Christine Cloutier, a member of the British Association of Teachers of Dance, began dancing at the age of 5 years old with Helen Syjut Dance Studio in Sault Ste. Marie. At the age of 10, she auditioned for the National Ballet School of Canada and was accepted to the 4 week summer program. The NBS then awarded Christine a full year scholarship in 1976. After her year with the NBS, she was accepted to the prestigious Quinte Ballet School. Her extensive dance training in the demanding Cecchetti style of ballet allowed her to train with professionals such as Karen Kain, Frank Augustyn and Mary Jago.
After 6 years with Quinte, Christine graduated in 1984, and was accepted as a company apprentice at the Toronto Dance Theatre. The physical rigours of her training started to show when an injury forced Christine to take time off, allowing her to pursue other artistic endeavours. During that time, she was booked by an agent and began a career in modeling and acting. Her credits include appearances in movies with stars such as Sophia Lauren, Tony Danza and Kris Christofferson, to name a few. She also performed in television series, such as Street Legal and The Edison Twins.
In 1990, Christine was offered the position as Ballet Mistress for Kim Greco of Kiana School of Dance Arts, in Sault Ste. Marie. After being away for 15 years, Christine embraced the idea of returning to her home town once again. Following 2 years with Kiana and the experience of touring in Russia, Copenhagen and Las Vegas, she was offered an opportunity to instruct with Shelley Peters. After one year she was invited to take over the studio.
In 1993, Christine bought out Shelley Peters, and in 1994, Soo Dance Unlimited was born.
Christine is not only sole owner and director, but is still very active as a teacher and choreographer. She loves working with her youngest dancers each Saturday morning, as well as creating a challenging and nurturing environment for her technique and ballet classes.
Christine is proud to say Soo Dance Unlimited is celebrating over 25 years of dance excellence in Sault Ste. Marie. SDU has numerous credits for award-winning choreography, top-studio achievements, Dance Off placements, as well as acknowledgments for costuming, concept and staging awards from dance competitions from all over Canada and the USA.
For over 20 years, Lauren has been a part of SDU, first as a student and then as a teacher and award winning choreographer. She has been an Associate Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dance since the age of 16, with training in RAD and Cecchetti. Lauren’s role has branched from the studio to the office, assisting Christine with the business side of SDU for a number years.
Lauren’s Royal Conservatory training in piano and voice helped her graduate with Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours Dbl Major Music/Creative Writing, minor Psychology). Feeling most at home on stage, she loves being involved with the local musical theatre scene, participating in shows for various theatre companies. Roles include: “The Hungarian” – Chicago, “Belle” – Beauty and the Beast, “Fantine” – Les Miserable, “Marianne” – Constellations, “Jennyanydots” – Cats. Lauren has taught dance at various ADSB schools, mentored for Soo Sings, and currently organizes SDU dancers to perform at various retirement homes.
Lauren works with both recreational and competitive students, and all age groups, including the recreational adults. Winning countless choreography and entertainment awards, her creativity shines with her dynamic work and strong visuals in lyrical, tap, jazz, pointe, hip hop and ballet. Her enthusiasm for dance is shown through her expressive teaching style. Lauren strives to instill a sense of pride and commitment to the art of dance in her students, and help them build confidence and self love. Her ultimate goal is to make every student feel like they have had their moment to shine in the spotlight.
Alex’s dance training began at the age of 4, participating in many performances and competitions in Canada and the U.S.A until she graduated from the Soo Dance Unlimited in 2010. Since then Alex has returned on countless occasions to take on the role as Backstage Manager for SDU’s year-end performances, teach various classes, and help out wherever she can.
Alex possesses a Bachelor of Education, a Master’s in Library and Information Science and is currently working on her thesis in a Master of Health Information. Alex’s return to SDU has been an asset to our Saturday Morning classes, creating a fun, energetic teaching environment. Alex coaches secondary school athletics, and supports local post-secondary students in writing and research. Alex has also volunteered as dance mentor, helping the YMCA/OLG Team win second place in the Soo Sings for Kids fundraiser in 2019.
Alex believes that dance is important throughout one’s lifespan as it encourages physical literacy, interpersonal development and self-understanding. Alex is honoured she has the opportunity to instill positivity and self-assurance in students at Soo Dance Unlimited.
Christina began dancing at the age of four with Melody Edwards. Soon after, she moved to Soo Dance Unlimited, where she spent 12 years as a dancer studying multiple styles of dance. Her passion led to the path of Assistant Teacher in various recreational tap classes, and has also performed with SDU for such events as Dancing With the Sault Stars.
