“Driftwood is a safe place where students can carve their own dance path, gain strong technique, create lifelong friendships, and strive to improve their personal best and artistry.”
Driftwood Directors, Laura Killeen + Jen Cole
Miss Laura Killeen, ADAPT
|Originally hailing from Ontario, Laura grew up dancing at the Burlington Dance Academy where she trained intensively in Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Tap and Lyrical, with considerable experience in Acro and Modern. Studying the Cecchetti Ballet syllabus her whole life from esteemed teachers Patricia Bradshaw, Paula Ramsay and Tania Infante, Laura completed her Advanced 1 Exam in 2003.|
|Through her teens, Laura was passionate about working with younger dancers as an assistant teacher and camp counselor. She had the privilege of doing both under the direction of her teaching mentor, Sarah Dempsey. Between 2006-2008, Laura served as the Director of Stagelight Musical Theatre Summer Camp, a comprehensive performing arts program for kids; a position she has excitedly resumed during summers at Driftwood, directing productions of Frozen (2014), Mary Poppins (2015), Wizard of Oz (2016) & Trolls (2017).|
|A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, Laura studied Psychology, while serving as a Residence Life Don to three diverse communities of first-year students. She was also a founding executive member of the Laurier Musical Theatre Club. Holding the position of Choreographer for four consecutive years, Laura worked on full-scale musical productions of Hair, Fame, Urinetown and Batboy, creating unique stage movement for each cast.|
|In 2011, Laura received her teaching certificate from the Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers with a focus in Jazz and Tap. With over a decade of experience as a respected dance educator, Laura has assisted students with exam preparation, choreographed for competitive groups and soloists, and has realized her particular love of working with toddler and preschool-aged dancers.
Before the studio was born, Laura spent two wonderful seasons working as the assistant studio manager for Marlowe Windsor at Dance Co in Vancouver. In July 2013, her life-long dream of being a studio owner was fulfilled by opening Driftwood Dance Academy with dear friend and fellow dance educator, Miss Jen Cole.
|Miss Laura furthered her studies at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle in 2015, successfully completing the two-week intensive Summer Dance Institute for Teachers. Under the brilliant guidance of Anne Green Gilbert and Dionne Kamara, Laura’s professional development was focused on Brain-Compatible Dance Education and Teaching Methods.
|This Fall, Laura will be working to complete her instructor certification in the Rhythm Works Integrative Dance program. Designed for those with individual learning differences and other special needs, RWID classes focus on skill development, self empowerment and celebrating diversity.
Miss Laura is sincerely proud of and thankful for the flourishing studio community and looks forward to sharing the gift of dance and all its benefits with her students during Driftwood’s fifth season!
Miss Jen Cole R.T. R.A.D, C.B.T.S, I.S.T.D, BFA (Dance)
Registered Acrobatique AcroDance Instructor
|Originally from Ontario, and graduating from York University BFA with honours in dance (2007), Miss Jen has called Vancouver home since 2009.|
|Miss Jen is a Registered Teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance, having completed the Certificate in Ballet Studies in 2014.|
|Thrilled to be partnered with Miss Laura Killeen at Driftwood Dance Academy, Miss Jen is so proud to watch DDA grow and develop. Driftwood Dance Academy is truly a place where the values of positive and healthy training are upheld to the highest degree, and where the joy of dance can be shared amongst the many families of the North Shore.|
|Miss Jen understands the importance of quality training and the influence a good teacher can have on emerging and passionate movers – and strives to live that role every day!|
|Before her Driftwood home, Miss Jen’s studies circled primarily around ballet and modern dance, beginning with Dianne Long at the Cambridge Theatre Dance School, and then with David Earle in Guelph, Ontario. Her involvement with the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts and The Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble, under the direction of Vitek Winzca, took Jen to Kiev as a dancer in the classical ballet, Snow White.|
|Jen has practiced and performed the aerial arts at the Toronto Circus School and Cirque Sublime, led by Decker LaDouceur, with focus on dance trapeze and long silks. She is currently studying to become a Registered Acrobatique AcroDance Instructor. She has been a student of Skinner Release Technique, facilitated by Julia Sasso in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.|
|As a member of York University’s Ensemble, Jen performed choreography by Holly Small, Susan Cash, and Darcey Callison, among others, winning her recognition with the Faculty of Fine Arts Opportunity Award, Juan Antonio Performance Award, Imasco Performing Arts Award, Grant Strate Award in Dance, the JP Bickell Foundation Award, and the Kondor Fine Arts Scholarship. She was also an original member of CollectiveHEAT, an all-female collective guided by Heather Saum. Jen has completed her Intermediate Exam with the Royal Academy of Dance, and her Advanced II with the International School of Teachers of Dancing, in both Modern and Jazz syllabi.|
|In 2011, Jen became Artistic Director of Give Me Brilliance, allowing her interest in ’emotive movement’ to inspire the creation of work that speaks to and about the glorious ‘every day’. Give Me Brilliance has performed at On The Boards in Seattle, The Scotiabank Dance Centre, Arts Umbrella, and at private functions all over the lower mainland. The company is in the midst of completing The Playlist Project, and has produced a short film entitled Rumpus.|
Laura Killeen, Courtney Cholette + Jen Cole
Miss Courtney Cholette
|Born and raised in Abbotsford BC, Miss Courtney graduated from Yale Secondary and has been instructing dance for the past 5 years.|
|Miss Courtney began training at the age of 6 in Hip Hop and Musical Theatre, and absolutely fell in love with dance. She continued her studies and began competing in Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Song + Dance, Modern, Contemporary, Tap, Lyrical Jazz and Hip Hop categories.|
|She has completed Royal Academy of Dance grades 1 – 8, with distinction. After her student years in the studio, she has furthered her experience by co-directing and performing with a dance crew based out of Abbotsford. In fact, Miss Courtney will take upon any opportunity to dance and perform.|
|Miss Courtney has attended multiple dance conventions to keep her skills current and learn from some amazing choreographers, and has recently completed a course held by the International Dance Teaching Standards (IDTS). Miss Courtney is excited to be able to help, motivate, and inspire young dancers to find their passion through the art of dance. It helped her tremendously as a young girl, to break through her shy exterior into a confident woman, and she wants to do the same for other dancers. She believes everyone deserves the chance to dance and to express themselves through movement and music.|
|Miss Courtney is thrilled to be a part of Driftwood Dance Academy!|
|Miss Ashley Berry|
|Originally from Edmonton, AB, Ashley began her official dance training at age 3. Her dance education took place at DanceCo Ltd. in St. Albert, and furthered by Victoria School of the Arts where she had the opportunity to take master classes with guests from around North America.|
|Ashley has received countless awards and scholarships including the prestigious Landmark Holmes scholarship. Her work at Victoria School was featured by the international baccalaureate as model achievement. Since completing two years in Simon Fraser University’s Contemporary Dance program, Ashley has choreographed for several independent films, arts collectives and charity events.|
|Ashley comes with six years of full time teaching experience at multiple dance schools across Western Canada, her choreography has been recognized at competitions and Ashley’s students consistency receive recognition for their technical and expressive performances.|
|Ashley has run teacher workshops, mentored student choreographers, assistant teachers and acted as a guest choreographer for students of all ages. Ashley has obtained a Junior Grades Teaching Certificate from the Edmonton School of Ballet, and has completed a Bachelor in Integrative Arts from Simon Fraser University with a minor in Educational Psychology.|
|Driftwood is excited to have Miss Ashley as part of our team this year!|