Tri-Tone Youth Rhythm Ensemble provides an opportunity for Tap Dancers and rhythm artists to experience a collaborative company atmosphere in a non-competitive, process oriented, creative setting. The vision for the ensemble is to educate and pass along historical repertoire, as well as collaborate in the creation of new works, culminating in performance presentation.
The ensemble has the opportunity to work with tap masters, body percussionists, movement artists and choreographers from around the world. In addition, the ensemble participates in the technical and stage production aspects of producing concert work and has the opportunity to learn how to work with live musicians.
Additional touring opportunities and self-directed mentorships are available to students in specific areas of interest upon request. The ensemble has the opportunity to travel to Youth Conferences to further enhance their technical and performance experience as well as to foster and nurture creative relationships with other youth ensembles and outreach programs in Canada and abroad.
* Technique classes
* Improvisation Skills
* Sequencing Combinations
* Music Training and Theory
* Working with Live Musicians
* Tap History
* Historical Tap Repertoire
* New Creation Repertoire
* Body Percussion
* Guest Artists and Choreographers
* Performance Training
* Community Performances
* Collaboration with Ensembles
* Developing Skills and Confidence
* Supportive Atmosphere
“I had the privilege of dancing under the direction of Tasha Lawson for four years. As a professional dancer, creator and performer, I am still realizing the immense impact her guidance has had on me. Tasha gave us opportunities and permission to open ourselves up creatively as growing individuals and allow for honest and real exchanges to happen. She has a remarkable ability to see the potential in every being and situation, gently guiding and pushing us to expand our creative boundaries in a safe and inviting space. Her lessons encouraged a supportive environment where I could develop myself as an individual dancer and also learn to negotiate sharing space with others. Allowing for ideas to be openly shared, I learned the value of listening to my own instincts while always being available to listen to others”.
– Penny Wendtlandt- STOMP CAST MEMBER- NYC
The Tri-Tone Rhythm Ensembles are supported in part by:
Braeden Deitsch has been taking dance classes since the age of six, but his mom jokes that he started tapping in her tummy. He was born loving music, and was tapping around the house before he ever took a class. Braeden has trained in a variety of dance disciplines, including ballet, jazz, tap, musical theater, hip hop, modern and urban at Dance Factory, Drewitz Dance Productions, Dance Centre, Danza, Pulse, and Alberta Dance Theatre. His performance credits include DDP’s productions of Annie and Camp Rock, and ADT’s productions of Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. He is currently enrolled in the art centered learning program at Willow Park School.
Braeden enjoys snowboarding, and aspires to become a professional snowboarder, aeronautics engineer, architect or Lego designer. Braeden is thankful for the excellent opportunities to work with and learn from very passionate people. He truly appreciates that they are willing to share their love, knowledge and experience with him. He sends a big thank you to his parents for supporting him as he pursues his passions, and to his cousin Adam for inspiring him to dance.
“Rhythm is a dancer, it’s a soul companion, you can feel it everywhere! Free your mind and join us!” –Snap
Eva Poidevin started taking ballet classes in 2004 at the age of 4. By 2007 she was fully immersed in the dance world, taking tap, jazz and other styles of dance. Eva has always loved rhythm and credits her sister with being her tap inspiration. Her favorite dance memory to date was winning overall novice solo at Dance Power in 2007 for her tap solo, and she has also loves every opportunity she gets to perform. When she’s not dancing, Eva enjoys racing on her bike, and she aspires to become a physiotherapist. Eva would like to thank her family for supporting her dance dreams, and her teachers for constantly pushing her to improve.
“There is so much creativity to inspire us! Take dance classes and see shows whenever you can!”
Kristin Unruh has been dancing since she was three, and takes classes in ballet, jazz, hip hop and tap. Her performance credits include three years with Alberta Dance Theatre before joining Tri-Tone Youth Ensemble. Last year Kristin had the opportunity to assistant teach a tap class, and at the end of the year recital she loved standing in the wings watching her group tap in their unicorn costumes! In the summer, Kristin loves to go stand up paddle boarding and in the winter she’s a cross-country skier.
“Dance can lift your mood, make you smile and sweep your socks off your feet.”
Maisie Mattatal started tapping when she was seven, and loves to dance the tap classics. She loves that she can dance to the same music and learn the same moves. Her favorite dance experience is when she did her first front flap. It took her forever to do, but she kept practicing until she got it. Maisie has also trained in jazz, but it’s tap that she wants to still be doing. When Maisie grows up, she wants to become a plastic surgeon. Maisie also has a talent for drawing, specializing in dragons and reptiles.
