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Ballet Shoes

Meet our Instructors

Tara Martin

Tara spent her early dance training in Vancouver under the direction of Maureen Martinique, training in RAD syllabus and carried on to a professional career of teaching. 

Moving to Whistler, being mentored by Codi Dalen and then developed a community Dance Program that has enabled children from many different backgrounds to Have the opportunity to dance. 

 

“Dance is a hidden language of the soul.”

Tara has felt extremely blessed to have been surrounded by so many talented teachers and students over the last 30 years. Her goal is to pass on her passion for the gift of dance to the next generation. 

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Owner/Director

Natasha

Ballet

Natasha Sarafanova was born in Kiev Ukraine and started learning Classical Ballet at the Kiev Ballet Academy from the age of 10. When she graduated at the age of 18, Natasha started working as a professional dancer and had a very successful career for over 20 years.

 

Natasha is also the proud mother of world renowned principal dancer Leonid Sarafanov formerly of the Mariinsky Theatre ( Saint  Petersburg, Russia) now with Mikhailovsky Theatre( Saint Petersburg, Russia). Leonid followed his mother and fathers footsteps as well as his grandparents and is now considered to be one of the top classical ballet dancer’s in the world. Both Leonid and his wife Olesya Novikova are special guests of many major ballet companies all over the world like Tokyo Opera House ( Japan), Teatro Alla Scala ( Italy), Vienna State Opera House ( Austria).

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Ballet

Lena Chizhova was born in Kaliningrad, Russia. At the age of 18, she graduated from the Kazan (Russia) College of Cultural Arts, Faculty of Dance, with a Diploma in Professional Dance and Dance Education. There she studied Classical Ballet and Character Dance. After she graduated, she started her career as a professional dancer and, in 1989, moved to the Ukraine. She then established the Ballet School“Nocturne,” which is still operating and well-known in Odessa. 

 

While at the Nocturne Ballet Studio, Lena served as the Manager and Head Choreographer until 2009, when she moved to Canada. One of Lena’s career highlights was the recipient of the 2007 Best Teacher and Manager Award from the Ukraine Minister of Education. Lena was also instrumental in organizing and choreographing cultural events, showcasing many of her students in Munich and Paris. Lena was also invited to judge dance competitions held in Odessa. Many of Lena’s students have gone on to have successful dance careers as dancers and dance instructors.

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Lena

Lyrical & Jazz

McKeely

McKeely Borger is a member of the Saskatchewan Métis Nation from Regina, Canada. She has pursued her dance career internationally at Adelphi University in New York under full merit scholarship, Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver, Atlanta Ballet, and in France at Le Ballet de l’Opéra-Théâtre de Metz Metropole as a soloist. She was an original cast member of the mainstage production of Mickey & the Magician at Disneyland Paris in 2016. Before returning to Canada, Ms. Borger spent two years with Ballet Palm Beach, where she had the opportunity to dance George Balanchine’s Who Cares? as the ‘One and Only’. Embarking on her fourth year dancing in the Ballet Kelowna company on their 20th anniversary year, she has premiered new works by Canadian artists such as Alysa Pires, Kirsten Wicklund, Kunal Ranchod, and Cameron Fraser-Monroe. Ms. Borger also loves sharing the joy of movement with our community as an instructor for dancers of all ages.

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Mackenzie

Hip-Hop

My name is Mackenzie! I have been passionate about dance since I was four, inspired by my mother who danced her whole life. I really enjoy different music that inspires people to move their bodies and express dance the way it feels to them! I’m so excited to continue on to my second year of teaching, and my 18th year of dance, and can not wait to see all the little ones bust a move!

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Lyrical & Jazz

Phoenix

Phoenix began dancing at the age of 2 under the instruction of her Mom who has been the instructor/owner of her own studio for over 20 years in Vermilion, Alberta.  Phoenix has studied in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, Musical Theatre and Acro. Over the years Phoenix has attended both regional and international competitions across North America as well competed as part of Team Canada (tap) in Risa, Germany. Phoenix has successfully completed Cecchetti ballet exams as well as her ADAPT pre advanced Jazz and Tap exams. Phoenix began assisting at the age of 10 and has been teaching since the age of 15. Phoenix loves sharing her passion for dance with her students and helping them reach their personal goals. She recently graduated from high school and is currently studying Health & Exercise Science at UBC.

