Our Team

Dance with France

Our Instructors

Our professional instructors are fully qualified and believe in building self-confidence in each student in a positive learning environment.

Rochelle Gartner

Rochelle Gartner (B.A. Dance, S.T.A.R.S) – Artistic Director

Rochelle is an international performer that has been dancing continuously for over 40 years with more than 25 years of professional teaching experience. She has completed RAD Ballet, Al Gilbert Tap, ADAPT Jazz syllabus examinations and has received numerous choreography awards.

Experience highlights and performance credits:

  • Dancer in the 1988 Winter Olympics
  • Founder, director, choreographer, producer and dancer of Artists Elite International Performance Co. 1995-present
  • Principal dancer of the Rio Las Vegas show in Atami, Japan 1995-1996
  • Choreographer for CBS Movie of the Week Papa’s Angels 2000
  • Poland & Finland contemporary dance tour 1997
  • Artistic Director & Choreographer for Calgary Dance Express 2008-2009
  • Graduate with a BA Dance from University of Calgary 1997
  • Dancer with Princess Cruises 1998-2004
  • The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede Alumni senior dancer 1989-1992
  • National level dance competitions 1984-1989
  • Choreographer and alumni dancer with The Calgary Stampeder Outriders 1992-1993
  • Dancer on Disney’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids 1997-2000
  • Dancer and lead role Dance instructor for AMC’s Hell on Wheels 2013-2016
  • Princess Cruises dance instructor 1998-2004
  • Artistic Director of Dance with France 2004-present

Jomari Samiley

Jennifer Fridfinnson – B.A. Dance

Jennifer Fridfinnson was born in Calgary Alberta. She began dancing at the age of 3 at the Starchevski School of Ballet. Jennifer primarily focused on studying Ballet but also explore other dance styles such as Lyrical, Contemporary and Jazz. After she began dancing at McDonald Wilson Dance Academy she began her Royal Academy of Dance Ballet Examinations. Jennifer is a graduate from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts, with a degree in Dance. Jennifer has also studied Carnival traditions and dance in Trinidad as a part of a travel study under the direction of Professor Michele Moss.

Angela Rak

Angela Rak

Trained in Ontario, Angela Rak has over 25 years of teaching experience in a variety of styles holding R.A.D and C.D.T.A certificates in ballet, jazz, tap contemporary, musical theater and hiphop. Over the past 15 years in Calgary, she has been teaching at a highly competitive level producing an average 15-20 competition routines in a year. Her passion is creating new unique choreography, and sharing her passion for dance with her students.

Hunter Jackson

Hunter Jackson

My name is Hunter Jackson. I was born in Pincher Creek, Alberta. I have been dancing for close to 9 years and currently dance with the dance company ILLFX. Growing up, I learned to play the piano at an early age and continued to play all the way till I was in grade 12. I played in the Kiwanis Music Festival and made to provincials many times. However, I didn’t discover my love for movement and dance till I was in grade four. I started dancing Hip Hop at a studio called Move Yourself Dance and started learned all the fundamentals and styles that exist within Hip Hop. I joined ILLFX as part of Zeta Crew in 2016 continued my training there. During my years in competition both with Move Yourself Dance and ILLFX I won many scholarships and got a love for performing. Since joining ILLFX I have been able to work with and trained people such as Hannah Joelle, Josh McKinnon, Cody Jaxon, Edgar Reyes, Katherine Burrows, Lukas Lock, Scott Forsyth, and many more. I have also been blessed to work with Tory Doctor and danced in the reading of the his musical “Off the Beaten Path.” I have also been a part of Be Discovered dance summer intensives in Los Angles as well as Las Vegas and trained with names such as Jason Magsuci, Stixx, Robert Chino Lopez, Freak Sinatra, as well as Liana Blackburn. I hope in the coming up years to improve my craft and be able to teach and share my love for hip hop and dance. I am so excited to share this love with the dancers at Dance With France.

