Rachael Poirier has been a renowned dance instructor and award-winning choreographer since 1991. Originally from the Sunshine Coast, Rachael has trained in a myriad of styles with some of the best and brightest instructors including Bonnie Lee Haus, Kay Armstrong and Anna Wyman among many others in Los Angeles, New York City, Toronto and Vancouver. Rachael's choreography has captivated audiences across the world and has won numerous awards for their innovative style and originality. She has choreographed for many industrial shows such as the opening acts for the B.C. Country Music Awards, Michael Bublé, and the world-renowned magician, Juliana Chen. Rachael founded Danzmode Productions in 1994, which quickly established itself as one of Vancouver's elite dance institutions where she remained as Artistic Director until 2017. Many of her students have had a dominant presence at local and international competitions including the B.C. Provincials. Many of her dancers moved on to professional careers in world tours and music videos with artists such as Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Chris Brown, Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, Mia Michaels and Jennifer Lopez. Several of her students have been seen in the Top 40 of So You Think You Can Dance, The Emmy Awards, The Grammy Awards, and the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Many have gone on to train at world-renowned institutions such as The Julliard School, Point Park University, Jacob's Pillow and The Ailey School. Others have moved on to dance for prestigious companies including San Francisco Ballet, BODYTRAFFIC (Los Angeles), Ballet BC, Alberta Ballet, Cirque du Soleil, Washington D.C. Ballet Company, Houston Ballet, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and the National Ballet of Canada, In 2004, Alex Wong became the first Canadian winner of the international dance competition Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland with Rachael's groundbreaking choreography for the solo "Capture of the Tiger". This piece has also been performed with ABT Studio Company, Miami City Ballet and on So You Think You Can Dance. Rachael's inventive pas de deux "Innocence" set on Fei Fei Ye and Kostya Keshyshev helped lead to a Bronze Medal for Fei Fei in the Varna International Ballet Competition in Russia. This piece was later restaged and performed by Shanghai Ballet Company in China. Rachael has been awarded several Choreographer Awards at Youth American Grand Prix including for Melissa Ong's performance of "Attitude with Strings" in North Carolina and Alyssa Steven's performance of "Womb" in Los Angeles, both in 2007. In 2011, nine-year old Martina Prefontaine received The Hope Award at YAGP in Seattle, WA where she performed Rachael's piece "Humming Bird". Her students have won runner-up several times at New York City Dance Alliance. In 2006, Kirsten Wicklund won the National Teen Outstanding Dancer title at NYCDA and in 2007, Bynh Ho was awarded second runner-up National Senior Outstanding Dancer at NYCDA. In 2008, Miguel Nguyen and Rina Watanabe won the Gold Medal at the World Championships (International Dance Organization) in Norway for modern dance. One of Rachael's most successful commercial dancers, Stephanie Moseley was known for her works in the TV series Hellcats and Hit the Floor. In 2017, at the insistence of her dancers, Rachael created Poirier Productions. Inspired by the loyalty of her students, she is excited to be continuing her legacy under a new name.
Shan began her journey for her love of dance at the age of 4, starting with Ballet in the Cecchetti Method then progressing through the years to Tap, Jazz, Gymnastics, and Musical Theatre within Vancouver and North Vancouver. Yet, Ballet held a special place in her heart. Competing locally and internationally in competitions like YAGP, Shan was accepted into the Bolshoi Ballet Summer Intensive in New York. From there she was invited to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia where she studied Classical Ballet, Historical Dance, Character, and Contemporary. She experienced dancing on the Russian stage and earned her Russian language diploma allowing her to work there. Coming home to Vancouver Shan took time away from dance and went to study acting which earned her Final Diploma for Dramatic Arts. Life took her back into the dance world but this time through teaching, where she holds her Associate, Licentiate, and Final Diploma in the Cecchetti Method. Shan embraces this passion and challenge fully, and the joys of passing on knowledge to the next generation, watching the development of her students and the growth, are what drives her everyday.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Christopher Gray (He/Him) began training with the Goh Ballet at the age of four. He also supplemented his classical training with Jazz, Hip Hop, and Contemporary work under Rachel Poirier for the better part of a decade; to this day he credits much of his success in dance to his years with Ms. Poirier. Christopher won the British Columbia provincial competition for ballet in both the intermediate and senior categories and was awarded the Solo Seal from the Royal Academy of Dance before beginning his professional career with the Alberta Ballet. During his five years with Alberta, Christopher had the opportunity to tour home and perform the lead role in Mikko Nissinen’s “The Nutcracker” at the Queen Elizabeth Theater and guest with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet at the National Arts Center in Ottawa. In 2007 Christopher joined the Houston Ballet and rose to the rank of Soloist. In his fifteen years with Houston he performed works by Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Christopher Bruce, Hans Van Manen, Alexander Ekman, Christopher Wheeldon, John Cranko, George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and Jerome Robbins among many others. Some of his favorite memories include performing Peter in Trey McIntyre’s “Peter Pan”, Demetrius in John Neumier’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and Franz in Ben Stevenson’s Coppelia. Christopher was also the first dancer in an American company to perform the role of Bratfisch in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling. Having recently retired from a twenty-year career, Mr. Gray is now pursuing a degree in kinesiology at the University of British Columbia and hopes to move into dance medicine.
