So this is Bianca- She's a passionate bilingual musical theatre performer and thrilled to be an instructor with the Explore It! team. She is a Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts graduate and has many years of experience in education/working with kids both in french and in english, which she hopes to continue for many years to come. Bianca believes in focus, discipline, learning from each other, having a laugh, and as Mrs. Frizzle would say; taking chances, making mistakes, and gettin' messy!
Aaron is a visual artist with a B.A.,Hons. in Studio Arts from the University of Guelph. He currently resides in Toronto, where he produces art and teaches fine art (and many other) programs with Explore It! to children of all ages at schools throughout the GTA. Aaron is a veteran member of the Explore It! team and is highly appreciated for his positive attitude and ability to teach most any program. He's also a valuable asset in mentoring new instructors as they join the Explore It! team.
Jenna Mercer is a Toronto-based performer and teacher who loves to share her passion for dance and performing arts! Born and raised in BC, Jenna has had extensive training in all styles of dance and performing. She has appeared in several performances as a lead dancer, as well as a lead singer/actor. She has worked with world renowned dancers/choreographers, and has also performed in Disneyland as a dancer with Disney Performing Arts. Moreover, she has two certified Honours in CDTA Jazz Exams and is a graduate of both the Dance Performance Diploma Program at Centennial College, and the Performing Arts Certificate Program at Sheridan College. Over the years, Jenna has developed a strong passion for mentoring young performers and continues to thrive through her tenacity, adaptability and dedication. In her free time she loves to play video games, choreograph dances, practice longboarding, and go to the movies!
Alyssa is a filmmaker and artist with a BFA in Film Studies from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). She works as a freelance editor on a variety of projects, including documentaries, short films, and music videos. She has a passion for writing and directing, with her short film, Fish Out of Water, screening at several film festivals around North America, awarded the Best Student Film at the Jersey Shore Film Festival and the People’s Choice Award at RUFF. She also pursues a number of personal projects combining her love of art, animation, and music, working with traditional, digital, and stop-motion animation. Alyssa loves to share her passion for the arts and is thrilled to be a part of the Explore It! team.
Brandon is an undergraduate student attending York University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Children, Childhood & Youth Studies. Brandon is an active member of the YorkU community, specifically within his college affiliation Vanier College and the Department of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LAPS). Brandon aspires to receive a Bachelor’s in Education (BEd) in the near future and teach elementary-age students. He has always been very enthusiastic and passionate about leadership and making positive impacts in any environment he finds himself in. Getting involved and inspiring others is always the goal for Brandon and he hopes to create safe and enriching learning opportunities for the students participating in Explore It! programming.
He was born and raised in Scarborough, ON and attended Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts specializing in the Performing Arts with extensive experience in Performance Dance, Musical Theatre, Drama Focus, and Vocals. With these skills at hand, Brandon aspires to help boost curiosity, exploration and overall confidence of students in any program he is instructing or supporting!
In his free time, Brandon enjoys listening to music, watching movies, hanging with his friends and improving on his newfound obsession with cooking!
Karen is an educator and performer, who brings curiosity, silliness and an open mind to all that she does. She has been an educator for 3 years in many different capacities from teaching kindergarten, to creating after school drama programming, to guiding story telling classes for infants and toddlers with their caregivers. She strives to make every class joyful, and to make every student feel welcomed, safe and important! Karen is a child at heart who is always willing to play, which has helped her connect easily with students and audiences alike. She is a versatile actor, bringing characters to life on stage and screen. Karen holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from U of T and a diploma in Theatre and Drama Studies from Sheridan College. She enjoys being outdoors, cooking delicious meals, and is an avid player of board games of all varieties.
Rebecca is a graduate of the University of Toronto and an independent theatre director, producer, and designer working in Toronto.
