Meet The Faculty
Shauntell Schwartz 
Studio Director, Recreational Teacher, Competitive Teacher
Shauntell is the Owner and Director of Zero Gravity Dance Company, and also an established teacher and choreographer. Shauntell has been dancing for over 20 years and teaching since 2003 all over Ontario in several major cities.

Taking pride in her unique choreography and strong attention to details, Shauntell is known for her extensive acro training and her ability to choreograph routines that display concept, difficulty, and intensity. She is an extremely sought after acro teacher. Shauntell's choreography has been recognized with top awards at numerous competitions across Ontario, and her reputation as an instructor/choreographer is well known.

Shauntell is a fully certified dance instructor, completing several disciplines of BATD examinations receiving Honors. She is a licensed teacher in Acro and Stage with the British Association of Teachers of Dancing and has completed her BATD Membership Acro. Shauntell holds certification with Acrobatic Arts Module 1 receiving a grade of 100%.

Shauntell is proud of all her accomplishments, but more importantly, she takes pride in the accomplishments of her students, who have won many overall awards, special awards, judges choice awards, scholarships and placements to compete with World Performers Canada. Many of her students have successfully completed their teacher certification with the BATD, and have been selected into the High School/College programs at the National Circus School in Montreal. 

As an instructor, Shauntell takes great pride in providing dancers with a safe environment, a place to build confidence, strength and the desire to be the best that they can be.
​​

Lisa Bedard

Recreational and Competitive Teacher 

Although her formal training didn’t begin until she was 10, Lisa found a love of dance much earlier in life, choreographing and performing numbers with her school friends, and younger sister in her childhood home.  After joining a local studio, Lisa performed competitively and recreationally in Acrobatics, Jazz, Tap, and Hip Hop with her dance troupe, eventually becoming an assistant teacher, and soon after earning her Associate certification in Acrobatics with the British Association of Teachers of Dancing.  Lisa then began teaching and choreographing regularly for local studios.

As a professional instructor, Lisa has expanded her dance training into the areas of Ballet, Contemporary, Modern, and Lyrical.  She opened and ran a small studio for 6 years, during which time she and her students found much success.  Lisa has earned recognition for her choreography on numerous occasions, and her students have been identified as stand-out, high-achieving performers at competitions across Ontario and into the United States.  Lisa has also worked as a choreographer for musical numbers with children’s theatre companies.

After retiring as a studio director to make room for family life, Lisa began working as an occasional instructor and choreographer for studios across Southwestern Ontario and ran dance programs for youth, as well as dance fitness classes for adults in small local towns.  Lisa strongly believes in training strong, confident, humble, yet quirky dancers who are driven by heart and soul, and who showcase that quality in each performance. She is a passionate, dedicated instructor, and is thrilled to join the team at Zero Gravity Dance Company.
Liz Higgins
Ballet Teacher
Raised in Goderich, Ontario, Liz took her first ballet class at the age of 9. Her interest in other dance forms such as modern, contemporary, musical theatre, and jazz dance quickly blossomed from there. Liz spent many hours as a student teacher and upon graduating high school,  pursued dance at a professional level. 

Liz attended George Brown College in Toronto and holds a diploma in Dance Performance Studies. She has trained at Quinte Ballet School of Canada and has performed alongside members of Canada’s Ballet Jorgen. Liz now works full-time in the field of food and nutrition and loves yoga, cooking, fishing, and being outdoors as much as possible. She is thrilled to be able to inspire others to find the joy in dance back in her hometown.
​​
Kelsey Withers
Competitive Teacher
Kelsey joined a local dance studio at the age of 3 years old in their recreational program. She danced with the recreational program for years before transitioning to the competitive team. Kelsey danced at a competitive level for 8 years, winning many awards, scholarships, and overalls for her groups and duets.

Kelsey has taken many levels of dance exams throughout her years of training with The British Association of Teachers of Dancing. She received top marks in all disciplines including Acro, Tap, Jazz, and Stage. Kelsey also has her Associate certification in Acrobatics with BATD.

Kelsey is a Registered Kinesiologist, working with people to rehab various injuries. She is thrilled to be able to stay connected to a sport she loves by teaching dance class whenever her schedule allows.

​Kennedy Sutton
Competitive and Recreational Teacher
Kennedy has been dancing since the age of 10. She has a very strong passion for dance, and decided that she wanted to make dance one of the main focuses in her life! She competed for eight years, training with Danceology MWO in Lucknow, and has previously taught both Recreational and Competitive dancers in a wide range of ages. She has studied in Ballet, Jazz, Acro, Lyrical, and Hip Hop.

While competing Kennedy was recognized for high scoring performances in solos as well as group. She was also noticed for her long lines and her ability to captivate crowds. Her favourite style of dance to perform is Contemporary as the style is continuously evolving. Kennedy has had many opportunities to improve her knowledge of the dance industry, including training at the Conteur Summer Intensive Program, taking classes with amazing instructors such as Dani Matte, Eryn Waltman, and Julia Cratchley. She is also proud to have worked with So You Think You Can Dance performer Derek Piquette, who choreographed one of her solos in her final competitive season.

