Faculty

My photoERICA FINLAYSON
OWNER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF
THE FERGUS-ELORA ACADEMY OF DANCE

Miss Finlayson began her pre-professional dance training career at the age of 5 under the influential guidance of Teresa Randall in Fergus, Ontario studying the Royal Academy of Dance and CDTA Syllabi. With 30 years of Dance training and experience in her repertoire, Miss Finlayson has had the opportunity to study and be exposed to many different genres and styles of dance many of which include Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Lyrical, Ballroom, Hip Hop and most recently gymnastics . With over 19 years of her dance career invested and dedicated to teaching, Miss Finlayson brings significant knowledge and understanding to her teaching practice. She is passionate about her work and believes in the importance and significance of professional qualifications as she feels that dealing with human bodies and young student’s, are both crucial and paramount responsibilities which she takes very seriously.

After completing her Royal Academy of Dance training and examinations, Miss Finlayson was accepted into the prestigious Fine Arts Dance Program at York University in Toronto Ontario. There she successfully obtained and graduated with a BFA Honours Degree in Fine Arts in Dance, along with her BEd Degree in Fine Arts Dance as well as Special Education and Sign Language qualifications. Currently, Miss Finlayson continues to teach and works with special needs students outside of studio time.

After graduating, Miss Finlayson decided to pursue her life-long dreams of teaching dance, and went on to obtain her Registered Teachers Status through the Royal Academy of Dance. In recent years, Miss Finlayson and her studio have been hosts to some very prestigious and world renowned Artists Frank and Carolyn Augustyn . A dream come true and such an honour to work with both of these amazing teachers.

In past years Miss Finlayson supply taught for the Upper Grand District School Board and worked with many of their staff and students to teach, educate and expose them to the amazing benefits that dance has to offer. She has since obtained her judging qualifications and will be receiving her Level One Coaching Certification in Gymnastics. “It has been an amazing and humbling journey thus far. To begin my career in a small town only to return many years later to share my love of dance and the arts with my own students, is a dream come true”. In 2006 Miss Finlayson became the Owner and Artistic Director of The Fergus-Elora Academy of Dance and remains so today.

BFA Honours Dance
BEd Fine Arts Dance
RAD.RTS
Special Education Level 1
O.T. UGDSB 3 Years
Instructor @ Fergus-Educational Services
Gymnastics Ontario NCCP Certified Level 1 Coach 
Acrobatic Arts Certified
DEANNA ZINGER

DEANNA ZINGER

Deanna brings her unique style to our senior competitive hip hop team. She started dance at the age of 4 studying tap, ballet and jazz under Teresa Randall. Deanna competed in highland dance at the provincial and national levels. She joined the Fergus Elora Academy of dance at age 10 and at age 14 began competing in hip hop. In 2009 Deanna joined our team of instructors while completing her degree in accounting. In 2013 Deanna received her Chartered Accountant designation.

ANGELA MASSEY

ANGELA MASSEY

Angela began dancing at the age of four at Theresa Randall School of Dance in Fergus. She has studied in several disciplines including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern and Highland dance. Throughout her training she has successfully completed all graded exam levels in Ballet through Royal Academy of Dance and in Jazz through Canadian Dance Teachers Association. Her passion for dance has led her to teaching in the Grand Valley and Shelburne areas, and now back to Centre Wellington with Fergus-Elora Academy of Dance. As well as teaching, she continues to study in various disciplines of dance and is currently working toward her Advanced 1 vocational exam through RAD Ballet.

PATRICIA MCLEOD

PATRICIA MCLEOD

Artistic Director at The Royal City School of Ballet

Mrs. McLeod received her dance training in London, England at the Bush Davies Theatre School. She has her Solo Seal from the Royal Academy of Dancing of which organization she is a Life Member. She has gained Associate status from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in Modern Theatre, Cecchetti ballet and Imperial ballet. Mrs. McLeod has choreographed and done workshops for GCVI, JF Ross, Bishop MacDonnell, Guelph Little Theatre, and the Guelph Spring Festival, as well as was a founding member of RCMPI for which she has both choreographed and directed productions. She is a former Board member of the Guelph Arts Council. She was honoured by the nomination to be on the Wall of Fame at the GYC for her work with young people in Guelph and other communities. Mrs McLeod has been a mentor and beneficial presence within the Fergus-Elora Academy of Dance for many years now. Miss Finlayson’s former Teacher and current mentor, she brings a truly inspirational element to our studios ballet program.

CHRISTINE SCHINDLER

CHRISTINE SCHINDLER

Christine has a B.A. (Dance) and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo's dance program. She has studied dance for over 25 years and continues her training by attending workshops such as the Eastern Canadian Tap Conference.

For several years Christine was a dance instructor for the City of Kitchener teaching creative movement, ballet, jazz & tap to children and tap to adults.

BETH AKITT-PATTERSON

BETH AKITT-PATTERSON

Beth first became involved with the Fergus Elora Academy of Dance as the parent of two future ballerinas. But after sitting in on the parent night for the acro class her gymnastics past came back to haunt her and she foolishly volunteered to help out! She is now in the process of re-certifying her Level 1 coaching certificate and continuing to spend her Wednesday nights at the studio. In her off-hours Beth works full time as an occupational therapist at St. Joseph's Health Centre in Guelph.

SEAN MARAK

SEAN MARAK

Break Dance Instructor. Bio to come.

REBECCA BALAZ

REBECCA BALAZ

Rebecca was drawn to bellydance in 2004. She saw a wonderful performance and instantly fell in love with the confidence, beauty and sensuality of this dance form. She signed up for a class and has been studying this performance art ever since, through regular weekly classes with local and not-so-local instructors as well as intensive workshops with some of the top dancers in the world. She performed with Khizmet’s troupe Karma from 2006 – 2009 and with the Down Hips studio troupe from 2009 – 2012 and is working on duo and solo projects regularly in addition to teaching beginner and intermediate students.

STEFANIE RUTHERFORD

STEFANIE RUTHERFORD

B.A., B.Ed., O.C.T., A.I.S.T.D.
Modern Teacher

Stefanie Rutherford is a certified teacher for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, as well as an Ontario Certified Teacher, with qualifications in the Primary and Junior levels (Kindergarten to 6). She has also completed additional qualifications in Special Education and Mathematics. Currently, Stefanie is working as an occasional teacher for both the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Stefanie started her dance career at the age of 5 when she began dancing at Cambridge Theatre Dance Studio where she trained in Ballet and Modern dance. She graduated with her Advanced 2 Modern Theatre Dance Certificate and the Gold Jazz Award with the I.S.T.D. She also holds her Grade 8 Ballet Award with the R.A.D. Stefanie became a teaching assistant at the age of 13 and started teaching her own classes at 18.

OUR STUDIO

TOP