Each of the teachers had something different and helpful to say. It was a lovely combination of artists who wanted to give.
-Springboard Alum

AboutMaster Teachers

MASTER TEACHERS

SHAUN AMYOT → BALLET

Dancer/ Choreographer/ Rehearsal Director/ Stager/ Dance Educator
Originally from Ottawa, Shaun Amyot started his dance training at the School of Dance before attending Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS). A Canada Council Grant for emerging artists took him to Europe where he spent a decade working with Netherlands Dance Theatre (NDT) and Ballet Frankfurt. He collaborated with numerous ground breaking creators including Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, Hans Van Manen, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek and William Forsythe. He then conquered Musical Theatre in Toronto and on Broadway. Highlights include Ragtime, Annie Get Your Gun, Seussical, Cabaret and Chicago on Broadway and Sweeney Todd, Pelagie and The Overcoat for Canstage in Toronto. He has choreographed for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, the San Francisco Ballet School and most recently, Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS).
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He was a member of the Artistic Faculty at NBS from 2006-2017 where he taught Improvisation Technique, Contemporary Repertoire, and Ballet as well as managing the Career Planning Program and the Post Secondary Program. At NBS, he was also the director of the Stephen Godfrey Choreographic Workshop and the Creative Challenge and Co Artistic Director of the Assemblée Internationale 2017. He has staged the work of Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, Demis Volpi and Aszure Barton. Shaun is currently pursuing a freelance career in Montreal.

SHANNON GILLEN → CONTEMPORARY FLOORWORK

Shannon Gillen is the founder and artistic director of New York’s visionary new dance company VIM VIGOR. Gillen is one of NYC’s most sought after choreographers with an established and passionate audience following and commissions at prestigious national and international venues. Through a prolific body of work that galvanizes the body’s potential to express intellectual and emotional concepts, Gillen has pioneered a recognizable artistic language that possesses heroic physicality, electric emotional life, and cinematic imagery that illuminates and heightens the narrative imagination. She was recently championed by Deborah Jowitt as ‘vastly gifted’ and VOGUE Magazine called her work ‘mesmerizing’. Recent creations and educational commissions for Gillen include the B12 Workshops in Berlin, the Ruvuelo International Festival in Chile, with New Dialect in Nashville, the Lines Training Program in San Francisco, the University of Michigan, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Springboard Danse Montreal, Manhattanville College and VIM VIGOR’s summer program in August.

MARGIE GILLIS → IMPROVISATION TEACHER

Internationally acclaimed modern dancer/choreographer, Margie Gillis has been creating original works for over forty years. Her repertoire now includes more than one hundred pieces, which she performs as solos, duets and group pieces. Over the years, Margie Gillis has won over loyal audiences with her masterful interpretation of the different facets of the human soul. Relentlessly, she continues to develop her work through experimenting, teaching and creating all over the world. She has been spokesperson for a number of organizations dedicated to the fight against AIDS as well as for OXFAM, Planned Parenthood, and various environmental causes. She recently launched The Legacy Project to involve a new generation of dancers in order to ensure her important creative legacy.

STEPHAN LAKS →  CONTEMPORARY

Stephan Laks currently works with a range of dance organizations, in a number of roles. Since 2010, he has consistently been a Rehearsal Director with the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, as well shorter periods with the Royal Swedish Ballet. The most notable ongoing artistic associations as a performer, repetiteur, and choreographer currently include Sasha Waltz & Guests, Fernando Melo, Royal Research/Royal Swedish Ballet, Project Point Blank/Hokuto Kodama, and Springboard Danse Montréal. He currently sits on the Advisory Board of Springboard Danse Montréal.
After graduation from The Juilliard School in 2003, Stephan danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, the Göteborg Ballet (now the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani), and the Bern Ballet. He then began freelancing, working with a variety of choreographers, including Adi Salant, Aszure Barton, and Luca Veggetti. He also co-founded/directed Rumpus Room Dance (2006 – 2009), which was a platform for collaborative, site-specific dance installation (Dance Magazine’s 2010 “Top 25 to Watch”).

FRANCINE LIBOIRON → BALLET

Francine graduated from the École Supérieure de Ballet du Québec. In her performing career spanning about 30 years, Fracing worked companies including Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, LaLaLa Human Steps, and BJM danse. In addition to these companies, she also took a few detours to worke with independent choreographers Jane Mappin, William Douglas, Roger Sina, Richard Howard, Daniel Ezralow, and Peter De Reiter.
Francine has been teaching ballet for 25 years and was ballet master and rehearsal director for Cas Public for 4 years, from July 2014 to May 2018.
She is involved in the community, particularly with the DTRC, Diagramme Gestion culturelle (Vice President of the Board), and has sat on several committees with CALQ and ACC.
Most recently, Francine was assistant to Édouard Lock for his latest creation, The Heart Of August, for the Royal Ballet of Flanders, March 2018, Antwerp.

