Our Story

Dance Alive Studios was created in the summer of 2017 to meet the changing needs of adult dancers in the Saskatoon community. Caelia Gardiner, the owner and Artistic Director of DAS, developed the adult dance program at Juliette’s Dance Centre from 2011 to 2017. This program has become unique in the field – it provides aspiring adult dancers with progressive levels of focused training at their desired level. Recreational dance is the common stream, but competition and exam programs are also available.

DAS was started with the intent to formalize this program and provide even more opportunities for adult dancers to discover their love of dance and to achieve personal growth at an unprecedented level in the Saskatchewan dance community. Multiple levels of Ballet and Pointe are offered for safe and progressive training, with other disciplines like Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, and Street Dance offered to round out the dancing experience, as well as cross-training options in strength and mobility conditioning techniques. Times are changing very quickly at the moment, and we are doing our best to keep up with the safest guidelines and the needs of our dancers. Please contact us to find out more!

The People

Caelia Gardiner

Caelia is owner, operator, Artistic Director, and primary teacher of Dance Alive Studios. She began her journey at Juliette’s Dance Centre when she was 8 years old and since then has been involved in all dance forms and completed multiple dance exams in Jazz and Ballet through the CDTA (Canadian Dance Teacher’s Association) and the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance). She trained most heavily in Ballet, completing her highest level exam in Advanced Foundation, but continuing training until Advanced 2 in both old and new syllabus.

She began assistant teaching with Madame Juliette Perrey-Perez in 2008 where she assisted her first adult ballet class. She began teaching solo in 2011 with two adult ballet classes, and has grown the program ever since. She has designed and delivered conditioning classes, Hip Hop, and adult Ballet Exam classes in RAD Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced Foundation levels. She also created a unique adult Pointe program in 2014 and has had multiple adult dancers reach an Advanced Foundation/Advanced 1 level on pointe. She has also taught advanced levels of ballet to young students training in a traditional studio environment, and is involved in as many teachers workshops as possible. Continuing her education and broadening her horizons is very important to her, and she is always looking for opportunities to learn new things.

Outside of the dance studio, Caelia has a background in Engineering Physics (Bachelor & Master’s degrees) from the University of Saskatchewan. She decided to change paths in 2020 to pursue a PhD in Engineering Education, a program that has not formally existed at the University of Saskatchewan until her decision to engage in it. Her students are keenly aware of this side of her life as she loves integrating the world of science, physics, and education into dance training and is also happy to offer Physics & Math tutoring services to students in elementary, high school, or university. The Doctorate journey will likely not see an end until 2025, at which point Caelia still very much hopes to see academic research continue to be a part of her life. 

Regardless of her other interests, dance education has always been a passion. JDC served as an incredible launching pad for Caelia’s new career path as a studio owner, allowing her to learn and grow in her teaching style and philosophy, with mentorship and support. Dance Alive Studios has become the perfect vehicle for developing these passions and supporting them in others. Caelia’s goal is to use her position to promote learning and growth for instructors and students alike through studio fundraising, group training opportunities, and socially responsible community events. So far, Dance Alive Studios has proven to be a positive and successful element of the Saskatoon dance community, and she hopes to see it develop for many years to come!

Tyneal Knackstedt

Biography coming soon!

Kersten Samoleski

Biography coming soon!

Maddi Rajchyba – Guest Teacher

Caelia met Maddi on university grounds in 2016, for the purposes of helping her through a Physics class. After connecting over their mutual passion for dance, healthy movement, and continued learning, they began working together in the dance world. Maddi is a homegrown dancer who became enamoured with Pilates training as a means of conditioning functional movement. Because of her background in dance, she is able to connect the Pilates principles to dance movements, but can also create a valuable learning environment for those with no dance experience. Dance Alive partnered with Maddi a few times in our first season to provide educational Pilates workshops, and is now thrilled to have her join the team as a regular instructor. Cross-training and conditioning are key elements in maintaining a healthy body in any physical activity!

Maddi has over 20 years of dance training and over six years experience in various Pilates methods. She grew up participating in dance competitions in Saskatchewan and Alberta while studying CDTA jazz and tap, as well as receiving a grade of Distinction in her RAD Advanced 2. Her dance pursuits paid off when she was offered a full tuition talent scholarship to Adelphi University’s Dance Program run by Frank Augustyn in New York. While there, she studied ballet, Classical Pilates and various modern dance techniques including Graham, Taylor, Mueller, etc. She is one of the few Adelphi dancers who have been in all eight possible performances throughout her degree. Within those four years, she also had the opportunity to perform at the Joyce Theatre in New York City, not once, but twice. Alongside her dance schedule, she partook and excelled in science-based classes to aid in her eventual pursuit of medical school. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance and received the prestigious, outstanding dancer award, the Ruth St. Denis Award.

