Our Staff are our Reputation!
The professional dance faculty at Premiere Dance Academy ensure a fun, safe, creative and technically strong environment for the students. For the parents we offer a pleasant and professional studio experience.
Lisa Svecla, Artistic Director and Owner, along side of her qualified dance faculty promise a caring, focused and challenging experience for all students.
PDA office staff are friendly and helpful and are there to assist a great experience and answer any questions you may have
Dance Teachers at Calgary's Premiere Dance Academy
For more information on Premierer's dance faculty at the studio, please choose a name below.
- Lisa Svecla
- Debbie Black
- Angela Benson
- Arlene Bernie-Brown
- Jennalee Colpitts
- Jessica Ferguson
- Kira Greasley
- Jamie Harding
- Alexandra Joneson
- Ali Kaschuk
- Shersht Lamba
- Olive Lindberg
- Jamie MacNeill
- Gillian Mayhewr
- Madison McArdie
- Emily Mckay
- Jennifer Regan
- Lysia Smandych
- Irene Weatherilt
- Sam Wong
- Lisa Svecla
- Todd Svecla
- Laurie Baines
Lisa Svecla - Artistic Director & Owner
As a dancer her entire life from the age of 4, Lisa began her teaching career in September of 1983. She began teaching at Premiere Dance Academy in September of 1984 and in September of 1999 she became the Owner and Artistic Director of the studio.
The 2008 - 2009 dance season marked a huge Anniversary for Lisa - her 25th season with the studio - and she is thrilled to be able to still be here doing what she loves best: working with the dancers, creating new pieces, watching the dancers grow into amazing people and using their talents and their passion for her first love too ... dance!
Lisa keeps very busy with teaching, adjudicating, choreographing and her two daughters who are competitive dancers and adjudicating from coast to coast in Canada.
Premiere Dance Academy students have won many awards and recognition for their routines. Lisa is proud of each and every student, teacher and choreographer for all of the outstanding work and efforts made every year at the recitals and competitions.
Many of the dancers from Premiere Dance Academy are now performing in Las Vegas, on cruise ships, in MTV videos, ballet companies and in many other facets of the performing arts.
Lisa also choreographed the opening ceremonies of the World Police and Fire Games (1997), and holds the position of co-director for the Hats Off Management Group. Hats Off has produced many dance and singing shows such as the Calgary Junior Singing Idol, and other performances.
To help create well-trained assistant and student teachers, Lisa wrote the Calgary Board of Education Accredited Student Dance Teacher Training Program. This student teaching program gives dancers a better base of knowledge to become well-rounded and prepared dance instructors. In 2010 she added the Student Apprentice Program to Premiere Dance Academy's teaching program.Collapse
Paige Lewington began Celtic dancing at the age of four and fell in love. Connecting with her Irish heritage since a young age, Paige has competed in numerous competitions over the years, being part of two dance academies, and making it to the national level. Paige has continued to love Celtic dance while going to the University of Calgary to study Psychology and Nursing. Paige is thrilled to start her teaching career at Premiere Dance Academy beginning in fall of 2015 to share the art of Celtic dancing.Collapse
Gillian grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, training at Sandra Gray School of Dancing. She accomplished training in Grade 8 Al Gilbert Tap Technique and has her master’s in Vaganova Ballet. With dance she has had opportunities to train outside of the country, in places such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Spain. She has trained at studios and conventions such as the Edge Performing Arts Center and Millennium Dance Complex in LA as well as Steps on Broadway, Alvin Ailey and New York City Dance Alliance in New York City. She has learnt from top Choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, Benji Schwimmer, Bobby Newberry, Sonyah Tayeh, Shannon Mather, Blake McGrath, just to name a few. Upon graduation Gillian began teaching at Sandra Gray and has choreographed numbers that have won countless overall titles and choreography awards.Collapse
Debbie is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) and a member of the W.R.D.A.A. She began teaching at Premiere Dance Academy in the 1999 - 2000 dance season.
Debbie trained in Calgary at the Allan Cozzubbo Academy of Dance where she taught ballet, tap and jazz for 22 years.
Over the past few years Debbie has taught at several studios in Calgary.Collapse
Ali couldn’t imagine her life without Dance because it has shaped her into the person she is today.
It has taught her discipline, time management, and how to express herself. Who was once the shy kid that didn’t speak a word. Dance has helped her come out of her shell and because of that she is forever grateful for the lifetime friends and unforgettable memories she has made at Premiere Dance Academy. She fell in love with not only dancing but the feeling of comfort the studio provided her with. Premiere Dance Academy has shaped what was once hobby for Ali into a passion and it has brought her many opportunities such as summer dance camps, the competitive team, the travel team to NYC, and several amazing guest choreographers that fostered her inspiration.
