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Company Dancer/BISBIC instructor
Zachary Cardwell is a passionate dance teacher, choreographer, and dancer interested in cultivating connections within ourselves and between one other.
A graduate of the Arts Umbrella Post-Secondary Dance Program, under the direction of Artemis Gordon, Zachary has had the pleasure of performing works by choreographers such as Crystal Pite, Marie Chouinard, Jiri Kylian, Mats Ek, Sharon Eyal, James Kudelka, and Aszure Barton, among others. During his tenure with the Arts Umbrella Dance Company, Zachary toured Holland performing in the ITS Dance Festival and Netherlands Dans Theatre’s Shortcuts XL.
In Toronto, Zachary has had the privilege to dance with Toronto Dance Theatre, Zata Omm Dance Projects, Dusk Dances, Little Pear Garden Dance Company, hART dance, Jane Alison McKinney, ACE dance theatre, and Cadence Ballet.
Zachary curated and presented ‘In Response: An Evening of Music and Dance I and II’ in 2019 and 2020. In Response is an evening for artist and audience to practice collective listening and openness. In 2017, Zachary developed Bodies in Space, Bodies in Contact (BISBIC). Focusing on refining sensitivity in three facets– within a dancers’ own body, between bodies in contact, and bodies in space– in order to explore new coordinations. BISBIC continues to be a source of artistic inspiration and is taught to professional dancers to develop partnering skills.
Zachary Cardwell is a Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) certified teacher versed in ballet, modern, contemporary, partnering, and improvisation and has taught at Canada’s National Ballet School, Etobicoke School of the Arts and lead repertoire for the Arts Umbrella International Audition Tour.
Cheryl Chan is a graduate of the George Brown Dance Performance Studies Program and has studied a year at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. She has performed for Debra Brown, McArthur Park Suite: Disco Ballet, Company B, Improptu Movement, Kashe Dance, and the Parahumans.
Agnes found her passion in dance at the age of 4, training in Classical Chinese Dance, Chinese Ethnic Dance, and Ballet. She has taught kids of all ages and is always finding different ways to teach each learner best. Agnes has performed many events for large organizations during Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn festival, Canada day, etc. She hopes to spread the beautiful culture and history of Chinese dance to the younger generations. Agnes has completed the entire student examination syllabus for Chinese dance by the Beijing Dance Academy and is a Certified Beijing Dance Academy syllabus teacher.
Emilio Colalillo is a dancer and a choreographer. A graudate of Ryerson University receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, he is the Artistic Director and choreographer of EMIMOTION. He has toured the world from the Middle East to Asia to Europe and all over North America. Colalillo performed for the Pam Am Games, Miss Universe Canada, and Canadian Opera Company. Visit www.emimotion.org.
Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Maclean Frey discovered his love for dance at the age of 3 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He furthered his studies at Miami City Ballet under the direction of Lourdes Lopez, where he received a classical ballet education. In 2014, he joined WESTSIDE Dance Project under the direction of Jessie Riley. During his time there, Maclean had the opportunity to perform works by Bryan Arias, Jermaine Spivey, Spenser Theberge, Barak Marshall, and Norbert De La Cruz III. In 2016, Maclean moved to New York City to pursue a BFA in dance, and he graduated with A Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from NYU. While in New York City Maclean danced the works of Wayne McGregor, Lar Lubovitch, Ori Flomin, Bobbi Jean Smith and Sidra Bell. Since then, Maclean has been teaching and dancing all over the world in countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic and France. Maclean moved to Pisa, Italy, in 2019, where he danced with imPerfect Dancers Company under the direction of Walter Matteini and Ina Broekx until 2021. Finding his way back to Ontario after ten years, Maclean continued diving into his own choreographic and teaching endeavours, creating his own work while getting his Masters in Teaching at the University of Toronto.
Sarah Di Iorio
Sarah Di Iorio received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 2018 from Toronto Metropolitan University. During her final year, she was selected to create two full length works that premiered in the University’s inaugural Springworks show. She was also the recipient of the Nadia Potts Scholarship Award. In the last few years since graduating, Sarah has performed with Red Sky Performance at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, Festival Des Arts De Saint-Sauver, and toured with the company for six months throughout North America (2021/22). Other recent performances of hers include; a duet by Angela Blumberg for Din of Shadows (2022), performing as a soloist in Canadian Stage’s “Dance in High Park Series” (2020), and duetting in Little Pear Garden’s latest dance film “The 5 Elements” (2022). Sarah’s choreography has been seen professionally in the Fall for Dance North Festival (2018), ABD’s DaCo Residency (2022), Cawthra Parks Springfest Show (2019-2023), and Theatre Oculus’ Fringe Festival film “Venus and Adonis” (2021). She is incredibly excited to continue her journey with Little Pear Garden as they premiere and tour their newest full-length work, “Spectrum of Connection”!
