Steps Ahead Dance

Steps Ahead Dance provides quality dance instruction, with the Royal Academy of Dance Ballet and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, Modern/Jazz and Tap classes in preparation for examinations. We also offer performance opportunities at home and abroad to all students.

Steps Ahead Dance

“Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It’s a miracle, and the dance is a celebration of that miracle.”

  • Martha Graham
Steps Ahead Dance

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”
~ Martha Graham

Steps Ahead Dance

“The body says what words cannot.”
~ Martha Graham

Steps Ahead Dance

“Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart.”
~ Martha Graham

Steps Ahead Dance

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.”
~ Martha Graham

Steps Ahead Dance

“Nothing is more revealing than movement.”
~ Martha Graham

Steps Ahead Dance

“Learn by practice.”
~ Martha Graham

What We Offer

Steps Ahead Dance has been providing quality dance instruction in the Cowichan Valley since 1999. Students receive formal training with the Royal Academy of Dance Ballet and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, Modern/Jazz and Tap syllabi in preparation for examinations under the guidance of expert and fully qualified faculty. The studio environment is always positive, supportive and creative. The school’s philosophy encourages young dancers to work hard and be the best they can be, while enjoying this amazing art form. Local and international performance opportunities are offered to all students.

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 New Registrations being accepted NOW for 2020-2021 Season

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Our Team

Lorraine Blake
Bryony Blake
Julianna Cross
Jennifer Kosmenko
Hayley Newcombe
Cat Newcombe
Samantha Madge – Guest Teacher
Lorraine Blake

Lorraine Blake

R.A.D. RTS / F.I.S.T.D. / Examiner – Theatre Branch I.S.T.D.

Lorraine’s training began at the age of three in England and continued through her teen years in Zimbabwe. A strong R.A.D. training led her to Vocational Examinations and later the teaching certificate with the Academy. At dance college in South Africa, the I.S.T.D. Modern Tap and Jazz were studied and Lorraine achieved her Associate, Licentiate and eventually Fellowship status with this society. It was after eleven successful years of teaching in the Toronto area that Lorraine was invited to train in London, England and join the examining faculty of the Modern Theatre Branch of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (Modern / Jazz and Tap). She and her family have been living in the Cowichan Valley since 1998. Her passion and dedication to young dancers and the art of dance is evident in the success of Steps Ahead Dance.

Bryony Blake

Bryony Blake

A.I.S.T.D. Dip. / R.A.D. CBTS / Zumba Instructor License

Coming from a lineage of dance teachers and performing artists, Bryony followed in the footsteps of her Mother and Grandmother when deciding a career in the dance studio was the path for her.

Bryony gained her Associate Diploma with the ISTD Tap Faculty in 2019 and holds her Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies with the R.A.D, as well as certifications in Barre Fit and Zumba Fitness. Bryony trained in dance from the age of 2 in ballet, tap, modern, jazz, musical theatre, and later hip hop. After graduating high school she attended the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City, graduating from their acting program in 2005.

Bryony then spent a year working in California dancing in parades at Disneyland Resort and since returning to the island she has choreographed and performed in a number of local productions including: R.E.N.T (V.O.S), Thoroughly Modern Millie (V.O.S), Singin in the Rain (Kaleidoscope), The Rocky Horror Show (Kaleidoscope), The Crucible (Langham Court), and Peter Pan (Shawnigan Players).

Julianna Cross

Julianna Cross

Gr 2 Ballet, Musical Movement, Pre-Primary Ballet, Primary Ballet

Julianna began dancing with Steps Ahead Dance in 2004 and grew to love the studio as she began studying ballet and modern. In her teen years she explored numerous other styles, including contemporary and jazz. Julianna took her RAD Ballet exams up to Grade 8 and took her ISTD Advanced 2 Modern in April 2019. From a very young age, Julianna knew she loved teaching. She helped Ms. Lorraine on Saturday mornings with the little ones for many years. This has led her to pursue her Bachelor of Education at Vancouver Island University and where she will graduate in June 2023. Julianna continues to share her love of learning and passion for the arts at her home studio working with the youngest dancers. In addition to Steps Ahead, Julianna became a certified Jazzercise instructor in October 2019 and shares her love of dance all over the Cowichan Valley.

