Instructors


Dance Discovery is proud to offer a faculty that consists of passionate and accredited instructors. It is top priority to support every student’s love of dance and provide them the tools necessary in order to increase their confidence and reach their goals. Purely dedicated to student success, instructors collaborate together in order to work towards the high standard of excellence that Dance Discovery sets to achieve.

MELISSA SLOBODIAN

Studio Owner, Director, Instructor
Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Acro, Lyrical, Contemporary

Opening her own studio in 2006, Melissa decided to translate her passion for dance into the creation of Dance Discovery.  

As an instructor, Melissa has the pleasure of taking an active role in her students growth and in celebrating their successes every step of the way. Her students have been accepted into prestigious national ballet programs, as well as recipients of numerous cash prizes, scholarships and top mark awards at competitions across Western Canada. Throughout her career, Melissa has enjoyed the honor of receiving multiple awards for her choreography.

Melissa believes dance should be an enjoyable experience where kids can meet lifelong friends and reach their full potential as dancers. Melissa is committed to each student and works tirelessly to determine their individual needs and ideal placement in a program stream or class. There is nothing more rewarding than building a child’s self esteem while they pursue something they love, and it’s because of this that Melissa is committed to providing superior dance instruction in a supportive environment to every student.

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BAILEY ENGLISH

Instructor
Ballet (ARAD, RAD RTS)

A graduate with distinction from the National Ballet School of Canada’s Teachers Training Program, Bailey comes to us as a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).  She brings with her not only in-depth knowledge of RAD, but also a wealth of knowledge from other teaching methodologies such Cecchetti and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Bailey has an extensive history in dance from the age of three, including participation in competitive dances and choreography, as well as successful completion of numerous ballet exams. Her performance history includes the Alberta Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She has also travelled throughout western Canada and as far as London, England, to study with the Royal Academy of Dance.  Bailey has studied with various studios in Edmonton throughout her formative years before finding the perfect match at Edmonton Dance Centre. During her time at EDC, she completed her vocational levels with the RAD and was the youngest student accepted to the National Ballet School Teacher’s Training Program at the age of 18.

Upon graduation, Bailey taught at the Calgary Imperial School of Ballet, where she successfully entered students for I.S.T.D. examinations.  Bailey has also served as an adjudicator for Dancing in the Park in the disciplines of ballet, lyrical and musical theatre.

Bailey’s high standard of ballet technique and dedication from every student, parent and teacher makes her a perfect fit at Dance Discovery, as she is able to maintain a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

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BRODY KALWAJTYS

Instructor
Contemporary, Lyrical (BEd, BScKin)

Brody is an active teacher and choreographer in the Edmonton area and has trained extensively in various styles such as: Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Ballet, Modern, Ballroom, and Musical Theatre. He has trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and has traveled across North America and Europe taking classes at a variety of world class studios.

After graduating high school, Brody pursued a professional career in dance working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. With this he had the opportunity to learn several different large scale production shows and travel around the globe – from the Caribbean to Asia! Brody has also performed in productions of Don Quixote and The Nutcracker, and has recently performed in promotional events for MAC Cosmetics.

Since returning to Edmonton, Brody has completed his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Alberta – combining his love of dance and movement with his passion for science! Brody believes that everyone should have the opportunity to dance and be active. He has volunteered with different organizations around the city working with people who are experiencing disabilities, and has recently collaborated with other teachers to create a dance program for children with Down syndrome.

Brody has received several choreography awards and his students have received many special awards for their unique achievements. With hard work and an open mind, Brody believes that every dancer is able to reach their full artistic potential!

Brody is thrilled to be working with the students of Dance Discovery this season!

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ERIKA WALKER

Instructor
Acro (BEd, Acrobatic Arts, ADTA, Alixa Flexibility, TADA Hand Balancing)

Erika’s love and appreciation for the art of dance began at a young age, leading her to dance competitively for many years. As a student, Erika performed in festivals and competitions in Edmonton and area. In addition to performing, she has assisted backstage and worked with adjudicators at local competitions. According to Erika, one of the most rewarding parts of being a dance instructor is seeing her students thoroughly enjoy themselves as they perform on stage!