SHAMEL PITTS → GAGA

Shamel was born in Brooklyn New York. He began his dance training at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and continued, simultaneously, at The Ailey School. Shamel then went on to receive his BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and began his professional dance career with BJM_Danse Montreal and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance. Shamel continued his career with Batsheva Dance Company for 7 years.
He is a teacher of Gaga, the movement language created by Ohad Naharin, and has taught for both Batsheva Dance Company and Ensemble. Shamel has been on faculty for Movement Invention Project in NYC under the direction of Alexandra Wells. He has also been on faculty and a guest teacher at Netherlands Dance Theater Summer Intensive, SUNY Purchase, and The Juilliard School. Shamel created a poetic dance performance installation entitled, BLACK BOX: Little Black Book Of RED. 

ALISIA POBEGA → BALLET

Dancer, teacher, co-artistic director of LIBERAMÆ performance & films
Alisia Pobega completed her dance training in Montréal at L’École Supérieure de Ballet du Québec. In 2000, Alisia joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and would dance there for over 12 years, rising to a soloist ranking and performing in pieces by a wide range of international choreographers. She has also appeared in several dance films, Vivaldi: Le Violon Magique, Puccini: La Fin de la Voix , Liberamæ and BERTH. She is currently dancing as an independent artist performing principal roles with Ballet Ouest (Nutcracker), Skeels Danse Montréal (Remembering Giovanni, On the Path Toward Home and Rose of Jericho), and in Daniel Ezralow’s touring production, PEARL. She works with Montréal-based choreographer, Jane Mappin, and is also a member of The Legacy Project, directed by Margie Gillis.
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Along with Louis­Martin Charest, she now shares the artistic directorship of the dance/ film company, LIBERAMÆ performance & films.Their latest projects include a short dance film, To Build A Home and the development of two future works, Port Hope and La Perte. Together, they have also developed and teach a series of workshops: Presence and Interpretation Method For Dancers. Alisia also teaches contemporary and classical ballet, notably for Danse à la Carte, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, l’École supérieure de ballet du Québec, and Les Studios (Les Grands Ballets Canadiens).

AMI SHULMAN → CONTEMPORARY

Ami Shulman performed with Compagnie Marie Chouinard and with Jose Navas and was a rehearsal director for both companies. She has set works on companies such as the GoteborgsOperans Danskompani, the National Ballet of Canada and Ballet BC. Ami has worked with the Cirque Du Soleil and has been a movement director in theatre, for the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Grand Theatre Junction and Repercussion Theatre. She has choreographed installation works in collaboration with Movement Perpetual and Butch Rovan. Ami is a highly sought after teacher, her unique approach to mindful, anatomical relationships in movement has invited her to teach extensively including for places such as the Juilliard School, Jacob’s Pillow, the National Theatre School of Canada, the Rotterdam Danse Academy, amongst others. An Artistic Associate of the Springboard Project Montreal and a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, Ami is currently a member of the Dance-On ensemble, Berlin.

NEIL SOCHASKY → CONTEMPORARY FLOORWORK

Since 1999, Neil Sochasky has been working as a dancer and teacher. As a performer, he has performed for choreographers Sylvain Émard, Christopher House (TDT), Micheal Trent (Dancemakers) and Ginette Laurin (O Vertigo). As a trainer and coach, he worked with Pavlov Company (Paris, France), TransAtlantic (Paris, France), Naranja Company (Paris, France) and Delicate Beast (Montreal). His own creations were presented in Paris and Los Angeles.
His understanding of the dancer’s technique and training was strongly influenced by his personal experience of injury rehab and some congenital physical limitations. Having worked with movement experts in both western and eastern traditions, Neil developed a sharp analytical and synthetic mind that overcame significant wounds and skeletal anomalies and then toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia and North and Central America for some of the most recognized contemporary dance companies in the country. His knowledge of technique applies to classical, modern and contemporary dance. He was a facilitator for and participated in program design at the Aekuus Center in Montreal.

ALEXANDRA WELLS → IMAGE TECH© AND BALLET

As Principal dancer of the Ballet National de Nancy, Alexandra Wells toured the world and formed lasting partnerships with the late Rudolf Nureyev for six years and Patrick Dupont for four. Upon returning to North America, she was appointed Rehearsal Director with Ballet Hispanico. In 1995, she was invited to join the Faculty of l’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec. Since 1998 she has been a full-time faculty member at The Juilliard School as well as a guest teacher and curator for companies all over North America. Alexandra co-founded Springboard Danse Montréal in 2002, and has been the Artistic Director for the last fourteen years. In 2009, she created the Movement Invention Project as an extension of the New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble. Alexandra has also spearheaded The Margie Gillis Dance Foundation’s Legacy Project/Projet Héritage under the Springboard umbrella.