After graduating from Algoma University with her Bachelor of Arts in French in 2018, Christina has worked as a Bilingual Customer Service Specialist at Sault College Employment Solutions, and is currently working as Office Assistant at Arch. Chrisitina will also be attending the ECE program at Sault College this fall.
Miss Christina uses her experience and skills from being a Teacher’s Assistant at Saint Mary’s French Immersion, and tutor with ADSB to help her teach and guide her students with respect and professionalism, while always ensuring that classes are fun and engaging. She is very passionate about teaching and loves to watch her kids grow as strong dancers and individuals.
Christina’s creativity is flourishing and it shows in her most recent work with her tappers. She is looking forward to new challenges and is enjoying assisting Miss Lauren with social media responisbilities. Her continued goal is “to not only build strong dancers, but to teach self love and self expression through the art of dance.”
Samantha found her passion for dance when she started at Soo Dance Unlimited at 4 years old. She danced competitively with the SDU team, becoming a strong dancer in tap, lyrical and jazz styles, until she graduated in 2013.
Samantha attended Sir Wilfred Laurier, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and has earned a graduate certificate in Sustainable Business Management at Seneca College.
During her studies, she continued her dance training with the Laurier Recreational Dance Team. In her last 2 years of university, Samantha’s strong leadership skills led her to become a dance instructor for the school, teaching beginner jazz to university students who had no dance experience. This was a very rewarding position, especially watching her students thrive with her fun and challenging choreography.
Now that she is back home in the Sault, she is excited to continue with her love of dance by joining the Soo Dance team as a teacher/choreographer!
Miss Nicole spent her teen years on the Soo Dance Unlimited competitive team, where she excelled in lyrical and contemporary styles. Performing was the perfect creative outlet to help her confront shyness and build self-esteem, and now as an instructor she loves to see how dance can transform and empower others. After graduating, Nicole spent many summers as the Dance Camp Coordinator at the YMCA and then took on the role of their recreational dance instructor for 4 years, teaching ages 3 to 13 ballet, lyrical, jazz, and hip-hop. She loves to make the dance experience as special as possible, hand-crafting props, costume and hair pieces, and editing music and special videos. Each year she participates in the Soo Sings for Kids fundraiser, and has taken on the role of dance mentor the past few years.
Nicole believes dance creates physically and mentally strong children and teens, and knows first hand how the experience carries through into adulthood – “coordination and body awareness are so helpful in fitness and physically demanding careers. It’s a discipline that’s team building and confidence building, yet fun…dancing makes everyone smile.”
Nicole currently does childminding at a local elementary school during weekdays and loves being back at Soo Dance Unlimited as teacher and choreographer.
Miss Sandra started dancing at the age of 8 with Trixie Hardy. In 1988-89, Sandra received her BATD teaching certificates in Jazz and Ballet. She has also trained at other studios during her studies in London and St. John’s, including training in ballroom, tap and belly dance. Sandra has volunteered at the YMCA as a gymnastics coach, aiding the SPARKS Cheer Team, and running the “Cheernastics” program. Most recently, Sandra has recieved her ADTA certification for Junior Level Acro, and continues to expand her training in that field.
Sandra and her children have been a part of the SDU family for 10 years, all participating in one dance form or another. SDU welcomed Sandra as our first Acro teacher, and has directed the Adult Competitive Team the last few years.
Sandra creates a tough yet nurturing environment and pushes her students with encouraging energy. “I am a full time mum of 3 amazing children who are always being asked to try out crazy moves at home with me. I am passionate that children develop a growth mindset. My students quickly learn that there is no ‘can not do’ only a ‘can not do YET’. It is my joy to help them achieve that possibility.”
6 Week Adult Tap
At a young age, Chrissy Hiddleston started dancing with Judy Ross, but her competitive nature lead to the competitive dance scene at Trixie Hardy. Chrissy became a part of the SDU family 10 yrs ago when she enrolled her daughter in our Primary class at barely 2 yrs old. Her involvement in her daughters dancing, as well as her energetic connection with the parents quickly gained her the title of DMX (Dance Mom Xtreme) at the studio.
In 2013, Chrissy was quick to join any and all of our adult programs, regaining her niche in tap. Her magnetic personality shone on stage as well as in the classroom. This year, Chrissy gladly took on the extra challenge of teaching our 6 Week Tap classes, and “Chrissy’s Rockstars” will attest that she was meant to teach.
Chrissy admits that teaching was something she didn’t know what missing from her life, and has loved every second of it. She has fun helping others find the joy of tap, and loves seeing the growth and achievements of her “Rockstars”. We are so pleased to welcome Chrissy to the SDU Staff.
SDU STAFF FUN FACTS!
Most of the SDU staff are SDU Graduates!
All of the SDU staff chooses and edits their own music!
They get to choose the costumes for their numbers!