Meiko Perkins RAD RTS - Studio Director & Classical Ballet Teacher , PBT
Meiko Perkins is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), and founder of her own dance studio in 2006, Ms Meiko’s Ballet, later to become Raincity Dance.
Meiko studied and prepared for RAD ballet vocational examinations under teachers Avril Johns and Sharon Boswell, attaining the award of distinction. She has also studied under and worked closely with Lynette Kelley (RAD examiner), Clare Guss-West - The Energy Source, and continues to study in supportive practices for dance: PBT, The Ballet Blog, Feldenkrais Method, and others.
She completed the RAD Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies and has studied the RAD syllabus at the Royal Academy of Dance headquarters in London England. Holds a certificate with the Progressive Ballet technique and continues to update her knowledge in ballet training methodology through ongoing courses, including workshops at the Prix De Lausanne in Switzerland.
For the youngest of dancers, Meiko focuses on the building of coordination, musicality and a love of movement through imaginative adventures, having created a junior school syllabus while at the Pacific Dance Arts, Vancouver. She continues to build on this for the adolescent ballet dancer providing students with a solid base of classical ballet vocabulary, posture, and technique. To this strong base, personal expression is encouraged in the more advanced dancer with an emphasis on clean technique, performance and communication.
She is dedicated to providing students with education that will not only help them in their dance but in every aspect of their life.
Leanne Barden AISTD DIP RAD RTS BFA DANCE MENTOR RAD PBT YTT 200H
Leanne has over twenty years of experience in the classroom, and has an unquenchable passion for dance education. At the age of 12 she received her Junior Teacher Training with Distinction from Edmonton School of Ballet, and she was hooked.
Leanne went on to achieve Advanced exams in Cecchetti and RAD techniques, and is a Certified teacher in both RAD and Cecchetti methods. She is also a Mentor for the RAD’s Teacher Training Program.
Leanne is a Dean’s list graduate of Grant MacEwan College’s Dance program, and has her BFA in Dance and History from Simon Fraser University.
She has pursued opportunities to teach and train in Eastern Europe, from Romania to Russia. Leanne works with the Vaganova Society in Alberta to facilitate biannual ballet training tours to St Petersburg, Russia for BC students, parents, and teachers. Since 2002, she has trained with Russian ballet masters such as Anatoly Siderov, Regina Kumicheva, and the great Ludmilla Saffronova of the Vaganova Academy. Leanne was invited to guest teach at the St Petersburg University of Art and Culture in 2008.
Most recently, Leanne’s teaching was recognized by the Youth American Grand Prix with an award.
Always searching for ways to grow, Leanne continues to seek out teacher training opportunities and educational experiences to bring back to the studio for her students. Progress, not perfection, is the goal in her class. She can’t wait to see you in the studio this season.
Julia Bose - Hip Hop
Julia Bose is a passionate dancer, choreographer, and teacher, born and raised in Victoria, BC, Canada. Throughout her childhoood, she explored many different dance disciplines such as Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Tap. However, Hip Hop quickly took hold, and has since taken her to new heights both locally and internationally.
In 2015, Julia represented Canada on the world stage at the IDO World Championship in Rimini Italy, as a member of Team Canada. She has since performed in Las Vegas, New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, Mexico, New Zealand and Montreal, at world renowned Street Dance events such as Hip Hop International, Urban Alchemy, Artist Emerge, Dancers Paradise, Vibe, and World of Dance. After making the move to Vancouver, Julia competed at BodyRock 2017 with TwoFourSeven Company, where their emotional win caught the attention of “America’s Got Talent”’s producers. By March 2018, Julia and the rest of TwoFourSeven had been flown out to LA, to perform in front of Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum. Most recently, Julia had the opportunity to travel as a guest performer of all female crew “Diamonds in the Rough”, to New York for the 15th anniversary of esteemed street dance celebration, Ladies Of Hip Hop.
These accomplishments laid the base for her reputation, and today she is focusing on TV/Film work (credits include Riverdale, Motherland and Another Life) and sharing her passion with students of all ages and levels. Julia’s magnetic and nurturing teaching style, coupled with her knowledge of Street Dance foundation / history, musicality and performance, has made her a sought after instructor and choreographer.
