Meet Our Team


Jennifer Thorogood-McLeod

Jennifer is the Director of Alive Danceworks. 

She discovered a love of dance at age 11 after she finished her journey as a competitive gymnast. Jennifer enjoyed 8 years in the Professional Division at Alberta Ballet and trained in many other dance disciplines such as jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip-hop all over the world. 

As co-founder of the group "Dance Attack", she traveled to the United Arab Emirates and Greece with country singer Lisa Brokop and other professional artists in 2002.

Jennifer has been teaching dance for over 20 years. She has her certification in the Acrobatic Arts Syllabus, Progressing Ballet Technique and has won many awards for her choreography over the years. She has also had the opportunity to adjudicate, examine as well as sit on the selection panel for Vancouver’s Harbour Dance Centre ITP program. 

Jennifer enjoys teaching and connecting with the beautiful Alive community and is thrilled to be in year 16 sharing her love of dance with children of every age.


Admin Team


Brianna Thorogood (Office Manager)

Brianna has always been surrounded by dance, from growing up dancing in Calgary to dancing with her University dance team. While taking her Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Arts and Culture and Film at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton, she began her own part-time business. She is so happy to be back in the dance world with Alive Danceworks as Office Manager.


Mandy Parkinson (Office Manager)

Mandy has been working in the dance industry for over 10 years. She started out teaching all styles of dance and has now moved behind the scenes as an office manager. She has a background in youth counselling which is reflective in her ability to foster a positive environment. Mandy is truly altruistic in character and really loves watching everyone succeed! She is so excited to be joining Alive Danceworks as an office manager alongside her sister, Bri!


Desk Staff/Teachers


Dani Finch

Dani learned to dance pretty much when she learned to walk and hasn’t stopped since! She trained in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Recreational Division for 15+ years in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap and musical theatre and has completed most of her Ceccheti Examination levels. Dani has also trained at Winnipeg’s Studio for Contemporary Dancers in both Modern and Contemporary.

Dani began teaching for LA Dance Academy in Winnipeg at the age of 17, and has taught recreational programming for the City of Winnipeg, and the Wellness Institute at Seven Oaks General Hospital. She has always made dance an integral part of her career and has even worked in the marketing department at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet!

Dani moved to Calgary from Winnipeg in the spring of 2018 to manage Sales and Marketing for a tech start-up called Goodpin. It’s always been her goal in life to do purposeful work that helps to make the world and her community just a little bit better! When she’s not at the studio or working her day job, Dani can be found exploring the Rocky Mountains or wandering the aisles of a bookstore with a coffee in hand. She is so glad to have found a dance family here in Calgary and looks forward to meeting all of the Alive Danceworks families by working behind the desk and meeting the little dancers in the studio.


Kelsey McTague

Kelsey discovered her love of dance at the age of 8 at Alive Danceworks the very first year it opened. She has since then trained with the studio in all disciplines. Throughout her dancing career, she has performed and competed all throughout Canada and the States. She has had the opportunity to perform as Dorothy in Alive’s production “The Wizard of Oz”, as well as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”. While attending university, she held admin positions with her competitive team Dalhousie’s Black and Gold Dance Team. 

It has always been a priority to Kelsey to continuously involve dance in her life. She finds comfort in surrounding herself with others who share the same love and passions as she does, immediately drawing her back to the studio upon returning to Calgary. She loves meeting all the new students of the studio while watching how much the older dancers have grown. Through her passion of dance, her undergraduate degree in Child Psychology, and love of children, she is looking forward to bringing a safe, positive and fun learning environment to the studio, while helping her students to grow not only as beautiful dancers but as beautiful people as well.


Brittany Welgan

Miss Brittany trained and competed in gymnastics starting at the age of 3 and transitioned into dance later where she trained and competed in all styles with a special love for acro. Along with competing, Brittany has trained with The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede where she performed for over 20,000 people in the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show. Some of Brittany’s other performance highlights include The ONE LOVE Hip-Hop Music Festival Headlining A$AP Ferg, Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, The Young Canadians Christmas Spectacular, Disneyland California Adventure Park and being a member of the Calgary Roughnecks Drill Crew for 3 years.

Academically, she is working on a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education with a major in Physical Literacy at Mount Royal University. She is also a Barre fitness instructor and is currently certified in Acrobatic Arts, Alixa Flexibility and International Dance Teaching Standards. She is passionate about teaching safe dance practice and continuing to learn and educate herself as a teacher. She strives to instil a strong technical foundation in her students as well as responsibility, confidence, perseverance and teamwork skills. Miss Brittany is extremely excited to be apart of the Alive Danceworks teaching team and share her knowledge and passion for dance with her students!