Erika is a registered and certified instructor in the Acrobatic Arts Syllabus. She is considered Dance Discovery’s ‘acro expert’ and is in love with all things acro! To advance her technical training, Erika is trained in both the TADA Hand Balancing and Alixa Flexibility method; she combines all methods into her class outline in order to provide students the most diverse training that will allow them to be successful with their efforts. Erika is thrilled to combine her focus on alignment and technique with her love for dance while educating students at Dance Discovery.

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CARMELLE McKINLAY

Instructor
Ballet (ARAD, RAD RTS)

Carmelle grew up in Fort Saskatchewan and was fortunate to be raised in a large family that was passionate about the arts. She has had extensive training in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Voice and Musical Theatre under some of the most prestigious instructors and institutions across Canada and the United States. She is a certified instructor and mentor with Associate status (ARAD) with The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and has prepared 100’s of students successfully for ballet exams. Carmelle has had the great honor to train, mentor and inspire these students, many of whom are now teachers, choreographers and professional dancers around the world. She prides herself in allowing each dancer a voice in the choreographic process to encourage creativity and ownership.

Always dedicated to expanding her knowledge, she has attended training workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia in the Vaganova method with the Mikhailovsky Ballet, New York City at the American Ballet Theatre where she was successfully certified in the ABT National Training Curriculum and most recently has been certified in The Progressing Ballet Technique curriculum. She has also had the opportunity to attend the Dance Teachers Summit in NYC.

In addition to teaching, Carmelle has choreographed and co-produced Bridal Fantasy, the largest bridal convention in western Canada for over a decade, as well as being an artistic consultant and choreographer for various events and fashion shows at West Edmonton Mall. She continues to appear throughout western Canada as a guest examiner, choreographer, and teacher.

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EDRICK OCHOCO

Instructor
Hip Hop

Edrick Ochoco is an up-and-coming choreographer based out of Edmonton Canada. Full of positive, optimistic energy, a great work-ethic and a grateful heart, he has already accomplished many feats that dancers dream of doing. From co-choreographing in the worlds newest televised dance show, NBC World of Dance, to performing in the renowned BuildaBeast Convention in 2017, Edrick is slowly working his way to achieving his dreams.

Back in November 10th of 2016, he taught 90 students his first class at Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles with Alexander Chung. Since then he has pursued every opportunity to share his craft teaching in places like Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto, as well as showcasing groups and solos in local competitions in Edmonton. In his first year of teaching, he brought his dance group BathTubbs to Winnipeg and received 1st place in the ‘In The Zone 9’ competition, as well as receiving scholarships from VIP Dance Convention, Artists Emerge, and Candance Calgary as a soloist.

Aside from teaching, Edrick has also produced 2 dance shows in Edmonton with NXG Company and the Kore Dance Studio, pouring his heart out into the choreography and tech for both hour-long shows. Through all of this however, he understands the importance of always training and growing his craft. He has taken mentorship from Alexander Chung, and trained with choreographers such as Tony Tzar, Cj Salvador, Tucker Barkley, and many others by constantly investing in trips of Los Angeles. To summer all of this goals into a timeline, they have been completed by Edrick within only 2 years of his teaching career.

Edrick’s ultimate goal is to share his creativity and passion for movement, and to empower the younger and older generation through art.

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DARBY WATSON

Instructor
Jazz, Lyrical, Tap

Darby started dancing at the age of 3, immediately fell in love and hasn’t stopped since. Growing up in Lloydminster, Darby trained in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical, and musical theatre. As her passion grew she began assisting at age 12 and that progressed into teaching and choreographing by 16. Darby took dance so extremely serious that in Grade 10, she decided to pursue online schooling in order to dedicate more of her time and energy into the one thing she truly loved, dance. 