Mr. Yao Ping Zhu
Mr. Yao Ping Zhu has been a highly sought after ballet coach for over thirty years in Vancouver, BC. As former principal dancer of the Central Ballet of China, he has danced lead roles in ballet classics like Swan Lake, Don Quixote and Giselle on many famous stages all over the world. He received a “World Famous Artist Recognition Award” from the Government of China, and won “Best Partner Award” at the 5 th International Ballet competition in Osaka, Japan. Upon arriving to Canada in 1989, Mr. Ping turned his attention to teaching ballet. Through his guidance, his former students have been accepted to major dance companies all over the world including the American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Washington Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Ballet BC to name a few. As well, his students have been awarded top prizes at many prestigious international ballet competitions, including YAGP and The Prix de Lausanne. Mr. Ping is well known for his energetic teaching style, attention to technique and artistic detail, as well expertise with pas de deux. His former training at the Beijing Dance Academy, as well as his successful stage career, have laid the foundation for his deep understanding of the strength, technique, and artistry it takes to launch a career in dance.
Tanner is a Vancouver born and raised dance artist. He began his formal dance training under the direction of Rachael Poirier. During his training, Tanner competed at National and International levels, and studied extensively in as many styles of dance as he could. For three consecutive years, Tanner was the BC provincial champion in the stage dance category. In his senior years of studio training Tanner received several regional and international competition titles, including: New York City Dance Alliance’s Regional Outstanding Dancer; placing in the top five senior males at the finals in New York, as well as convention and workshop scholarships. Tanner began his professional career dancing with Patrick Roberge Productions when he was in high school. Upon graduation, Tanner danced with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as a dancer and aerial silk flyer, touring around Europe and the Caribbean. Upon returning to Vancouver, Tanner continued his professional training through Vancouver’s contemporary dance education institution Modus Operandi, where he was granted a full scholarship for his final two years. During his time in the program, Tanner collaborated on the creation of several short dance films, held principal and soloist roles in countless creations, and interpreted the work of many of Vancouver’s contemporary choreographers. One of Tanner’s most memorable high profile events was performing in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Opening Ceremonies. He performed with Sarah McLachlan as a member of the professional cast alongside Ballet BC & The Alberta Ballet, which was choreographed by Jean Grand-Maître. In 2010 he also had the privilege of being a part of “Vessel”, the premier full length piece of contemporary dance company, Out Innerspace Dance Theatre. More recently, Tanner was invited to be an artist with Alberta Ballet, for the creation of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Dancing once again alongside Sarah McLachlan with choreography by Jean Grand-Maître. Since retiring from dancing professionally, Tanner has been a full-time choreographer and dance instructor. He is passionate about building strong technique in his dancers, and providing them with a understanding of what can be achieved through hard work and commitment. His award-winning choreography is remembered for its athleticism and inventive perspectives. Tanner is thrilled to be returning to Canada, after a year abroad in Scotland.
