Did you know Saint John was the FIRST City to be incorporated in Canada? We are committed to providing dance education based in FOUNDATION and artistry. As LEADERS in the dance education industry our students technical, emotional and social growth are our TOP priority. Our dancers come FIRST and we look forward to setting them up for what is sure to be the BEGINNING of a life long passion for dance. Choose us FIRST!
Welcome to First City School of Dance. This school is the result of a long career in education and my experience as a dance artist. As dancers we strive for precision of technique and the ability to be expressive in our movement. It can be a difficult balance to achieve. I believe that we can educate dancers to be both strong in technique and artistry. It begins with our youngest students, learning about the structure of class and enjoying imaginative play through movement. Artistry and creativity has no bounds at age 3! As students grow we continue to encourage story telling, inventive movement and imagery with opportunities in class to respond, create and share their experiences and ideas. Our oldest students have opportunities to create and connect their knowledge of technique and artistry during their choreography lab classes. When dancers understand that their knowledge of technique facilitates their artistry and that artistry enhances their technique, we've done our jobs as educators. The experienced and educated staff at First City are looking forward to all the 'lightbulb' moments and excited to watch our dancers find joy in every class.
First City School of Dance is committed to cultivating the artistry of dance. We believe that a solid foundation in dance includes creative opportunities that ignite passion, instill confidence, and encourage excellence.
Vision & Values
Faculty & Staff
Owner and Artistic Director
Marcia is a dancer, choreographer, collaborator and educator with over 25 years teaching experience. She studied contemporary dance at McMaster University’s Centre for Dance Performance in Hamilton, ON and Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre’s summer intensives for teacher training. Currently a member of Artslink New Brunswick, she shares her passion for creation working collaboratively alongside musicians, visual artists, filmmakers and dancers. Marcia's work has received recognition by the New Brunswick Arts Board and Saint John Community Arts Funding Program and has been performed across Atlantic Canada.
Marcia is a founding director of Connection Dance Works, a professional contemporary dance company. She assists in achieving the company's mandate to increase the regional audience for contemporary dance and offer more collaborative opportunities for artists. The company is a recipient of a Saint John Original award for excellence in dance.
Marcia is an advocate for arts education and its accessibility to all. She’s developed curriculum for schools, delivering the content to both students and teachers and aids in the growth and support for arts education through her work on boards and juries. Marcia is an American Ballet Theater certified teacher and has a Bachelor of Education and Science. She is a graduate from Dance Education Canada and has certifications in Progressing Ballet Technique, Horton Technique and Boston Ballet School's Adaptive Dance program.
Primary School and Junior Ballet and Jazz
Rebecca began ballet classes at the age of 5 in Kanata, Ontario. A family move brought her to Fredericton, N.B., at the age of 10, where she continued studying ballet at Dance Fredericton under Leslie Dell, Dede Gaston, and Julie Scriver. At the age of 12, Rebecca also discovered a love of jazz under Marcia Dysart, Nicole Blanchet and later Emily Caruso. In 1992 and 1993, Rebecca attended two summer sessions at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, one on full scholarship, and was also accepted into their year-long intensive training program.
In 1998, Rebecca began teaching dance classes while continuing to take class for her own training and development. She has taught creative movement, ballet, and jazz to those aged 3 to adult at Dance Fredericton, Artemis Dance, X-treme Dance Studio, Cobequid Dance Academy and the Rothesay Ballet School. She has also attended a variety of workshops and teacher training seminars with various dance companies such as the RWB, NBS and l’Ecole Supérieur de Danse du Québec. Rebecca holds a bachelor of Arts and Education and is currently a full-time French Immersion teacher at Fairvale Elementary School.
Senior School Ballet
Jennifer grew up in Oakville Ontario training in classical ballet (R.A.D.), pointe, modern, jazz, and national (folk) dance at the Oakville School of Dancing (now Oakville School of Ballet). While attending the Teacher Training Program at the National Ballet School of Canada, she taught private coaching to the students in both the professional and recreational divisions while also teaching at a competition school in Scarborough Ontario.
After graduating from NBS, she moved to the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia where she became the artistic director of the Studio to Stage Dance Academy. Over the next ten years, SSDA performed in a variety of venues around Nova Scotia with both short programs and full length ballets including their annual Nutcracker. In 2013 she began teaching the competitive team at Tao Dance, eventually becoming director in 2016. During this time, she also started Ministry in Motion which brought together dancers from various dance schools in Nova Scotia to perform original choreography in churches and community theatres around the Atlantic provinces.
Since moving to NB in 2019, she has taught in several local dance schools, while also continuing the work of Ministry in Motion in its new home in Saint John.
Senior School Jazz
Chris Van Green took his first class in jazz at 13 and ever since he was hooked. He started his dance training in Nova Scotia at Truro Dance Academy where he trained in Ballet, Jazz and Modern.
Green decided to pursue dance further after high school and received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theatre Dance Performance at Ryerson University in Toronto. He showed huge growth and outstanding passion and was rewarded the Kenny Pearl Award in his graduating year.
Since Graduating he has worked and collaborated with many other dancers & choreographers. Performing in Dance Productions, Musicals, Flashmobs, Weddings, Galas, MMVAs, Television Shows and Music Videos to list a few. Working with choreographers & collaborators such as Hanna Kiel, Kenny Pearl, David Earle, Robert Glumbek, Darryl Tracy, James Kudelka, Andrea Penã, and Fernando Melo. Green continues to dance professionally and has expanded his styles of movement to not only Ballet, Jazz & Modern. He dabbles in most styles including Acro, Heels, Improv, Hip Hop, Urban, Cuban Contemporary, Swing, Salsa, Musical Theatre, Zumba and many outlets of Fitness.
