Meet Our Teachers
Get to know our professionally trained teaching staff at Dartmouth Dance Academy.
Lisa Hart is the Director/Owner of Dartmouth Dance Academy, Director/Choreographer of the Award-Winning Dance Team, Fusion, The Past Vice President of the CDTA National Board, and the Director of the Atlantic Division of the National Board of Directors. Lisa began her training as a dancer and instructor at Dartmouth Dance Academy. She studied Child Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University, finishing her degree in Dance at Brigham Young University Idaho. She toured professionally with a dance team through the USA and China, setting the stage for her interest in movement as both an artistic and cultural form. Lisa has won many awards for her choreography, is presently a stage examiner for the CDTA and an Adjudicator for many dance competitions. She holds an associate in Ballet and Modern dance through the Canadian Dance Teachers Association, as well as a fellow in Jazz and Tap and a Certification in Acro. Lisa has trained students who have gone on to pursue dance at schools like Peridance (NYC), Toronto Dance Theatre, York, Randolph, and Ryerson. She is continually striving to provide her students with the best possible dance education, allowing them to achieve their goals through artistic and athletic expression of dance.
Piper is certified in both ADAPT and CDTA. She has an extensive training background from various programs and teachers around the world. She has trained in LA, New York, Toronto, Calgary, Utah, and Las Vegas. Piper has danced with choreographers such as Nappytabs, Blake McGrath, Brian Freidman, Ian Eastwood and many more well known choreographers in the dance industry. Piper has performed on stage in New York City on Broadway, in California’s Disney Land Park, in Christina Martin’s music videos, Brian Friedman Fashion Show, and is presently the team captain of the National Lacrosse League's Halifax Thunderbirds Dance Team. Piper has been choreographing dances and teaching dancers around Nova Scotia since she was 16. She loves to create different and exciting pieces. Her routines have achieved top mark placements at competitions and has won overall choreography awards at competitions as well. She enjoys being in the studio with her dancers to build a strong foundation and learn more from each student she teaches. Dance is her whole life and wants to share her knowledge and love for the art form with all.
Miss Abbey is an enthusiastic dancer/actress/choreographer with a passion for teaching and performing. She has more than 10 years of tumbling, dance, cheer, fitness, pageant and theatre experience. Miss Abbey has a degree in performing arts, diploma in Musical Theatre Performance and has taken part in many teaching seminars, summits, workshops, certification and competitions. During her musical Theatre days, she performed in productions such as Les Miserables, Anything Goes, 42nd Street and the Mikado, along with a touring children’s show called Munchables and Performances in Vancouver’s Push Festive and Fridge Festive. Throughout her Journey, she has worked at many different dance studios, Theatre companies and Summer Camps in various roles such as Instructor, teacher, and Program Director. Previously, she owned her own dance school and All-Star Cheerleading Gym. Miss Abbey’s true passion is teaching, she believes dance is for everyone and aims to inspire dancers to be brave, trust themselves, make mistakes and be silly!
Stephen Jacobsen started dancing in his home town, at the Lake Arrowhead School of Dance, in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. Training in jazz, tap, hip-hop, Polynesian, and ballet. He received a scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School at the age of 16, then danced professionally for the Cincinnati Ballet. He has loved teaching since the age of 14, and is excited to be working with the amazing talent at Dartmouth Dance Academy.
Sophie began her training at Precision Dance Company located in the Annapolis Valley. There, she trained primarily in Contemporary, Modern, and Jazz techniques under the artistic direction of Christopher Knowles and Sidney Mcilroy successively. As well, she received extensive ballet training with CDTA and RAD certified Cadance Academy, directed by Gaea Jess. Sophie also has a vast background in Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, and Improvisation which have influenced her own unique style today. Sophie has earned several title and scholarship awards over the past decade while competing in dance competitions across the Maritimes, and has furthered her education from industry professionals at dance intensives, conventions, and workshops. Recently, Sophie has signed with Aspiring Artists Management and is currently training and choreographing in Halifax.
Carly entered the dance world at the age of six in Ontario and fell in love with the art! Carly grew up in the competitive dance world, which led her to a passion for teaching and sharing her love and knowledge of dance with others. Carly has taught at numerous dance studios throughout Ontario with students competing in provincially, nationally and internationally.
