MEET OUR EDMONTON INSTRUCTORS
Meet Miss Lisa
Lisa Van Mechelen has been sharing her knowledge and passion for dance with students of various ages and levels for 20 years and been with Puddle of Mud since 2020!
At the age of four, Lisa found her passion for dance at the Sandra Gray School of Dance in Edmonton and has never looked back. Her dance training includes Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Modern, Hip Hop and Musical Theatre. Lisa has had the pleasure of performing in The Canadian Finals Rodeo, The 2001 World Games Opening Ceremonies, Tanzommer Dance Festival in Austria, Broadway Melodies Dinner Theatre and Magical Moments from Disneyland during Klondike days.
She began her dance teaching career as an assistant teacher at the Sandra Gray School of Dance and then went on to teaching at Dance Dynamics in Edmonton. Lisa taught at her own dance studio from 2006 until its closure in 2020.
Lisa obtained her BFA in Technical Theatre at the University of Alberta in 2005 and her certification in the PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) program in July 2020. Lisa is also a proud member of the Alberta Dance Educators Association.
This fall Miss Lisa is teaching Monday nights at Orchards and Wednesday nights at Chappelle.
Meet Miss Victoria
Miss Victoria is an Edmonton based performer and a graduate of the Theatre Arts program at Macewan University who has been with Puddle of Mud since 2021. She grew up taking theatre classes as a child, which is where her love for performing began.
Victoria has performed on many stages across Alberta and Western Canada in various shows, some favorites being Sister Act, Love and Information, and City of Angels (Macewan University), Urinetown (Grindstone Theatre) and The Robber Bridegroom (Chimera Theatre).
Victoria loves working with children and sharing her passions for the arts with them. She also has her Level 1 Early Childhood Educator certification and has spent years working in the ECE field. Victoria is thrilled to combine her love of working with children with her passion for theatre arts while teaching with Puddle of Mud!
Miss Victoria teaches Thursday nights at Elmwood.
Meet Miss Rachel
Miss Rachel has been doing dance and gymnastics since she could walk and has been teaching with Puddle of Mud since 2020.
She is an Edmonton based actor, recently graduated from the Macewan Theatre Arts program. She loves to incorporate movement into all of her roles.
When not in dance class, Rachel is either working with kids, or in school. She works part-time as a Respite Worker for kids with Autism, and loves every second of it!
Rachel is so excited to have two of her favourite things in one job: kids AND dance!
This fall Miss Rachel will be teaching Monday nights in Elmwood and Friday nights at Castle Downs YMCA.
Meet Miss Aniqa
Miss Aniqa has been teaching with Puddle of Mud since 2021. She grew up taking ballet classes, playing piano, and taking speech and drama arts lessons.
Her love for the performing arts continued to grow, and she eventually went on to get her Honours Bachelor Degree in Musical Theatre Performance at Sheridan College. In 2020 Aniqa went on to study her Masters in Musical Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a merit scholarship.
Aniqa was most recently seen in Concrete theatre's filmed production of Dunya and Farook as part of their antiracism project. She continues to perform in the city, and is part of several new musical development projects. She is so thankful for the early childhood development that the arts provided her, and is exited to now be a positive influence on other little artists here at Puddle of Mud.
Miss Aniqa teaches Tuesday nights at the YMCA this fall.
Meet Miss Michaela
Miss Michaela has been teaching with Puddle of Mud since 2022. She has been performing since she was very young doing everything from singing to dancing to acting! One of her favorite parts about performing is being creative and being able to collaborate with others!
Miss Michaela grew up on Vancouver Island and moved to Edmonton to complete her Theatre Arts Diploma from MaceWan University. She is now at the University of Alberta studying Arts and Education.
Miss Michaela’s favorite part of teaching is getting to meet so many wonderful students! She has so much fun working with students from all different backgrounds and encourages them all to have fun, be silly and learn in their own way!
Miss Michaela is teaching Wednesday nights and Tuesday nights (Fall 2) at the YMCA this fall!
Meet Miss Katelyn
Miss Katelyn has been teaching with Puddle of Mud since 2022.
Katelyn (she/her) is a proud Filipina-Canadian performing artist located on Treaty 6 territory. She will soon be a University of Alberta graduate with a political science and drama double major.
She is known to be a highly movement-based performing artist and has a background in dance, cheerleading, acting and musical theatre. Katelyn loves the Puddle of Mud family and helping instill love of play and theatre into new generations that she found as a child!
Miss Katelyn will be teaching Saturdays at the YMCA this fall!
Meet Miss Emma
Miss Katelyn has been teaching with Puddle of Mud since 2023.
Born and raised in Alberta Miss Emma has been involved with varying forms of visual and performing arts since she was a child. Trained in acting since the age of 10 and dancing since she was 14 Miss Emma’s affection for the arts has inspired her to share her passion with others.