He also has been teaching full time for half a decade in all styles and all age demographics. Working hard to inspire and progress the development of the next generation of artists. He has taught workshops and Master Classes all over Canada and is excited to share his knowledge to inspire others.
Adult and Teen Tap
Melissa has been tapping for over 4 decades. Her initial training was with Eileen McGrath School of Dance where she completed the Al Gilbert tap technique exams up to and including grade 6. Melissa taught the Sussex branch of this school for 2 years. Throughout university she continued to take tap lessons and was involved in choreographing high school and university musicals and various dance related events. She also has experience in Jazz, Irish hard and soft shoe, Highland and ballroom dancing. Melissa continues her tap training through workshops and classes from Shawn Byfield in Toronto and Steps on Broadway in New York as well as working through the intermediate advanced Tap syllabus offered by unitedtaps.com. She is currently looking into pursuing a CDTA certification in tap education. Melissa also teaches tap to the competitive groups at D.A.T.A.
Primary and Senior School Ballet and Adult Programs
Sarah has been working as an independent dance artist and teacher since graduating from the Dance Performance Program at Ryerson University in 2001. She is the artistic director of Connection Dance Works, the company she co-founded in 2010.Her classical teaching accreditations include Intermediate level R.A.D and Cecchetti Advanced 1exam certificates. Sarah’s teaching philosophy centres on creative movement, age-appropriate anatomical alignment, and healthy self-image.Her artistic career has included collaborations with musicians, dancers, filmmakers and visual artists from across Canada. She has received grants for Professional Development, Residencies and Creation projects through the Canada Council for the Arts and artsnb.Sarah continues to learn and develop work through her practice of Authentic Movement, a way of discovering movement inherent to the body.
Junior, Intermediate and Senior Contemporary School and Adult Programs
Gina is a contemporary dancer, teacher and choreographer based in Saint John, New Brunswick. She completed her dance training with l'École de danse contemporaine de Montréal in 2017, and has since worked extensively with Montreal and New Brunswick based choreographers, musicians and visual artists.
Most Recently, Gina had the pleasure of being featured in Created Here Magazine’s 19th Issue, “Bodies”. She performed her first solo work "The same, but not like before" at the 12th annual Saint John Contemporary Dance Festival as well as PERSPECTIVE 2022. Gina collaborates frequently with multidisciplinary artist Naomi Peters/NO[no] in a mutual interest of exploring relationships between camera, subject and nature. She is currently involved in Connection Dance Works's "New Music, New Dance" residency, choreographed by Sarah Power.
Gina is in the process of completing her 200h yoga teacher training, as well as Stefan Crainic’s movement education course “Monkey Flow Acrobatics”.
Originally from Indonesia, James started his dance training in 2014 upon moving to Canada for his post-secondary education. He had his start by taking hip-hop classes and workshops around many dance studios in Toronto. In 2015, James joined Foreal Dance Company (@torontoforeal) to train and compete in various post-collegiate dance competitions in Ontario. In time, he became one of Foreal Dance Company’s lead choreographers and proceeded to choreograph for showcases and competitions such as Hit The Floor and Final Stretch Dance Competition. As he continued to train, he also had the opportunity to teach drop-in classes and workshops in several dance studios and universities in Ontario.
Upon graduating from the University of Toronto in 2019, James moved to Saint John in 2020. Although James had his start in hip-hop, he eagerly explores many other styles and enjoys incorporating elements from different styles into his works. He is passionate about using dance as a medium for storytelling and introspection.
Adaptive Dance and Creative Movement
Ashely is a fourth year education student at UNBSJ. She began dancing when she was 2 years old with the Rothesay Ballet School and continued until she graduated high school. She completed Royal Academy of Dance graded examinations up to grade 8 as well as her Intermediate exam in the vocational program. Ashley performed in many Nutcrackers, including dancing the role of Clara! Ashley's love of performing included being involved in KVHS musicals. Ashely has fallen back in love with dance again after a short two year break after participating in the adult program at FCSD. Ashley has experience working with children and organizing children's camps. For the past three summers, she has organized the summer camp programming at La Vallée Enchantée. She was also an assistant at the Rothesay Ballet School. Ashley has enjoyed working with children her whole life and has always dreamt of being a dance teacher. She looks forward to working alongside the amazing staff at FCSD.
Primary and Junior School Contemporary and Jazz
Norah's love for dance began 15 years ago and has only grown since. She began her training at age three at Port City Ballet and eventually transferred to Rothesay Ballet School. There, she completed up to grade 6 and Intermediate Foundation of the RAD exams and continued to train through to grade 8 and Advanced Foundation. During this time, she gained experience not only in Ballet, but Contemporary and Jazz as well. She was a performer in The Nutcracker for seven years and was a choreographer for her high school’s production of Beauty and the Beast.
She's participated in workshops with Ballet Kelowna and EYAS Dance Project as well as a four-day development weekend in Truro hosted by Cobequid Dance Academy. She is a member of FCSD Young Company.
Outside of the dance world, she has four years of experience working with children as a counsellor at Camp Glenburn and a year of experience teaching swimming lessons at the YMCA of Greater Saint John. Additionally, she is a first year UNB student taking a Bachelor of Arts. She hopes to be able to continue to grow as a dancer while simultaneously sharing her passion and knowledge as a teacher.
Meet First City's Young Company Teachers in Training
156 Union St. Saint John, NB
6 Market St. Quispamsis, NB