MEET THE TEAM
Owner and Founder
Tara Pickford started dancing at the age of 4 and hasn’t sat still since. She is committed to teaching young people how to find a passion for theatre and dance at her studio.
Tara received a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology, with a major in Mind Sciences, at the University of Calgary. She is a fully certified ADAPT Teacher, Al Gilbert Teacher, and Acrobatic Arts Teacher, and a member of the Wild Rose Dance Arts Association.
Tara has created award-winning choreography for competitions and exciting recitals for all ages and abilities. Still in the classroom, teaching all types of dance and all ages from age 1 to pre-professional, she has a strong understanding of the hard work and the process dancers, teachers, and parents take on to get to the stage and have a great experience.
When she is not with her dance studio family, she is at home with her two energetic children – both dancers! She loves living for the day and inspiring her children. Now that both have started their own journeys in the dance world, Tara has a deeper understanding of what families are looking for in a studio.
Adrianne has been teaching for 12 years total, and for 6 at APA. She is the Program Director for the Exam, Competition, and TAP Team Programs at the studio.
She has completed all eight levels of the Al Gilbert tap syllabus, Intermediate 3 ADAPT Jazz exam, and Grade 8 RAD Ballet exam. Growing up, Adrianne participated in numerous dance competitions, winning various scholarships and awards throughout her career.
She received an applied Bachelor of Business and Entrepreneurship for Sport and Recreation degree from Mount Royal University in Calgary and is a graduate of the ADAPT Teacher Training School. Adrianne is also a Certified Acrobatic Arts teacher and holds a “trained coach status” under the Coaching Association of Canada.
Living and breathing dance for so long has made her appreciate all of the wonderful people who have been a part of her journey, and she’s so excited to give that back to her students. She loves teaching because of the excited look on her student’s faces when they finally master something new and seeing students beam with pride makes her very happy!
She loves APA because it truly is like a second home. We laugh together, cry together, and of course, DANCE together! Adrianne is looking forward to another year at APA!
Community Programs Coordinator
Andie started dancing at the age of 4 and trained in all styles at a competitive level from age 12 on.
She started dancing at APA when she was 12 years old and has been devoted to the company ever since. At age 16 she began her teaching career, and at age 18 she started coordinating events and working in the office. Andie feels like training at Ambition Arts was the best decision she has ever made.
She is certified as a Level 1 & 2 Acrobatic Arts instructor and has completed her ADAPT Pre Advanced Jazz Exam, as well as her ADAPT Pre-Inter 3 Tap Exam, RAD Intermediate Exam, and Al Gilbert Grade 5 Tap Exam.
Andie wants parents to know that Ambition Performing Arts dance academy is so much more than a business. She believes Ambition Arts is a community and a family. She love coming to work every day at APA because she gets to contribute to building an incredible and safe place for all kids to come to.
Rachel was born and raised in Airdrie, Alberta and has been dancing in the Calgary area since the age of 6. Rachel has trained extensively in most styles, including Ballet, Jazz, Acro, Musical Theatre, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Hip Hop, to name a few.
While competing and performing at many local and regional events throughout her dancing career, Rachel was given a teaching opportunity with Ambition Performing Arts at the age of 16. Still training and competing, Rachel quickly realized her passion in sharing her knowledge and love of dance with her students. Rachel has been a teacher at Ambition Arts for more than 10 years. The studio is like her second home.
Rachel finds strong value in continuing education, regularly attending teacher training and workshops throughout Canada and the United States. Currently, Rachel holds certifications with ADAPT syllabus as well as Acrobatic Arts. She looks forward to extending her certifications in the near future.
Rachel highly values APA’s ideology of “we don’t teach dance to make great dancers, we teach dance to make great kids”. She firmly believes and encourages that dreams and dedication are a powerful combination. Never be afraid to dream too big – if you believe it, you can achieve it.
Rae-Lee is devoted to helping aspiring young dance artists. Her goal is to create healthy and enthusiastic dancers who love art and will positively influence the world of dance. She began her ballet and contemporary training in Alberta at Crossings Dance Studio. Later, she danced for six years in Corps Bara Dance Youth Company traveling around Alberta, Toronto and New York City.
In 2012, she began her training in contemporary dance at Simon Fraser University where she studied modern dance and choreographic composition. Rae-Lee moved to Toronto in 2014 to learn from renowned faculty at Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program. During her training at NBS she obtained her teaching qualifications with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and the Royal Academy of Dance.
In 2017, she graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Contemporary dance from Simon Fraser and her Teacher Training Diploma. She is excited to be returning to Calgary to begin spreading her the knowledge she has gained while learning from the teachers and students at APA and around the province.
She encourages all dancers to love themselves for who they are and to never give up on their passions in life.
Sarah started training at the age of 4 after seeing Alberta Ballet’s Nutcracker with her Dad. She trained from the Royal Academy of Dance Ballet syllabus for 9 years with Gillian Howatt at Counterpoint Dance Academy and was part of the competitive team for four years and competed in local and regional competitions.
