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The Stars on Stage Unplugged 2009 Whos Who

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					 The Stars on Stage Unplugged 2009 Who’s Who
                             Our Community Dancers
Murray Chunyk – Victoria Fire Department
Murray was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1979. Pursuing a career in emergency
Services at 19 years old, Murray began as an EMT in northern Alberta. Upon graduating
from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology with an Advanced Life Support
Paramedic Diploma, he worked as a ground and air paramedic in central Alberta.
Always wanting to become a Fire Fighter, Murray joined the Red Deer Fire Dept.
Proving to be a big lure, the ocean, the outdoors and the lifestyle of Victoria, he up and
moved, and now 3 years after, Murray has no regrets with his decision, loving his place
with the Victoria Fire Department. The Island offers many great experiences, like the
exciting new challenge of participating in the Stars on Stage.

Kelly Cruickshank – International Figure Skating Technical Specialist
Kelly has been performing and entertaining professionally for about 30 years. In the
most recent years, he has been on stage dancing and acting as head choreographer for
a group called "The Disco Bondage Prostitutes from Outer-space". For those of you
who don't know the troupe, their style is edgy, funky, cabaret, with a touch of p*rn. They
have a vast following who often get quite a show, though sometimes they show a little
too much. He is not afraid to pull out winning moves like the "Salchow" or the "Triple
Lutz". Although he will be performing out of character and out of heels for this dance-off,
he is letting the other competitors know that they should bring their A-game.

Lana Denoni – Oak Bay Marine Group
Lana is a long time resident of Victoria and lover of dance. Many moons ago Lana
performed with the Gerry Gosely Smile Show. However, that was a long time ago and
she now works for the Oak Bay Marine Group as their Director of Tour, Group &
Incentive Sales. Lana’s community involvement includes many boards such as Tourism
Vancouver Island, Council of Tourism Associations and the Heritage Property Board.
She was Chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce in 1999 and now sits on
the Board of Governors. Lana is married with two grown children. She is looking
forward to the aches and pains of getting back in shape and trying something new such
as ballroom dancing.
Heather Leary – Public Relations, Mark My Words
A ten year veteran of the public relations scene in Victoria, Heather is more used to
putting others in the spotlight than seeking it herself. She moved to Victoria in 1991 to
pursue a BA at the University of Victoria and later, inspired by a journalism class about
public relations, a certificate in PR. Mark My Words has been providing public relations
services to companies far and wide since 2001. Her largest project is the Oak Bay Light
Up, where it’s her job to put others on the stage - and sometimes pull them off. Onstage
dance experience includes a high school fashion show and the occasional night on the
town back in the 90’s. She hopes this, combined with practice, is enough for a
successful Stars on Stage experience!

Cosmo Meens – Chef and Owner, Mo:Lé
Cosmo was born (1978) and raised in the beautiful city of Victoria. He graduated with
honors from Victoria High School. Cosmo will continue to live and raise his children here
while he and his wife Leah add to the pool of progressive businesses in this town. He
loves it here! Together with his wife Leah and business partner Joshua Miller they
opened Mo:Lé Restaurant over four years ago and he guesses it makes him a chef
because he designed all the food. Really he is a glorified dishwasher with vision (which
began at 12 years old at Overtime). He opened Cafe Bliss six months ago with another
business partner, Heather Cunliffe, who took the front seat as the chef and he is now
learning the other side of the business. If he could think of one thing he would love to do
other than work with food it would be dance. Cosmo loves to dance. Not in any formal
fashion but more with reckless abandon in the corner by himself at local nightclubs. He
thinks that Stars on Stage is a wonderful opportunity to have an excuse to dance more
and thanks Stephen White! (who is also his Uncle-in-law)

