Gail MacMurray

Director, Teacher and Choreographer
Tap and Jazz

Gail is the Director, Costume Designer and Choreographer of Elite Dance Studio with 50 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, Technique, Ballet and Lyrical. Natalie has been a part of the Elite Family for 33 years. She has competed throughout North America, winning many top National and International awards as well as receiving scholarships in dance and baton twirling.

Over the past 19 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 2018 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 “Look at Me Now” and with her fellow colleagues, received the Diamond choreography award for their Jazz Line, “King of Pop”. This is the sixth year in a row Natalie has been honoured as a choreographer at the ADA Dance Competition. Natalie’s Jazz Group “I Would Die 4 You” won 1st place in the Junior Division at the Move Dance Off in April.

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 continue to share her passion for dance with her students for many years to come. 

 

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 the Bahamas at Club Med Paradise Island. Other skills include Modern, Adagio/Partnering, aerial work such as silks/ halo harness/ bungee.

Kristy Leigh is completing her fifth year at Elite Dance Studio and celebrates some of the following accomplishments. Last summer at Star Systems Nationals Championships in Orlando Florida, her routine “After the Fire” won 1st place in the Dance-Off and are Grand Champions of the senior division 2017. This season at the American Dance Awards regional competition, “Melody” and “Hypnotic Twist” both achieved Diamond Choreographies, at the same time “Melody” and “Bed Of Roses” won the Highest Adjudication awards. The Candance 2018 Tour in Montreal saw her routine “Auto Pilot” place 4th in the Senior Diamond Dance Off with “King of Pop” placing 3rd overall.

“Melody” also took the top honours in the Senior Dance Off at Fever Dance Awards. Kristy Leigh was recognized for other overall high score awards for “Speechless”, “Islands”, “Circles”, “Back In Time”, “Keep Me Sane” and “Diamonds”.

Kristy Leigh is very passionate about her students, she loves to see their growth from year to year and supports them with achieving their goals. She is very excited to continue her career as a teacher and mentor at Elite Dance Studio.


Sarah Mousseau

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

Sarah has been a part of the Elite family for 32 years. She has trained in the disciplines of Jazz, Tap, and Ballet. Her passion for dance grows with each passing year. Sarah joined the Elite teaching staff in 1996. She currently teaches jazz and tap to recreational, pre-competitive, and competitive students of all ages. Sarah has choreographed numerous high scoring solos and group routines. Candance: Rio (Mini Large Tap) overall high score pre-competitive junior large group; She’s Got It (Mini Small Tap) overall high score pre-competitive junior small group. Fever: Big Bad Wolf (Level 7 Jazz) overall high score novice large group. Star Systems: Everlasting Love (solo) overall high score junior shining star solo; DISCO (Boys Jazz) junior shooting star large group. ADA: Crocodile Rock (Level 7 Tap) high score 6 and under; Mr. Postman (Level 5 Tap) overall high score pre-competitive junior; DISCO (Boys Jazz) overall high score pre-competitive junior.

Sarah has a diploma in Early Childhood Education, a degree in Child Studies, and her Bachelor of Education. Her passion for teaching extends beyond the studio and into the classroom, where she is currently a Primary teacher with the Ottawa Catholic School Board.

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 honours. 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 Overall finishes in Junior, Intermediate and Senior 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”. In 2018, her ballet “Up!” won multiple special awards for excellence in story telling and technique as well as Adjudicator’s Choice. 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

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

Lorraine began her training in dance and baton twirling with Elite Dance Studio, formerly known as the World Champion Gail-ettes, at a young age. She competed and performed in different cities around Canada, the United States and Europe. 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, adjudicator and mentor.

Lorraine has expanded her teaching abilities by attending numerous dance conventions throughout Canada and the U.S. with renowned teacher/trainers such as Brian and Faye Foley. She continues to develop her skills with coaches such as Rebecca Davies from Australia and others.  

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 well-known American Dance Awards, CanDance and Shine competitions. 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 the distinguished Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers, A.D.A.P.T., several of her students have achieved the highest grades on their dance assessments.  Lorraine’s positive and upbeat teaching style has made her an excellent motivator and admired by all her students. She is proud of all her students and looks forward to another season with Elite Dance Studio.