She has trained in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Pointe and Tap. Along with taking her own classes, Ali has also been a student teacher at PDA. She has completed Dance 25 and Dance 35 in high school and throughout her grade 12 year she spent a semester student teaching for at Dance 25/35 class. She taught numerous warm ups and choreography for her fellow students while helping and encouraging them with technique.
Ali is beyond excited to be a part of Premiere Dance Academy’s Faculty and more than that she is excited to be a part of a child’s growth and improvement in the Art of Dance.Collapse
Molli has been dancing at Premiere Dance Academy since the age of 3. Her training includes Acro, Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Street Jazz and Tap. Molli is well versed in dance and has apprenticed, student-taught and subbed many dance classes for the past few years. She is very excited to be working with and teaching young students the art of dance, and looks forward to a wonderful dance season.Collapse
As a PDA dancer for all its 15 years, Molli is excited to now also not only sharing her passion of dance in her classes but working in the office to help run the studio. PDFA is excited to have Molli as a new office assistant for the upcoming season.Collapse
Tara began studying dance at 6 years old. She has trained in a variety of dance disciplines, including lyrical, tap, jazz, hip hop, comtemporary, musical theatre and ballet. She has successfully completed the Royal Academy of Dance graded ballet examinations as well as the Intermediate and Advanced 1 major ballet exams, achieving grades of distinction on all.
Over the course of her training, Tara has participated in the various dance workshops, conventions and competitions in Canada and the IS, receiving successful results and accolades for her preformances. She has throughly enjoyed training at Premiere Dance Academy and participating in the competitive dance program. A recent gradute of Centennial High School, Tara is currently studying Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary with hopes of studying medicine in the future.
Tara is also continuing her dance studies and training while attending university. She is thrilled to be part of the Premiere Dance faculty and is eager to share her love of dance with the students.Collapse
Miss Kira unofficially began her dance career at the age of 3.
The majority of Miss Kira's training was at the Allan Cozzubbo Academy of Dance where she also completed her student teaching under the direction of Carol Nielson. Miss Kira has completed all Al Gilbert Tap, Jazz and Jazz tap syllabus as well as her Advanced 2 Tap and Jazz Brian Foley Syllabus. Miss Kira has completed all levels of the British Association of Teaching exams as well as the Royal Academy of Dance Educators Syllabus levels 1-3. In 2009 she trained for her RAD Advance 1 ballet exam passing with a Merit standing.
Miss Kira has competed at numerous competitions throughout Alberta with many successes including scholarships from the Alberta Dance Educators Association and Wild Rose Dance Arts.
Over the years, Miss Kira has performed many shows around Alberta as well as traveling to Anaheim, California to perform at Disneyland. However, Miss Kira believes that her greatest achievement in performing was when she was chosen to be part of the ballet company for the Opening Ceremonies of the Calgary '88 Winter Olympics.
Miss Kira has expanded her training over the years and spent two weeks at the Broadway Dance Centre in New York where she was honoured to take a tap class with renowned tapper Savion Glover. As well, Miss Kira has traveled many times to Las Vegas to train with renowned choreographers such as Joe Tremaine, Doug Caldwell, Keri Legrand and Benji Schwimmer, to name just a few. Miss Kira has also participated in classes taught by Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio and Luther Brown where, yes, she tried to get her hip hop on!
Miss Kira is honored and excited to be a part of the Premiere Dance Academy Faculty where she's able to pass along her love of dance.Collapse
Jaimie Harding was born to perform, whether it’s on the stage or just in class! She has been teaching for close to 20 years, the last ten which have proudly been at Premiere Dance Academy. She was born and raised in Saskatoon and started teaching at the age of 16 in an around the province of Saskatchewan. Jaimie has trained extensively in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, musical theatre and hip hop. She obtained her advanced II ADAPT certificates in tap and jazz and elementary RAD.
Her love of dance gained her the opportunity to perform for Carnival Cruise Lines in 1999-2000. Jaimie also spent two years in Greece where she worked for various artists and choreographers in videos, television and concerts. Jaimie also had the opportunity to adjudicate for Champions Dance Competition.
Jaimie holds a BA in Communications Studies from the University of Calgary and works full-time as a Senior Community Relations Advisor. She is passionate about helping her students reach their fullest potential both in and outside of the dance class.Collapse
Emma has been dancing at Premiere since the age of 6 and joined the Competitive Team in 2007. She has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Pointe and Tap. She has enjoyed working with many different choreographers throughout her years of training and experiencing everything that Dance has to offer and has given her. Emma is excited to share her enthusiasms, passion and love of Dance with all her students.Collapse
Morgan is a young woman who is constantly inspired by the arts. She grew up doing dance, baton, and acrobatics starting at the age of 7. Training in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Acrobatics, Lyrical, and any other classes she could attend. Beginning her teaching experience young she trained under her instructors and then began teaching her own classes once she graduated.