Sam Ketsa

Originally from Edmonton, Miss Sam is a performer, choreographer, educator, and administrator with a deep passion for collaboration, innovation, and working with compassion. After completing her BFA in Dance with Distinction from the University of Calgary in 2018, Miss Sam has taken on many roles in the Calgary dance community. She has recently worked on projects for W&M Physical Theatre, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, and Maddox Dance Company. Miss Sam’s choreographic practice focuses on the body as a source of research and storytelling and collaborating with her students in the creative process, strongly influenced by her formative training under Lauren Ritchie. As an administrator, Miss Sam is an advocate for community and audience engagement, and is proud to be a part of the Alive Danceworks family! Currently, Miss Sam is also an active independent dancer and choreographer, and an emerging curator under the mentorship of Nicole Mion and Springboard Performance.



Kotaro Kajita

Kotaro is an energetic instructor and an explosive performer. He is very passionate about Hip-Hop and teaching young people the positive influences it can have. Kotaro was introduced to the Hip-Hop dance Breaking (aka Bboying/Bgirling) back in 2002 and has been training since with his dance crew O'Mighty. Over the years he has been able to build a reputation in the Hip-Hop community all across Canada and is better known as Bboy Mezu. His reputation has been built on the different battles he had entered to represent Calgary in Vancouver, Yukon, Toronto and Winnipeg. He has also done many local performances for the Calgary Stampede, Calgary Stampeders and with other dance companies like the Young Canadians. Kotaro is currently using his education in Child and Youth Care Counseling (Mount Royal University Diploma) and is working with high risk youth using his passion for Hip Hop to help change and make a difference in their lives.


Vanessa King

Vanessa discovered her passion for dance at a young age. After trying out classes in dance and gymnastics, she discovered her love of movement and chose to pursue dance. She trained intensively in dance, competed for several years, and won many awards, prizes, and scholarships. She has completed ADAPT jazz examinations (Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers), RAD advanced graded ballet examinations (Royal Academy of Dance), and Al Gilbert tap dance examinations. She has studied styles beyond jazz, ballet, and tap, such as hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, and pointe. She also achieved her level Yellow CanGym Badge Award in gymnastics.

After exploring dance studies at university, she developed a deep appreciation and love for the original hip hop styles: breaking, popping, and locking. Hip hop and jazz styles are now her favorite to teach. Her goal is to share her love of these styles with as many dancers as possible!

With a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education completed, Vanessa is now a teacher with Alberta Education. Her experience with children includes teaching French and English languages in school, previously teaching jazz/acro, hip hop, and ballet at Alive Danceworks, as well as previously working as a dance, gymnastics, and swimming camp leader. She is excited to share her love of dance and build Aliveness with new and returning Alive dancers.


Sophia Lederhos

Sophia has been dancing since the age of and at the age of 8, she started the intensive training program at Alive Danceworks. Throughout her years at Alive she has trained in jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, modern, tap, pointe, and lyrical. She has performed in multiple productions like The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and The Beast. As a part of the program, she has performed in New York, Los Angeles, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and aboard Carnival Cruise lines. 

In High School, Sophia was a part of the Performing Visual Arts program at Central Memorial High School. She trained in west African, jazz, latin, swing, hip hop, tap, body percussion, ballet, modern, composition, and professional development. This program allowed sophia to expand on her styles outside of the studio. Her abilities do not stop there. All throughout her childhood, Sophia was involved in choir and had vocal lessons as extracurriculars. To combine her two passions, Sophia did Annie the musical during middle school. 

As she has grown a passion for teaching, Sophia has been certified by the International Dance teaching standards to learn more about how to help students grow. Sophia is also passionate about education and sports medicine and will be attending the University of Calgary to pursue a BSc in Kinesiology in the fall. She is so excited to be a part of the Alive Staff this year because now she can use all of the knowledge from her time as a student and pass it onto her students.


Rocky Mejia

Rocky is an exciting, energetic performer, teacher and choreographer. He has trained and performed with the modern dance company POWER dance in Manila, Philippines and has appeared in numerous films and TV shows including "Honey I Shrunk The Kids", commercials for FORD, and the motion picture "I've Seen You Before". He has traveled the world performing on international stages with companies such as Princess Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruise Lines, and Murray Hatfield. His unique style of blending Tap, Jazz, and Hip-Hop with a soulful urban feel has won him affection with students of all ages at home and abroad.