Gretta Briceno

Gretta Briceno

Gretta has been dancing for over 14 years in multiple styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, ballroom, acro, and more. Her training took its leap from recreational to competitive when she began dancing for the Alberta Ballet and its elite competition group, YYC dance project. Ever since her decision to focus on her technique and skills, she began to receive various forms of recognition for her progress. Gretta was given the opportunity to perform at numerous events across North America including the West Jet Christmas party in Vancouver and Toronto, The Disney Dreams Cruise Line Show, The Dreams Resort Show in Cancun, Dancer Palooza’s Beat Squad Show in Long Beach, The Stampede Grandstand Show, The Stampede Talent Search (Finalist Recipient), The Winter Dreams Nutcracker Charity in Strathmore, and The Calgary Salsa Congress. Gretta has been awarded various titles and scholarships for events like the Joffrey Summer School, Camp Protégé, The Dance Awards, Dancer Palooza, and many other Regional competitive tours. Gretta’s love for teaching began when she was selected as the first Canadian choreographer assistant for the Revel Dance Convention U.S tour. Gretta is grateful to have acquired such experience of assisting world renowned choreographers and is excited to begin sharing this knowledge with aspiring young performers and artists.

Gretta was introduced to Dance with France after winning Dance of Thrones, an event held by Artists Elite International. Gretta is incredibly thankful and excited to join the DWF family!

Jillian Ung

Jillian Ung

Jillian is a Calgary based dancer studying at the University of Calgary as a Bachelor of Fine Arts Dance Major. She has been dancing since the age of 4 innumerous styles such as; Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Acro, Contemporary and Modern. She is currently dancing and teaching with studios around Calgary as well as training and competing around the world witha Hip-Hop company, Illfx Education. Her main performance opportunities consist of World Of Dance (Edmonton/Vancouver), Dancers Paradise (Mexico) and Monsters (California). She has also participated in Montage and Mainstage with the University of Calgary and Dance the of Calgary and Dance the World Florida at Disney World Resort Florida. Her training also includes intensive training with diverse choreographers in Calgary, Vancouverand Toronto. Plus the opportunity to train in London England in an extensive Modern program. She loves teaching especially when training and inspiring the next generation of dancers as well as sharing her passion every opportunity she gets. She is a hardworking, optimistic individual who believes in self growth in all experiences.

Payton Glagau

Payton Glagau

Payton has been dancing for 16 years training in various disciplines including Irish dance, jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, modern, contemporary, aerial hoop, pole, acrobatics, and silks. The majority of her training has been through Dance With France and Artists Elite, she also teaches and trains at Strut Fitness, and instructs and performs dance through Global Fest. Payton loves the communities that she has found through dance and is excited to be part of the teaching team at Dance With France!

Carly Joy Cooper

Carly Joy Cooper – HipHop Instructor

Carly is a dancer and singer, born and raised in Calgary. She has been dancing for over 15 years and has received technical training with Drewitz Dance Productions, YYC Dance Projects, Alberta School of Ballet, O2 Dance Company and illFX. She loves all styles of dance including jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, ballet, and hip hop. Carly completed numerous RAD Ballet exams throughout her training accomplishing distinction. She has also performed in many musical theatre productions including Annie, Fame, Rock of Ages and Camp Rock. Discovering a love for hip hop a few years ago, Carly is now a member of illFX Dance Company competing with their PSI Crew and also performing with their entertainment group. She has performed across North

America in showcases and competitions in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Las Vegas and Florida achieving many awards and scholarships along the way. Carly has been fortunate to work with many talented choreographers such as Stacey Tookey, Andrew Winghart, Travis Wall, Alex Chung, Carlo Atienza, Scott Forsyth, Sarah Dolan and many others. Her love for dance has inspired her to share her passion with young artists in Calgary so they can express their individuality and grow in confidence. Carly has also been taking voice lessons for many years. She recently was a finalist in the 2019 Calgary Stampede Talent Search and has completed work with Storybook Theatre. You can find her singing at local coffee shops and open mics around the city.

Reanna Parsons

Reanna Parsons

Miss Reanna started her dance journey at the age of 4, training in Ukrainian/ National dance in Calgary, Canada. In 2007 she began in-depth training of various techniques, and has acquired a knowledge of Cecchetti classical ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Ukrainian dance. She has since completed her Standard 6 and Senior Certificate Cecchetti examinations. She has competed in many dance competitions in Alberta, as well as has performed various main character roles in productions. Reanna joined a Student Instructors Training Program at age 14, and became an instructor upon her completion of the program, where she remains specializing in early-childhood dance education.