ACCOMPANISTS

TOM MENNIER → MUSICIAN

Tom Mennier is a keyboardist, teacher, performer, producer, arranger and composer based in Montreal, Canada. He has performed and/or recorded with international artists including Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Antony Hegarty, JC Hopkins, Amy Moses, Lou Reed, and Laurie Anderson. He has also worked in theatre (National Theatre School, Segal Centre, Charlottetown Festival, Banff Centre) and scored for film, including “Unpublished”, by Oliver Olsen, «Serveuses Demandées» by Quebec director Guylaine Dionne, ‘Frenching’ by Quebec animator JC Little, and various independent projects. Currently, Tom devotes much of his time to recording and producing local songwriters, composing and teaching.

FRANCIS POMERLEAU → DRUMMER/PERCUSSIONIST

Versatile and mostly self-taught, he plays drums in many musical styles: jazz, blues, r&b, pop, rock, funk, hip-hop/trip-hop, drum’n’bass, reggae, afro-cuban, brazilian.
He plays percussion instruments from Cuba (bongos, congas), South America (cajon), North and South Africa (tar, djembe, tamböa), and Ireland (bodhran); he also uses a collection of other percussion instruments from diverse origins to enrich his sound effects and his playing.
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Since 2012, Francis Pomerleau accompanies Ami Shulman in her master classes for Springboard DanseMontréal.
He is a percussionist accompanist in contemporary dance since 2006 and he has played for: Ballet Divertimento (with Amélie Rajotte, Sonya Stefan, Chantale Desgroseillers, Eric Miles, Erin Flynn, Ami Shulman, Marc Boivin, Lea Ved, Zachary Tang, Belinda McGuire, Laurence Rondeau-L’Écuyer, Marie-Adeline Choquet, Sasha Kleinplatz, Rayco Cano Cortez, Yamandu Delgado); Département de Danse de l’Université Concordia (with Angélique Willkie, Isabelle Poirier, Sara Hanley, Caroline Laurin-Beaucage, Erin Flynn, Daniel Villeneuve, Kelly Keenan, Alanna Kraaijeveld, Charles Koroneho – Nouvelle-Zélande); Département de Danse de l’UQAM (with Johanna Bienaise, Dominique Porte, France Bruyère, Sara Hanley, Jill Marving, Ginette Prévost, Sandrine Vachon, Jamie Wright, Kelly Keenan, Hélène Melançon, France Roy, Manon Levac, Anne LeBeau); École Supérieure de Ballet du Québec (with Alisia Pobega, Louis-Martin Charest, David Rancourt, Hélène Melançon, Jane Mappin, Eric Miles, Paul Bertrand, Marc Boivin, Edgar Zendejas, Gioconda Barbuto); Département de Danse du Cégep de Saint-Laurent (with Véronique Dupuis, Caroline Cotton, Jean-François Légaré, Marianne Gignac-Girard); École de Danse Contemporaine de Montréal – ex-LADMMI (with Anne LeBeau, Marc Boivin, Nathalie Blanchet, Sophie Corriveau, Sylvain Lafortune, Jamie Wright, John Ottman, Christine Lamothe, Tassy Teekman, Lucie Boissinot); Centre de Création O Vertigo (with Nadine Thouin, Catherine Viau, Jamie Wright, David Pressault, John Ottman); TransFormation Danse (Danse à la Carte) with Caroline Laurin-Beaucage; Studio 303 (with Charles Koroneho – New-Zealand); Ballets Jazz de Montréal (with François Chirpaz, Cyrille de la Barre); Toronto Dance Theater (with Christopher House); Martha Graham Dance Company (with Lloyd Knight); and Académie Flamenca (with Sarah Vincent) in flamenco dance.

He was the cofounder and percussionist of the collective Métanimaurphoses, incorporating contemporary dance, music and Amerindian tales, with Marie-Adeline Choquet (dance / choreography), Marie-Noëlle Choquette (flutes) and québécois-abénakis Sylvain Rivard (tales), which performed at La Sala Rossa (2010).
He was a member of the Gypsy Swing Dance Band which performed at the Rialto Theater (2015) for an audience of swing dancers, and at the Cat’s Corner swing dance school (2016).

In 2012, he founded the jazz quartet Blue Gypsy Swing (gypsy jazz-swing-blues-r&b) which performed in various clubs in Montréal, and at the Montréal International Jazz Festival (2013).
He accompanied Montréal artists on stage and in studio such as: guitarist Christine Tassan (jazz manouche), Auresia (reggae-world), Laetitia Zonzambé (soul-r&b-funk-world), singer-guitarist Michael Reinhart (folk-world), and Robin Gorn (folk-country-r&b-jazz).
He was a member and cofounder of the Montréal pop-rock band SoulCirkus, from 1990 to 1994 (CD: Love, Spear & Injection – 1992).