“Tap Dance is not just learning moves. You take the moves you learn from those sequences and use them in your improvisation. Never be scared to do improv, just let go and listen to the music and dance.”
Brynna Doucette was 2 years old when her mom decided that her boundless energy belonged in dance class. For the past 13 years, Bryanna has trained in every style of dance, from ballet to foxtrot. She has been dancing competitively for the past 8 years and recently joined the PVA dance program at Central Memorial High School. Bryanna was inspired to put on tap shoes when she watched Singin’ in the Rain, a movie that she watched over and over again as a child. She continues to draw inspiration from the performers, especially Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Her favorite dance experience was her first performance at Lilac Fest in 2013. Bryanna sends a special thank you for the inspiration to her former tap teacher, Lori Goods.
“When you have been dancing for as long as I have, you find that it becomes an escape from reality and the world’s problems along with your own.”
Kate Metz took her first ballet class in Edmonton in 2006. A year later, her family moved to Beijing, China where she trained for 7 years in jazz, tap and ballet. After moving back to Canada, Kate recently joined Tri-Tone. Kate’s mom was a tap dancer who encouraged Kate to try it; Kate fell in love with tap during her first class. When she’s not dancing, Kate spends time crafting, playing tennis and hiking with her family and dogs. Kate aspires to become a doctor and looks forward to one day saving a life. She sends a big thank you to her dance teachers, past and present, for mentoring her and inspiring her of love dance.
“Dance is freedom, you have a say in it, and when you start speaking, people listen to your voice.”
Maddison Tory started baby ballet and tiny tappers when she was two, and has been dancing ever since. She is a competitive dancer with Springbank Dancers who competes in tap, jazz, lyrical, and musical theatre. Maddison enjoys performing solos, duets, trios and groups, and for her solo last year Madison received a high gold and the most promising tap dancer award. Maddison is currently working on grade 5, but one day hopes to become a cardiologist who teaches dance in her spare time. When she’s not dancing or in school, Madison enjoys geocaching and hiking with her family.
“Dance with your heart and your feet will follow”
Tali Glazer has been dancing at Counterpointe Dance Academy for as long as she can remember. Her first class was a Disney ballet class when she was three, and she has competed with Counterpointe for 7 years. Tali is training in ballet, jazz, musical theatre, lyrical, contemporary, acro and hip hop. She has also been tapping the whole time, and today draws inspiration from the accomplished tappers at Tri-Tone, Tasha Lawson, Danny Neilsen, Heather Cornell and Anthony Morigerato. Tali’s favorite non-dance activity is skiing, and she is currently in ninth grade.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” -Vivian Greene
Carmen Ritchie started dancing with Airborne Dance Center when she was 4 years old, and has trained in ballet, jazz, modern, and lyrical. She started tap training at 8 years old under the guidance of Courtney Woods, and later trained with Danny Nielsen, who has also choreographed six of her solos. Carmen has studied under several other talented teachers including Jenny Mariani, Julie Coleman, Maria McInnes, Caralee Lameroux and Candice Mosely. At 16, Carmen decided to focus on tap with the Tri-Tone Rhythm Ensemble, and has been happily tapping with them ever since.
Her favorite dance experience was going to Vancouver with the ensemble for almost two weeks filled with tap. Traveling and creating new tap experiences alongside her friends in the ensemble was amazing! Carmen would like to thank Tasha Lawson for creating Tri-Tone, which has influenced her life in numerous ways, including her dancing and the person she is today. She would also like to thank her fellow ensemble members for constantly inspiring her in each and every rehearsal and for keeping her spirit lifted.
“You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity, because you don’t know how long it will be here.”
Connor Denison is a Geophysics student at the University of Calgary who began tap dancing at the age of 6 at King Edgar Dance Studio under the guidance of Robyn King Edgar. Over the next eight years Connor learned many tap dances and took several years of ballet and jazz, however tap remained his favorite class by far. At the age of 11 Connor also joined the school band and learned how to play drums, read marimba music and play any percussive instrument available. He was given the opportunity to play in several performing arts musicals, concert bands, jazz bands and provide workshops for younger percussive students until he graduated as the section leader.
His main focus turned to tap once introduced to Mackenzie Greenwell, who gave Connor his first insights into rhythm tap. With his newfound inspiration, Connor took classes from and jammed with Mackenzie until he left town.
His favorite aspect of tap is the beautiful spontaneity and unpredictability of improvisation which his strong drumming background, jams with Mackenzie and hours spent on a board in his garage have all had a huge influence over.
