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Meet the Teachers

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Melanie began ballet lessons in her hometown, Harriston, 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 and choreographers 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 those offered at The National Ballet School. She is one of the only two Canadians certified in the Maor Placement Technique - a unique training method which helps dancers discover a full range of motion in “turn out”, increased flexibility, and a strong sense of balance. She is also a certified Acrobatic Dance instructor (AAC), and a fully qualified member teacher of International Performing Arts and Theatre.


Melanie has successfully trained many students for dance exams and competitions and has received numerous awards for her choreography. She encourages her students to keep striving, to appreciate all accomplishments large and small, and to always laugh and enjoy themselves - especially when things are challenging.

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Ms. Karen 


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.

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Ms. Clare

Clare Cashin has been dancing for over 13 years.  She is experienced in many different genres of dance including Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Musical Theater, Hip-Hop, and more. She has been a part of 10 musicals, one being the production of Anne of Green Gables performed at the Center in the Square. Clare has taught dance for the Drayton Skating Club and has volunteered as a camp counselor for ByDesigns summer arts camp. She has performed at local Canada Day celebrations & Drayton Entertainment's annual fundraisers.


Clare aims to encourage and support her students while creating a welcoming and energetic atmosphere in class. She helps students to push themselves and develop dance skills in a fun and effective way. Clare considers Minto Dance Academy her second home and is excited to help students express their love for dance.

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