Tap/Artium Tap Company
Born and raised in Vancouver, Kristina began performing at a young age and soon developed a passion for the stage. She was seen as a principle tap dancer in the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics and has been an opening act for American recording artist, Mya. As a dancer and performer, her television credits include: The X-Files, Hellcats, Once Upon a Time, and Psych. Select theatre credits include: Graziella in West Side Story (Vancouver Playhouse - Troy McLaughlin's Dance Works), Singin’ in the Rain (TUTS), 42nd Street (RCMT), featured tap dancer in the Vancouver Spring Show (Queen Elizabeth Theatre) and the Orpheum Theatre's 90th Anniversary Celebration. As a choreographer and movement director, her work has been featured in both the commercial and television world. Having been the former Artistic Director of TapCo (Vancouver Tap Dance Society), Kristina now directs ARTIUM and THEATRUM, youth performance companies based out of Rachael Poirier’s Poirier Productions. She has been a faculty member at both the Vancouver International Tap Festival and the Rhythm, Body and Soul Festival in Calgary, Alberta, as well as being on faculty at Harbour Dance Centre in Vancouver. Along with performing and studying dance extensively all over the world, Kristina studied education in University, to which she credits her compassionate nature and ability to treat every student as an individual. She is a passionate dancer, choreographer, and educator who shares her love for performing and creating every chance she gets! Having been the former Artistic Director of TapCo (Vancouver Tap Dance Society), Kristina now directs ARTIUM, a youth performance company based out of Rachael Poirier’s Poirier Productions. She has been a faculty member at both the Vancouver International Tap Festival and the Rhythm, Body and Soul Festival. Along with performing and studying dance extensively all over the world, Kristina studied education in University, to which she credits her compassionate nature and ability to treat every student as an individual. She is a passionate dancer, choreographer, and educator who shares her love for performing and creating every chance she gets!
Ballet/ Jazz /lyrical/contemporary
At the age of five Rachelle decided that she was destined to become a dancer. Her training began at Boswell Dance Academy where she completed all of her RAD syllabus grades from primary to grade eight award as well as Intermediate foundation through Advanced 2. This strong ballet background was supplemented when she began training at Danzmode Productions under the critical eye of Rachael Poirier. Dancing with Rachael Poirier also gave Rachelle the opportunity to perform in industrial shows and work closely with other local artists. Upon leaving Danzmode Rachelle ventured on to perform with Royal Caribbean cruise lines and Princess Cruises. Rachelle also worked as a magician’s assistant and trained and performed aeiral silks, hoop/lyra, handloop, halo harness and net as she traveled the seas. Rachelle has been teaching ballet, jazz, lyrical and contemporary for 15 years. Rachelle has experience teaching artists of all ages and enjoys dancing alongside her students. Her choreography has won local awards and her students admire her passion and inspiration. It’s an honour to pass down her skills and love of dance to the next generation.
Tiffany Annan was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, where she began her dance training at the age of 3. She has extensive training in Polynesian, Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Hip Hop, Commercial, Musical Theatre, Lyrical, Contemporary, Irish and Afro Cuban. Tiffany trained under the direction and mentorship of Rachael Poirier in Burnaby, BC. After a successful career as a competitive dancer, Tiffany went on to become a teacher, choreographer, and adjudicator. In 2012, Tiffany decided to take a leap of faith and move to London, England. Her adventures lead her to become a faculty member of the London Dance Project and in 2016, she became the Owner and Artistic Director. With over 35 years of training and 18 years of teaching experience, she has established herself as a respected educator and choreographer. She has coached several competitive companies which have attended competitions both nationally and internationally and received many accolades and choreography awards. Recently, Tiffany relocated back to Vancouver, BC where she is once again teaching and choreographing for local studios. Her professional career began at the PNE working and performing with Patrick Roberge of PRP. She continued dancing and choreographing for corporate events throughout Vancouver with Total Entertainment Network. Tiffany was the assistant choreographer for up-and-coming artist Little Pale’s debut music video ‘Don’t You Know U’. She has worked with Adam Garcia in collaboration with the brand Positive Luxury as well as with the very successful Secret Cinema in their production of “Grease”. She was the assistant choreographer and magician’s assistant for the “Magic & Illusion Festival,” a magic show in Athens, Greece which headlined world famous magicians such as Shawn Farquhar, Julianna Chen, Kevin James and Omar Pasha. She has been hired by the ex-CEO of MTV Networks to choreograph at private events and was the movement director in the West End production of Ben Hecht’s ‘The Screenwriters Daughter’ which performed out of Leicester Square Theatre in London, UK. Most recently, she was selected to film a documentary for CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) entitled “The Fear of Dancing”. Tiffany is a firm believer in continuous personal growth and likes to lead by example for both her daughter and her students. She is well known for her energetic teaching style and attention to detail. She has a background in competitive powerlifting and understands the importance of incorporating strength training into her teaching methods. Always wanting to diversify herself as a teacher, Tiffany is constantly seeking to expand her knowledge and skillset. She is a Level 1 and 2 certified mUvmethod Stretch instructor for delivering safe and effective stretching and mobility techniques for dancers. She holds a Level 1 certification as a PBT instructor and is currently completing her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. She is passionate about creating strong technical training habits and educating her students not only in the art of dance but also in the science behind the movement.