Alissa Miller (AKA Ali)

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Alissa began her dance career at the age of three and has been dancing ever since. Alissa started doing Cecchetti Ballet exams at the age of seven and has been very successful and has her Advance One in Cecchetti. She went to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet when she was twelve years old and attended the Quinte Ballet Summer School Program for three summers and was accepted into the professional division each time but was not ready to leave home. Alissa encourages dance students to try and go away to any kind of dance summer program that they can, to extend their dance background further. When Alissa was sixteen years old she started to get more involved with lyrical dance and was given the responsibility of choreographing competitive numbers. It wasn't till she started choreographing numbers that Alissa found her true love for dance. Alissa works for the Calgary Board of Education and has been teaching in a grade one/two split class for the past three years. She has had the opportunity to work within her school as the dance specialist. This allowed her to stay connected to the art of dance! Now that she has established her teaching career, is eager to get involved with the Calgary dance community and share her love and knowledge of dance with her new family/team, Alive Danceworks.

Kelcey M

Kelcey Moore

Kelcey Moore started training at the age of 3 and continued to further her training in a number of studios as well as conventions. She has trained in multiple disciplines including; Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary, Street Jazz and Hip Hop. The majority of Kelcey’s training through her younger years were at Premiere Dance Academy as well as the Edge School for Athletes. She has traveled to Arizona, Paris, as well as Italy to further her dance training with companies such as Paris Opera Ballet, Studio Harmonic, Paris Dance School, La Scala, and Dance Arts Industry. Kelcey has earned full-scholarships to Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles and to EDGE performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. She has also trained wit Entity Dance Company in Los Angeles for the past two summers. Travelling internationally, she has competed in Mexico and Graz, Austria as a part Team Canada in the fall of 2016 competed in the International Dance Organization World Hip Hop competition. She was a part of Universesoul Dance Company, and the O2 program. Among her many performances she has performed in the Arizona Jazz Dance Invitational Showcase, the Calgary Hitmen 20th Anniversary Home Opener, and the Michael Bernard Fitzgerald Show Concert and Ruben Young’s music video for Take Her Down. Kelcey loves to perform as well as share her knowledge and passion of dance with her students and those around her.


Marcus Pehar

Marcus is an energetic dancer that began his dancing career at the age of 7 at Alive Danceworks. He has trained extensively in Hip Hop and breaking, and has experience in partnering. Marcus performed and competed in Alive Danceworks' performance troupe from 2011-2017, and was casted as the Beast in Alive Danceworks' “Beauty and the Beast” in 2015.

Marcus is currently enrolled at the University of Calgary, where he is completing a Bachelor of Health Sciences with honours in Biomedical Science.

Marcus’ teaching style focuses on developing strong performance skills among his dancers and using an old-school and new-wave blend of Hip Hop to energize his students. Now that Marcus is no longer a student at Alive, he is excited to demonstrate his dance knowledge that he gathered throughout his time as a student.


Lauren Ritchie

Lauren Ritchie is a celebrated Dance Educator and Choreographer known for her impassioned choreography and unique style of teaching that incorporates both the physical and mental aspects of the art of dance. Dedicated to the holistic development of students, Lauren is a Master in Education (Coaching Studies) student, an accredited Coach, and certified Yoga instructor. She encourages dancers to deepen their connection to their mind and body and trust in their own uniqueness through dance. Lauren is also the creator and host of The Dance Podcast, a series dedicated to helping dancers transition from the studio to professional stage. 


Serena Sandford

After a fourteen year professional dance career, Serena is now enjoying passing on her knowledge, passion and experience to the next generation. A native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Serena began her training at the Edmonton School of Ballet. After graduating from Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division, Serena went on to dance with Banff Festival Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. She then spent nine seasons with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet where she became a soloist. Most recently, Serena spent three seasons with Alberta Ballet where she danced many principal and soloist roles. Her favourite roles include the title role in A Cinderella Story (Caniparoli), the Lilac Fairy in the Sleeping Beauty, the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, the Dark Angel in Balanchine's Serenade, the lead women in Jean Grand- Maitre's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, the Lover in Balletlujah (Maitre), and the Black Couple in Kylian's Forgotten Land. Serena is also a Certified Stott Pilates Teacher. She loves combining her passion for dance and pilates; helping dancers to prevent/ recover from injury, understand alignment, dysfunctional movement patterns and teach them to take care of their bodies for life! Serena is also certified in Progressive Ballet Technique.


Victoria Scanlon

Ontario-born, Victoria Scanlon began dancing at the age of ten and is recognized for her passionate work in the classroom. Victoria has trained with some of North America’s leading teachers and choreographers at The Quinte Ballet School of Canada (Professional Division), Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Joffrey Ballet School and the Limon Dance Company. She has studied mainly in the styles of Ballet (RAD and Cecchetti), Modern (Limon and Graham) and Contemporary. As a teacher Victoria has had tremendous opportunities to work with a multitude of studios, public schools and dancers throughout Ontario and Alberta. Victoria’s performance credits include Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Toronto Harbourfront Centre’s Next Steps, Dance Ontario Weekend, Nuit Blanche (Toronto), Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights and Toronto Youth Orchestra at Roy Thompson Hall. Most recently Miss Scanlon has received her teachers certification in Progressive Ballet Technique. Dedicated to the instruction of dance and education through arts programming, she is thrilled to be back at Alive Danceworks!