Heather Robinson – Legislative Reporter, CBC-Television
Heather is the CBC-Television legislative reporter, based here in Victoria, covering the
BC political scene and Vancouver Island news in general. This proud Maritimer has
worked across Canada with CBC-TV for seven years, following a degree in Political
Science and Women’s Studies and a Master’s in Journalism. Her mother says she was
born dancing yet aside from hitting the clubs, the last time she performed on-stage was
in 1990 where she danced MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This and won. She hopes her
strategy for calming nerves before doing live television will work for tonight’s dance
Michael Shamata – Artistic Director, Belfry Theatre
Michael is the Artistic Director of the Belfry Theatre, where he has directed Tom
Stoppard’s The Real Thing and Ann-Marie MacDonald’s musical Anything That Moves.
West coast directing credits also include I Am My Own Wife, Guys and Dolls, The Music
Man and Hello, Dolly! at the Vancouver Playhouse, and Much Ado About Nothing,
Love’s Labour’s Lost, and The Winter’s Tale at Bard on the Beach. He has directed at
most of the major theatres across the country, including the Stratford Festival, Canadian
Stage, Soulpepper, and the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and his work has been seen in
every province in Canada. His productions have won awards for outstanding production
in Toronto (A Little Night Music), Vancouver (Fiddler on the Roof) and Ottawa (Kilt).
Michael is the former Artistic Director of Theatre New Brunswick and the Grand Theatre
in London, Ontario.

Frank Stanford – News Reporter, C-FAX1070
Frank is 53 years old (okay, 54 this year) and with slightly arthritic knees won't be
attempting anything frantic on the dance floor like the mambo. Look for him to try one of
the smooth styles. When he's not dancing or reporting the news on C-FAX1070 radio,
which he's been doing for almost 30 years now, Frank is playing competitive bridge. In
fact he'll be at the national championships in Penticton this June; two big events to be
practicing for this spring. He's a Powell River native. His wife and favourite dance
partner for the past 26 years is a hometown girl, Janice, from Esquimalt.

                              Our Dance Instructors
Roberta Bierman – Dansko Studios/Boston Dance Collective
(Dancing Hip Hop with Cosmo Meens)
Roberta is well known around Victoria for her innovative choreography, musicality and
energetic teaching style. Dancing since the age of five, she trained at Hart Dance
Studio, Sinclair Academy, Broadstreet Dance, Excalibre Dance, Dansko Studios,
Harbour Dance and recently at Broadway Dance Centre in New York. Roberta studied
many styles such as tap, jazz, ballet, modern and contemporary but since the day she
was introduced to hip-hop, it has truly captured her heart and become her main focus.
She has been expanding her knowledge through styles such as house, popping,
locking, whacking and new jack. Roberta is currently teaching hip hop throughout
Victoria at Dansko Studios, Boston Dance Collective and Victoria Dance Connection.
Roberta was recently involved with choreographing the music video "Teachers Pet" for
the local band "Death to Sexy". Her hip hop crews and choreography have won
numerous awards in both Victoria and Vancouver. Roberta was a member of Liz
Vaesen’s “Urban Vibe”, reputed to be Victoria’s first hip hop crew. Roberta now
represents Victoria's premier hip hop crew Tru Movement; an elite crew made up of only
three founding members. The crew strives to promote TRUE hip hop dancing through
their classes, choreography and performances.
Website: /

Mohamed Duranteau – Wontanara Drum and Dance
(Dancing West African with Heather Leary)
Mohamed Andre Duranteau is a talented performing artist from Guinea, West Africa
who has been dancing, singing and drumming professionally for over 15 years. Joining
his first ballet at the age of fifteen, he has gained extensive experience competing,
performing, and working as both lead dancer and stage director for various Guinean
ballets, notably "Ballet Kali and "Ballet Tayeli," both award winning performance groups
from Conakry, Guinea. Since his arrival to Canada in August 2007 Mohamed has
furthur developed his skills as a choreographer, artistic-director and instructor by
leading local West African drum & dance company, Wontanara Drum & Dance. Having
over ten years experience teaching dance to people from around the globe, including,
Canada, USA, Mexico, Japan, and Italy, Mohamed has truly earned Master title. His
courage, dedication and amazing talent has been an inspiration to many.