Currently Morgan assists and demonstrates acrobatics for the Acrobatic Arts Syllabus and is certified in both modules of the program. She travels around North America throughout the year with this program and most recently has returned from demonstrating in Las Vegas.
When she is not teaching dance or working for Acrobatic Arts she attends Alberta College of Art and Design. Majoring in a Bachelor of Fine Arts as a glass artist and a ceramic minor. Morgan’s inspiration in the arts allows her to combine both her technical training as a dancer and her creative aspects of being an artist together.Collapse
Carmyne is an enthusiastic and upbeat young woman. She has a strong passion for dance and has the ability to let her dance come alive with every move she makes. Learning to dance in the streets of South Africa, where she grew up, she has a natural sense of rhythm and can easily incorporate her own style into any routine she learns.
She has accomplished much in her years and has been exposed to many different styles of dancing. Training for 9 years, she is skilled in Jazz, Hip Hop, Classical Ballet, Contemporary and more. At the mere age of 13, she found herself in Los Angeles attending dance classes. She has competed in many events, such as dance power in Las Vegas last year.
Currently Carmyne is now a teacher at Imagine Dance Studios where she teaches dance to under privileged kids. She says, “I always wanted to be able to help give back to the community and give kids an escape from their realities. Dance is the most wonderful way to do it because they can express themselves without being judged and they can be as creative as they want. Every child needs something to do where they can feel the most comfortable and dance does that for them. I’m glad that I can help make a difference in their lives.”Collapse
Jamie was born and raised in Calgary and spent 6 years of her dance training at Premiere Dance Academy. During these years she trained in numerous disciplines including jazz, ballet, tap, musical theater, lyrical, and contemporary. Throughout her schooling Jamie has spent countless hours involved in drama and musical theatre productions. She has a strong passion for dancing, singing, and performing.
Along with pursuing a B.Sc degree in biological sciences at the University of Calgary with the hopes to one day studying medicine, Jamie still remains very active in the preforming arts community. This past summer she toured with the Calgary Youth Chorus and represented Canada at the Golden Gate Festival in San Francisco. She is also a member of a Calgary based dance company.
Jamie is thrilled to be spending another season sharing her passion for dance and theatre as part of the Premiere Dance Academy Faculty!Collapse
Irene Weatherilt: Former Artistic Director for Red Deer College Conservatory of Ballet has mentored many professional students who grew up and became professional dancers. As well as training excellent foundational ballet technique and conditioning, Irene has choreographed numerous ballet theatre performances filled with community performers. Irene currently lives and creates ballet classes and choreography in Calgary, ABCollapse
Sam began to teach himself to dance after being inspired by music artists and street dance pioneers. Sam is part of champion hip hop crew "The Tomorrows", mentored by Lenny Len from Toronto, Ontario. He has starred in multiple videos, and performs all over the city for various events, and charities. He continues to push himself and works to improve his technique daily. Sam is very excited to start teaching at Premiere and share his knowledge and passion with the dancers!"Collapse
Ashleigh Schoonderbeek has been dancing since the age of four. She has danced at both Divine Dance Academy in Olds, Alberta where she first got her start as a teacher, and also at Joy’s School of Dance in Innisfail, Alberta. Ashleigh has had many opportunities through dance including the chance to be part of a music video for a local artist.
She is currently studying at the University of Calgary as an English major. Ashleigh is the part of the Dino’s cheer team at the university where she gets the opportunity to dance and perform for the student body as well as stunting with the team.
Ashleigh is very excited to be a part of the Premiere Dance Academy family!Collapse
Amanda Sakundiak started dancing at the age of 3 and has loved it from the beginning. She started off her training with Ukrainian dancing for 2 years, and then moved on to Premiere Dance Academy at the age of 6.
Amanda has been trained in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, and street jazz. She joined Premiere’s competitive team in 2005 and has loved every second of it. Being part of the Premiere team has molded her into the dancer and person she is today.
Amanda has been an apprentice and then student teacher for the past couple of years. As well as a substitute instructor for many of our classes at time and as an instructor for summer dance camp 2013 . 2013-2014 marks Amanda's first year as a faculty Member.Collapse
Lysia believes in dreams and knows that sometimes it takes a while to make them all come true.
Classically trained in ballet since age three, Lysia knows the importance of a strong foundation and was so excited to be a dancer who got to do "all three" (ballet, jazz & tap). Finding her niche in musical theatre, Lysia won several gold medals for her song and dance solos and at age 12 was cast as Tessie (You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile) in the Young Canadians Dinner Theatre production of Annie. She went on to perform as Sandy/Sparkle in The Other Side of the Pole at The Pumphouse Theatre, Laurie in Oklahoma! and Anita in West Side Story at St. Francis High School.
After her studio training, Lysia explored her culture through dance where she developed herself as an artist and a choreographer.
