Valerie Grant, Licentiate, C.S.C.-C.I.C.B.,L.I.S.T.D. is a registered ballet teacher with the Cecchetti Society of Canada, the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (Cecchetti Faculty) and a Member of Cecchetti International Classical Ballet.
Valerie has been teaching dance for over thirty years. She has studied and performed ballet, jazz, modern, Flamenco and national dancing. Valerie has been trained in Cecchetti, R.A.D. and Vaganova methods of ballet. Her training includes Teacher training at Canada’s National Ballet School. Studies in art, music, anatomy and Benish dance notation enhance her teaching of dance.
Ms. Grant has successfully prepared many students for exams and performances, has choreographed for pageants and theatre companies, adjudicated dance festivals and is invited to teach at workshops.
Valerie is the past BC Representative and Chairman for the Cecchetti Society of Canada and has served on the BC Executive Committee many years. Valerie is an Advisory Panel Member of the Margaret Saul Scholarship Fund.
Valerie blends appreciation of art, music and dance with an empowering environment that encourages each student’s potential. Students training with Valerie may enjoy dancing for recreation and fitness or may choose to pursue a career in dance.
Sarah Jane Achtem grew up dancing on the island. She began her dance education with hip hop and quickly added ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary, and tap dancing.
Sarah began her ballet training at Arabesque Dance Studio, under the direction of Valerie Grant, in 2006. Sarah has been a teacher assistant with Valerie for several years where she has received hands on dance teacher training.
After graduating high school, Sarah furthered her dance education in Vancouver, attending Industry Dance Training Program where she trained in several styles of dance, learning from top choreographers, as well as academic classes in dance history and teacher training.
While training, Sarah has successfully competed in numerous competitions, both locally, and at the international level attending, World of Dance. As well as competitions, Sarah has been fortunate enough to further her training at various conventions and workshops; even being personally selected by Stephen “tWitch” Boss as a scholarship recipient at Coastal Dance Rage.
Sarah Achtem’s experience includes teaching dance programs at elementary and high schools in Victoria. Sarah is excited to be back on the island to spread her passion for dance and learning with her students.
Jessica Atkinson Associate CSC-CICB, AUDC Diploma
Jessica grew up in Parksville BC where she first discovered her joy for dance. She was taught in the Cecchetti Ballet Method and was trained in modern, jazz, tap, and musical theatre. After attending several Arts Umbrella Summer Intensives, she moved to Vancouver in 2007 to join their SPARTS program.
In 2009 she entered the Arts Umbrella Graduate Program and enjoyed teachings from Glen Gilmore, Grant Strata, Marquita Lester, and Artemis Gordon. As a part of the company she traveled to New York, Holland, and various parts in BC. She also had the pleasure of working with many choreographers including Azure Barton, Gioconda Barbuto, Leslie Telford, Stephen Shopshire, Shawn Hounsell, and Roberto Campanello.
After graduating from the Arts Umbrella Program she moved to New York to work with a modern dance company called Gallim. While there she worked under the Artistic Director and choreographer Andrea Miller. She toured with the company to Boston, and took part in the launch of a new Ralph Lauren perfume.
In 2011 Jessica moved back to BC and began teaching. She taught in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. She has recently created a work on Helix Dance Theatre, and in the past year became an Associate in the Cecchetti Method. Jessica enjoys sharing knowledge and inspiring others through the art of dance. As a teacher she hopes to inspire students to create dance, share dance, and love dance.