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. For about 10 years, Lauren’s role has branched from the studio to the office, assisting Christine with the business side of SDU.
Miss Lauren also has a passion for music, with training in piano and voice through the Royal Conservatory. Her musical background helped her graduate with honours in a Bachelor of Arts degree (double major in music and creative writing, and minor in psychology). With the combination of her talents, she took to the local musical theatre scene, participating in shows for various theatre companies. Most recently, Miss Lauren was asked by In Your Eyes Projects to take on the challenge of Nick Payne’s (non-musical) play Constellations, along side local native and professional actor/puppeteer, Adam F. Proulx.
Lauren works with both recreational and competitive students, and all age groups, including the 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. Her ultimate goal is to instill a sense of pride, and commitment to the art of dance in each of her students, as well as help build strong confidence and self love.
Miranda Leonard has been a part of the SDU family since she was three years old, where she would continue as a competitive dancer until her recent graduation in 2017. For over 12 years, she has participated in countless performances and competitions in Canada and the United States.
Miss Miranda has had the opportunity to exercise her ability to instruct and connect with the students as an assistant teacher for many years. Having an organic feel for choreography and concepts, she won her first choreography award at Star Beat, assisting Miss Lauren with the Junior Competitive Team in 2017.
Miranda continues to persue her dreams as a dance teacher/choreographer, as well as entering her second year of studies in the Graphic Design program at Sault College.
To Miranda, self- expression is a necessity. She believes that sharing her passion for dance with young impressionable individuals is an honourable responsibility. She brings a fresh perspective to the studio with her thoughtful concepts and choreography.
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. Throughout the years, her passion led to the path of Assistant Teacher in various recreational tap classes. She 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 works as a Bilingual Customer Service Specialist at Sault College Employment Solutions.
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.”
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. Her love for dance would not let up after graduating, so she spent many summers as the Dance Camp Coordinator at the YMCA. She 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 loved to make recitals as special as possible, hand-crafting decorations, props, costume and hair pieces, organizing rehearsals, and editing music and recital videos. Each year she participates in the Soo Sings for Kids fundraiser, and was dance mentor again in 2018.
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 is glad to be back with the Soo Dance Unlimited family in a larger role.
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 been a volunteer 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 8 years, all participating in one dance form or another. SDU welcomed Sandra as the first Acro teacher, and she has also taken on directing the Adult Competitive Team.
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.”
NEW in 2019-2020
Alex’s dance training began at the age of 4, participating in many performances and competitions in Canada and the United States, until she graduated from the Soo Dance Unlimited in 2010. Following graduation, Alex has returned on countless occasions to take on the role as Backstage Manager for Soo Dance Unlimited’s year-end performances.
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. Since returning to the Soo last summer, Alex has been assisting various classes and filling in as a fun, energetic supply teacher at SDU, and helping to plan Soo Dance Unlimited’s 25th Anniversary celebrations. Alex coaches secondary school athletics, and supports local post-secondary students in writing and research. Most recently, Alex volunteered as dance mentor, helping the YMCA/OLG Team win second place in the Soo Sings for Kids fundraiser.
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.
NEW in 2019-2020
Miss Samantha’s found her passion for dance when she started at Soo Dance Unlimited at 4 years old. She danced competitively with the SDU team until she graduated in 2013.
Samantha attended Sir Wilfred Laurier, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. She has also spent the past year earnign a graduate certificate in Sustainable Business Management at Seneca College.
During her studies, she continued her dance training with the Laurier Recreational Dance Program. In her last 2 years of university, Sam’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 prosper through her 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!