Kennedy is currently enrolled in postsecondary education at Fanshawe College, studying in the Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Advanced Diplomas with hopes to ensure a career as a medical professional in the x-ray/ultrasound field. She is currently based in the London area but will be returning to her home town of Lucknow for the summer. Kennedy looks forward to new adventures within the dance community and can't wait to see what the world of dance will become in the future!
​​
​Lauren Ritchie
Recreational Teacher
Lauren took her first dance class at the age of four, and completely fell in love with the sport. She danced competitively for seven years in many different styles, including jazz, hip hop, contemporary, tap, acro, musical theatre and open. Lauren won many specials and judges choice awards as a competitive dancer.

Lauren has taken many years of BATD dance exams in Jazz, Ballet, Tap, and Acro. She has received top marks in her examinations.

Lauren began as a teacher’s assistant in 2014 and has worked her way up to a teaching position. Lauren is an enthusiastic teacher, and loves helping children of all ages learn the joy of dance! We are thrilled that Lauren has accepted a position on our staff, as a teacher in Jazz, Hip Hop, Acro, Lyrical, Ballet, and Tap.

Lauren’s love of teaching makes her the perfect choice for our PD Day Camps and Summer Camp. She makes our camps engaging, organized and full of fun! These always fill up fast, due to Lauren’s popularity with her students.
Mackenzie McNichol
Recreational Teacher
Mackenzie danced at the competitive level for over 10 years. During this time, she won many awards, overalls, and special recognition. She took dance exams with The British Association of Teachers of Dance in Acro, Jazz, and Ballet, and received top marks.

Mackenzie has assisted in classes for many years, under the direction of well-known instructors including Shauntell Schwartz, working her way up to a teaching position. Mackenzie is a certified teacher with BATD in Acro. Mackenzie strives to assist her students in becoming the best dancers they can be and is dedicated and motivated to share her love for dance.
​​
Brooklyn Tiffin
Recreational Teacher
Brooklyn has been dancing for over 10 years.  During her competitive career, she was quite successful, receiving many overalls, special awards, and scholarships. She has trained in Acro, Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Pointe having a passion for all styles.  Spending many hours each week in class over the years, she has developed great strength and technique, especially in Contemporary dance.  

Brooklyn has been teaching students of all ages for 5 years at both the competitive and recreational levels.  She is a licensed teacher in Acro with the British Association of Teachers of Dance.  She received her training from studio Director Shauntell Schwartz, and other well-known instructors in the area.  She has taken great pride in her training and has broadened her dance technique by attending a number of workshops.  

During her spare time, Brooklyn enjoys other artistic interests such as a photography.  She is highly in demand by her peers booking many family and friend photoshoots.  
 
Brooklyn is recognized for her unique creativity and choreography capability and she looks forward to sharing her talent with the dancers at Zero Gravity Dance Company.

Emma Veenstra
Recreational Teacher
Emma has been dancing competitively for over ten years in Acro, Contemporary, Jazz and Open.

This year she successfully auditioned to be a member of the 2018-2019 Canadian World Performers team. They are heading to Portugal to compete in the Dance World Cup in the spring of 2019.

Emma excels in Acro and Contemporary, winning many awards, specials, scholarships, and overalls throughout her competitive dance career.

Emma has taken many levels of exams through the British Association of Teachers of Dance, receiving top marks in Jazz, Acro, Modern, and Ballet. She has been an assistant teacher alongside Shauntell Schwartz and is looking forward to advancing her teaching skills with BATD. Emma is excited for the opportunity to share her love of dance with her students!

Brendan De Santis
Competitive Choreographer and guest teacher​​​​​
Brendan has been performing and competing nationally and internationally since 2003 under the direction of Kim O'Neill, who has been a significant influence on his success as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer, and he has now established himself as a professional dancer and choreographer. Brendan has studied in various genres of dance which include, Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, and Partnering. Brendan also trained in vocal and professional recording under the direction of Kevin Gorman, KG Productions.

Brendan continues to enrich his training, ability, and knowledge in all styles of dance through attending numerous dance schools, workshops, and conventions. Brendan has also completed his examinations in; Jazz, Modern, and Ballet, both BATD and RAD. Furthermore, he was accepted into Ryerson University and York University for the Performance Dance Degree Program.

Brendan is currently finishing his Bachelor of Education at Western University where he enriches his teaching abilities. Brendan is thrilled to be a faculty member at Zero Gravity Dance Company where he strives to instill his love and passion for dance to all of his students.
Kim O'Neill
Guest Teacher
Kim O'Neill is an established dancer, teacher, choreographer and Graduate from the University of Western Ontario.

She is trained extensively in all dance disciplines, and continues to train, adjudicate, and teach master classes across North America.  

Kim is the studio director at OAD in London, Ontario, and guest-teaches in many other well-known studios across Canada.