As dance evolves, so must the dancer, and Lysia leaves no discipline un-danced. As a principal dancer for the Suzirya Ukrainian Dance Theatre, Lysia has danced for audiences across North America including Queen Elizabeth II. In 2008 Lysia performed in Australia from Sydney to Perth in the folk-opera ballet, Kateryna.
Lysia encourages each one of her students to be themselves, work hard and understand that being a dancer, performer, or whatever your dream may be, can be achieved - if YOU believe.
Miss Lysia is very excited to be a part of Premiere Dance Academy and pass on her love of dance, working alongside teachers who passed it on to her.Collapse
Kelcey started her dance training in Kamloops at the age of 4 in the disciplines of tap and ballet. Moving back to Calgary in 2004 she came to Premiere and later joined the competitive team in 2006 where she has developed a love for performing as well as a devotion to the sport. Kelcey has been trained for 13 years in multiple styles, including; Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Street Jazz, Contemporary, and Musical Theatre.
As a current student at The Edge School for Athletes she has had unique opportunities to travel and also study dance in Arizona and Paris. In the summer of 2014 she also had the opportunity to train alongside Anthony Carr at the world renowned Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles with a full scholarship.
“Dance has helped me become who I am and has helped me fall in love with life. Premiere has been and is my home and everyone there is family to me. I want to be able to help other kids find the escape that I have found. Dancing has made all the difference in the world and without it I would be lost.”
Kelcey has loved being a part of the Premiere dance family and looks forward to be joining the faculty of 2014–2015. Dance has been a remarkable way for Kelcey to find her own voice and she looks forward to sharing her experiences and to help others find their voice through dance.Collapse
Ashley is full of energy and very artistic. She has a natural gift for making every movement in dance fun.
She has many personal triumphs through her years of dance including numerous high-score solo awards, the Triple Threat Scholarship and multiple Wild Rose Dance Scholarships.
Through her years of dance Ashley has had numerous performing opportunities including the 1997 World Police and Fire Games, cheerleading for The Calgary Stampeders as an Outrider and as a member of the Drill Crew dance team for the Calgary Roughnecks lacrosse team.
Most recently, Ashley had the chance to work with a local large media company, which allowed her to experience working on-air for two local television shows.
Ashley says of herself: "What I love most about teaching is being able to give back to students all that I have learned and watch them grow, mature, and progress each year. One of the greatest things about dance is that it allows me to express myself through music, movement and show my personality and creativity through choreography."Collapse
Katie started her dance training with purely Ballet. She preformed each year with "The Nutcracker" and took the coveted role of Sugar Plum at the age of 17. She attended many prestigious summer schools over her years including National Ballet of Canada, Royal Winnipeg and The Goh. In her mid-teens she branched out to Lyrical, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre and Modern. She has attended many conventions and summer programs in those styles also.
At 18 she started her professional career dancing for Tokyo Disney's "Encore!", a musical revue show choreographed by Patty Colombo. Shortly after that she booked an international tour which visited 14 major cities though out China entitled "Las Vegas Show girls", in which she was a lead dancer and featured soloist. Later she moved to Los Angelas to pursue her dance career further. There she worked with Choreographers such as Andre Fuentes in the world renowned "Choreographers Carnival". Katie has also appeared in the Bollywood film entitled "Blue", where she worked with Choreographer Liz Imperio. In 2008 Katie moved to Vancouver to and worked with Josh Beamish in "Move: The Company" for the 08/09 season in Contemporary Ballet.
Katie has recently moved back to Calgary from Brisbane, Australia. She has been teaching in and around Calgary for 10 years and will be starting her RAD Teaching Certification in the new year. She has a true passion for sharing her love of dance with others.Collapse
Todd Svecla - Office Manager
Todd Svecla has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Calgary. He has always been involved in the performing arts, since his high school days in drama, working backstage, and now at the Premiere Dance Academy studio. So, when Lisa and Todd married it was a natural transition into working and managing the dance studio.
Todd is available to answer any financial questions you may have regarding your dancer's account, and he handles all of the marketing and general business details at the studio.Collapse
Laurie Baines - Attire and Wardrobe Coordinator, Administration
During the 2015-2016 Dance season, Laurie will continue(after many wonderful years!!) as Attire and Wardrobe Coordinator. As well, she will continue to work some days at the studios in an administrative role. Please feel free to contact, or ask Laurie questions at any time, irregardless if the question or concern is attire, costumes or general inquiries!Collapse
Renee Pedersen - Studio Receptionist
Renee is one of the friendly voices that you will hear on the other end of the phone when you call Premiere Dance Academy.
She is readily available to help with any questions or concerns you may have, or direct your question to the appropriate individual to answer them: the artistic director, business manager, assistant manager, and instructor or the studio liaison.Collapse