In order to more fully share its mission and professional expertise with the community, the company opened the Ballet Ouest Centre de danse in 2006. With its Ballet, Danse–Études and Adult programs, the company now provides excellent dance training for all ages.
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Our Artistic Director
Claude Caron has spent 35 years in the professional dance milieu.
Trained in Montreal, he was principal dancer with the Alberta Ballet from 1982 to 1989, then soloist with les Grands Ballets Canadiens, working with world class choreographers such as Brian McDonald, Brydon Paige, Lar Lubovitch and David Brinkley. He stood out in international competitions for his exceptional partnering ability as well as his performance in character parts.
He has guested with many companies, including notable performances in Ballet Ouest’s Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. Claude was Ballet Ouest’s Artistic Director for the 2002 trip to Costa Rica.
Andrea Hutchison | Ballet Program
Andrea Hutchison began her ballet training with Margaret Mehuys at l’Académie de Ballet Classique in Dorval. She performed in Ballet Ouest’s first production of the Nutcracker as a child in the Party Scene in 1984. She continued her dance studies in the Ballet Program at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she trained with Melissa Hayden and Frank Smith.
Andrea danced for three seasons with the Toronto–based Ontario Ballet Theatre, where she traveled and performed extensively throughout Ontario and the mid–western United States. She has danced many lead roles in several Ballet Ouest productions, including the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. She has also danced in Samson and Delilah with l’Opéra de Montreal, and performed works by George Balanchine and Mark Godden at the Banff Festival of the Arts.
In 1996, Andrea completed her B.A. at Concordia University in Applied Human Sciences. She began teaching ballet with various schools on the West Island in 2000, and was the Director of her own school, l’École de Ballet Arabesque, for 2 years before merging her school with the Ballet Ouest Centre de Danse when it opened in 2006.
Stephanie Mehuys | Ballet Program
Stephanie began her training in Montreal, with her mother Margaret Mehuys at the Académie de Ballet Classique. She made her stage debut at eight years old, performing the role of a Bon Bon in Ballet Ouest de Montréal’s Nutcracker. At 14, she was chosen to train at the School of American Ballet, the school of the New York City Ballet, on scholarship at Lincoln Center. She also trained at The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, as well as the school of the Hartford Ballet, where she studied with American master teacher, Truman Finney.
Stephanie has performed soloist and principal roles with Ballet Ouest de Montréal including Snow Queen, The Rose, and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Swanhilda in Coppélia and Aurora and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. She also danced with the Hartford Ballet and Connecticut Ballet, where she performed works by George Balanchine, Kirk Peterson, Eugene Loring, among others.
In 2002, she began teaching at the Academie de Ballet Classique, in Dorval. The following year she created and directed the Beaconsfield branch of the school and, in 2005, she also became the co–director of the school in Dorval. In 2006, Stephanie was very pleased to have her schools become part of Ballet Ouest’s Centre de danse.
Pilar Espaillat | Danse Études − Adult Ballet − Stretch and Strength
Born in the Dominican Republic, where she took her first ballet classes, she continued her training at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois. She also trained in New York (during the summers) at the Joffrey School of Ballet, American Ballet Theater and with renowned teacher Finis Jung as well as spending two summers at the Banff Center for the Arts.
After graduating from the National Academy in 1976 she joined Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal and the next year joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet as an apprentice. She became a full member of the Company two years later. In 1982 she joined Theater Ballet of Canada and toured Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. In 1987 Pilar made Montreal her permanent home and acquired her teaching certificate from l’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec.
Tal Aronson | Ballet Program– Contemporary dance – Creative Movement
Pre–Ballet – Danse–Études
Tal Aronson is an independent contemporary dancer and teacher and holds a BFA in Dance from Ryerson University. Her early dance training was at Quinte Ballet School. Tal danced with Debbie Wilson’s OMO Dance Company for 5 seasons. She toured with the company to Macedonia, performing in the critically acclaimed “Planetarium” alongside members of the Macedonian National Ballet. She was a featured dancer in the Dora–nominated “Homo Office Sapiensis,” and “Diary of an Exile.” Tal is a founding member of the repertoire–based collective, IDAC (Integrated Dance Artists Collective). With IDAC, Tal has performed in work by choreographers Heidi Strauss, Darryl Tracy, David Earle and Meagan O’Shea. Tal performed in and coproduced IDAC’s 2007 show “side [a]ffects” at Toronto’s Winchester Street Theatre Tal has been teaching creative movement, ballet and contemporary dance since 2001. She has taught for such renowned institutions as the National Ballet of Canada, The Interplay School of Dance and Ballet Ouest.
