Unit #5 - 205 Champagne Dr, Toronto, ON info@masterdanceacademy.com

Faculty

MONICA GOTTARDO
Owner / Director / Educator

Certified and member of DEA (Dance Educators of America), DMA (Dance Masters of America), certified dance instructor with Dance and Gym USA and a proud graduate & member the PAA (Professional Adjudicators Alliance).

Monica Christina Gottardo is the founder and leader of Master Dance Academy. Her new facility opened in September of 2016 where she is excited to 'bring together' her knowledge and best experiences as an accomplished dance educator, mentor, director and award-winning choreographer. Her outlook and guiding principle for her dance academy are based on providing a professional atmosphere, fostering childhood development and nurturing sheer enjoyment of dance.

Monica has been committed to the art form for her entire life. Monica graduated from Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts with honours in 2002 majoring in Dance. Monica has been dancing since the age of three. She has studied with some of the most well-known dance instructors/master choreographers as well as professional schools throughout Canada and the United States. Monica trained and taught at various schools dedicated to the arts in her later years as a dance professional/Choreographer.

Her training has led her to dance professionally performing as a professional dancer with the first team of 8 dancers making team dancing for the professional baseball league The Toronto Blue Jays!

Prior to opening her dance academy in 2016, Monica taught dance for 12 years as a freelance dance choreographer. She has been named a top choreographer in the industry throughout dance competitions. Monica’s passion for teaching and love for kids led her to open her dance studio/company. She is MDA’s main progressions instructor as well as the schools Director.

Monica continuously is studying new teaching techniques and finding new ways to collaborate on the classic techniques with the most cutting-edge acrobatics arts. She prides herself in her teaching techniques as she has developed a way to break down each movement so that her students have a better understanding of their bodies and how to use them. Her students have been featured in films and on television, won top awards and scholarships, as well as agent representation, and have begun making a mark and turning heads in the industry in as little as a 2 years. Monica has also trained dancers who have been top 10 finalists on So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

Currently, Monica is on her way as a new young choreographer/rising up as a popular director/teacher/studio owner and offering a high level of dance education to many young dancers in North York, Ontario, Canada! Monica is proud and excited to share her love and knowledge of dance, art and life with all the talented dancers and competitors while judging local dance competitions as well as her dance students and families who attend her dance studio- Master Dance Academy!

Monica feels that dance will empower all of her students and any child/teenager who participates in learning the art of dance -to move forward in life and succeed in whatever lies ahead for each one of their bright futures. Her belief in dance as a comprehensive expression of athleticism, grace and skill, has created a studio that welcomes everyone and allows them to express themselves in a supportive and nurturing environment.

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BRI-ANNE ZUBICK
Recreational /Part Time Competitive Contemporary Choreographer and Acro/ Technique Instructor

Bri is a dancer and choreographer from a small town in southern British Columbia, Canada. Bri got her start as a competitive dancer which exposed her to many genres and sparking her love for movement. Bri has received many awards during her years as a competitive dancer such as overall highest scoring solos and adjudicators choice dancer awards. At these events she has also received many awards for her solo choreography. She has been able to train across Canada and the U.S learning from the industries best. Bri is a driven and passionate choreographer and performer.               Her career has consisted of several Live performances such as, The Rotary International Conference, performing for 25000 people and several charity events. Bri has also been featured on a local TV show called, The Seen showcasing her ability for Hip Hop dance, choreographed by Jessika Dobie. Bri has had the opportunity to train under Jesselee Santos, Kenzie Crosley as well as Samm Price.                                                                      We are all excited to welcome Bri-Anne to the MDA faculty for our upcoming 2018/2019 fall season.Bri -Anne is very passionate about what she does today and her main goal is to engage her students and ensure they are learning the essential skills to become technically amazing and breathtaking dancers. Bri-Anne would like to extend her appreciation to everyone at the Master Dance Academy for giving her this opportunity.  