Learning is what Rebecca loves most about being an artist: Learning from colleagues, and learning through the research she does for each project she takes on. She is always seeking out workshops, conferences, podcasts, lectures and exhibits that will challenge her to explore other art forms and to think in new and different ways. When she isn’t in rehearsals (or preparing for them) Rebecca loves to spend her time learning Italian, breaking a sweat at a Zumba class, relaxing with some watercolor painting, cooking up a delicious new meal, or traveling with family and friends.
Though most of her experience working with children has been teaching drama, she is really excited to bring her passion for exploration and discovery to the other subject areas she will dive into with her students this term. She hopes she can inspire and motivate them to keep learning and asking questions long after they finish school!
Meet Thomas! He's a maker of neat things like audio walks, podcasts, zines, buttons, and lots more. He's studied at Western and York University in media and performance studies, and usually has an ever-growing stack of books on the go. Community musical theatre is his jam - he got his start performing with Original Kids Theatre Company and has since performed in companies across London, ON. He has worked and volunteered for the London Fringe Festival, contributed articles and videos to LondonFuse, and has written walking tours for London's Woodland Cemetery.
Sarah is a producer, actor and writer with a passion for bringing the arts to children and teens. She holds an honours bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto where she majored in political science. She was accepted into Humber College’s post-graduate creative fiction program. For the past decade Sarah has been acting in films, television, and theatre as well as doing commercial voice work. While pursuing her acting career Sarah also began the theatre company Snowdrop Productions which specializes in plays about Canada from the turn of the century. She has been running drama programs for children since 2012 working with students ranging in age from 4 all the way up to 14. Explore It! has allowed her to do what she loves while also expanding her horizons and challenging her with new topics and classes to teach! Sarah is also an avid traveller, her favourite travelling memories include jumping off a 45ft cliff into the ocean in Jamaica, climbing up Old Man Storr on the Isle of Skye, and walking inside New Grange in Ireland.
Maggie Koabel is a dancer, choreographer and dance historian. She is a graduate of York University where she completed an Honours Double Major with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Religious Studies. Prior to attending York University, Maggie liked to think of herself as a ballerina, achieving her Advanced One in Cecchetti examinations and spending five seasons with the Greater Niagara Ballet Company in Niagara Falls, New York. Here she performed both as a soloist and a member of the company’s corps de ballet, expanding her repertoire to include a wide variety of both classical and contemporary ballets. In more recent years Maggie has become interested in interdisciplinary and collaborative art performances. As a student she took every opportunity to choreograph and perform in extracurricular creations including All You Can Eat which premiered at the Winchester Street Theatre in collaboration with rock ’n’ roll band Our History of Cowboys. Maggie believes in pushing the boundaries of dance and making movement more accessible to wider audiences and participants. In recent works she has asked dancers to build with and jump from milk crates piled on a stage (Things are Happening… 2010), and has attempted to suspend herself from a pillar at the Deleon White Gallery (A Woman’s Work, 2010). Not to worry, both pieces required dancers to wear a helmet! Maggie is very excited to be an active part of the Explore It! community!
Katrina is a dancer, choreographer, educator, and food enthusiast hailing from a small town in Southern Manitoba. She moved to Toronto to pursue her BFA in Dance Performance at Ryerson, which she completed in 2017. While in her second year at Ryerson, Katrina produced her first full length physical theatre show with her company POPS Dance Co. and has gone on to produce her own and other’s work across the GTA on many occasions. She grew up living in residence at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet until the age of sixteen and is now thrilled to bring the joy of movement to children through teaching. Performing has taken her abroad to Greece, and most recently, across Northwestern Canada to bring contemporary dance to rural and remote communities. She is passionate about the healing power of art and making it accessible to all. Her movement practice led her to develop her own health and wellness support community, which empowers people to live their healthiest, happiest lives. This is her mission as a teacher as well; to give children the tools they need to stay curious, grow their confidence, and to have the chance to explore new things. Katrina is working on her Sports Nutrition Certification through Precision Nutrition and is passionate about making healthy food exciting for people of ALL ages. In her spare time, she enjoys getting out of the city for hikes and camping, curling up with a good book, practicing yoga, and cooking vegetarian delights!