Daylan Braude BFA - Tap
Daylan has been involved in the dance world since the tender age of 5. Tap dance was the first style of dance she was exposed to and after that she never looked back. In her youth she also studied Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet and Contemporary. Daylan performed and competed with various local studios and, upon graduation from high school, continued her studies at SFU in the Contemporary Arts Program. After receiving her BFA in Modern dance, Daylan continued her dance journey through choreographing and performing in various dance shows in BC and Alberta. After taking a break from performing, Daylan discovered that her true passion is teaching dance. For over 20 years she has been sharing her love of dance in various schools throughout the lower mainland. Daylan’s love of music and passion for rhythm are what motivate her to teach and choreograph.
Samantha Green BFA - Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary
Samantha Green began her formative years of dancing at the age of three at Boswell Dance Academy, completing her RAD examinations with distinction. She then moved on to pursue a bachelor of arts degree in Dance at Simon Fraser University where she learned an anatomical approach to movement dancing with renowned choreographers such as Crystal Pite, Wen Wei Wang, and Robert Kitsos. With almost a decade of teaching experience Samantha brings a professional dance education and is skilled in teaching Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet and Lyrical. She cares about teaching children and teens how to dance in a way that promotes proper technique, stage presence and longevity, all while fostering a love for dance and the arts.
Andrea Gonzalez - RAD RTS - Ballet
Andrea is an international certified RAD ballet teacher with an imaginative approach to teaching dance, bilingual in Spanish and English, with nine years of experience in private schools and studios in Mexico and Canada. She possesses naturally high levels of energy, a sweet personality, and a keen interest to share her passion with those that she teaches.
She started dancing at the age of 5. Her dance training includes Ballet with the Royal Academy of Dance, Jazz and Tap with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, and Musical Theatre. Andrea has successfully completed the Royal Academy of Dance Ballet examinations from Pre-Primary to Advanced 1 and she is continuing with her preparation for Advanced 2.
Andrea had participated as Corps of Ballet and Soloist at Mexico in ballets such Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and Coppelia and musicals as Mama mia! and Cats.
During her training as a dancer, Andrea had the pleasure to visit and train in Riverside Ballet Arts in California, where she received unforgettable dance training in Ballet, Contemporary, Repertoire, and Jazz learning from wonderful teachers like Katrina Kiliam member of New York City Ballet, and Glenda Carhart Owner and artistic Director of Riverside Ballet Arts.
At Mexico City, she took master classes with Jaime Vargas Soloist, Ballet Master, and Coordinator at Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
In order to continue her professional development, Andrea is currently enrolled in a Bachelor in Dance Education with the prestigiously University of Bath in London and the Royal Academy of Dance.
Payton Melanson - Acro & Improv
Born and raised in British Columbia, Canada, Payton has dedicated her life to dance training and pursuing her dreams. She began dancing at the age of 10, studying in all styles of dance. Growing up in the competitive world she won many awards and titles while traveling around Canada and the United States. Known for her skills in Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet, Hip Hop, and Acro, Payton is also a teacher and choreographer for recreational and competitive dancers.
At age 17 Payton began training at TOKYOtheAcademy located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, under the direction of Tokyo and Alisha Captain. Payton later moved to Southern California to train at The Brea Space. She was a member of “Launch”, a mentor training program directed by Krista Miller. Throughout the program Payton received extensive training from world-renowned choreographers in addition to spending several hours each week with on-camera dance and modelling training.
Currently residing in Vancouver, Payton’s next goal is to continue to educate and train dancers for many years to come. She is passionate about balancing artistic creativity with a strong technical foundation. She values your character, regardless of ability, and expects you to push yourself and work hard. Payton hopes to always inspire and bring out the best in each dancer that walks into her class.
Oyku Mensan Merzeci RAD RTS - Ballet
Oyku Mensan Merzeci was born in Istanbul and has had a passion for dance since she was very young. She has been teaching for 10 years and has been working with Raincity Dance since 2019.