Emma is currently studying at the University of Alberta where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education combined degree. She has been dancing with the University of Alberta’s Dance Team for two years and looks forward to applying techniques and lessons gained from her degree and extracurricular activities for children of all ages. Her favourite dance styles include hip hop, jazz, and musical theatre. She has been involved in several theatrical productions and has taken on a range of roles in both plays and musicals.
Miss Emma will be teaching Monday nights at Chappelle Gardens this fall!
More of our amazing INSTRUCTORS
Meet Miss Lauren
Miss Lauren started dancing at age three and has never stopped since! She trained as a competitive dancer in ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, and hip hop for 18 years.
Miss Lauren is known as an actor, dancer, model, clown and choreographer/creator in Alberta. She is also known as one of the creators & founders of Shakespeare's Hunnies; a blog focused on sharing emerging artist's work.
Lauren is currently in her fourth year of the BFA in Acting program at the University of Alberta. She also studied at the University of Calgary, focusing on a BFA in Drama and studying Contemporary dance. Lauren loves sharing the arts in every way she possibly can and is excited to be teaching for Puddle of Mud!
Miss Lauren is currently teaching Wednesday evening classes at Chappelle Gardens.
Meet Miss Jessica
Miss Jessica has been dancing since the age of three and has enjoyed learning many different styles including jazz, ballet, lyrical, musical theatre and Ukrainian. She grew up dancing competitively in Stony Plain, AB, and has always loved seeing her students smiles when they perform!
Jessica is also a teacher with Edmonton Public Schools and is always excited to share her love of dance with her students!
Miss Jessica currently teaches the outdoor classes at Orchards Residents Association.
Meet Miss Leila
Leila is a local emerging artist and a recent graduate of the University of Alberta BFA Acting Program. While there, she acted in several productions, her favourites being Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), On the Verge (Mary), and Concord Floral (6/Nearly Wild). Since the program, she appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oberon/Theseus) with Theatre Prospero.
Leila has recently started her own theatre company, Ghostlight Theatre Projects, that focuses on producing work from the mystery, thriller, and horror genres. For her company, she has recently written and directed The Fatal Summons for Nextfest and A Bitter Finish for Town Square Brewing Company.
Leila has a long history with dance. Back in her original home of Vancouver, she was a student of Seymour Dance and took both recreational and competitive classes for six years. She was then a member of the University of Alberta Dance Team for two years and also studied dance while doing her BFA. She is thrilled to now be teaching for Puddle of Mud Productions!
Meet Miss Amy
Miss Amy brings twenty-eight years of dance experience and 15 years teaching experience to the Puddle of Mud team. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dance Certificate of Ballet Teaching Studies program in 2012 and has also successfully completed the Acrobatic Arts Module One and Module Two Certifications.
Miss Amy has studied in the Professional Program at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and was awarded distinction for the RAD Intermediate Ballet Examination. She has performed in numerous festivals and gala events, receiving many scholarships and top awards.
Committed to excellence, Amy continues with professional development courses offered by the Royal Academy of Dance each year. Amy also attends other dance and teaching conferences such as the New York City Dance Teacher Summit, and the Dance Teacher Web Conference in Las Vegas. Amy has prepared hundreds of students for many festivals, local performances and examinations. She has won numerous choreography awards and her students have won many scholarships and top awards at dance festivals and competitions. Amy has studied extensively with many of North America's finest teachers and choreographers in: ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, musical theatre, hip-hop, Spanish, and flamenco.
Miss Amy currently teaches Wednesday nights at Chappelle Gardens.
Meet Miss Rowan
An Edmonton, Alberta native Rowan Koop began her dance training at Shelley’s Dance Company. She trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and musical theatre. She competed in multiple festivals and competitions and trained in various conventions across Canada and The United States. After turning 18, Rowan moved to California to join The Young Americans Performing Arts Company. She spent a year studying music, dance, and acting as well as performing in multiple shows and teaching in outreach programs. She then went on to tour Europe with The Young Americans the following year. Her cast toured through 7 countries, teaching at a new school every 3 days and performing in every city. In 2016, Rowan moved to Toronto to study film at The Toronto Film School to broaden her acting knowledge. Since then she has been living back in Edmonton, working full time as a dance educator with dancED Movement Project.
Meet Miss Shannon
Shannon Lin is a dancer originally from Edmonton, Alberta who has trained in various styles starting at a young age. She has trained everywhere from Vancouver to London and all over North America. Shannon is a student at Simon Fraser University, studying at the School for the Contemporary Arts with aims to achieve a BFA in Dance. Through this program, she trains in ballet, contemporary, improvisation, as well as the spectrum of modern dance techniques.
Miss Shannon hopes to bring the joy and inspiration of dance throughout her classes and deliver her passion for all students.