Jennifer Kosmenko

Jennifer Kosmenko

Jennifer began her training in Whitehorse, Yukon before continuing her studies at Simon Fraser University at the School for the Contemporary Arts where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance as well as a Certificate in Liberal Arts.  She continued working and collaborating with various independent choreographers and companies for many years after graduation.  Jennifer received her RAD certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies and has spent the last 15 years teaching and choreographing ballet and contemporary works in the lower mainland including as Artistic Director for the Reach Student Performance Company.  In addition to preparing hundreds of successful candidates for both graded and vocational ballet examinations Jennifer has won numerous awards for her choreography.  She has only recently moved to Vancouver Island and is excited to be teaching at Steps Ahead!
Hayley Newcombe

Hayley Newcombe

A.I.S.T.D. / AAM1

Hayley Newcombe has been training for over 20 years in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, and contemporary with various dance educators across Vancouver Island and BC’s Lower Mainland.  Receiving exemplary marks in both her R.A.D and I.S.T.D Graded and Vocational examinations, a future in teaching was on the horizon.

To continue training, in 2016 Hayley enrolled at Westcoast Academy of Performing Arts in Victoria BC, taking classes in jazz and modern with Angela Mousseau, while studying for her ISTD Associate in Modern Theatre.  She continued her professional development through the I.S.T.D with the Associate Diploma exam in the fall of 2019.

Hayley has attended a multitude of courses hosted by the ISTD to further her knowledge of the ISTD Vocational syllabi.  These include, Advanced 1 Modern, presented by Penelope Boyse (Arts Umbrella), and Pamela Eddleston (Examiner and Fellow of the ISTD), and Advanced 2 Modern, presented by Wendy O’Dowd.  In the pursuit of even more training and education on the Modern Theatre teaching standards, Hayley was invited to attend “Teaching Modern Theatre Technique” a course held in Vancouver BC, and hosted by Chair of Modern Theatre Dance at the ISTD, Tereza Theodoulou.

In 2019, Hayley attended the Acrobatic Arts Module One teacher training program in Vancouver presented by Sarah Reis and Loren Dermody, completing the course and becoming a certified Acro Dance instructor. She hopes to continue her professional career with the program, carrying on to complete their full teaching program. 

Hayley’s fresh, innovative choreography has been seen on stages across Vancouver Island, BC’s Lower Mainland, and California. Her teaching style has earned her recognition and appreciation from fellow teachers, examiners, and students. It is clear that her passion for the art has a very positive influence on the next generation. She believes there is potential for greatness in every dancer and strives to help each student reach their goals.

Cat Newcombe

Cat Newcombe

A.I.S.T.D. Dip. / AAM1

Cat Newcombe began her dance training at 4 years old in the Cowichan Valley, under the professional guidance of respected dance educator Lorraine Blake F.I.S.T.D/Examiner of the Theatre branch of the I.S.T.D.  Receiving high praise for her performance and technical ability, Cat completed her R.A.D examinations up to Intermediate and Grade 8 Ballet, as well as numerous I.S.T.D tap and modern theatre vocational examinations. After graduation in June 2016, Cat attended West Coast Academy of Performing Arts the following September. She continued to train in Jazz and Modern with Angela Mousseau, as well as work towards her first teaching qualification. In June 2017 Cat was awarded her Associate of the I.S.T.D in Modern Theatre.

In 2015 and 2018, Cat was invited to attend courses presented by the I.S.T.D with Penelope Boyse (Arts Umbrella), Pamela Eddleston (F.I.S.T.D/Examiner), and Wendy O’Dowd (I.S.T.D) in Victoria and Vancouver. In 2019, Cat trained with Tereza Theodoulou (I.S.T.D Chair of Modern Theatre) at Arts Umbrella, on the further development of the Modern Theatre syllabus, as well as new teaching techniques.  That same year, Cat completed her Advanced Two Modern examination, as well as the Associate Diploma teaching exam. 