Oyku began her ballet training at the age of 3 and graduated from the reputable Yıldız Alpar Ballet Academy.
She worked with Yildiz Alpar, the founder of the first private ballet school in Istanbul in 1953, who was awarded a lifelong achievement for her contribution to Ballet from the Royal Academy of Dance, and is considered the predecessor and a pupil of Lydia Arzumanova, who revolutionized the world of dance. During Oyku’s education, she worked with Oya Barbara Karanis, Aylin Kalem, Seda Altuğ, Deniz Kılınç, Emre Sökmen, Aysun Aslan, Oktay Keresteci and Theresa Jane Brown.
Oyku trained at the Performing Arts Department of Istanbul University Conservatory from 1997-2002, and after her graduation, she dove into her career as a teacher for the institute. During those years, she attended Royal Academy of Dance Major Examinations and in 2017 Oyku received her Royal Academy of Dance Teaching Certificate (CBTS).
In addition to Ballet, Oyku, has studied Flamenco with Arzu Karamani, she has attended workshops and courses for various dance styles in the UK and has also attended A Holistic Approach to Ballet Teaching course with Clare Guss in Vancouver, 2017.
Lucila Munaretto - Classical Ballet - Vaganova
Born and raised in South America, Argentina/Brazil, respectively, Lucila received in 2012 her diploma as a professional in Classical Dance from Bolshoi Theatre School in Brazil. For 8 years she has trained professionally in ballet, as well as a wide range of dance and art, successfully performing in Argentina, widely in Brazil, USA, and Canada.
Besides, she performed principal roles of premiers such as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Stepsisters in Cinderella choreographed by the renewed German choreographer Irene Schneider. Lucila also had the privilege to perform alongside with Natalia Osipova and Andrei Bolotin. Additionally, she has won awards at YAGP and other competitions.
Upon her graduation, Lucila received a full scholarship and was invited to perform as a member of Coastal City Ballet in Canada, where she successfully performed until 2015, when an automobile accident, unfortunately, forced Lucila to face a pause on her artistic career, however, not stubborn, she made her way back to the stage by the following year, nonetheless, the severe accident made it impossible to pursue her career as a professional dancer.
After a few years of self-reflection and, Lucila understood that dance is a huge part of her that can ́t be just left behind so she began to pursue a career as an instructor, performing then as a dance instructor for Rhythmic Gymnastics athletes at Adagio International Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy, ballet instructor of 3 and 4 years old girls at Pacific Dance Arts and personal dance/stretch instructor for the past 7 years.
Above all, Lucila believes that dance is nothing else but a mere form of expression that communicates what your soul is trying to say. It should be fun, and accessible to all and each individual.
With hard work, passion, and dedication, limitations can be transformed and used as your strongest asset.
Kiera Neufeld-Heinrichs - Ballet, Jazz, Tap
Miss Kiera started dancing at 7 years old in small town Saskatchewan. She enjoyed learning ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical and hip hop and obtained her CDTA Advanced certificates in jazz and tap and RAD Advanced 1. She had the opportunity to perform in Vancouver, New York, Wisconsin, and numerous prairie cities. She no longer dances competitively but performs in community musical theatre. Miss Kiera has taught all ages of students, all levels of ability, and all types of dance over her 8 year teaching career.
Dance has taught Miss Kiera discipline, perseverance, confidence, and how to have fun. Her goal is for all students to feel welcome and respected while free to express themselves, try new things, and learn to trust and love their bodies.
Sara Nussle - BFA IDTS - Ballet
Sara Nussle is passionate about fostering high levels of student learning and engagement by providing a positive and welcoming learning environment that gives each student the confidence to challenge themselves and grow. Sara is an alumna of Caulfield School of Dance where she trained under the direction of Cori Caulfield with a focus in ballet, modern, and jazz. She is accredited in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus to Advanced I, is a graduated teacher with International Dance Teaching Standards (IDTS), and is a certified Kids Yoga Instructor. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia (UBC) where she was the former Vice President and Executive Choreographer for the UBC Ballet Club and the UBC Ballet Competitive Team.