In 2016 she received a fine arts scholarship to further her passion for dance education. Reanna currently attends the University of Calgary where she is working towards a double major in Dance and English. She is currently studying choreography, contemporary technique, dance pedagogy, and pedagogical perspectives of dance science. She also performs in student and professional works presented in shows such as Dance Mainstage, Dance Montage and Dance at Night. She has also choreographed semi-professional work for Dance at Noon, which was presented in the 2019 Alchemy Festival. She plans to combine the perspectives of Dance and English and become a teacher specializing in both topics.

Marta Styler

Marta Styler

Marta is an international performer with a dance history spanning over 45 years. She trained locally, focussed in classical ballet (RAD, Vaganova and Cecchetti techniques) with Allan Cozzubbo Academy of Dance and the Dance Centre in her childhood before dancing with the Alberta Ballet. She then went on to dance for a decade with the Polanie Polish Song performing over the US and Europe also performing in the 1988 Winter Olympic OpeningIng Ceremonies. Marta also professionally coached the next generation of Polanie Dancers. Ballet was still her first love however, and she returned to train and became a soloist under Starchevski choreographers. Later, after what she thought was her first retirement, Marta put her dancing shoes back on to teach and pass on her dance knowledge to kids (her own included), but that quickly turned back into being a performer again, training with the International School of Ballet at their Master Level and on stage with Jeunesse Classique Ballet Society. Today, Marta is still a dancer with Artists Elite International Dance Company and proud to be included with the teaching faculty at Dance with France for a second year. She teaches ballet, lyrical, musical theatre and hip hop.

Micheline Rae (S.T.A.R.S) – Instructor

Micheline has many years of training and performing in Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Hip-Hop. Following a career as an international model with numerous professional modelling agencies, she became the dance/modelling consultant and casting agent for a variety of entertainment companies. During that time, she designed the Personal Development and Modelling Training Program for High Schools and The Bay’s Teen Council.

Some of her dance credits include performingfor the BMG Country Music Awards, Legends Alive Tour, DWF Pro Troupe for 9 years, The World Police & Fire Games, and Dance Productions at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (Arizona).

Micheline is the owner and Director of Dance with France’s sister company, MAG Models, and has choreographed many dance fashion shows for The Bridal Fair & Expo.

France Johnson (S.T.A.R.S, ADAPT, RAD, GILBERT)

France is the past owner and founder of Dance with France Studios, Calgary’s number one dance studio for 30 years and running.

France started dancing at the age of 5, and is a Graduate of the University of Calgary Dance Degree Program.

She has an extensive career in the dance industry, and has choreographed and performed in many TV/movie productions: appearing with Billy Ray Cyrus, “Dirty Dancing” the movie, was 1st place winner at the competition in Los Angeles Greek Theatre, Legends Alive Tours, BMG Country Music Awards, World Police & Fire Games, 1988 Winter Olympics, Choreographer and sponsor of the Calgary Stampeder OutriderCheerleaders, Radz Roller Hockey, Entertainment for Calgary Flames Play Off Games, and Disney’s “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” the series.

France has won First Place Awards from The Calgary Stampede Board for The Calgary Stampede Parade, and has been an Adjudicator for many dance and fitness competitions.

Many of France’s students have gone on to professional careers in the dance and entertainment industry.

Rebecca Leong

Rebecca Leong (MA Child Services) – Instructor

Rebecca has been dancing since the age of six, focusing on Jazz and Tap technique. She has been teaching at various studios including preliminary dance classes in Germany and adult Jazz in New Zealand. She has over five years of professional dance group experience including various performances in Calgary and area, and intense training. Rebecca has finished all her “Canadian Dance Teachers Association” exams in both Jazz and Tap, and has completed performance exams for Jazz and Tap from the “British Association for Teachers of Dance”. Rebecca has a passion for performance and teaching performance routines and technique. She enjoys working with children and helping them to discover themselves through the expression of dance.

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz (B.F.A and B.Ed, S.T.A.R.S) – Instructor

Sarah has been teaching dance and swimming for 10 years. She has bachelor degrees in Education and Fine Arts, and has been active in dancing, swimming, drama and gymnastics for over 20 years. With her positive personality, Sarah is extremely excited to have been teaching at Dance with France for over 7 years, and choreographing for Artists Elite International. She is looking forward to another great year of dancing.