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About 
Our School

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!

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Director's Welcome

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.

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Mission

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.

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Vision & Values

  • Experience

  • Education

  • Integrity

  • Community

Faculty & Staff

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Marcia Dysart

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.

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Rebecca Gamble

Toddler Moves and Grooves, Baby Jiggles and Giggles, Primary School and Junior Ballet and Intermediate 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.

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Chris Green

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.

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Kristina Lemieux

Adult Contemporary and Improvisation

Kristina Lemieux (she/her) is a contemporary dance artist, arts manager, and gardener. A relative newbie to Saint John, Kristina has danced and lived in Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto before settling near to the Kennebecasis River. Her dance practice is rooted in improvisation and the democratization of dance. One of the things she is most proud of in her dance career is Polymer Dance. She started Polymer Dance in 2012 with Miriam Esquitín in Vancouver. Polymer Dance is a contemporary dance performing group and class for non-professional adult dancers with the goal to provide a space for continuous training and to cultivate an improvisation collective. Often making use of natural space and performing in public venues, this work allowed artists and audiences to meet in unexpected places. She also works for arts organizations and performing artists coast to coast making ideas happen. In all that she does, Kristina works to support artists across performing disciplines in finding ways to make art outside of the currently prescribed modes.

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Melissa Feltus

Adult Tap and Jazz

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.

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Sarah Power

Director of Senior Ballet School

Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior School Ballet and Adult Programs

Sarah is director of the Intermediate and Senior Ballet School at First City. She has been working as an independent dance artist and teacher since graduating from the Dance Performance Program at Toronto Metropolitan University in 2001. She is the artistic director of Connection Dance Works, the company she co-founded in 2010. Her classical teaching accreditations include Associate Teacher with Cecchetti Canada and teacher certification with The American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. 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.

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Gina Grant

Contemporary Floor Work and Pilates

Gina is a contemporary dancer, teacher and choreographer. After completing the professional training program at l'École de danse contemporaine de Montréal in 2017, Gina has worked with local and international choreographers, musicians, visual artists and filmmakers. Notably, Gina 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: An Evening of Dance and Discussion. She collaborated with Connection Dance Works's New Music, New Dance residency, choreographed by Sarah Power. Most recently, Gina acted in Gravity Assist, a short film directed by filmmaker Ry O’Toole.

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Jamie Mario

Hip Hop

Originally from Indonesia, Jamie started her dance training in 2014 upon moving to Canada for her post-secondary education. She had her start by taking hip-hop classes and workshops around many dance studios in Toronto. In 2015, Jamie joined Foreal Dance Company (@torontoforeal) to train and compete in various post-collegiate dance competitions in Ontario. In time, she 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 she continued to train, she 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, Jamie moved to Saint John in 2020. Although Jamie had her start in hip-hop, she eagerly explores many other styles and enjoys incorporating elements from different styles into her works. She is passionate about using dance as a medium for storytelling and introspection.

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Ashley Bishop

Primary Ballet, Junior Jazz and Creative Movement

Ashely is a graduate of UNB's BEd. program and a teacher with ASDS. She teaches French immersion and was awarded the highest level of French proficiency (Supérieur) by the province of New Brunswick. 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.

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Norah English

Primary and Junior School Ballet and Contemporary, Intermediate School 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 third 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.

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Amanda Roberts

Junior and Intermediate School Tap and Hip Hop

Amanda is a B.Ed graduate (2014) and has been teaching middle school ever since. She began dancing at the young age of two and spent most of her dancing years dancing with DancEast (Moncton NB), and the Academy of Classical Ballet (Moncton NB). Amanda had the privilege of competing at Dance Worlds in Orlando, Florida with her university dance team in 2012 and since then, has continued to immerse herself in the dance community by teaching and attending adult classes. Upon moving to the Saint John area in 2015, Amanda began teaching Musical Theatre and Dance for KidSing Performance School until the arrival of her first child. Amanda is excited to start her new chapter: teaching at FSCD and can’t wait to watch her dancers grow!

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Riley Thompson

Creative Movement, Junior Jazz , Lyrical and Acro Arts

Riley is a recent graduate of UNBSJ’s Bachelor of Health program, completing the Biomedical Sciences in Health degree. Riley began dancing at 7 years old with KidSing Performance School and has been with them ever since. Riley was a member of their competitive team until she graduated high school, competing at various competitions in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Growing up, she also performed in multiple musicals with the KV players community theatre. Outside of dance, Riley has been involved in all-star cheerleading. After years of being an athlete, Riley began coaching which sparked her interest in choreography and creation. She expanded this interest to dance and started teaching the elementary competitive troupe, along with musical theatre and acrobatics classes at KidSing Performance School. Most recently, Riley has enjoyed getting back into dancing herself through the adult classes at FCSD and now looks forward to continuing classes and joining the amazing faculty and staff this year!

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Ian Gibson 

Contemporary, Horton Technique and Improvisation Percussionist 

Ian C. Gibson is the Percussion Teaching Artist for the Saint John Centre of Sistema New Brunswick. This internationally acclaimed program is operated by the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, Inc., across the Province. With over twenty years of professional experience, Ian is able to provide students with the essential skills and knowledge to become outstanding percussionists. From 2005-2017, Ian was the Head of Percussion Studies at Cambrian College, Classical Percussion Instructor at Laurentian University and the Principal Percussionist/Timpanist of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. Since moving to New Brunswick he has quickly established himself performing with Symphony New Brunswick and numerous musical theatre productions. He is a member of the Tutta Musica Orchestra, and Percussion Coach of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. Ian is currently a certified Remo HealthRHYTHMS Facilitator and a member of the Percussive Arts Society. He is also sponsored by Innovative Percussion, Pearl Drums & Adams Percussion. Ian holds both a Bachelor and Master of Music Degree in Music Performance from the University of Toronto

Meet First City's Young Company Teachers in Training

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Gabrielle

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Fatima

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Maren

City Location

156 Union St. Saint John, NB

Valley Location

80 Millennium St. Quispamsis, NB

firstcityschoolofdance@gmail.com
(506) 977-4385

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