Andrea Palmer | Jazz − Danse–Études
Director, choreographer, dancer, writer and teacher, Andrea Palmer has spent over 26 years studying and performing dance. Her pursuit of excellence has led her to some of the finest institutions in the world including: The National Ballet School of Canada, The Alvin Ailey School of American Dance, and the Jose Limon Institute in New York City.
Her credits include performances for both television and film, choreography for the Grand Opening of Montreal’s “Theatre National,’ Artistic Direction and choreography for Flexx 2001– an annual summer dance festival in Montreal which attracted some 3,500 spectators, a tour of United Nations Army bases in Bosnia / Herzegovina, as well as performances with Mihail Baryshnikov and the White Oak Dance Project during the Festival international de nouvelle danse. She has also danced in Ballet Ouest’s Nutcracker.
Andrea has served as adjudicator for The American Dance Awards Canadian Tour, DForce, Shine and Terpsichore Dance Festivals, to name a few. In 2006 Andrea was honoured to give master classes in Saint Petersburg, Russia and in England thanks to a grant from The Canada Council of the Arts. She has been guest teaching in Norway since 2007.
Vanessa Mumme | Pre–Ballet
Vanessa Mumme’s love affair with dance began at the age of four, when she began dancing with Ballet Ouest. She has trained at Ballet Ouest, Le Conservatoire de Danse de Montréal, Ballet Divertimento and the Banff Centre. Vanessa danced in Ballet Ouest’s Nutcracker for 10 consecutive years, from 1998 to 2008. She has also completed her Intermediate Level Cecchetti exams. She is currently in the Occupational Therapy undergraduate program at McGill University and this will be her fifth year teaching and sharing her passion for dance at Ballet Ouest.
Ora Kozlov | Ballet
Ora Kozlov began her professional career as a dancer with the Israeli Classical Ballet, where she also taught children’s classes. She moved to Montreal in 1977, where she continued training in the Russian Vaganova style. For the last twenty years, she has been teaching in Westmount, opening her own program at the Greene Avenue Centre in the early 90’s. She has been a regular participant in the teachers’ seminars at the National Ballet School of Canada and began working with Ballet Ouest as Children’s Ballet Mistress in 1992. Since that time she has trained over 4,000 children in six cities and two countries for Ballet Ouest’s productions of The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and Coppelia.
Ora is a specialist in training children and giving them an incomparable love of dance.
Mariline Goodhue | Ballet
Mariline Goodhue trained at l’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec, Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, and l’École Nationale Supérieure de Danse de Marseille. She started her professional career with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, then danced at the Banff Centre for the Arts and with Ballet Kelowna. Returning to Toronto, she danced with DNA Theatre, and then the National Ballet of Canada, where she was featured in productions such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Jewels, The Four Temperaments, Symphony in C, La Sylphide, and The Merry Widow.
In Montreal, Mariline danced with le Ballet Eddy Touissant, where she learned excerpts from the classical repertoire, amongst them the White Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake, the Sleeping Beauty pas de deux, Le Corsaire pas de deux, Grand Pas Classique and Don Quixote pas de deux. With Ballet Ouest, Mariline danced lead roles at the Festival International de Danse Encore, at the 25th anniversary gala, and in the Nutcracker production of 2009 and 2011.
Loes Ruizeveld | Ballet
Loes Ruizeveld is a graduate of the National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and she received an additional diploma in Ballet and Modern dance from the Heinz Bosl Stiftung in Munich, Germany. She danced in the company of the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, as well as in Chemnitz and Augsburg.
Returning to the Netherlands Loes danced in co-productions with the National Ballet and many other Artists/Choreographers like Paul S Norton, Shuzaku, Piet Rogie, Truus Bronkhorst, Gerard Mosterd. She has taken part in many Festivals throughout the Netherlands. Internationally she danced in Ukraine, Moscow, Indonesia, Malaysia and Morocco.
As a choreographer Loes has worked on many different projects with Fashion designer Said Mahrouf and with other dancers and actors. She also has worked with the street theatre group Teatro Pavana, famous for their stilt- walking performances.
In the past few years she has been doing research into Dance Improvisation/Creative Movement/Authentic Movement. She happily continues to share her teaching experience with the Ballet Ouest students.