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 of 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 has a degree in Second Language Teaching for French and a minor in English and is currently completing the Teacher’s Education Program at the University of Ottawa and will be graduating this time next year. 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 van Gaal

Teacher and Choreographer
Musical Theatre, Jazz, 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 many RAD ballet certificates through her dance career. 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 choreographer. In 2018, her choreographed Musical Theatre routine “Big Spender” won first overall at American Dance Awards. 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. She would like to thank her students for working incredibly hard this dance season, and hopes that they enjoy a much-deserved summer vacation. 

David Lafleur

Teacher and Choreographer
Tap

David Lafleur is a dancer from Gatineau, Quebec and was a competitive dancer for the past 10 years. In his time as a competitive dancer, he won several regional and national titles and scholarships in many competitions across North America. He participated in The Toronto International Tap Dance Festival, produced by Allison Toffan, as being apart of Mr. Ted Louis Levy’s Residency Program. Recently, David danced as a part of Rhythm and Sound show in Edmonton produced and choreographed by Johnathan Daniel Morin and Cori Giannotta.

Meghan McMartin

Assistant Teacher and Choreographer
Pre-Dance, Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Contemporary

Meghan started training at Elite at the age of 7, joining the competitive level in her first year. She has studied the styles of jazz, ballet, tap, modern, contemporary, and lyrical. Apart from competing regionally and nationally, she also attended Canterbury High School of the Fine Arts. While attending Canterbury, she furthered her training in their extensive dance program focusing in ballet and modern. In her graduating year, this past July, Meghan earned the top ballet mark in her grade at school. Furthermore, she has received her Grade 3, 4, Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced Foundation RAD ballet exam certificates with Elite. She aspires to one day be certified as a RAD ballet teacher and continue to share her love of ballet with future students.

In her 10 years of dance, attending numerous competitions, Meghan has won several awards, in group routines, duets, and solos. The most notable and recent awards include, placing first overall at nationals this past summer, in Florida, for a group routine entitled, “After the Fire”, and winning the Miss Senior Candance title, at their regional competition in Brockville. 

Meghan began her teaching career at the age of 13 assisting classes at Elite. Since then, she has increased her role as an assistant, to now helping choreograph many award winning routines. Meghan has had the opportunity to choreograph and showcase her own group piece at her high school, and is starting to choreograph even more at the studio. She has also taken the initiative to expand her knowledge and training of dance by attending different conventions and workshops. This would include, the Rutherford Movement Exchange, a three day intensive, learning from highly accomplished choreographers, and the Jump Start Dance Intensive focusing in the RADAR Technique, both in Toronto, this past August. 

Meghan has strong aspirations for the future and would like to continue a career in the dance industry. She is continuing her work with Elite, while seeking out new dance experiences, so as to further her knowledge and training even more to bring back to the studio. 

Hanna Jowett

Assistant Teacher
Tap, Jazz, Pre-Dance

Hanna began dancing at the age of 3, joining the competitive level at Elite at age 5. Throughout the years, she has had the opportunity to train in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical and contemporary. She has received her Grade 3, 4, intermediate foundation and intermediate RAD ballet exam certificates. 

Competing regionally and nationally, Hanna has won numerous awards while dancing with Elite. Most recently, being part of the group routine that placed first overall at Orlando, Florida in July 2017.

Hanna began assisting at the age of 13, and after graduating high school this past year, is continuing to assist as well as compete. She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in accounting, at the University of Ottawa, with the goals of getting her CPA one day.

Her dedication and love for dance is something she looks forward to passing on to her students and continuing for years to come. 

Emma Wiskowski

Assistant Teacher and Choreographer
Toddlers, Pre-Dance, Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Stretch & Conditioning, Technique 

Emma began dancing at the age of 6 and never looked back. Joining the competitive team in 2010, she has extensively trained in multiple styles including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern and Hip Hop. Emma has successfully accomplished graded and vocational exams with R.A.D. including Advanced Foundation during her graduating year. In her final year, Emma graduated from the Canterbury High School Fine Arts program with distinction. She is now attending Algonquin College in the Business Administration program in hopes to one day use her knowledge towards the studio.

Emma’s drive and passion for dance has never failed her. Throughout her years of being on a competitive team, she has travelled regionally and nationally proudly bringing home many titles and accomplishments. One of her proudest moments includes winning first place overall at Star Systems Finals in Florida summer with her team (2017).

She started teaching at Elite as a junior assistant at the young age of 12 and has never looked back. Hoping to inspire dancers as much as she was by her teachers, Emma is excited to be apart of the teaching staff.