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Meet Our Team

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Deena DeVito-Carl, AISTD

Owner / Director of Preschool & Lower Intensive Programming

Deena began studying dance at the age of 4  under the exceptional guidance and mentorship of Linda Klassen and Bev Aitchison at Parksville Ballet School.  Performing at various regional competitions, Deena received numerous awards and bursaries which enabled her to continue with her studies. Deena had the privilege to study at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, the San Francisco Academy of Dance, Banff School of Fine Arts and Ryerson Theatre School teacher training program.


Deena holds her Cecchetti Associate Diploma and has taught for over 30 years at various schools throughout the lower mainland and Vancouver Island. She was a founding member of the Vancouver Island Youth Dance Association company “Dancestreams” and co-directed a semi professional company “Dance Is….” based on the lower mainland from 1993 – 1997.


With a specialty in preschool movement principles, Deena really excels with the little ones.  Through her boundless energy and kindness she passes on the love of dance, fosters confidence, and gives them a great foundation to move forward in the performing arts in whatever direction they may pursue.


Deena now divides her time teaching dance, including creating her own preschool dance syllabus "Inner Spark Dance", running the Innovate studios, operating "Helix Dance Theatre", producing "Unite in Dance" conventions, enjoying travel and visiting with her adult daughter who also has chosen to continue on with her “love of dance”.

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Sarah DeVito

Owner / Director of Higher Intensive Programming

Sarah began her training at the Parksville Ballet School under the direction of Linda Klassen.  From a young age, she was enrolled in their performing arts program training in a mult-disciplinary dance program which included tap and musical theatre.  She was a member of Vancouver Island Youth Dance Association where she performed with Dancestreams youth company.  Sarah also privately trained under the mentorship of Beverly Aitchison as well as working closely with teachers such as Suzanne Ouellette and Artemis Gordon.


Sarah went on to excel in Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Contemporary Dance. She furthered her dance training at the Goh Ballet Academy, Arts Umbrella and Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre seminar program.  She has performed selected works from Joe Laughlin,  Judith Marcuse, Jean- Guy Cossette, and Bengt Jorgen.


Along with being co-owner of Innovate Dance Arts, and a producer of Unite in Dance, she is the artistic director of the Helix Dance Theatre Company, a pre-professional dance company, which she co-founded in 2009. 


Sarah is a sought after adjudicator and continues to be recognized for her innovative choreography and her ability to highlight the skills of her dancers both technically and artistically.

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Jennifer Quibell, ARAD,NBSTTP

Director of Intensive Ballet

Jennifer Quibell began her dance training at Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts in Nanaimo studying Ballet(RAD), Jazz, Tap(CDTA) & Modern. During these early years she furthered her training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Summer Sessions and L’Ecole de Superieure de Danse in Montreal. In 2003, she graduated with Distinction from the 3 year Teacher Training Program at the National Ballet School in Toronto. Jennifer obtained her teaching qualifications in both the Royal Academy of Dance and Cecchetti syllabi and was the recipient of the Carol Chadwick Award.

Upon returning home to Nanaimo(2003 -2010), Jennifer taught at Kirkwood Academy as a full time dance teacher She was also the Ballet Mistress for Kirkwood Productions and the Co-Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Kirkwood Youth Dance Company for 5 years, touring with the company in LA (Disneyland Magic Music Days, on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, The Edge and Millennium) and New York (Alvin Ailey, Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Centre) 

From 2010 - 2013 Jennifer worked at Arts Umbrella as the Professional and General Dance Program Liaison and full time Ballet teacher in the Professional and General program. She was also the Children’s Rehearsal Mistress for the Alberta Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” production in Vancouver at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the 2 years.

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Shilo Brocklebank, AISTD

Director of Tap

Shilo is a Parksville Ballet School Alumni.  She danced at Parksville until 1999 and went on to take her Associate exams in both Tap and Modern graduating with an Honours standing.  Shilo taught the last 8 years at a highly regarded studio in Victoria where she has successfully entered students in both tap and modern exams.  In addition Shilo has training extensively in Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, National , Lyrical & Ballroom making her a most versatile teacher.


Shilo is known for her ability to create a positive and fun environment for her students while also adapting her teaching techniques to their individual needs.  She has taught all levels including adults.

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Bernice Van Dyken, ARAD,RTS

Trishann Martin

Ballet Instructor & Office Manager

Jazz & Broadway Instructor

Bernice van Dyken was born and grew up in South Africa, where she was classically trained in both the Royal Academy of Dance and Cecchetti methods of ballet.  She is a registered and certified teacher with the R.A.D., as well as a member of the American Academy of Ballet.


In South Africa she owned a large ballet studio for 15 years, where her students successfully participated in R.A.D exams, American Performance Awards, annual shows and competitive festivals. Bernice also worked as Ballet Mistress for the Johannesburg Youth Ballet for numerous years.


In 2008 Bernice and her daughter moved to Dawson Creek, BC to take up the role as ballet instructor. Here her students also successfully participated in R.A.D Exams, American Performance Awards, Competitions and workshops in BC and Alberta. A numer of her ballet students have received scholarships to study at the American Academy of Ballet summer intensives in New York.


Bernice loves to assist dancers grow in their love of dance and in their self esteem and confidence.

Trishann has trained in many styles of dance including tap, jazz, ballet, Scottish dancing, and Ukrainian. Her dancing began in the Lower Mainland, training with Barry McClinton. She then moved to Vancouver Island studying with Danette Bell, Laurie Tinkler, and Pat Pantuso.