Meet Miss Stephanie
Miss Stephanie is an Edmonton-born graduate of the Macewan Theatre Arts Program and the Victoria School of the Visual and Performing Arts. She has trained in dance and theatre since the age of 9 in multiple disciplines with a focus on creation and devising new works alongside artists of all ages. Stephanie's passions lie in movement-based, non-conventional story-telling, and after completing Puddle of Mud's mentorship program under Miss Truus she is excited to continue to help educate the next generation of dance and theatre artists!
Miss Stephanie teaches Tuesday night classes at Summerside.
Meet Miss Cassie
Miss Cassie is delighted to be working with Puddle of Mud Productions. She loves to learn and create through dance and believes in the importance of imagination and play for young children and adults alike!
Miss Cassie is a graduate of Rosebud School of the Arts and when she is not teaching dance lessons, she is working as an actress, singer and dancer in both the Edmonton and Calgary communities.
Select Theatre Credits Include: Junie B. Jones: The Musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (Rosebud Theatre), May & Joe (Spikenard Productions), The Christians (Rosebud Theatre), The Skin of Our Teeth (Rosebud Theatre), An Inspector Calls (Rosebud Theatre), New Blood (Strathmore High school), Little Women (Theatre 359), A Wrinkle in Time (Theatre 359), The Canadian Badlands Passion Play (CBPP), and Excerpts from Letters in Wartime (Cape in the Wind Productions).
Meet Miss Graeson
Graeson grew up in Vermilion, AB and started dancing at the age of 4. She loved all styles of dance including jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop and acro.
She is currently finishing her Education degree at The University of Alberta, and looking forward to sharing her love of dance and movement throughout their teaching career, both in the classroom and dance studio.
Meet Miss Zahra
Since childhood Zahra has been exposed to Middle Eastern music and culture through her Egyptian-German heritage, which sparked a passion for dancing. In 2006, Zahra began her formal study of Middle Eastern dance after taking her first workshop and falling in love with the art form. Her passion led her to perform at many festivals and events such as; Capital Ex, Cariwest, the International Fringe Festival, the Heritage Festival, the Lebanese Festival, Kaleido Family Arts Festival and many other venues. In 2008, Zahra was invited to join the Edmonton Bellydance Ensemble whom she trained and performed with for 2 years. With EBE, she performed at the International Bellydance conference in Toronto in 2010, and was a principal dancer in EBE’s sold out shows “East Meets West”, and “Imratu”.
Zahra continues to nurture her love of dance by participating in workshops and continually studying the dance and culture. She has participated in workshops around the world with world renowned dancers and spent two months in Egypt, the home of bellydance, studying and absorbing the culture and dances.
Zahra has completed all 3 Levels of Middle Eastern Dance Instructor training with Hadia of Canada and currently teaches regular classes and workshops in Edmonton, AB. You will find her performing at many local cultural events, weddings and corporate parties. Zahra’s passion is sharing the art of Bellydance with her students and she enjoys seeing women of all ages and backgrounds embrace their femininity through dance.
Zahra teaches Adult Bellydance at The Orchards!
Meet Miss Melanie
Melanie Bahniuk is an Alberta-based actor, singer, and dancer. Miss Melanie loves working with children of all ages and can often be seen during the week in schools across the province creating shows! Recent performing credits include Maria in the upcoming film They Who Surround Us where she got to rediscover her Ukrainian roots for a character in war-torn Ukraine, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Shakespeare by the Bow and Theatre Calgary, and Middletown, All For Love, and On the Verge at Studio Theatre with the University of Alberta. Melanie holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Alberta, as well as a Diploma in Theatre Arts from Macewan University.
Miss Melanie teaches Wednesday nights at the Orchards!
Meet Miss Laura
Laura began her dance journey in Medicine Hat where she danced for over 10 years. She has trained in the styles of ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, pointe, tap and lyrical but she has always had the biggest passion for teaching young dancers and getting them excited about dance! She taught various styles of dance to young students for three years at her hometown studio until she moved to Edmonton to pursue post secondary schooling. Currently, she is attending the University of Alberta and is about to graduate with a degree of Elementary Education so she can continue following her passion for teaching. Laura loves to have fun in class and pass on her love of dance to her students while also teaching them foundational skills to set them up for success!
Miss Laura will be teaching Thursday nights at Summerside Beach Club.
Meet Mr. Jordan
Ever since he was young, Jordan has loved to talk loud, move his body and bring joy to the world around him. As an adult Jordan has trained professionally as an actor and applies storytelling to all of his dancing. He has worked professionally with opera singers, magicians, dancers, jugglers, and other actors alike. Some of his favorite dance styles include hip hop, musical theatre, jazz and improvisational movement.
Mr. Jordan teaches Wednesday night classes at Elmwood.