mhsb teaching staff

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 University, York University 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 - director

Martha's Bio

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.

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Julia gropper

Julia's Bio

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 had the opportunity to be part of an International Dance Exchange Program with schools in the USA, Canada and Turkey. Apart from being 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 where she extensively studied both the Cecchetti (ISTD) and Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabi and pedagogy. Julia then went on to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at York University with a second major in Psychology.

This is Julia's 9th season with The Martha Hicks School of Ballet and she is looking forward to continue to share her passion for ballet and pass on her knowledge to her students, old and young!


tanya kosanovic

Tanya's Bio

As a child, Tanya Kosanovic studied RAD and the Vaganova method of ballet, but ultimately found her home in Cecchetti at The Martha Hicks School of Ballet. It wasn't until she became a student under Ice and Martha Hicks herself, that Tanya was introduced to a combination that she found lacking elsewhere: this being an emphasis on strong technique delivered in an encouraging manner. And thus, Tanya was thrilled when asked to join Martha's eclectic staff: endeavouring to continue in the tradition of great teaching in a warm and supportive environment.

Tanya Kosanovic is utterly devoted to the arts! She is a graduate of York University, achieving an honours double major in English Literature and Creative Writing. She is a poet who is published is Existere magazine, a recognized piano teacher with The Royal Conservatory of Music, and also holds her Black Belt rank with the Ronin Kai Karate Federation. More recently, Tanya has been certified in the Principal Barre method of fitness under Christie Ness and Heather Ogden, principal dancer with The National Ballet of Canada. Currently, Tanya is continuing her studies at Canada's National Ballet School in the Professional Development Program in order to further inspire and challenge her students with a necessary Cecchetti flare!

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Emily Rapley

Emily's Bio

From Simcoe Ontario has been studying dance with a focus on contemporary, modern and ballet. She has had the privilege to train and perform with Ballet Jorgen, and ProArteDanza, and has performed in original works by, Carol Anderson, Susan Lee, Michael Greyeyes, Allison McCaughy, Jasmyn Fyffe and Roberto Campanella. Emily graduated from York University with a BFA in dance, specializing in choreography and performance. Currently she is working on original work as well as practicing and performing in the Toronto dance community.

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Krista Newey



Jessica Germano



Katarina Tyson-Wallace



Mackenzie Little

Mackenzie's Bio

Mackenzie grew up in Lindsay, Ontario where she was trained in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, national dancing, highland dancing, hip hop and musical theatre. After 15 years of training in Lindsay, she then decided to attend the 5 year joint program with York University and Canada’s National Ballet School- Teacher Training Program. Mackenzie is now a recent graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School with her RTS in Royal Academy of Dance and is teaching ballet regularly. In 2019, Mackenzie will be graduated from York University with her BFA Honours in Dance Education.

In 2015, Mackenzie worked with David Leventhal from Mark Morris Dance Group to receive her certification for Dancing with Parkinson’s. She now regularly teaches people with Parkinson’s and dementia. She has also been involved for many years with The National Ballet of Canada’s production of The Nutcracker, recently with the position of rehearsal assistant This consisted of helping set the battle scene for students to perform with the company at the Four Seasons Centre.


Colin Ougler

Colin's Bio

I am a Dance Instructor currently located in Saint John, New Brunswick and working often in Toronto. I was on the and had come across your advertisement for teaching positions for the 2019-2020 season.

I have been instructing dance classes since 2009, teaching students from the ages of 5 through into adulthood. I have studied Recreation and Sport Management, Kinesiology, Psychology, Business Administration, and Physical Education through the University of New Brunswick, which allowed me to develop the skills required for many aspects of the dance industry, such as studio and personal management, administration, effective instruction, and various business skills specific to sport and recreation program development.

My overall training in the styles of jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, heels, and jazz funk. I have recently spent a few months in Toronto to explore the dance industry and was presented with opportunities such as substitute instructing and taking classes at numerous studios, training often at Millennium Dance Complex and The Underground Dance Centre.


Michelle Dubinsky

Michelle's Bio

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!



Sarah's Bio

Sarah Jean began dancing at 5, studying Cecchetti ballet and taking exams at The National Ballet School of Canada, she obtains her Intermediate in Royal Academy of Dance. Being accepted into Randolph College of Performing Arts lead her to Toronto studying under the Intensive program where only 120 students attend at a time.

After graduating Sarah did many theatre and music theatre shows performing at venues such as the "Al Green Theatre" "Buddies in Bad Times" "The Papermill Theatre" and various dance clubs around the city. Moving into TV & Film over the years some credits include "Slasher" (Netflix) "Paranormal Witness" (SYFY) "Motives and Murders" (OWN) as well as Bell Media, CBC, History Channel and WE Charity.

Sarah has also been busy creating her own work through writing and producing over the years which has been screened at some of Toronto's top Film Festivals, ROGERS TV, OUTtv, Blog TO and the cover of "NOW" magazine.

Sarah began teaching in her hometown studio, creating after school dance programs and choreographing music theatre shows at 16 years old and continued teaching dance, kids yoga and music theatre programs throughout Toronto.

This is Sarah's second year teaching at MHSB and is excited to challenge, grow and dance with you this year!


Cherisse Williams


AJ Simmons

AJ's bio

Award winning dancer, choreographer and actor, AJ Simmons, has taken his skills across four continents across theatre, film, television and commercial platforms. He’s a champion Bboy/Hip Hop dancer and a UK tap dance champion title holder with his brother Benjamin. Having taught dance and choreographed alongside his performing career that has spanned to roles such as DANNY ZUKO in Grease, PEPPER in Mamma Mia! International Tour and TONY MANERO in Saturday Night Fever North American Tour, he has currently settled in Toronto where he shares his styles internationally, commercially and privately across many mediums.

SELECTED CHOREOGRAPHY CREDITS ‘Just Kept Walking’ – Music Video – Blahzay Creative INC ‘Blowing Smoke’ – Music Video – Blahzay Creative INC ‘Expression’ – T.V Movie – CHANNEL 4 UK/Random Acts ‘Swing Kids’ – Movie – ANNAPURNA PICTURES (additional choreography)

SELECTED STUDIO CREDITS Italia Conti Academy, London UK – Guest Choreography/Tap/Jazz/Breaking/Hip Hop Kilburn School of Dance – Guest Competitive Choreographer Jazz/Tap/Hip Hop Randolph Academy of Arts, Toronto – Guest Choreographer/Jazz World Performers Canada – Guest Audition leader/Teacher CDM – Former Resident Tap Teacher/Guest Competitive Choreographer/Hip Hop Metro Movement – Resident Tap Teacher City Dance Corps – Resident Tap Teacher University College London – Guest Breaking/Hip Hop choreographer



Avery Dupuis

Avery's Bio

Avery grew up in Edmonton, Canada where she competed at national dance and singing competitions from a very young age. She previously trained at the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts in Toronto where she won the prestigious Triple Threat Award and distinction in her Diploma in Musical Theatre. She then went on to achieve her Masters in Musical Theatre Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and shortly after graduating began teaching Tap, Jazz, Choreography and Body Conditioning to the masters and bachelor degree students. In 2017, Avery was appointed Head of Dance at the Stardust Academy for the Performing Arts in Amman, Jordan where she choreographed and co-directed the Academy's end of year performances of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Beauty and the Beast. She is currently based in Toronto, ON and works as a choreographer, co-director, creative assistant and dance educator.