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Quinton

Hip-Hop

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Born and raised in Vancouver, Quintin started hip hop classes at the age of 9. He was invited by a friend to attend a class which sparked a passion that has lasted for 7 years. While only training in hip hop Quintin has learned valuable lessons and skills that help him succeed in and out of the studio. He is currently on a highly competitive hip hop team where he is still learning and growing as a dancer.

 

Quintin loves sharing his passion for hip hop with the younger generation by teaching them the fun that the dance world can bring.

Danny

Hip-Hop & Musical Theatre

Danny Tagle was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. His professional career started at the age of 9 as one of the kids in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Imajé intl. 1992). 

 

The following years were a remarkable journey, as he worked for one of the most outstanding theatre companies in the Philippines. 

- Repertory Philippines (Pinocchio 2003), Wizzard of Oz (2004). 

 

He continued his journey working at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland (Hong Kong-2005-2012). He was the park’s dance captain, stunt captain, and assistant to the choreographer for ‘Flights of Fantasy Parade”. His dance credits were from the show festival of the Lion King, High school musical LIVE, Disney on Parade, Cars2 and Pirates of the Caribbean shows and TV commercials. 

 

Danny is also a musician and directed and choreographed a couple of shows in town, such as Rock of Ages (2016 and 2017), A Charlie Brown Christmas and Little Shop of Horrors from New Vintage Theatre. 

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Bronwyn

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Bronwyn has been dancing since she was 3 years old! She studied RAD Ballet, Al Gilbert and ADAPT Tap, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary, ACRO, Jazz, HipHop, and Celtic.

 

During her training, Bronwyn completed her Intermediate RAD Ballet exam, as well as Al Gilbert syllabus for Tap to the Advanced level. Bronwyn is a Certified Dance Educator with ADAPT (Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers) and has completed education in Discover Dance Early Childhood Teacher Training. She has also completed her Plan to Protect training. She has attended Master classes taught by top dance educators including Danny Neilson, Jay T Schramek and Alex Wong.

 

You may have seen her performing in Okanagan events such as our West Side Days Parade, Canada Day Parade, Opera Kelowna concerts and many local festivals! Bronwyn has been teaching in the Okanagan for many years, with experience in recreational as well as competitive teaching and choreography. Bronwyn has a passion for dancing and for teaching, and it is her goal to foster a love of dance in her students while creating a safe and encouraging learning environment for all! 

Tyler

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Tyler began training at the late age of 13 and competed around Alberta until the age of 18. Once accepted into the Edge School dance program, Tyler was fortunate enough to train closely with many international instructors providing a different source of knowledge for each style! In 2019 Tyler placed 3rd overall at the YAGP finals in New york city, this was when his career started to take off. Tyler got the opportunity to train/ dance with the Bolshoi Ballet, Goh Ballet, Ballet BC, Hubbard Street, Sydney dance company, Chunky Move, Tokyo Ballet, Tokyo dance company, Jazz in AZ, and more. Alongside Tyler has extensive experience in the commercial world of dance such as the “I AM Force” (IAF) company in LA/ Break The Floor conventions. Tyler is now teaching and setting choreography at various studios nationwide while training the dancers in Calgary. Tyler is excited to share his knowledge and creativity with dancers around the Okanagan.

Cheyenne

Tip & Toes

Cheyenne has danced since she was 4 years old. Has competitively competed her whole dance career, first with Dance City Academy then finishing at Sarafanov. She has been teaching since she was 18 and absolutely loves it! Tap is her favorite dance style! I try to mix fun into all my classes so that everyone has a blast!

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Adult Ballet

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Stephanie

Stephanie began dancing in Montreal, with her mother, Margaret Mehuys

and continued her training with Yvonne Mounsey at Westside School of

Ballet, at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and danced on scholarship at

George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet for three years.

She went on to dance professionally with the Hartford Ballet, the

Connecticut Ballet and Ballet Ouest de Montréal where she has performed a

varied repertoire including principal roles in The Nutcracker, Sleeping

Beauty, Coppélia, Giselle, Le Corsaire and Gaité Parisienne.

