School of Dance

Arts Umbrella Dance by David Cooper
Welcome to Arts Umbrella Dance

Arts Umbrella Dance is a rigorous program designed for dancers ages 6-22. From the General Program to our Pre-Professional Training and Post-Secondary Programs, the excellence and innovation of Arts Umbrella Dance permeates everything we do.

As students advance through our ballet-based program, the curriculum balances physical development with emotional and intellectual growth, providing a life-changing dance education that has impact long after graduation. Through discipline and support, we help our students develop the tools needed for success in and out of the studio, advancing every student’s potential.

At the leading edge of arts education, the Dance Program works with an incredible faculty of dance artists—instructors in ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance at the forefront of their fields.

Students in the General Program, placed by age and academic grade, and students in our Professional Training Program, placed by audition, participate in annual Cecchetti examinations through to Level 8. Parents can expect to remain in close contact with faculty throughout the year to assess student development, placement, and aspirations. To celebrate all of our aspiring young dance artists, Arts Umbrella Dance presents an annual year-end Recital each June.

In our half-day Professional Training and Post-Secondary Program level, dancers also work with world-class choreographers, dance artists, and educators. Members of the Arts
Umbrella Dance Company will also have the opportunity to rehearse with these renowned local and international guest artists, performing at the Sunday Performance Series and Season Finale.

Artistic Leadership

Artemis Gordon
Artistic Director
An artistic and pedagogical authority in dance, Artemis Gordon was named Artistic Director of Arts Umbrella Dance in 1992. Since then, she has developed the program’s international recognition. Artemis has toured the Arts Umbrella Dance Company to Europe, Asia, and the United States, and fostered collaborations with companies around the world.

In 2015, Artemis secured an affiliation with Ballet BC, increasing opportunities for emerging artists and amplifying the impact of international choreographers in Vancouver. In 2016, Artemis won the YWCA Women of Distinction award in the Arts, Culture, and Design category. She was also awarded with the 2017 City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Awards in Dance.

Artistic Director, Dance at Arts Umbrella

Our Faculty

Senior Faculty

Marquita Lester
Senior Ballet
Marquita trained at the National Ballet School and danced with The National Ballet of Canada, where she later returned to complete the Teacher’s Training Program. She was Assistant to the Artistic Director of Alberta Ballet, and then made her indelible mark on Ballet BC over a 19-year period as Ballet Mistress and Associate Director. She has been a member of the Dance Faculty at Arts Umbrella since 2002.

Sabra Perry
Sabra has performed in works by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Thaddeus Davis, Ulysses Dove, William Forsythe, Jodie Gates, Jae Man Joo, and more. She was a faculty member at Ballet Academy East in New York, and a returning guest teacher at Alabama Dance Theater and the Parksville Ballet School. She has a BA in dance from SUNY Empire State College in New York and has been teaching at Arts Umbrella since 2012.

Lynn Sheppard
Company Rehearsal Director, Senior Jazz
Lynn trained at the Gladys Forrester School of Dance in Toronto and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. As a professional, Lynn danced for Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Judith Marcuse’s Repertory Dance Company of Canada, and JOE INK. Lynn has been teaching at Arts Umbrella for more than 20 years.

Guest Faculty

An essential aspect of the Arts Umbrella Dance program is to work with a variety of international guest instructors and choreographers. Dancers acquire a broad movement vocabulary and learn how to understand and respond to a variety of choreographic visions. In addition to the immeasurable benefit of increasing their exposure and adaptability to the contemporary dance environment, these connections with the dance community create opportunities and open doors for our students to begin their careers as dance professionals.

Learn more about our guest artists

Meet our Faculty

Visit to get to know our Dance instructors

Our Curriculum

Balanced Training

The Arts Umbrella Dance Program commits to every dancer, from their first class through to elementary, secondary, and post-secondary dance education. Unique, rigorous, and supportive, the program challenges its students in order to develop the tools needed for success in and out of the studio.

Our curriculum balances physical development with emotional and intellectual growth, allowing each dancer to build confidence and fully realize their own potential. We provide a life-changing dance education that has an impact long after graduation.

Support Us

Our Dance programs are supported by the tireless efforts of our fundraising committees. These parents, alumni, and others connected to Arts Umbrella Dance dedicate their time and talents to events and initiatives that bolster the financial sustainability of the Dance Company, ensuring more and more young dancers can achieve their artistic potential.

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Support Arts Umbrella

Arts Umbrella donors, volunteers, and sponsors share the same belief: that arts education can transform a child’s life. Whether attending an event, making a monthly gift, or donating time, our supporters are vital to helping us inspire creativity for good through the arts.