Gail MacMurray

Director, Teacher and Choreographer
Tap and Jazz

Gail is the Director, Costume Designer and Choreographer of Elite Dance Studio with 49 years of experience. Gail is a “hands on” director overseeing every aspect of the recreational and competitive programs.

Under Gail’s expert direction, Elite Dance Studio has grown to become one of the most reputable dance studios in Ottawa. Elite’s success is due to Gail’s attention to details, her keen sense of musicality, and of course, her exceptional costume designs. Elite is renowned for their “wow-factor!” when they take the stage and this is due to Gail’s expertise in the competitive dance industry. She knows through instinct and experience what it takes to produce and choreograph an award winning routine.

During Gail’s very successful career, she has trained and choreographed her students to win numerous National and World Championship titles. Her famous Gail-Ettes Baton Twirling Team won 8 consecutive Grand World Championships and in 1987, Gail was awarded the prestigious World Corps Director of the Year Award. A former student, Ryan Gosling, went from Elite Dance Studio to the Mickey Mouse Club and then on to a successful acting career. He recently danced and sang in the movie “La La Land” for which he received a Golden Globe Award.

In 2013 and 2016, Gail accepted the Studio Shine Award at the Shine Dance competition in Gatineau as Elite received the highest overall group scores in 3 different disciplines.

Gail has broadened her skills by adjudicating at many dance competitions throughout Ontario and the United States. Gail is extremely proud of Elite’s accomplishments. Dance is her passion and she thoroughly enjoys working with the talented children who dance at Elite.  

 

Natalie Tessier

Artistic Director, Teacher and Choreographer
Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary & Technique

Natalie began dancing at the age of 3 and has had intense training since the age of 5 in Jazz, Tap, Ballet and Lyrical. Natalie has been a part of the Elite Family for 32 years. She competed throughout North America, winning many top National and International awards as well as receiving scholarships in dance and baton twirling.

Over the past 18 years, Natalie’s motivation and teaching skills have led Elite’s Competitive Dance Team to many victories, with her students winning numerous top achievements for solos, duet/trios, and groups. Once again, Natalie’s students had a very successful season in 2016 winning many first place overall awards. Her students earned top-scoring Junior and Intermediate duet awards, and many of her soloists won the prestigious Dancer of the Year Title Award at the American Dance Awards Dance Competition. In addition, at the American Dance Awards, Natalie won Diamond choreography awards for “PYT”, “Applause”, and with her fellow colleagues, received the Diamond choreography award for their Jazz Production, “NYC”. This is the fifth year in a row Natalie has been honoured as a choreographer at the ADA Dance Competition. Natalie’s choreography for “PYT” was also a top 10 finalist at the American Dance Awards National Competition in New York City.

Dance has always been and continues to be a huge part of her life; she loves to share that enthusiasm with her students. Natalie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Second Language Teaching (Honours) in 2005 and with a Bachelor of Education in 2006 both from the University of Ottawa. When she is not teaching dance, she is a full-time French Immersion teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and teaches grade 3 at Stittsville Public School. Natalie’s dance skills were recognized in 2015 within her school board as she was the proud recipient of the Excellence in Arts Achievement Award at the Elementary Level.

Natalie continues to educate herself and keep updated in the ever-changing dance industry by attending workshops and conferences. She is very excited to be heading to Orlando, Florida this July with the Competitive A team who will be competing at Star Systems National Competition.

 

Kristy Leigh Barbeau

Teacher and Choreographer
Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Technique and Stretch & Conditioning 

Kristy Leigh began her career at Elite Dance Studio at the young age of 3. She continued training in Ottawa under her mother’s training where she completed her Pre-Inter ADAPT Jazz & Tap exams until she turned 16 when she moved to Toronto to further her training. She was accepted at Cardinal Carter School for the Arts and Performing Dance Arts Studio under the direction of Danny and Lisa Poland, where she studied Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Acro, Hip Hop and completed her ADAPT credentials.

Kristy Leigh became a professional dancer after graduation and moved to Tokyo, Japan to dance for Disneyland in the stage production of “Encore” a medley of Broadway shows. In 2005, she was hired by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. She danced and trained as an aerialist in shows for Royal Caribbean Productions. Kristy Leigh performed 8 contracts all over the world and was also rewarded the role of Dance Captain for 3 of her contracts. One of her favourite and most memorable performances was the Broadway musical “Saturday Night Fever”.

Another proud moment was working with Keith “Tyce” Diorio from SYTYCD in Bahamas at Club Med Paradise Island.

Some of Kristy Leigh’s other skills include Modern, Adagio/Partnering, aerial work such as silks/ halo harness/ bungee.

Kristy Leigh has been teaching at Elite for 4 years now and some of her accomplishments  this season has included, Diamond Choreography for “After The Fire”, “Vampires” and “For My Help”. She has won overall high score awards for “After The Fire”, “For My Help”, “Are You There”, “Woman’s Work”, “Before The End”, and “Showstoppers”. 

This summer at Star Systems Nationals in Florida, her routine ‘After the Fire’ won 1st place in the Dance-Off and won Grand Champions of all 13 & over groups. 

Kristy Leigh loves to see the growth in her students and is very passionate about helping them achieve their goals. She is very excited to further her career as a teacher at Elite Dance Studio.

 

Sarah Mousseau

Teacher and Choreographer
Jazz, Tap, Stretch, Technique & Pre-Dance 

Sarah has trained at Elite Dance Studio since the age of 2 ½ . She has trained in the disciplines of Jazz, Tap, and Ballet. In 1996 Sarah began assisting recreational classes and thus begun her love of teaching. She now teaches recreational and competitive classes and has choreographed many award winning solos and group routines. Sarah has participated in many dance teacher conferences over the years in order to further her dance teacher training and education.