After years of living abroad, Carly has officially settled in Nova Scotia. We are thrilled to have her join us at Dartmouth Dance Academy. Leading and inspiring young dancers to believe in themselves brings Carly pure joy and she is such a wonderful role model for our young dancers.
Emily Rivard has grownup dancing in Sudbury, Ontario. Through her years of training she has participated in many competitions and professional performances including 2 years in the gala showcase held by On The Floor Dance Competition. She has had the opportunity to learn from artists such as Mitchell Jackson, Derek Piquette, Jordan Clark, Marguerite Derricks, Jim Nowakowski, Alisha Lucchese, and Jeff Wong. Over the years she has trained primarily in RAD style ballet and has completed her intermediate level exam. Emily has also spent time training with both the Quinte Ballet School of Canada and the School of Cadence Ballet. She has not only won awards for her own dancing but also for her own choreographed pieces. Emily teaches a variety of styles and focuses lots of her teaching on the minor details of technique and the building blocks to help a dancer be strong and consistent.
Fiona Laing started her dance training as early as 3 years old at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts in Halifax Nova Scotia, her grandmother ran the school she attended and was always her biggest inspiration to start dancing and to keep dancing. All and all Fiona has been dancing for 15 years. Fiona has been in many productions during her dance career including playing a step sister in Cinderella as well as taking part in exams, no matter what style. She ended up earning Distinction on her Grade 5 RAD ballet exam. Fiona has also taken part in Taking Steps to Fly as a choreographer. She has assisted and taught whenever she could at the Conservatory as well as teaching and assisting in summer programs. Choreographing and teaching has always been in the back of Fiona’s mind and she has loved brainstorming ideas in her free time even when she was younger. When she hit high school her injuries from dance ended up getting the best of her and she was forced to stop dancing. Fiona graduated from Citadel High School in 2021 and now attends Mount St. Vincent University and is studying Child and Youth study to become a teacher.
Cailey Watkins started dancing with Kidzact in Yarmouth at age 6. In 2013, Cailey was part of the first ever Kidzact competition team, who trained under LA choreographer, Scotty Ngyuen. Cailey traveled throughout the Maritimes as well as Quebec, Niagara Falls, Orlando, and New Jersey competing hip hop, winning multiple awards and making friends along the way. When Cailey graduated from Kidzact, she continued to choreograph for them, as well as teach for Acadia Dance Community Club in Wolfville while attending Acadia University. Cailey also created and choreographed the first hip hop only competitive team at Acadia, which won highest mark pre-professional at competition that season. Cailey cant wait to be teaching somewhere new and to push our dancers as far as they’ll allow her!
Stephanie began dancing with Dartmouth Dance Academy at the age of six where she trained in ballet, jazz lyrical and tap under the direction of Jacqueline Wright. Over the years, she completed many CDTA exams in various disciplines. Later she taught classes in creative movement, ballet, jazz, and tap for children and adults. Her adult classes provided many memorable teaching moments and brought her great enjoyment. Her favorite discipline has always been tap and she has continued to focus on this throughout her years in dance. Stephanie strives to pass along her love and knowledge of dance with all of her students. Her years of teaching dance have helped her greatly when she became an elementary school teacher and her classroom has always contained elements of music and dance. Stephanie looks forward to working with new and returning students in Dartmouth Dance Academy studios.
Elizabeth has been dancing for 17 years and during that time she trained in the Cecchetti ballet method, completing up to Grade 4. Elizabeth moved on to train with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet school in their intensive training program, which included ballet, pointe, modern, and conditioning. While there, Elizabeth participated in the dance ensemble program, where she competed in tap, jazz, lyrical, and musical theatre. Elizabeth has also trained in contemporary and hip-hop dance styles. During her time with Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Elizabeth had the opportunity to perform in productions such as Twyla Tharp’s Princess and the Goblin, Nutcracker, the Opening of the Human Rights Museum, and Billy Elliot the Musical. Elizabeth also found time to complete and competed in multiple dance competitions including Move, CNDC, 5678 and Thunderstruck. Competing has allowed Elizabeth to work with a multitude of different choreographers in masterclasses and workshops which she has valued. Elizabeth was also asked to participate in 2 share dance days with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and The National Ballet School. Elizabeth has expanded her repertoire to include training in Irish Dance for the past few years and in high school, Elizabeth was part of the school's Hip Hop dance crew. We are thrilled to have Elizabeth at Dartmouth Dance Academy!