After a year of tapping on his own, Connor returned to King Edgar Dance Studio where he was welcomed as a teacher, choreographer and assistant for several tap classes and was shortly after introduced to the amazing Tasha Lawson. Under her tutelage, Connor continues to learn and feel inspired every day, getting a feel for what the world of tap is as she has introduced him to world class artists and provided many opportunities to learn from them.
Connor’s favorite dance experience was training on Gabriola Island, not only because was he training and tapping with friends who are straight up fun to be around, but also because they performed in a show, watched several of today’s greatest tap artists perform, and got to enjoy the ocean, beautiful scenery and culture of the island while they were at it. Planning to continue learning and teaching tap as he grows old, Connor hopes to inspire many others to do the same.
“Dance is an ultimate form of communication and expression, and there’s nothing not to love about that.”
Evan Cooksley took his first dance class, a combo tap/jazz class, at the age of 5. Dancing with Airborne Studio for six years and Danscott Studio for 6 years, Evan is trained in tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, musical theatre, acro and ballet. He also trained in gymnastics for 7seven years with extensive trampoline training. Evan’s performance credits include five years as a dancer for The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede, the 2009 World Skills Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Labour Day Halftime Classic Show.
As a child, Evan loved to move to music, and he credits his mother with recognizing that dance classes would be a perfect fit. Since then, Evan has performed works by Brian Foley, Cyndi Scott, Sarah Dolan, Lukas McFarlane. Tasha Lawson, Dianne Walker, Derick Grant, Travis Knights, Terry Brock, Brenda Bufalino, Michelle Dorrance, Danny Nielsen, Lisa TaTouche and Ryan Casey.
One of Evan’s favorite dance experiences was his very first Grandstand Show where he performed for 20,000 people and was featured in a number of special roles. Evan gives thanks to his mom and dad for supporting him throughout his years of dance, driving to rehearsals, flying him across the country, paying for his dance education and being extremely supportive in all of his endeavours. He would also like to thank Lukas McFarlane (winner of Britain’s Got to Dance 2013) for being a mentor in his formative years of dance.
“Dancing is one of the most entertaining, and liberating, forms of exercise that one can pursue and it can bring a lot of joy into your life.”
Kelly Steele is originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada where she has been tap dancing for over 15 years. She first started taking tap dance classes at Counterpoint Dance Academy and then began dancing competitively at Elite Dance Academy. She has trained in many styles of dance, including ballet, jazz, and hip hop, but developed a lifelong passion for tap. Kelly was first introduced to rhythm tap by Danny Nielsen in 2008 and continues to be inspired by him and many other artists. She has had the opportunity to take classes with Danny, Lisa La Touche, Dianne Walker, Derick Grant, Michelle Dorrance, and Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies.
She graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and is currently taking hip hop classes at DJD. Kelly would like to thank Danny Nielsen for taking her tap dancing to the next level in terms of musicality and improvisation and for continuing to inspire her, and Tasha Lawson for her ongoing support and mentorship and for the incredible opportunity to grow as an artist, performer, and teacher as part of the Tri-Tone Rhythm Ensemble.
Luke Stanich has been dancing since he was five, and has studied jazz, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, acro, and a lot of tap. His first class was a tap class that his mom signed him up for, and Luke fell in love. Luke has studied with great teachers at Danscott Studio and at the Edge School, and has taken classes from many other teachers across North America.
Luke’s most memorable dance experience so far was studying with Dianne Walker, Brenda Bufalino, and Terry Brock on Gabriola Island, BC. School and Dancing keep Luke pretty busy, but when he gets the chance, he likes to watch a movie or draw. Luke would like to thank all of his teachers and especially Tasha Lawson, for giving him the opportunity to be in the ensemble, and for supporting him in his dancing. He also sends a big thank you to his family for supporting his dreams.
“Follow the dream, share the dream, encourage the dream.”
Chelsea Gale took her first ballet class when she was 3 years old, and by 6 she was in tap shoes. The minute she saw dancers tapping around the studio, she fell in love with the idea of making music with her feet. She began dancing competitively at the age of 7, and has trained in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical and musical theater. Chelsea is in eleventh grade and hopes to pursue a degree in kinesiology while continuing to further her dance career. When she’s not dancing, Chelsea loves to play sports, with basketball, snowboarding and skiing being her favorites.
Chelsea would like to thank her grandparents and aunts for always making the extra effort to come to all of her performances, and sends a special thank you to her mother, for always driving her to rehearsals and performances and for supporting her through everything.
“Dance is an art form that exists in all cultures and is enjoyed by all ages. Music means something to everybody, one of the earliest things everyone learns to do is move to music.”
