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

BEVERLY AITCHISON → BALLET

Beverley Aitchison was trained at the National Ballet School of Canada (ENBC). After dancing with the Pacific Ballet Theatre, she completed her teacher training ENBC with a scholarship from Heritage Canada to achieve its advanced educational studies. She is a certified Cecchetti method teacher, graduating on honor roll and with distinction. For 23 years, Beverley has taught in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal at the École Supérieure de Ballet Contemporain de Montréal. Additionally, she has hosted teaching conferences, co-authored training program curriculum. Beverley has been a visiting teacher and ballet mistress in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, England and Portugal. Since completing her master’s degree in dance at the University of Quebec in Montreal, Beverley has taught classes for the Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Cas Public, Marie Chouinard, O Vertigo, Cirque du Soleil and Springboard Danse Montreal. In 2010 Beverly as appointed the position of Associate Director of Programs at L’ecole Superieure de Danse de Quebec.

SHANNON GILLEN → CONTEMPORARY

 

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 LIBROIRON → BALLET

Francine Liboiron is a graduate of the École supérieure de ballet du Québec. She danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal from 1983 to 1985 and from 1990 to 1992, and subsequently, with the Joven Guardia Compania (Havana), Iso Dance Company (New York), Peter de Ruiter (Amsterdam), BJM Danse (Montreal), La La La Human Steps (Montreal), Sinha Danse (Montreal), Jane Mappin Dance (Montreal) and Kidd Pivot (Vancouver). She has sat on the jury for the Canada Council for the arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. She is also Vice-president of the Board of Directors of Diagramme Gestion culturelle, and is involved with the Dancer Transition Resource Center (DTRC). Francine is currently ballet mistress and rehearsal director for Cas Public.

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. 

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.

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.

MARGIE GILLIS → MENTOR AND 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.

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 performs confortably in many musical styles : jazz, blues, r&b, pop, rock, funk, hip-hop, trip-hop, reggae, folk, country, celtic, african, brazilian, middle-east, worldbeat. He plays percussion instruments from Cuba (bongos, congas), South America (cajon, tamböa), 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. He accompanies Montreal artists on stage and in the studio. He was a member of the Collectif CréArt (music, dance, circus, theater, slam) in 2009 for the 9th edition of the multidisciplinary show, Solidarythmé, during the closing of La 10ième Semaine d’actions contre le racisme.
Since 2012, he is a member and founder of the jazz quartet Blue Gypsy Swing (gypsy jazz-swing-blues-r&b) with Christine Tassan (acoustic and electric guitar), Olivier Babaz (contrabass and bass) and Anthony Lampron (piano and keyboards).
He is also a member of the Gypsy Swing Dance Band who performed for the first time in 2015 at the Rialto Theater for a public of swing dancers (produced by the swing dance school Cat’s Corner).
Since 2006, he is an accompanist in contemporary dance for Ballet Divertimento and has accompanied :
Amélie Rajotte, Sonya Stefan, Laurence Rondeau-L’Écuyer, Marie-Adeline Choquet, Ami Shulman, Rayco Cano Cortez, Marc Boivin, Eric Miles, Erin Flynn, Yamandu Delgado, Sasha Kleinplatz and Belinda McGuire during the Danse-Études Program and the intensive Summer Workshops. He accompanied Ami Shulman for the Springboard Danse Montréal (2012-2014).
He has been also an accompanist for : le Département de Danse de l’UQAM (with Johanna Bienaise, Dominique Porte, France Bruyère, Sarah Hanley, Jill Marving, Ginette Prévost, Sandrine Vachon, Jamie Wright, Kelly Keenan, Hélène Melançon, Manon Levac, France Roy); l’École Supérieure de Ballet du Québec (with Hélène Melançon, Jane Mappin, Eric Miles, Paul Bertrand, Edgar Zendejas, Gioconda Barbuto); l’École de Danse Contemporaine – LADMMI (with Anne LeBeau, Marc Boivin, Nathalie Blanchet, Sophie Corriveau, Sylvain Lafortune, Jamie Wright, John Ottman, Christine Lamothe, Tassy Teekman, Lucie Boissinot); the Département de Danse – Cégep de Saint-Laurent (with Caroline Cotton, Marianne Gignac-Girard, Jean-François Légaré); O Vertigo (avec Nadine Thouin, Catherine Viau, Jamie Wright, David Pressault, John Ottman); the Toronto Dance Theater with Christopher House; and l’Académie Flamenca (with Sarah Vincent) in flamenco dance.

ROBERT SWERDLOW → MUSICIAN

Robert Swerdlow has been an active member of the artistic community for over fifty years where he has contributed as an accompanist, composer, lyricist, producer and director. His musicals, dance compositions and theatre pieces have been performed by major companies and artists in North America and Europe. As an accompanist, Robert has worked with The National Ballet of Canada (and Canada’s National Ballet School), Ballet B.C., Les Ballets Jazz, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, La La La Human Steps, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera, Monte Carlo Classic Ballet, as well as with such international notables as Martha Graham, Merce Cunnigham, Alexandra Danilova, Anthony Tudor, Roland Petit and Agnes de Mille.