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

R.A.D. CBTS
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

BTM, A.R.A.D, RAD RTS

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.