Erika Low has been dancing since before she was 3. She has trained in all styles, from ballet to Bollywood, and has taken classes in Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Rome and Florence. At a young age, Erika saw Savion Glover tapping on Sesame Street and was inspired to ask her parents for tap classes. She has been fortunate to study with tap masters, Harold Cromer, Acia Gray and Dianne Walker. Erika’s favorite dance memory is sharing the stage with Dr. Harold Cromer at the Magical Rhythms tap festival, and she aspires to become a professional performer, producer and dance therapist.
A major source of inspiration for Erika has been Bril Barrett, who helped to encourage her when she was a young dancer and helped her to explore things she never would have done on her own. She also thanks Cyndi Scott for believing in her and helping her when she did not believe in herself.
“Be true to yourself and your passion will find you, because if you copy others you’ll end up chasing their dreams not making your own.”
Katie Shaw has been dancing at Danscott Dance studio since she was 4 years old and has studied many styles of dance including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, musical theatre, contemporary, and acro. Her first dance class was tap, and from the minute she put on her tap shoes she knew she would love it.
At the age of 8 Katie received her first tap solo that was choreographed by Crystal Nielsen. She has been taught by many amazing dance teachers over the years including, Gail Scott, Sherri Mulcahy, Sandra Elliot, Alex Michael, Karen Rogers, and of course Tasha Lawson.
Tasha and Katie met in 2012, and Tasha choreographed her ninth tap solo. From there Tasha has taken Katie to the next level by introducing her to other professional tap artists, and starting up the tap ensemble.
Tasha has become Katie’s tap teacher, mentor, and friend. She is hoping to carry on with tap for the rest of her life, and maybe someday teach little kids as an outside hobby once she has become a paediatric nurse. Katie was touched by her tap teachers, and is hoping to touch the lives of other young children so that the tap world can stay alive for many years to come. She sends a big thank you to her teammates in the Tri-Tone Youth Ensemble for creating a fun, loving, and uplifting environment.
“Dance is like having a second family that will always have your back and encourage you… something that you don’t ever want to miss out on!”
Laura Donaldson has been dancing since the age of five in tap, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop and musical theatre. She studied at Foothills Academy of Dance and has then moved to Counterpoint Dance Academy. Her parents started her in ballet first, and she didn’t enjoy it….all she wanted to do was go to tap class! Laura joined the Tri-Tone Youth Rhythm Ensemble in September of 2013, and is currently teaching tap to kids aged 6-10 at Counterpoint. Her favorite dance experience to date is tap dancing with all of her best friends in Vancouver this summer at the Vancouver Tap Festival.
Laura would like to thank her mentor, Ashley Steele, who taught her tap since she was 8 years old, for always supporting her in everything that she does. She also would like to thank Tasha Lawson for including her in this ensemble and for all the work she has done to give them amazing opportunities, and all of her other teachers she has had along the way.
“Dance is so cool to watch and to participate in and something that is so important to me and many other people. By joining the dance community it helps us grow and gives us more support to keep doing what we love!”
Michaela Schultz has been dancing since age 3, and has always had a passion for tap. She is inspired by creating rhythm and sound, and by watching great tap masters perform. Michaela has trained in jazz, lyrical, ballet, hip hop and tap. Her favorite dance experience was taking class from Terry Brock when she attended the Vancouver Tap Dance Society’s tap boot camp. Michaela is also a composer, pianist and singer who loves to make music. She is planning to go to school to become a holistic nutritionist.
Michaela would like to thank all of her tap teachers growing up, especially Lorraine Stapleton-Smith and Nikki Harms. She is also grateful to Dianne Walker, Lisa LaTouche, Danny Nielsen, Terry Brock, and Michelle Dorrance for their inspiring workshops. Lastly, Michaela thanks Tasha Lawson for continuing to inspire her each week in class.
Molly Wallace has been making music with her feet for as long as she can remember. Her dancing moved from the tile floor in her kitchen to the dance studio when Molly was just three years old, and since then she has trained in tap, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and ballroom.
A seasoned performer, Molly spent 5 years with The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede as both a singer and a dancer, and was selected to perform a tap solo on a New York stage at last year’s Tap City festival.
Molly joined the Tri Tone Youth Rhythm Ensemble this season, after meeting the group at Gabriola On Tap and the Vancouver International Tap Festival. Molly credits her mom and dad for being supportive in everything that she does and for letting her choose her own path, and sends a big thank you to every single one of the teachers she has had for their part in shaping her into the dancer she is today.
“Follow your heart. If you love to dance, then dance.”