Christa Sorensen

Ontario-born, Christa Sorensen began dancing at the young age of 3 and found a love for ballet and acro that grew into a passion for teaching. Christa is the co-creator of the Alive Danceworks ballet syllabus and she created the curriculum that is currently used in our acro program. Christa shares her outgoing personality combined with her desire to teach proper and safe technique to inspire passion in her dancers allowing them to excel and grow. Christa has completed her I.S.T.D. (Cecchetti) Advanced One ballet certificate, is fully certified with Progressing Ballet Techniques (PBT), and has received her Early Childhood Education certificate from Capilano University in Vancouver, BC. Along with her level one gymnastic coaching certificate, she is Acrobatic Arts certified in both level one & level two and has achieved her Module 1 certificate with Alixa Sutton flexibility. One of Christa’s teaching highlights includes being asked to choreograph an acro/contortion number for the International Olympic Committee for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, BC. Many of Christa’s dancers have gone on to have very successful careers in the industry as both ballet and acro professionals. Christa is very excited to be a part of the Alive Danceworks team. With her upbeat personality, technical background, and genuine love for dance, she hopes to help all the students become the best dancers they can be.


Apple Sulit

Apple discovered her love for hip hop dance at the age of 14 where she was self taught up until high school. After 9 years of extensive training within North America, she has been fortunate to receive mentorship by established leaders of the dance community such as Kolanie Marks, Antoine Troupe, Jerome Esplana, Alexander Chung, and Carlo Atienza.

Dance has presented Apple with amazing opportunities along the way. Her most recent achievements include back up dancing for Janet Jackson's “Unbreakable” Tour, performing for the World of Dance Vancouver Showcase under Lando Wilkins, receiving the Bloc Talent Agency Scholarship and the Ignite Dance Summit Scholarship. Apple is not only a passionate performer but also a creator. She has been choreographing and teaching for 7 years and is currently the Co-Director of UniverseSoul Dance's elite competitive team.

This is Apple's first year teaching at Alive Danceworks and she is super excited to support and guide students along their own dance journey!


Kristine Toews

Kristine first started dancing at age four in Calgary, Alberta. She trained at the Alberta Ballet School of Dance in the professional division. She also trained at the RWB professional division summer programs and Banff Dance Centre for the Arts.  Kristine has also trained with the Young Canadians, performing in the Grandstand show. She is a graduated from the Canadian College of Performing Arts Year 2 Enriched Studies program. From there she has worked for The Spirit of a Nation Company, under the Direction of Jacques Lemay, Jesters Corner, Gotta Getta Gimmick, Abracadabra Productions, and many more. She has also had the opportunity to work with the Story Theatre Company, where she toured all over North America and was invited to Singapore to perform at the Act One International Children's Festival. Kristine is certified in Acrobatic Arts syllabus and Progressive Ballet technique. Kristine has been a teacher all over Canada and is happy to call Alive her second home!


Kelsie Vanstone

Kelsie's roots in dance began in Northern Alberta at the age of three. She has trained at The Edge, Debbie Reynolds and IDA on Hollywood Blvd, studios in Los Angeles. She spent her summers travelling to Vancouver, Kelowna, Jasper, Edmonton and Calgary to perform and train. Currently with Scholarship Dance Vancouver and choreographing in Vancouver studios, she has performed in many theatre productions including Broadway Live Broadway's Beauty and the Beast, music videos and live performances in Vancouver. Kelsie is a well rounded dancer trained in all classical styles. She has spent the last five years teaching and choreographing and is enthusiastic about the opportunities that a career in dance has to offer.


Goldie Wong

At the age of 20, Goldie was introduced to her first hip-hop class at Queen's University in Ontario and she never looked back. Starting dance later in her life gave her keen awareness for what dance could do. She began to discover the power of the art form and its ability to unite individuals from all walks of life.

Goldie is an entrepreneur, dancer, and the founder and director of UniverseSoul Dance Inc., an urban dance company. With her outstanding vision and passion for dance, Goldie is developing the dance community and enriching lives through movement and music. As a talented dancer, Goldie has performed on the same stage as Janet Jackson and the Jabbawockeez, won awards for her unique choreography, and has helped lead her teams to place in well-known competitions, such as World of Dance, and Artist Emerge. Under Goldie's leadership, UniverseSoul Dance is positioned to be a fixture in Calgary for years to come, building strength in the community and pushing the boundaries of creativity.

Always a student, Goldie continually looks for training opportunities and travels annually to Los Angeles and Vancouver, learning from the world's best choreographers and creative minds in hopes to inspire her students.