Stephanie ran her own school in Montreal for three years. In 2006, she

merged her school with Ballet Ouest de Montréal to help found their dance

center. Here she taught elementary through pre-professional levels including

ballet technique, pointe, variations and conditioning.

 

She then moved to Orange County, California where she taught and

choreographed for Richter Academy of Classical Dance under the

directorship Lauren Richter. At RACD, Stephanie choreographed and

trained students that have placed first and second at the YAGP semi-finals.

After eight years of teaching in southern California, Stephanie and her

family moved to West Kelowna, BC, where she looks forward to sharing her

passion for ballet and the Balanchine style with future students.

Aidan

Acro

Aidan. has been dancing at West K Dance for 11 years.

 

Aidan is a highly skilled and accomplished dancer specializing in contemporary as well as heavily training in ballet. Aidan was given the opportunity to perform in the ballet Cinderella with Ballet Jorgen in March 2023, as well as  attending the professional summer intensive at Victoria Academy of Ballet in August 2022. Aidan Sharkey has also participated in the Goh Ballet Canadian Tour Workshop. Her passion for dance has led her to compete in dance competitions for 8 years of her life. 

 

Aidan is ready to share the art of dance with all of her students.

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Olivia

Tap & Tiny Dancers

Olivia Melenchuk has over 17 years of dance experience, beginning at just two years old. She began her dance training at Dance City Academy before moving to West K Dance. Olivia has gained experience in many styles during her time at both studios.

 

She is well-versed in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, street jazz, and musical theatre. During this time, Olivia had the opportunity to train with many well-known dance educators, including Sarah Watters, Natasha Sarafanov, Aniko Koloscai-Kryski, and Cheryl Blumke.

She has won numerous awards at competitions and festivals across Canada and completed many dance examinations with the Royal Academy of Dance and the ADAPT syllabus. She is trained in RAD and Vaganova method ballet, and ADAPT syllabus jazz and tap. 

 

She has thoroughly enjoyed her time working as a student teacher and is excited to spread her knowledge and love of dance to future generations!

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Abigayle

Ballet

Abigayle Hudson is a talented dancer who has been dancing with West K Dance for 11 years.

She is only 15 years old, but has already accomplished so much in her dance career. Abigayle was accepted into the Alberta Ballet Professional Summer Intensive, the Victoria Academy of Ballet Professional Dance Intensive, and received scholarships to attend the Goh Ballet School.

 

She has also had the privilege of working with renowned dance professionals such as Aram Munukyan as well as Jennifer Fournier from the National Ballet of Canada. Abigayle is excited to share her love of dance with others and help them achieve their own dance goals.

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Avital

Acro
 

Avital started dancing at the young age of 3. At the age of 12, she began competing provincially and internationally with The Kore Dance Project, and West K Dance. Avital has won dancer scholarships, and numerous outstanding awards along with her teammates.

 

With these studios, Avital has trained extensively in Acrobatics, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, and Hip Hop. During these years, Avital also spent time training at Okanagan Gymnastics Centre and Kelowna Gymnastix. In 2021, Avital completed her ‘Respect in Sport’ training, and in 2023, attained her Acrobatic Arts teaching certification. Avital has over 4 years of experience working with young dancers and is eager to continue her passion for teaching while inspiring future generations of dancers. When not dancing, Avital enjoys spending her time outdoors, with family, or playing the piano.

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Kathryn

Kathryn has been dancing since she was 5 years old and has always had a passion for it since. Her mother Natasha Sarafanov and her older brother Leonid Sarafanov both inspired her to continue dancing throughout high school and after graduation. Kathryn was fortunate enough to be able to represent Canada in Poland during the World IOD Dance Competition in 2018.

 

Kathryn then moved to Vancouver where she developed her dance skills further through Harbour Dance Intensive Training Program (ITP). She then joined the award winning Hip Hop Dance Company “Two Four Seven” and was also part of Vancouver Warriors Dance Team. Kathryn also dances professionally with Zynth Entertainment and has a wide range of experience. She was lucky enough to perform with numerous artists such as Snoop Dog, 50 Cent, Rae Sremmurd and many others.