Sarah has a diploma in Early Childhood Education, an Honours degree in Child Studies, and her Bachelor of Education. Sarah recently completed her specialist in Primary/Junior Mathematics. She currently teaches grade 3 with the Ottawa Catholic School Board.

Sarah shares her love of dance with children of all ages. She wants her students to believe in themselves and recognize their own potential to grow and learn. Sarah loves to watch the dancers grow and develop throughout their dance careers and become not only beautifully trained dancers but lifelong learners.  Sarah is currently in her 31st year with Elite and is looking forward to many more to come.

 

Jill McArton

Ballet Teacher and Choreographer                R.A.D, A.D.A.P.T, I.S.T.D

Jill has been a director, choreographer, teacher, instructor, RAD approved mentor for aspiring teachers and adjudicator. She is a graduate from the Canterbury High School Fine Arts program (Ottawa) and Ryerson University (Fine Arts – Dance). She is (A.D.A.P.T) jazz and tap certified. Jill is a Full Member of the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) and a certified member of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (I.S.T.D.). Jill is a highly respected instructor and choreographer. She is sought after to adjudicate at competitions across Canada and the United States.

Throughout the 20 years that Jill spent as a national and international competitor she was awarded many titles and honors. Jill has won both national and world championships.

Jill is a true motivator. Her enthusiastic teaching style has enabled her students to achieve outstanding results. Jill remains current with the latest dance styles by regularly attending dance conventions and workshops throughout Canada and the United States.

 

Brianna Rennie

Ballet Teacher and Choreographer                R.A.D, R.T.S

Brianna started dancing at the age of three, studying Ballet, Jazz and Tap intensively, and experimenting in many other styles. She has competed nationally and internationally and been part of many top award-winning routines. She has also worked with many renowned dance teachers and choreographers.

Brianna began teaching dance at summer day camps, encouraging young children to begin dancing, and has now been teaching and choreographing for over 14 years. Her passion is ballet and her favourite thing is sharing her love of ballet with her students.

Brianna is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance and holds her Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies. She regularly attends courses and conferences to continue her dance education and expand her knowledge and loves learning new techniques to improve her students’ training.

Brianna graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology and Canadian Studies from the University of Ottawa. When she is not teaching dance, Brianna is a Manager for the Telfer School of Management’s Executive Programs department. Brianna is fluent in both English and French.

Performance credits include The Nutcracker with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (mouse), The Nutcracker with Ballet Jorgen (Oriental, rat & other roles), and Oscar Hammerstein’s Showboat (Little Kim).

Choreography credits include top 5 finishes in both Junior and Intermediate divisions, and many special awards. In 2016, she was honoured to receive a first place finish and a choreography award from judge Ryan Foley at Move Dance Competition for her ballet “Over the Rainbow”. Her choreographies have consistently won top medals and first place amongst competitors.

Brianna manages the Elite ballet program and is extremely proud of the success that Elite students have had with their Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams and technical training.

 

Lorraine Barbeau

A.D.A.P.T. Teacher, Choreographer,
Jazz, Tap, Technique

Lorraine began her training in dance and baton twirling in Ottawa at a young age. She performed in different cities around Canada, the United States, Germany and France. She owned and operated a dance studio in Ottawa and brings over 45 years of experience to the industry.  She has distinguished herself as a teacher, choreographer and adjudicator.   Lorraine has expanded her teaching abilities by attending several dance conventions throughout Canada and the U.S.  Many of her students have won Overall High Score Awards including National Dance –Off competitions. Lorraine is proud to say that she has won choreography awards and has had students place in the Dancer of the Year with the prominent American Dance Awards, CanDance and Shine competitions. Some students have gone on to seek professional careers in touring companies, theater companies, productions such as “Encore” in Tokyo Disney, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Project Phoenix Dance. As a member of ADAPT, several of her students have achieved the highest grade of the syllabus.  Lorraine’s positive and upbeat teaching style has made her an excellent motivator and admired by all her students.

 

Kayla Howard

Teacher and Choreographer
Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap, Stretch and Technique & Pre-Dance

Kayla has been dancing with Elite since the age 5. She started in the recreational program before moving quickly to the competitive team. Throughout her years on the competitive team, she has won numerous first place overall awards as a soloist, duet partner, and group member. Kayla has been trained in the disciplines of Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, and Hip Hop. In her spare time, Kayla has attended several dance conventions and Dance Teacher Summits. These experiences have allowed her to broaden her knowledge for dance, improve her teaching skills and inspire and motivate her students. Kayla began teaching with Elite as an assistant in 2011. She became part of the teaching staff after graduating as a dancer in 2013. Her passion for dance and performing has led her to continue to be a part of the Elite family for 17 years. Her love for dance continues to grow with each passing year. 

Kayla is currently in her fourth year of University studying Second Language Teaching for French with a minor in English at the University of Ottawa. She hopes to continue her studies in Teacher’s College this upcoming fall. Alongside her studies and her love for teaching dance at Elite, she is also a supply teacher at a Montessori private school, where she also teaches Hip Hop once a week.

Kayla is fluent in both English and French.


Kayla van Gaal

Teacher and Choreographer
Jazz, Contemporary, Stretch, Technique & Conditioning

Kayla began her training at Elite Dance Studio at the age of three. She performed competitively for fourteen years regionally and nationally. She has been trained in Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary as well as Tap. She received her Grade 3 and Intermediate Foundation RAD ballet certificates. She began assistant teaching at Elite at the age of fourteen. After graduating as a competitive dancer in 2015 Kayla took on an increased role at Elite as a teacher and her passion and love for dance continued into her teaching. She is a valuable asset to Elite and she is committed to dance for both herself and her students. Alongside teaching, Kayla is studying Neuroscience at the University of Ottawa with big aspirations for her future.