Adam Hanna - Arthur Murray Dance School
(Dancing Rumba with Lana Denoni)
Adam was raised in beautiful Victoria, BC, where his love of dance and performing
began in high-school. He became so enamoured with the art that he went back for an
extra year, with a full course load of dance and musical theatre. Adam is a strong
addition to Victoria’s ballroom community and, that being said, he has already proven
himself by winning numerous teaching awards for his work at the Arthur Murray Dance
School. He loves travelling internationally for ballroom competitions and Arthur Murray
Dance-O-Ramas, but he is especially excited to get more involved locally with Stars on
Stage. Adam would like to thank his family and his fiancé for all their support towards
following his dreams.
Elizabeth Harries – Arthur Murray Dance School
(Dancing Quick Step with Kelly Cruickshank)
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Elizabeth trained at the School of Alberta Ballet.
She was awarded the Ali Pourfarroukh Scholarship in 2003 and in 2006, joined the Goh
Ballet Youth Ensemble, performing in works by James Amar and Eddie Toussaint
towards the end of her time at Goh Ballet. Ms.Harries was asked to be a guest artist
with Ballet de Printemps performing the Paquita Pas de Trois for the 2007/2008
Season. She joined Canadian Pacific Ballet performing lead and soloist roles in ballets
such as Gaite Parisienne and Cappriccio Italianne. More recently, Elizabeth was a
guest artist with Ballet Victoria for their production of Cinderella dancing as Alice. Ms
Harries is currently teaching at Victoria’s Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Ballroom dancing
comes more than easy to Ms. Harries thanks to her strong background of ballet. Her
great personality makes her a fantastic instructor being able to adapt to all personalities.

Christabel “Giggles” Kerslake – Red Hot Swing
(Dancing Swing with Michael Shamata)
Dancing is not new to Christabel, which becomes very apparent when you see her on
the dance floor. An accomplished dancer, Christabel has performed on stage and on
television and has competed in numerous dance events. She is an experienced teacher
and has no trouble imparting her knowledge to her students.
  Almost indestructible
  Boundless energy
  Always ready to be flipped and/or tossed
  *Almost* indestructible

Tess Kumlin – Arthur Murray Dance School
(Dancing Tango with Murray Chunyk)
Born in Sweden, Tess started dancing ballet when she was five. Since then she has
tried jazz, hip hop and tap before falling in love with ballroom at the University of
Victoria. She started instructing ballroom and latin dancing at the Arthur Murray Dance
School in the spring of 2006. Since then she has performed around the community, and
competed professionally with the Arthur Murray Dance School. She believes that
dancing is a sport that people of all ages can benefit from physically, mentally and
socially. She is very excited to be a part of Stars on Stage.

Tanya Mokhnach – Arthur Murray Dance School
(Dancing Viennese Waltz with Frank Stanford)
Tanya was in rhythmic gymnastics for 11 years in Russia where she achieved Master in
Sports. Having finished her sport career and before entering university, she taught
rhythmic gymnastics to children. As a student, she had 5 years dance experience at the
university’s dance group Feeria. As a dance group member, she won lots of dance
competitions and received third place in the Delphic Games. At the same time, Tanya
performed during State Holiday events as a member of the dance group Otrazhenie.
After finishing university, she switched to yoga and then aikido and has continued doing
aikido in Canada. However, after a while she realized dance was the thing she really
enjoyed doing and joined the Arthur Murray Dance School as a teacher. Teaching
dance is the most rewarding job one can ever have – you give so much to people, but
everything comes back to you. It is wonderful!

Charles Murison- Salsa Caliente
(Dancing Salsa with Heather Robinson)
Charles is in his 4th year as a member of Salsa Caliente's Internationally Touring Team,
representing our country at some of the world's top Salsa events. After Stars on Stage,
he will be on his way to perform in Puerto Rico & New York. Celebrating its 10th
anniversary this year, Salsa Caliente has performed and taught across Canada and the
USA as well as in Italy, Mexico and the Caribbean. Salsa Caliente's dancers have
competed for Canada at the World Salsa Open Championships and represent BC on
Salsa Team Canada. They have been featured in music videos and on stage with
some of the top Salsa bands. Salsa Caliente offers classes for beginner to professional
dancers of all ages in Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Cha Cha and Ladies Styling with
Canada's only instructor certified in 3 styles of Salsa by the World Salsa University in
Puerto Rico.
                                      Our Hosts
Diane Dakers – Communications Manager, RBCM
Diane started her stage career as a dancing mushroom, at age six. Soon, she
progressed to meatier parts, including a snowflake, gingerbread boy and soldier girl.
More recently, Diane has danced the roles of a waitress, a doll and a cow. For Pacific
Opera Victoria, she has performed as a parlour maid, geisha and woodland spirit,
among others – but that’s another art form. By day, Diane plays the role of
Communications Manager for the Royal BC Museum, but she is best known in Victoria
for her performances as arts writer/reviewer for the Times Colonist and cultural reporter
for both local TV stations. Diane is a former Vice President of Dance Victoria’s Board of
Directors, and continues to dance with the Victoria School of Contemporary Dance.

