contemporary dance for the Young Center for the Performing Arts mentorship program in 2010.  She is also passionate about teaching and has taught in the dance department at Huron Heights Secondary School, The University of Waterloo, Toronto Dance Theatre’s Young Dancers Program, Dance Dreams School of Dance, the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and iDance. 

Sarah is excited to be a part of the teaching staff at the Martha Hicks School of Ballet.



Jody Osmond

Jody Osmond

Jody came to Toronto leaving behind the rocky shores and salt sea breezes of Newfoundland. She's been dancing since she could walk and singing since she could talk.

Since being in Toronto she has graduated from the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts triple threat program and played Lisa, a lead role in the hit musical "Mamma Mia!" where she also understudied the role of Sophie. She played the leads Winnifred in "Once Upon A Mattress" and Charlene in the world premier of the musical "Route 66". Not to mention having had the privilege of taking a Master Class from the late Gregory Hines.

Before coming to Ontario, in fact at the age of three, Jody found her love of dance playing a smurf in her year end recital. She continued her studies and later became a teacher at the Wanda Allix Dance Studio. Specifically studying Cecchetti Ballet, Tap and Jazz. She has performed at Epcot Center, workshopped in Disney World and with her Show Choir, won the gold medal in the International Show Choir Competition. Jody was able to express her love for singing and dancing and choreography for six years in Carl Goulding's production "Etcetera".

"J" has been teaching at MHSB for several years now and is excited to see what the next year has in store!

"Dance like there's nobody watching… sing like there's nobody listening…"



Maytinee Salyajivin

Maytinee Salyajivin

Maytinee is known at The Martha Hicks School of Ballet as Ice. Ice started dancing at age 4, at The Jaymar School of Dancing in Aurora, and to this day continues her relationship there as a teacher.

Before becoming a teacher, Ice was a full time student at The National Ballet School. During her time as a student at NBS she was selected to dance in the famous ballet "The Nutcracker", as well as various other company pieces. Ice graduated from the school in 1991.

She has now been teaching throughout the Toronto area for 9 years, and has taught at The Martha Hicks School of Ballet since 2001. Ice's unique style teaching, brings a challenging yet rewarding learning experience to her students. She is looking forward to another successful year at MHSB.