In 2019, Cat was awarded her Acrobatic Arts (Module One) Certification. She is delighted to introduce this new genre to her students, and offer dynamic stretching, strengthening, and acrobatic dance techniques. Cat is eager to continue her studies in Acrobatic Arts, as well as other accredited conditioning and flexibility methods.

Cat’s dynamic and engaging choreography has earned her respect and recognition from her students and community. She believes continuous personal development as a dance educator is vital to student success, and is dedicated to helping students grow and learn.

Samantha Madge – Guest Teacher

Samantha Madge – Guest Teacher


Samantha began her training at Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts at an early age studying ballet, jazz, modern, tap and musical theatre. She had the pleasure of performing in many productions and has had much success as a competitive performer winning many awards, and scholarships as well as competing at BC dance provincials. Sam furthered her training at The National Ballet School in the Pre-Professional Training Program and at numerous summer dance intensives including, The National Ballet School, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Arts Umbrella, Joffrey Ballet School and Ballet Austin. Samantha then enhanced her jazz and contemporary training by taking classes in New York for 3 summers at schools such as Steps on Broadway, Alvin Ailey and Broadway Dance Center.
In 2013 Samantha obtained her Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies as well as her A.R.A.D. teaching status from The Royal Academy of Dance. She loves both teaching and using her creativity to produce choreography. She has also taught for The City of Nanaimo as dance Teacher for 7 years and this year she has been excited to start her first season with Brentwood College as the new dance teacher and choreographer. Samantha is also very focused on education and is happy to be completing her Bachelor of Tourism Management Degree at V.I.U. in April 2015.

What Our Families Say

I marvel at all you do and the creativity you bring. I feel blessed that Kenya has your influence in her life. 2017

Michelle Redfern

From the dedication, encouragement and support you give each day to the professionalism and quality of each performance. A class act all round! – 2017

The Newcombe Family

No matter how hard I try I can’t express how grateful I am to have you as my dance teacher. You have shaped me into the person and dancer I am today and I can’t thank you enough. You have been such an inspiration to me ever since I was little and you still continue to do so. –  2017


Thank you, Lorraine, and your team for an amazing year and a wonderful show! I am so very impressed with all that you do and I am thrilled to have Aysia a part of it all.  I thought it was the best show yet.  Well done! – June 2017

Carmen Boudreau

Disneyland was an amazing experience that enhanced personal growth and complimented the rest of our experience at Steps Ahead. This was an incredible opportunity to showcase hard work and expand the art of performing through the invaluable workshops. So grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to Disney 2018!!

Shari Young – June 2016

The patience and kindness shown to me and my children over the years by the instructors have been overwhelming. From encouraging a reluctant dancer to allowing freedom of expression in dance, Steps Ahead Dance has helped my daughters to grow and gain confidence in their physical abilities. Every year we return because the girls would be at a loss without their Steps Ahead family.

Mary Harrison – June 2016

It was an incredible and overwhelmingly terrific experience for me as a parent and for Natalie to perform at California Adventure. How many times can we say FUN! The workshops that were held benefited Natalie so much so that she boldly told me, “Mom, I’m a changed dancer!” Thank you Miss Lorraine and Steps Ahead for your dedication and professionalism!

Kristine Geldart – June 2016

It really was an experience of a lifetime. To dance as a team and grow as a group is something that will stick with my girls for life. They will have those memories of all their hard work and of the journey to get to the reward at the end – dancing on stage at Disneyland. Thank you Ms. Lorraine, Ms. Bryony and Miss. Michelle for lifetime memories for my daughters!

Karen Younger – April 2016

Just watched the Disney dances…Selma, The Artist and The Great Gatsby. WONDERFUL. (Wish the videos were a little closer to the girls as the lighting wasn’t the best on this iPhone). Loved every dance. These girls are such amazing dancers because of you. Be proud of yourself Ms. Lorraine!