In the summer of 2017, alongside the medical school application processes, Maddi found the time to complete her teacher Pilates Mat Certification in Edmonton under her first Pilates mentor, Steven Bryson. She is now pursuing a career in the field of medicine, while still graciously continuing some Pilates work and dance technique coaching with DAS. Her work in the medical field lends a unique perspective to her Pilates training and allows her students to gain knowledge in anatomy and physiology in a way that is rarely available through regular fitness classes.

What you can expect from Maddi’s teaching is an educational and eye-opening movement experience. Her classes always start with breathing and internalizing one’s focus. From there, she teaches how to access intrinsic core stabilizers via one’s breath to achieve optimal alignment and muscle balances. Since there are many ways of learning, she teaches with her voice for the listeners, demonstrations for the visuals, and uses tactile techniques for the kinesthetic learners. Questions and dialog in regard to what individuals are feeling during the movements is heavily encouraged to help create a learning environment for all, making Maddi a fantastic addition to Dance Alive Studios!

Madame Juliette Perrey-Perez, ARAD – Guest Teacher

Madame Juliette created Juliette’s Dance Centre 30 years ago and became Caelia’s Ballet teacher around 2004. She trained Caelia through four levels of Ballet exams and over 7 years of dance. She created an opportunity for Caelia’s introduction to teaching by requesting her as an assistant in 2008 and encouraged her to spread her wings from there. A major portion of Caelia’s experiences as a dancer and teacher were facilitated and continue to be supported by Madame Juliette. While Madame’s current involvement with Dance Alive consists of exam supervision and coaching classes, her mentorship and guidance over the years has been invaluable in its implementation. This studio literally could not have started without her, and the faculty and students of Dance Alive are deeply grateful for her contribution.

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Juliette Perrey-Perez spent 19 years in Europe as a professional dancer, teacher, actress, singer, and choreographer, and danced in 17 professional musicals. She was trained in Classical Dance and Jazz, winning numerous awards as a student before pursuing a career as a professional dancer and teacher.

She started dancing with Lucia Pavlychenko in Saskatoon, then studied with Brian MacDonald at the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. While in Manitoba, she taught dance before heading to New York, where she studied modern dance with some of the leading contemporary choreographers of the time. Juliette’s professional debut in musical theatre occurred in Winnipeg at the Rainbow Stage Summer Theatre and continued on to the Royal Alex Theatre in Toronto, Summer Stock in New York, and television in Montreal.

A tour to Europe as a soloist with Canadian national folk dance company Les Feux Follet led Juliette to a contract with the Nice Opera. With her marriage to Yves and the birth of their son David, she settled on the French Riviera performing in a number of national and international dance shows on stage and on television.

Returning to her teaching career, she specialized in Jazz dance at Le Centre de Danse International directed by Rosella Hightower in Cannes, France. Juliette spent nine years creating her own Jazz syllabus. Her next challenge was to open her own dance centre in Cagnes Sur Mer, France, with a staff of 11 teachers. The following five years brought success and expansion to her centre.

After 19 years in France, a family decision brought Juliette back to her home. In 1987 she opened a successful dance centre in Saskatoon – Juliette’s Dance Centre. An offer to guest teach at the University of California, San Diego, studying in Los Angeles was a great inspiration in affirming her goal of maintaining a high standard of education in dance for the province of Saskatchewan.

Juliette formed and directed Nu-West Dance Theatre, and directed the Humboldt School of Dance for 10 years. She was also the Director of Ballet at Annette’s School of Dance in North Battleford for 7 years and she was chosen as facilitator for the Alberta Ballet’s Nutcracker for 9 years. Juliette is also currently active with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) in Saskatchewan both as a mentor and as a Practical Teaching Supervisor (PTS). The studio she created, Juliette’s Dance Centre, celebrated its 30th anniversary in June 2017, and closed its doors for good in June 2018. What she created left a lasting impact on everyone whose lives she touched, young and old, students, parents and teachers. The absence of JDC as a business and a building will leave a large but beautiful hole in the Saskatoon dance community for years to come.