 After graduation, she was signed to an agency in Toronto, Ontario. Darby moved to Toronto and began dancing and modelling full time. Once she began taking classes she quickly became a full time assistant to Danny Davalos, who was a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. She expanded her knowledge and grew as not only a dancer but a choreographer. Being in Toronto and working with such talented groups of dancers she realized that somewhere along the way her passion changed for being a dancer to being a teacher, so she moved home and has been teaching since. 
 
Darby has been home and teaching for the past six years, and loving it. Nothing makes her happier than watching her students do what they love and being passionate about it. Darby believes in teaching through love and building a child’s confidence to ensure the best outcome for success. She is completely committed to her students and pushes them to reach their fullest potential.  Darby is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach at Dance Discovery and can’t wait to watch her students grow and progress this season! 

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KELLIE DRAPER

Instructor
Jazz, Tap, Acro (BEd, Acrobatic Arts, Alixa Flexibility)

Kellie comes to us with over 20 years of teaching experience! She has a diverse background of Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical and Musical Theatre training. With a love and passion for tap, Kellie has extensive experience and knowledge with the Al Gilbert Tap Syllabus and has successfully prepared her students for tap exams. Additionally, Kellie has a passion for Acro and is a certified Acrobatics Arts instructor who assists her students in reaching their potential while successfully preparing them for examinations.

Kellie continues her training throughout  Canada and the US in order to provide her students with the most modern and up to date tools and techniques. She has trained with industry leading professionals that include Denise Wall, Aaron Turner, Anthony Morigerato, Sarah Reich, Chloe Maud Arnold and Jason Marquette; just to name a few!

With a background in Education, Kellie understands that all students learn in different ways and uses various tools and techniques to help her students be successful. Kellie holds a high standard for her students and works with each one individually to help them achieve their highest potential.  Kellie loves watching her students grow both as dancers and individuals and believes there is nothing more satisfying than seeing her students succeed both on and off the stage.

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GENENNE GILLIARD

Instructor
Hip Hop, Tap, Jazz, Ballet

Genenne started her dance training at age 3 in London, England. When she came to Canada, she continued her extensive training in Dance and added Figure Skating to her already busy schedule. Genenne has taken her dance exams in RAD Ballet, CDTA Jazz and Tap and Skate Canada for Figure Skating. Involved in many festivals and competitions, Genenne has received numerous awards as a Dancer and as a Choreographer.

Dedicated to her dancing, Genenne moved from Saskatchewan to Edmonton to further her training and graduated from Grant McEwan’s Dance Performance and Dance Teacher Training Programs. Her studies and performances continued on taking her throughout Canada and U.S. Genenne has also served on a Jury for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to adjudicate Dance Project Grants.

Genenne continues to educate herself as an instructor and continues to share her energy, passion and love for dance to her students. Committed to all her students, Genenne provides a positive, encouraging and enjoyable atmosphere, and loves teaching all ages. Genenne is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach at Dance Discovery and looks forward to watching her students grow and progress each year.

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RHIANNON MIELNICHUK

Instructor
Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical

Rhiannon was enrolled in her first dance class at the age of 4 and she quickly learned that this was exactly what she wanted to be doing. At the age of 12, Rhiannon moved from Alberta to Ontario and had the privilege of training at a studio that focused on C.D.T.A. (Canadian Dance Teacher Association) examinations as well as performance.

During her 6 years of training in Ontario, Rhiannon excelled in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Broadway. She successfully passed C.D.T.A. examinations up to the Advanced level with Honors in Cecchetti Ballet, Jazz and Tap. She was honored to be part of a strong dance team known for their technique, performance ability and unique choreography.

Prior to beginning her professional teaching career, Rhiannon had the privilege and opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals in the Ontario dance industry. Working alongside the best choreographers in the area helped sharpen her artistic thinking, and taught her the processes required to produce sharp, unique routines. Rhiannon learned how to bring out the best in each dancer by developing their natural ability, never giving up on them, and fostering a positive atmosphere within the studio.

Rhiannon looks forward to working with the talented dancers at Dance Discovery and imparting her ever-growing passion and knowledge she has gained throughout the years by some of the most experienced and talented dance teachers in Canada.