Sandy Foreman – Spring 2016

I just wanted to let you know how much I loved the show this past weekend. I particularly loved the performances Kenya was in, and not just because she was in them, but because of the actual numbers. However, the whole thing was so entertaining – from the sweetness of the pre-schoolers, to the earnestness of the class that was awarded with the ballet trophy. Thank you to you and all your teachers for the huge amount of work you put into visioning, creating, choreographing, practicing, adapting, perfecting and staging the show every year. While Kenya has always had a love for dance, you and Miss Chantelle have given her a passion for ballet. Thank you – because she seems to revel in all of the wonderful aspects of the dance, including the athleticism and the art, without becoming obsessed with how her body conforms to ballet’s physical ideal. I fully attribute this to both of you – and I thank you for it.

Michelle Redfern – Summer 2015

I just want to thank you and Dulcie for everything you’ve done for me the past 8 years. When I was looking for a new dance school to attend after leaving (past dance school), I figured I would be school-hopping for a while until I found a place I enjoyed and felt like I could move myself forward in. I found that place at Steps Ahead and I’m so happy I was able to learn and grow with you as my teacher. You encouraged all of us to work hard to achieve our goals, whether it was to pursue a career in dance, or if we just wanted to master a single wing. I particularly want to thank you for allowing me to help you teach the little tappers for 2 years; those Saturdays were without a doubt the highlight of my week. Seeing the difference a few months of lessons make in the technique of dancers that young was the most rewarding thing I’ve been involved with and it’s because of you and Dulcie that I will be getting my teaching certificate here in Vancouver. You’ve been a great influence on me and I admire the dedication you have to the art of dance; I’m proud to say that you were my instructor for the past 8 years. Good luck with your future classes, they’re all very lucky kids!


I wanted to extend a big Thank You! Nova had such a wonderful year of dance with you. I love the confidence it instills in her. I also need to let you know that You are truly amazing! The performance was extraordinary. It was woven by an artist. The music, the costume, the choreography… all of it…. I am so impressed.

Carrie Dawn..- May 2014

I have you to thank for helping Hallie become the wonderful little dancer that she is. Steps Ahead has done so much more than teach my daughter to dance, it has shaped her belief in herself and given her a confidence I didn’t know was possible. Thank you so much!

Alana Baker – May 2010

MANY THANKS INDEED for your dedicated, caring pursuit of excellence from each and every dancer – our family has been so blessed by your high quality of teaching calibre and personal commitment!

Gratefully, Kim Barnard & family – and most certainly Amy!

Lorraine…I am blown away by how professional and lovely your ballet school is. Just wanted to say thank you – you ladies do an amazing job with the children. The show is stunning! A lot of hard work and dedication and we feel fortunate to be part of it.

Regards, Adele

The show was absolutely fantastic – as always. Thank very you much Lorraine, Dulcie and Chantelle for your dedication and hard work – It is greatly appreciated. It is a pleasure to see our children grow with Steps Ahead Dance; to see them blossom and surprise us each year. It always brings smile to my face, tug at my heart and a tear to my eye. Thank you.


I just wanted to let all of you know, that this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that you and your standards of excellence are in my daughters life. She has dance in her heart, and I appreciate your nurturing of that, thank you. We hope you have a wonderful, weekend, enjoying what you like.

Warm regards, The Trapps

Thank you so much for everything that you have done for our family. My girls have grace and confidence and Trevor and myself know that dance at Steps Ahead has had a lot to do with this.

Best Wishes, Cheryl Miranda – August 2012

The show was absolutely incredible and the family we had visiting from out of town could not stop commenting on the quality of the recital. Congratulations to all of you for coordinating another top notch performance.

Kelly – May 2011

Thank you Lorraine, Chantelle & Mrs Oxton for all that you did to organize and display such a 1st class show over the weekend! No disappointments whatsoever!! Congratulations!

Joan and Brad – May 2011

Hope you are well on your way to recovery – GREAT SHOW!!!! We are sooo proud of all of our dancers and teachers! We have flowers artfully arranged all over the house, and very happy girls. We really appreciate what dance means for all of us. How wonderful it is to be supported by our “forever family” there, (at church) and friends who very much feel like family. Thank you!

Kim Barnard – May 2011