She continued 6 years of professional training at the School of Alberta Ballet and trained for three years at the International School of Ballet with Umran Sumen. She has completed the Advanced level 1 and 2 Cecchetti Examinations in addition to the graded syllabus at the Royal Academy of Dance.
Outside of dance, Sarah has attended the University of Victoria where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She started taking ballet classes and teaching dance to children in 2011, which is close to same time she discovered her overall passion and love for teaching.
Sarah’s favorite part about working for APA is the opportunity to connect with each of her students. She loves watching them express their passion and love for dance and appreciates working at a place that makes her feel like she’s making a difference. She loves getting to know her students and challenging them to learn, grow, and discover who they are as human beings. Sarah started teaching at APA in 2015 and is looking forward to teaching this year.
Shelby has been at APA since 2012, and even though she was brought on a singing teacher, her role has now grown to include teaching dance classes, directing music programs, and coordinating Summer camps at the studio.
Shelby has had 15 years of training in classical singing and musical theatre. She has performed with the Storybrook Theatre, Cappucino Musical Theatre, and Front Row Center and her most recent show credit it “Into the Woods” at Cappucino Musical Theatre.
She loves APA because the studio provides a family-friendly, all inclusive culture. As a teacher, she feels deeply invested in the experiences her students will have when they walk through the doors at APA. She loves her team because she knows they’re very dedicated to making the studio a safe place where students can have fun, take risks, and grow.
Jillian has been training in dance for 13 years, six of which were with APA. She’s a member of the T.A.P. and has successfully completed her Adapt jazz exams up to the pre-advanced level, as well as her Adapt tap exams up to pre inter three. She has completed her Al Gilbert tap exams up to grade six and RAD ballet exams up to grade seven.
Over the past couple of years, she has attended numerous workshops and conventions such as Triple Threat, Groovestreet, 24 Seven, NUVO, and Fresh. Jillian is an accomplished teacher as well and has led workshops and rehearsals for dancers who performed in the Christmas Spectacular parade at Disney Land. She has performed in many shows with APA such as the Showcase of the Stars, Mayor’s Night of the Arts, and Harlem Globetrotters.
Tiffany has been dancing for 14 years, training in ballet, jazz, hop hop, musical theatre, lyrical, and contemporary. As a student, she attended numerous conventions and competitions including Pure, Triple Threat, Fresh, and Groove Street Dance. Her pre-professional education includes master classes taught and led by Michele Dawley and Paul Decker, cast members of the Lion King.
Tiffany has completed her junior three, pre intermediate two, intermediate three, and intermediate one ADAPT jazz exams. She has performed at the saddle dome for the Harlem Globe Trotters as well as the Airdrie Santa Claus parade and Calaway Park.
Outside of dance and school, Tiffany celebrates her certification in first aid and CPR (Level C). She is currently attending George McDougall High School, where she is proud do be a member of the honour roll since Grade five.
She loves working at APA because of the friendly and welcomed atmosphere created by all of the staff, parents, and students. She loves seeing all of the smiles on young dancer’s faces when they coming into the studio and she enjoys being a part of their learning experience.
Hannah has been dancing for over 10 years at different studios, the most recent spent at APA. Dance has given her a strength that she believes she wouldn’t have otherwise, and being around her APA family, she feels she has further increased her abilities and self-confidence.
Hannah has participated in the APA teacher’s assistant program adding to her experience of assisting classes. She has trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, and hip-hop throughout the years, and attended several dance conventions. Hannah has partaken in RAD and ADAPt Exams during her training. She has performed in the Nutcracker, at Calaway Park, and in the Santa Claus parade.
She loves working at APA because of the positive atmosphere and the strong friendships she has made. They’re fun, hardworking, uplifting, and push you to be your very best. Hannah loves watching students grow, and is enthusiastic to continue her journey this year at Ambition Arts.
Alicia has worked in a wide variety of settings and within the arts community in the greater Calgary area as a wedding and family photographer for the past 7 years.
After graduating from the University of Alberta with a degree in the political sciences, Alicia moved to London England where she worked with Barclay’s bank in their Mortgage department. With a love for travel, Alicia moved to the coast of Scotland in 2006 where she was able to explore her love of hiking, nature, and was able to visit Italy, Ireland, Sweden, and a host of other destinations.
Upon returning to Canada and moving to Calgary, Alicia found roots in the north where she has been active in athletic settings by volunteering in the hockey and lacrosse communities that her two sons play with. When the opportunity arose to become a member of the Ambition Performing Arts Inc. community, Alicia jumped at it. With an atmosphere that stresses family through the arts, Alicia can truly see why APA has permeated so many lives year after year.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We are driven to provide quality music & dance lessons in a safe, innovative and enriching environment. We hold ourselves to a higher standard while putting life skills, community, friendships and family first.
Parents choose APA Dance Studio for our convenient location, friendly service, and welcoming atmosphere. They stay with us because of our commitment to excellence, value, and customer care.
Our mission is to be an innovator in dance education, developing friendships and skills for a lifetime. We believe that an arts education is about more than just great dancing.