Meet the Teachers
Melanie April grew up in Harriston where she began ballet lessons at the age of four. She went on to train in several additional dance styles for many years and especially enjoyed taking dance intensives with professional contemporary dancers each summer in Montreal.
Melanie attained an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Waterloo, and has attended many teacher training workshops and courses such as ADAPT and those offered at The National Ballet School. She is one of the only two Canadians certified in the Maor Dance Workout (MDW), (a dynamic and unique training course which builds strength, flexibility and a strong sense of balance), and is also a certified Acrobatic Dance instructor (AAC). She is known for encouraging all of her students to have fun and keep striving, and for her loud and excited dance teacher’s voice. :)
She loves teaching in her hometown and seeing many familiar (and new!) faces.
CDTA, DMA, IADA
Karen Prior-Cashin has touched the lives of many students over the years. She has co-owned and directed many competitions including DMA Chapter #43 Pageants and Performing Arts Competitions, American Dance Awards the Canadian Tour, Starmaker Dance Festival, Dance Dance Dance, and Dance Dance Canada. Her goal is to create a positive experience for everyone involved.
Through Dance Dance Canada, Karen created, directed and choreographed the DDC ShowTeam that performed a variety show in Costa del Sol, Spain in 2006 and toured in 2007 with Monarch Classic Cruises.
She has been a teacher and choreographer for The Summer School of Performing Arts at the Center in the Square.
Karen teaches at various dance studios, all ages and all levels. She especially likes teaching the adult classes.
Karen has been involved in dance all of her life. She started dancing at the age of 3yrs old and competed & performed until she went to Sheridan College for Musical Theatre. She has been a competitive dance teacher for over 30yrs and has judged for many organizations across Canada and the U.S. Headliners, ADA, DDD, BDTA, Bedazzled, Kiwanis Festivals, DMA US State Pageants, Dance Odyssey, Let's Get Loud, and many more.
She has won numerous awards for Costuming, Choreography and Performance.
Karen's favorite place is the theatre. She works with schools and musical theater companies as their director/choreographer and has collaborated on over 30 musicals.
Julia Gray lives just outside of Harriston and has been a dancer at Minto Dance Academy for 13 years. She is a grade 12 student at Norwell DSS.
She has always had a passion for dancing and all things active. She has completed the Advanced Foundations level of ballet through the Royal Academy of Dance, and has danced competitively. Julia has studied many styles of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, and musical theatre. She has many years of experience working with children in dance as a class assistant. Julia also worked as an instructor and choreographer at summer music and dance programs. She is a familiar face around the Grey-Wellington Theatre Guild. She is very excited to start teaching at MDA!