Danny Vales - Hotel Grand Pacific/107.3 KOOL FM
Danny Vales aka “Danny the Intern” is The Stunt person for KOOL Mornings with Robin
and Brian on 107.3 KOOL FM. He has been with the Radio Station for 2 years and was
so entertaining as a Beat the Bank contestant the station hired him. In his real life
Danny is a Sales Manager at the Hotel Grand Pacific, which was recently awarded The
Best Hotel in Canada. Danny has volunteered his time to many organizations from The
Thrifty Foods fill up with KOOL FM to a youth coach for the Gorge Soccer Association.
 His passion for soccer and coaching saw Danny take a team of U18 Boys to Madrid,
Spain for what's been described as a trip of a lifetime for all soccer aficionados. Danny
has lived in Victoria for 12 years, is married and has a 1yr old son. He is honored to be
a part of Dance Victoria’s Stars on Stage event.

                                Our Commentators
Michael Boston – Boston Dance Collective
Michael was blessed to have found his passion for the art of dance at a young age, and
by the time he laced up his first pair of dance shoes he was hooked. Michael's training
began at the age of 4 and since has completed all major levels of Gilbert and ISTD tap
exams with honours. Michael has received numerous awards in festivals and
competitions here in Canada as well as the US. His professional career started at the
age of sixteen, where he was accepted as a star dancer in a NYSO’s production of Tap
Kids. At the age of 17 Michael moved to NYC to further his training with Savion Glover,
Barbra Duffy, Dianne Walker, Roxanne Butterfly and many others. Since then Michael
has travelled all over the US, Mexico and Europe packing major theatres spreading his
love of Tap. He’s had the opportunity to adjudicate major competitions in Canada and
the US, choreographed for film and theatre, taught master classes and shoot feature
films. Michael has been teaching in and around Victoria, and is well respected for his
award winning choreography and energetic teaching style. In January 2008 Michael
founded Boston Dance Collective. As Artistic Director, Michael has grown the studio to
include 3 great locations with a passionate faculty and wonderful students.

Karen Clark – Karen Clark Dance Studio
Driven by Karen’s admiration for dressing up she was registered in a dance class at 3
years old. Her first year-end show was a success despite the fact that Karen did a
completely different rendition of the dance routine that she had been taught. Following
audience applause and laughter; 3 year old Karen was set to be her happiest on stage.
Karen focused on ballet and tap and quickly added jazz, lyrical, voice, musical theatre,
baton and gymnastics to her training schedule. Karen’s training took place in Winnipeg
with Lillian Kurtis, Vivian Tyler, Connie Jansen, Earl Nesbitt and Shaw Sullivan. She
continues her training by attending seminars, workshops and dance conventions.
Karen has performed throughout Canada and the US with Kidz ‘n Motion, Mother
Goose, Steppin’ Out, Gerry Lewis Telethon, Extreme Team, and The Wizard of Oz.
From 1978 - 1988 Karen ran her studio in Winnipeg. After moving to Victoria in 1988
Karen Clark Dance Studio opened with 65 dancers. 21 years later, over 5000 dancers
have passed through the doors. Karen takes pride in her studio dancers benefiting from
life lessons, confidence, poise and friendships that extend way beyond the studio walls.

Lynda Raino - Lynda Raino Dance
Lynda Raino has been teaching dance, choreographing works, and delighting
audiences as a modern dance performer for 35 years now. Whether it was her solo
Mother Moon, which she performed seven months pregnant, or dancing with Bobby
McFerrin, or with a giant body builder, or dancing her naked protest about Hiroshima,
Raino has always been an innovator. Her works are so diverse that two of her dances
appeared simultaneously in Montreal, but one was at the Just for Laughs comedy
festival while the other, her dance drama about AIDS was being shown at the Fifth
International Conference on Aids. Best known for her solo performances, she has
performed in Brazil, Japan, across Canada and the US, and has been dubbed the
“accessible choreographer” because her works are always about the human condition
that touches us all. She is the founder of Big Dance, her groundbreaking dance troupe
for large people. Her school, Lynda Raino Dance, is now in its 29th year in Victoria, and
although she did try to retire in 2004, she threatens that her next company will be a
white-haired seniors group dancing with canes and walkers.

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