Melissa’s passion and love for dance began at the young age of 4. Throughout her years, Melissa has been lucky to train in some of North Americas top dance facilities with internationally known instructors. As a performer and choreographer Melissa has worked with the Hamilton Tigercats, Ontario Raiders, Toronto FC, Canadian Music Week, International Dance Day, Dance Ontario Week, with features on Breakfast Television, OMNI, Daybreak TV, Much Music, Chin Radio, CIRV Radio, EVI Dance Radio and NOW Magazine.
Melissa was personally invited twice by the government in the Azores, Portugal to perform and choreograph at their dance festival “Dances of the Senses, Memories in Movement.” The festival toured the Azorean islands of Terceira, Faial, and Ponta Delgada. Melissa and the festival received outstanding reviews. With 20 years of teaching and choreography experience, Melissa continues to instruct and choreograph at various dance studios, workshops, secondary art and elementary schools across Canada. Her choreography has won awards at several dance competitions across Ontario and she is invited to adjudicate annually. Melissa is a strong believer that dance and the arts play an important role in the up bringing of our children and youth. She actively coordinates, produces and assists in various charitable dance related events for organizations such as the Red Door Family Shelter, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Rethink Breast Cancer, Youth Rally’s, Camps for under privileged, Arts for Kids of Toronto, Yorktown Shelter, Princess Margaret Hospital, Cancer Research, Big Sisters of Canada, Sick Kids Hospital and Because I’m a Girl to name a few. Melissa is the co founder, director and producer of Women in Dance, a showcase that brings females in all walks of life together in a festival of empowerment, while showcases a variety of dance styles.
Melissa successfully directed the youth dance program at City Dance Corps located down town Toronto for 7 years before deciding to open
SO DANCE STUDIOS. She strives to provide a space and community in which young dancers may flourish and grow to love dance and all that it offers. As a mother of two she truly believes that “Dance teaches more then just dance” Melissa continues to expand her knowledge so that she may share her passion all “For the love of it”.
Hip Hop Instructor
Cherise Solomon started dancing at the age of 14 in her first year of high school. Little did she know, dance would become her life passion. Cherise is an avid performer who has danced with multiple dance companies in Toronto including, The Girls Club and Boss Dance Company. She even took her training to New York City at Broadway Dance Centres International Student Visa Program. Cherise is a multi-disciplined individual. Currently she is studying New Media at Ryerson University, and is Assistant Festival Manager of StArt Youth Presenting Art (StArt YPA), which is a multi disciplinary youth art festival based in Scarborough.
Cherise has a creative mind bustling with ideas, therefore she works with companies that can help her gain skills – resulting in her becoming a better artist and positive contributor to her community.
Acro, Jazz, Performance Team Coordinator Instructor
Growing up in a small town, Kaitlin began her dance training at the age of 3 and has been dancing ever since. She has trained and competed in all styles of dance both nationally and internationally, winning multiple awards and titles. Kaitlin is now a Toronto based dancer who has performed in many events around the city some of which include "Let the Elephants Dance" an arts based fundraiser for mental health. Kaitlin also performed in the "I Am Blake McGrath" promo tour. She continues to further her dance training by attending weekly drop in classes and is a member of "DARK Dance" Company.
As an instructor Kaitlin has been actively teaching students ages 2 to 17 for the past 6 years. She is certified in BATD Jazz, Tap and Ballet. She has her Junior and Intermediate Acrobatique Arts Certification. Currently Kaitlin is studying Life Sciences at the University of Toronto, majoring in Global Health. Kaitlin aspires to share her love of dance with her students and strives to allow each and every one of them to grow and reach their fullest potential.
Tap, Jazz, Musical Theatre Instructor
Originally from North Bay, Ontario, Alysia has been competitively dancing since she can remember. In high school she expanded her repertoire and began taking acting and vocal classes as well. She began teaching at the age of 14, where she taught a variety of styles including Tap, Jazz, Ballet Contemporary, and Hip Hop at Dance Expressions de danse, at the recreational and competitive levels. Her desire to further her training in dance professionally brought Alysia to Toronto to study at George Brown College in the Commercial Dance program, where she graduated with honours in August 2017.
After graduation, Alysia has played many versatile roles as a performer, including Voytek Frykowski in Echo Production's "Charlie: Son of Man", a Dance Theatre show about the life of Charles Manson, and performed in Kristen Pepper’s “Hooked”, a show about mental health and addiction, which premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival, and toured to the Windsor Fringe Festival.
Wanting to share her passion and knowledge of dance with others, Alysia joined the wonderful faculty at So Dance Studios in 2017, under the direction of Melissa So. The following year, she also joined the faculty at Pegasus Dance Studios, under the direction of Jane Munro. Most recently, she has been working as a choreographer for the after school and summer Musical Theatre program at Branksome Hall, under the direction of Carly Moore.
Alysia is described as a charismatic, versatile, and patient teacher/ choreographer, and her enthusiasm and love of dance is reflected in her students.
Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet Instructor
Konstantina Maras started dancing at the age of 2 and has been ever since. She’s trained extensively in ballet, modern, contemporary, and jazz but has studied all styles of dance.
Konstantina previously attended Rosedale Heights School of the Arts as a dance major. Konstantina has worked with Youth moves for Guelph’s contemporary dance festival and toured across Canada for “The Four Seasons Project”. She has learned from notable teachers and choreographers such as Maryanne Marsh, Hanna Kiel, Gabby Kamino, Bonnie Kim, Darryl Tracy and many more.
Konstantina is currently studying Child and Youth Care at Ryerson University. She continues to further her dance training by attending drop in classes and intensives.
Konstantina believes that dance let’s you leave this earth for awhile. It’s her happy place and makes her feel at peace in this world. She hopes that everyone gets to experience her love for dance and finds love for it themselves.
Hip Hop, Breakdance Instructor
Nick’s love of dance started when he was only 4 years old with a free tap dance class at his local community centre. Nick began his Hip Hop and breakdance training 2 years later at a dance studio in his neighbourhood. By the age of 6 Nick started his training in various styles of dance. Over the years Nick's dance education flourished and his appreciation for the history and culture of dance grew through his travels and learning opportunities alongside some of those whom originally invented the styles of Hip Hop and Breakdance.
In 15 years of his life Nick has trained with notable choreographers such as Lady-C, Shawn Byfield, Boogaloo Sam, Poppin Pete and many more. Nick has been blessed to have traveled to over 10 countries sharing his love for dance and aiding in a multitude of Arts related programs/events in the GTA such as school fun fairs, professional performances and headliners for various music artists. Nick has performed at venues such as the Markham Theatre, the Ontario Science Centre, The Taste of Lawrence, and the Taste of Danforth.
Nick is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto double majoring in Neuroscience and Immunology. Nick’s life goal is to become an emergency trauma surgeon and to help find cure for cancer. Nick hopes to have a lasting impression on his students by helping to build their confidence all while having fun!
Visual Art Instructor
Charles Hackbarth is a Toronto-based artist who works in various media, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and sound. He has been showing professionally since 1985 in public and artist-run galleries. His work hangs in many private collections. Charles has studied fine art, experimental art, psychotherapy, meditation, healing and expressive arts. He worked in social services for 30 years before becoming self-employed. Charles has facilitated art classes for adults and children since 1986. He brings a broad range of knowledge and experience to his various projects.