Trishann participated in many festivals and competitions in Canada and the U.S.; winning a competition in Hawaii, 3 years consecutively. She also danced in the opening of EXPO '86, the Winter Games in Nelson, and many artistic events throughout the Kootenays. Trishann then studied under the direction of Lynette Lightfoot. She began assisting with classes and realized that this was her real passion. She eventually opened up a home studio teaching dance with students participating in Festivals and Galas, in the West Kootenays.


Trishann has previously been on the faculty of Parksville Ballet School, teaching for four years sharing her love of Jazz with youth and adults. Along with her positive energy, she creates a setting for confidence and growth for all dancers.

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Sarah Switzer, BFA,ARAD

Ballet & Modern Instructor

Sarah was raised on a farm in northern Alberta. In true Canadian fashion her very first dance class took place above the local curling rink. She was fortunate to have parents who drove her to the city to take ballet lessons, to train under a teacher from the School of Alberta Ballet, and to spend her summers dancing at The Banff Centre.


Though her first love was for ballet, her interest in modern and contemporary dance led her to pursue her education.Sarah earned a diploma in modern dance from Grant MacEwan as well as a BFA from Simon Fraser University. She is also a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance.


Sarah has been teaching ballet and modern for over 15 years in several schools on Vancouver Island. Many of her students have been accepted into professional schools (RWB, NBS, Arts Umbrella) and have gone on to careers in dance.  Sarah taught for five seasons at Parksville Ballet School, with Kirkwood Academy and is now in her eighth season with Innovate. She loves the daily rewards that teaching brings as well as the opportunity to create work that is both challenging and accessible for students of all ages. 

Hip Hop & Acro Instructor

Melissa has been dancing since the age of 8. She began her training at the Parksville Ballet School under the direction of Linda Klassen, and was quickly invited to join the performing arts program. Melissa has completed advanced exams in Ballet (Cecchetti), Modern (ISTD) and Tap (ISTD), as well as completed extensive training in Jazz, Contemporary and Musical Theatre.


Melissa competed in many competitions at both the national and international levels. She was a member of the Vancouver Island Youth Dance Association performing with Dancestreams.  During this time she trained with choreographers such as Mary Louise Albert, Marlise McCormick, Joe Laughlin and Judith Garay.

Upon graduation Melissa began teaching Tap and jazz at several schools across Vancouver Island, as well as developing a central island Hip Hop program at Parksville Ballet School. In 2000 she began teaching in Northern B.C where she eventually opened her own studio teaching Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern and Hip Hop. While running her studio Melissa choreographed pieces for the opening ceremonies of the B.C Winter Games, as well as receiving recognition for choreography at the B.C Provincial Festival of the Arts.

In 2009 Melissa made the hard decision to take a step back from teaching dance to complete her university education, attending VIU’s Bachelor of Science Program and later starting a family.  While always maintaining a passion for teaching dance and a love of education Melissa recently took her teachers training in acrobatics, which she shared with students at Innovate

Dance Arts. Melissa is looking forward to continue teaching acrobatics as well as developing the Hip Hop program. Melissa hopes to bring an innovative and challenging approach to her teaching while nurturing a love of dance in her students.

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Ali Jenkins

Jazz & Contemporary Instructor

Alicia is an alumni of Innovate Dance Arts where she began her dance studies at the age of three in Parksville, BC.  After joining the performing arts program at a young age she fell in love with the art of dance. As the passion grew, she auditioned and was accepted into the pre-professional youth dance company, "Helix Dance Theatre”. 


In June 2016, Alicia graduated from high school and wanted to take dance further. She then went off to Winnipeg, MB to dive deeper into ballet and contemporary dance in “The Professional Division of The School for Contemporary Dancers”. In Winnipeg, she also taught at the Junior Pre-Professional Program at “The School for Contemporary Dancers”. In April, 2018 Alicia was accepted into LamonDance - a contemporary training program based out of North Vancouver. As of June 2020 she completed the full program at LamonDance.


Throughout the years of post secondary, Alicia has taught at Innovate Dance Arts, and has assisted workshops with LamonDance and Helix Dance Theatre. Growing up, Jenkins knew she wanted nothing but dance. Alicia is a young, driven dancer and teacher who enjoys inspiring, teaching and moving not only the audience but her fellow dancers as well.

Primary & Tap Instructor

Avril is a passionate and dedicated individual with a love for dance, education, and working with
children. With an impressive 15-year background in dance, she has honed her skills and
developed a deep appreciation for the art form.

Currently, Avril is pursuing her studies to become an elementary school teacher, recognizing the
power of education in shaping young minds.  She is committed to creating a nurturing and engaging learning environment where every child can thrive and discover their full potential.

Throughout her journey, Avril has demonstrated her exceptional talent and dedication as a dancer. She began dancing in Nanaimo and joined our studio at the age of 12 when she became part of the Junior Helix Company.  The following year Avril joined the senior company and later went on to graduate with us in 2020.

For many years throughout Avril’s dance career she assisted in many classes and after graduation came back to share her love for dance with each student that
enters her classroom.

With a natural affinity for working with children, Avril brings a warm and compassionate approach to her interactions. She understands the importance of fostering a positive and supportive environment that encourages learning and growth. Her ability to connect with young learners and inspire them through the joy of dance is truly a gift.

As Avril embarks on her journey to become a teacher, she remains focused on her mission of
instilling a love for learning, nurturing creativity, and empowering children to reach their fullest
potential. With her passion for dance, her dedication to education, and her natural ability to
connect with children, Avril is poised to make a profound impact on the lives of young learners
as a teacher.

Melissa McDonald

Avril Hansen

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