Sara has been a dance educator for several years and has had the pleasure of teaching students from a wide array of experience and backgrounds. She has prepared many students for ballet examinations, festivals and dance competitions and has trained and choreographed for students selected as Ballet, Stage, and Modern Provincial Representatives for Performing Arts BC. Sara’s favourite part about teaching is seeing her students blossom and grow into poised and confident individuals while falling in love with the art of dance and self-expression.
Sibel Rivera - Ballet
Started dancing at the age of 3 under the direction of Karemia del Rey in her home town in Sinaloa, Mexico.
She first started competing internationally at the age of 11 at The Vignale Ragazzi Contest in Italy where she was awarded with the Grand Prix, followed by other competitions in Cuba and Mexico where she won Gold and bronze medals.
She complemented her training with Summer intensives at Boston Ballet and City Ballet of San Diego. (Master classes with Ramona de Saa, Aurora Bosch, Nelson Madrigal, Lorna Feijoo, Ashley Bouder, Daniel Ulricht, Megan Fairchild etc.)
At the age of 16 she moved to la Habana Cuba to complete a three year certification at The Cuban National Ballet School as a ballerina and professor which consisted in a diverse training including ballet, physical preparation, educational methodology, psychology, contemporary, choreography creation, kinesiology, folklore among others.
At her time there, she was featured twice on Cuban National Television dancing for the Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel and other recognized members of the government.
After her graduation she became an apprentice with the Profesional Company of The City Ballet of San Diego in the US and was casted to dance principal roles such as Clara in the Nutcracker and Alice in Alice in Wonderland.
She also taught ballet and repertoire classes at two different schools in San Diego.
Because of the pandemic she moved back to Mexico. That year she got a contract as Principal Dancer at "Compañía de ballet Clásico de Puebla, México". Where she danced contemporary, neoclassical and classical repertoire. She was selected to be part of the Company National Tour and private events for the Mexican government.
She never stoped teaching ballet, latin rhythms and physical preparation classes to all levels and got a certification in Positive Psychiatry and Mental health with the University of Sydney.
In 2021 she moved to Vancouver to complement her ballerina-professor career with a kinesiology Diploma.
Lauren Stefani - Ballet Teacher
Lauren began classical ballet training at age four, completing RAD examinations from Grade 1 to Advance 1. She has explored Jazz, Lyrical, and Acro styles of dance, performed multiple roles in Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella productions through Pacific Dance Arts, and participated in numerous ballet competitions through Dance Power.
Lauren has been a Raincity Dance student since its debut as Ms Meiko's Ballet and began teaching in 2018. She has also worked with students ages three to twelve in the foundations of classical technique at Kitsilano Community Centre, where her love for dance was introduced.
Her passion for dance kinetics and ballet's physiology, in particular, led her to pursue a degree in kinesiology. In her second year of a two-year university-transfer program at Langara College, she is studying for strength and conditioning specialization. She will continue to complete a university degree in human kinetics, physiology, and sports psychology. She applies her knowledge of rehabilitation to dance with an accentuation on proactive prehab to prevent dance-related injuries and strengthen technique while fostering a love for dance.
Naomi Wright - Jazz & Lyrical Instructor
Naomi began her dance training in the heart of small town Alberta with Miss Joanne's School of dance at the age of 5 training in all styles including acrobatics under the Acrobatic Arts curriculum. Her competitive years were filled with many titles and scholarships allowing her to train all over the country at different conventions and even the opportunity to train at Los Angeles`s The Edge.
After graduation she moved to Vancouver to train under Harbour Dance Center`s Intensive Training Program, (ITP) where she trained in commercial dance, acting and circus. Her professional performances included We Day, Vancouver's International Dance Festival, and Small Stage`s Winter Series.
Naomi specializes in teaching jazz, lyrical and acrobatics and she continues to educate herself through different avenues and curriculums. Naomi is passionate about making her classes a safe space for students to push themselves and develop their love for dance. She hopes her students leave feeling inspired and confident in their abilities so they may achieve great things in and out of the studio.