 

Kathryn was a featured dancer in numerous music video over the last several years and is excited to share her experiences and inspire others to always believe in there dreams and goals.

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Jo

Jo discovered her love for dance at a young age, dedicating eight years to its practice. After a successful stint as a film and stage actor in their youth, she returned to dance in 2017, reigniting her passion. Since 2019, she has been sharing her love of dance by teaching a beginner heels dance, with a deep-seated passion for empowering women to love themselves, all while having a ton of fun. In 2022, Jo joined West K Dance, where they continue to inspire and guide aspiring dancers with their unique journey and dedication to fostering self-confidence and enjoyment through dance.

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Melissa

Guest Teacher
Lyrical & Modern

 

Melissa began her post-secondary dance education with York University in Toronto, and continued her education with Modus Operandi in Vancouver. While living in Vancouver she performed in various dance and art festivals as well as for the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Her work as a dance educator for the past 15 years has allowed her to be recognized as an important role model and mentor for girls and young women. Melissa is committed to educating dancers how to respect themselves, and align their entire being in total health and love, supporting dancers through their creative process and life journey. 

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Tayla

Guest Teacher

Tayla Haswell began dancing at Ingrid Green’s Academy of Ballet in Durban, South Africa. Following immigrating to Canada, Tayla trained and graduated from Vimy Ridge Academy’s Professional Dance Program in Edmonton, Alberta. Throughout her training, Tayla danced as a soloist for 4 years with the Edmonton Festival Ballet Company while earning her Advanced II RAD Ballet exam and Advanced I Cecchetti Ballet exam.

 

Tayla was very privileged to receive many training and performance opportunities throughout Canada and the United States, most notably with Alberta Ballet in Calgary, Ballet Jorgen and George Brown Dance in Toronto, and The Ailey School in New York City. While performing and training, both classically and commercially, Tayla earned her Bachelors degree in English and Kinesiology through The King’s University.

 

Tayla’s dance career has taken her to stages across North America, and she is excited to be sharing her knowledge and love of dance with the students at Sarafanov Dance Studio

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Destiny

Acro

Growing up in Calgary, Destiny trained in various styles since the age of 6 including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Acro and Hip-Hop. She was a member of The Young Canadians performing arts group and has been a gymnastics, dance, and acro instructor for the past 10 years. 

She has her level 1 gymnastics certificate and her acrobatic arts teaching certificate as well.

She is passionate about dance and moving your body daily. 

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Harmony

Guest Teacher
 

"Harmony was practically born in the studio, starting dance at the age of 2 and a half. For the past 22 years, she has thoroughly enjoyed her time in the studio and on stage and has had much success.

 

Harmony has auditioned for and successfully been accepted into numerous dance programs over the years including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet school’s summer intensive program and 3-year post-secondary Teacher Training Program, the National Ballet of Canada, as well as the Moscow Ballet Company’s productions of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.  

 

Harmony has trained in almost every style you can imagine including jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, acro, hip-hop, musical theatre, and ballroom. She has taken classes with many well-known dancers and choreographers such as Shannon Mather, Blake McGrath, Travis Wall, Willdabeast, Jenn Parsley, Rustin Matthews, Ade Obayomi, David Cox, Talia Favia, Jaci Royal, Mark Kanemura and many, many more.

 

Throughout the years, Harmony has received hundreds of awards and scholarships both locally and internationally for her own performances as well as her choreography. This recognition has allowed her the opportunity to travel to Greece, Paris, LA, Montreal, and New York. Some of her most prestigious awards include the most outstanding dancer, Senior Miss Masquerade, the RBC Silver Plate, the All Around Senior Dance Bowl, the Sylvia Horn Memorial Scholarship, and the Fort William Rotary Club Silver Tray. She has also received many exceptionally high marks and overall placements on a variety of different performances. Most recently, Harmony has been acknowledged for her outstanding jazz, ballet, lyrical, and contemporary choreography.

 

For many years, Harmony has assisted and taught a variety of classes at her very own studio, Dream Dance Company, as well as various dance studios around Canada for dancers from the ages of 3 and up in jazz, ballet, lyrical, and contemporary. She is looking forward to sharing her love and passion for dance while inspiring and encouraging her students to be the best that they can be."

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