Canadian-born and first trained in Victoria, BC, Annette has always had a keen interest in teaching and mentoring young dancers.
Annette’s post-graduate studies included training with some of the world’s leading dance masters with whom she took every opportunity to develop her teaching skills. Her years of dancing in London, England; New York, USA; and Stuttgart, Germany gave her the advantage of working with the world’s most renowned pedagogues at the time including: The Royal Ballet’s Principal Ballet Mistress Eileen War; Merle Park and artists of the Royal Ballet; David Howard, Maggie Black, Marjorie Mussman and many other Joffrey masters in New York; and in Stuttgart with the John Cranko Schule and the Stuttgart Company. The training and knowledge shared by these distinguished dance artists continues to strongly influence Annette’s work today.
Under the direction of Marcia Haydee, Annette performed in many of the traditional classical ballets, as well as in works by John Cranko, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, Uwe Schultz, Glenn Tetley and many others who are still setting the choreographic standard today.
Upon returning to Canada, Annette fulfilled her deepest desire and, following her completion of The Royal Academy of Dance Teaching Certificate, she co-founded The Richmond Academy of Dance with partners Heather Joosten-Fair and Jozef Jakubowski. For the past thirty-one years, Annette has directed the Academy’s Ballet, Contemporary-Ballet and Modern programs.
Under her directorship and tutelage, and with her esteemed faculty, Annette has trained dancers who are now in companies all around the world. Graduates who were with the Academy for more than a decade and who are now in professional companies include Heather Ogden (Principal, National Ballet of Canada), Nicole Caron (Principal, Alberta Ballet), Tara Williamson (Les Ballets Jazz, Ballet BC), Stephanie Amurao (Batsheva Dance, LA Dance Project), Kristina Roper (Ballet Spartenburg), Kamilah Sturton (Ballet Kelowna) and Brendan McCooey (Ballet Kelowna), among many others.
Annette’s goal to provide the Academy with the most professional classical training possible on Canada’s West Coast has led to internationally-renowned masters and directors guest-teaching the Academy’s classical professional division. They have included Veronica Tennant (National Ballet of Canada,), Diane van Schoor (Principal, Royal Ballet School), Susan Toumine (Les Grands Ballets Canadiens), Mercedes Bernadez (National Ballet of Canada), Edmund Stripe and Janet Tait (Alberta Ballet), Svetlana Masianova (Moscow City Ballet), Karin Averty (Paris Opera Ballet), Joshua Beamish (MOVE: the company), Simone Orlando (Ballet Kelowna) and Summer Lee Rhatigan (San Francisco Conservatory) among many other distinguished masters.
Annette shares her time as she can adjudicating festivals and assisting dance organizations. She was honoured to receive the 2013 Ethel Tibits Award in the Arts for Women of Distinction who have contributed significantly to the Richmond community. She is passionate about the Richmond Academy continuing to produce Canada’s newest young professionals as well as training young artists for the love and joy of dance.