SHANE SIMPSON
Actor / Dancer/ Tap , Jazz and Progressions Instructor
Dancing around the house at the age of seven, Shane would imitate music videos in front of friends and family. With an obvious desire to dance, Shane’s mother signed him up for lessons and they’ve never looked back. Shane trained at five different studios practicing hip-hop, acrobatics, lyrical, tap, ballet and modern. 

Shane says he would most like to follow in the dance steps of Gene Kelly.

Shane says his biggest accomplishment to date is making SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA’s Top 22. “Making Season 4’s Top 22 has showed me that hard work does pay off and I can do anything I put my mind to,” said Shane.

 Shane says he loves travelling and is extremely into fashion.
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JIA BRENT
RAD Ballet Instructor/PT Competitive Jazz Choreographer
Jia Brent started dancing at the age of three years old. As a young dancer, she trained in many different styles of dance. Since the age of 5, Jia has been competing and winning awards in both ballet and jazz. Jia has been training in ballet through the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus since she was five years old. Jia has successfully passed all of her R.A.D ballet examinations from R.A.D Primary to the second highest level in the R.A.D vocational syllabus, Advanced 2, with Distinction and High Merit. She has also completed her Society of Russian Ballet Intermediate exam with Highly Commended.

From 2009 to 2012, Jia trained at Canada’s National Ballet School for three years in the associate's program. Jia has trained with many well-known ballet teachers such as Johanna Hilchie, Ian Parsons, Cynthia Fisher, Barbara Chonin and many more. Currently, Jia is attending York University Dance BFA program in conjunction with Canada’s National Ballet School Teacher Training Program. Jia’s passion for teaching and her love of dance has created a vision to help each individual achieve their goal.
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JESSICA SAFTU
Junior Instructor/ Tap Choreographer

Jessica Saftu has been dancing for 14 years and has been training as a competitive dancer for 11 years. She is trained in, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Ballet, and Musical Theatre. Jessica also was an apprentice with the professional tap company Rhythm and Sound in 2017. Here she worked with artists, Johnathan Morin, Cori Giannotta, Ryan Foley, and Dianne Montgomery. Jessica is also a member of the pre-professional tap dance company, The Rhythm Ensemble found by Julianna Kelly. Throughout her competitive years, she has received numerous awards and scholarships winnings. To name a few, She is On The Floor’s 2017 Improv overall winner and 2018 1st runner up Improv overall winner, she is Radix’s 2017 “Cutting Edge in Tap” scholarship recipient, she was named the “Ultimate Dancer” at On The Floor in 2018, and was a Senior solo finalist at MOVE in 2018. With wishes to pursue a dance career, she is honoured to accept her offer for the Dance Program at York University. Her goal is to enhance her dance technique at a post-secondary level to give her the experience to touch and educate the dancers and artists of tomorrow. 

Nicole Samylin
Student Instructor/Master Stretch

Master Guest Instructors


BLAKE MCGRATH
Master Coreographer
Blake McGrath was born on November 21, 1983 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He is known for his work on So You Think You Can Dance Canada (2008), Britney Spears Live from Miami (2004) and 2011 MuchMusic Awards (2011). Blake McGrath has caught the attention of audiences around the world with his memorable and fiery jazz/contemporay performances.

This Canadian-born superstar danced and worked alongside some of the biggest recording icons in the world.
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MELLISSA SANDIV
Actress
Melissa Sandvig was born on April 30, 1980 in Torrance, California, USA. She is an actress, known for So You Think You Can Dance (2005), Eidola (2012) and Party Like the Rich and Famous (2012).

Melissa has been dancing for most of her life. She has danced with the Milwaukee Ballet Company, LA Opera, Long Beach Ballet and Helios Dance Theater. A highlight for Melissa was performing “Le Coeur Illumine” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
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ROMINA D'UGO
Actress / Dancer
Gemini Award Nominated actress/dancer Romina D'Ugo is a graduate of the prestigious triple threat Music Theatre Performance program at Sheridan College. Her career began when she graduated early to play a supporting role in the Universal Pictures film How She Move.

She became a household name when she earned a spot as one of the Top 20 dancers on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. She then went on to star opposite Justin Chatwin in the feature film, Funkytown.
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