Heather Joosten: Artistic Director

Heather is an award-winning dancer, choreographer and teacher who is passionate about inspiring the next generation of performing artists.

Having trained extensively in many dance disciplines, Heather specializes in tap, lyrical and jazz, and has worked with world greats including Ross McKim (London Contemporary Dance Theatre), Duncan Noble (North Carolina School of the Arts), Luigi Greco, and the exceptional faculty of Los Angeles’ Edge School of Performing Arts, among many others.

In addition to winning numerous awards for her own performances, Heather has received many accolades for her choreography across North America. Starting at the age of 11, Heather was first recognized for her choreography and has gone on to be recognized nation-wide receiving  Overall Best Choreography Awards in multiple categories, across many years. Heather has also had the pleasure of choreographing for high-profile events such as the Beijing World Expo Gala, 2010 Cultural Olympiad, the 100-Year Anniversary of the PNE, CTV Morning Show, YMCA Eagle Awards, Miss Chinatown Pageant, Artists in Action, R&B Group Quick Trouble,  and artist Cole Armour.

Heather has created dance pieces in contribution to projects such as Youth Gang Awareness with the Vancouver City Police, the Made in Vancouver Festival supporting local arts groups, and Kids Help Kids benefit events. She is proud of her work with the Black Historical Society, having choreographed for many of their events, as well as her contributions to the Royal Caribbean Revue Cast, Groove Productions, Voices for Horses and various projects for Fairchild Television.

Heather has enjoyed directing the jazz, lyrical, tap, hip hop and musical theatre programs for thirty-three years at the Richmond Academy. Graduates have said that "Heather harnesses the strengths of her dancers and utilizes them brilliantly." One of Heather greatest honours was receiving  the 2013 Ethel Tibits Award for Woman of Distinction in the Arts.

Heather is extremely proud of the Academy’s alumni, many of whom are continued their training in prestigious schools such as Boston Conservatory, Randolph Academy, Manhattan Music Project, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (UK),  Edge School of Performing Arts and Millennium Dance Complex (L.A), American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and New York University. Many have also established their own dance/theatre companies, are teaching professionally, or are performing on-stage and on-screen and have worked with artists/companies such as Elton John, Madonna, Brooks & Dunn, Avril Lavigne, Fifth Harmony, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Michael Buble, Paula Abdul, Celine Dion, Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Bad Boys of Dance,  Cirque du Soleil, The Blue Man Group, The Tony Awards, Emmy Awards , MMA's, Super Bowl half-time performances, various Cruise Lines, World Expo's and NHL games.

Heather is regularly invited to guest-teach and adjudicate at dance competitions across North America. She is committed to staying current and is constantly upgrading her skills by training on an ongoing basis in various workshops and programs. Heather, alongside co-directors Annette and Jozef Jakubowski, continues to fulfill her dream of providing exceptional dance training and preparing the most well-rounded, talented and committed professionals of the future.

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