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Sebastian “Bash” Hirtenstein’s undeniable versatility, unshakeable fearlessness and captivating qualities in performance have allowed him to work with a wide spectrum of choreographers & companies such as BoucharDanse, Addy Chan, Michael Caldwell, Canadian Opera Company, Emilio Collalilo, Lenny de la Pena, Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo, Rodney Diverlus, The Dietrich Group, Scott Fordham, Gadfly, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Little Pear Garden Dance Company, Jennifer Nichols, Kevin Ormsby, Red Sky Performance, Jennifer Thiessen, Kylie Thompson and Lydia Zimmer. He has performed throughout Canada, the Middle East, and Asia with Creativiva’s Aladdin and Pinocchio (for which he was dance captain) and has shared stages with stars such as Ariana Grande, Jason Derulo, Kiesza, Bebe Rexha, Shaun Frank, Delaney Jane, Allan Rayman and Polina Grace. He has also starred in multiple TV series including American Gods, Shadowhunters, The Umbrella Academy, Killjoys, Eva Longoria’s Glamorous, and has worked with major brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Microsoft, Duracell, Priceline, Captain Morgan’s, TD Bank, Nordstrom, IÖGO, and the Toronto Argonauts. He has also created choreography for the Hamilton Conservatory of the Arts, Fashion Shoot Extravaganza, and artists such as Marie-Clo, HERDD, Husslah and Harriet Chung.
Candace Kumar started dancing at the age of 7 in ballet, jazz, tap and Filipino folk dance. She’s performed for Cirque Du Soleil, Nuit Blanche and worked with choreographers such as Emily Cheung, Brandy Leary and Luther Brown. Currently she is a freelance dancer and student at the University of Toronto.
A graduate from the Shandong University of Arts in China, Lu majored in Dance Choreography and specialized in Chinese Classical Dance, Chinese Folk Dance, and Contemporary Dance.
During her time at the Shandong University of Arts, Lu was a performer at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 The 3rd Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China. Her passion for dance and choreography has earned her numerous accolades and awards both the provincial and national level in China. Aside from performing herself, Lu always enjoys teaching the fine art she loves to others and has been involved in dance instruction in one form or another for the past 8 years.
Alena Loboda found herself enchanted with classical ballet when the art form challenged her to explore the beauty in every emotion, both positive and negative. This lead to her experimentation with choreography as well as a furthering of her education in the Vaganova method abroad at the Perm State Choreographic College (Perm’, Russia), the Kiev State Ballet School (Kiev, Ukraine), and Koltun Ballet Boston (Boston, USA).
Alena has danced for Columbia Classical Ballet, (Columbia, SC), Coastal City Ballet (Vancouver, BC) and continues to freelance in Toronto, including appearances with Kulkat Dance Entertainment, Medusa Entertainment and of course, Little Pear Garden Dance Company. Alena has performed for LPGDC since 2013.
Currently, in addition to performing, Alena is working towards a Specialist degree in Arts Management at the University of Toronto, and developing her repertoire as a choreographer. Her choreography and performance was recognized with the Audience Choice Award at the Lights Dance Festival 2018.
Koren began her training at the age of 11 as a martial artist. At 18, she was introduced to Chinese dance as part of her cross-training in competitive martial arts. Discovering her love for dance, Koren went on to train in ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. She debuted with Little Pear Garden Dance Company in 2018. Koren is currently a medical student at the University of Toronto and hopes to combine her passion for both medicine and dance in a career as a sports medicine physician with a focus on serving the needs of dancers in Canada.
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Jiapei Ma finished her bachelor degree of dancing and got certificate of teaching in Guangzhou South China Normal University, where she studied Chinese classical dance, folk dance and contemporary dance. Her choreography was awarded excellence in Hong Kong’s competition, and was showcased in Beijing’s dance festival. Currently, she is a dance instructor with rich experiences on teaching and dance performances.
Aryana Malekzadeh is an Iranian Canadian independent dance artist and arts educator based in Toronto. She is a proud graduate of Dance Arts Institute (formerly The School of Toronto Dance Theatre) and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from York University where she was awarded merit scholarships. Throughout her professional career she has worked for renowned choreographers such as Emily Cheung, Syreeta Hector, Shannon Litzenberger, Newton Moraes, and The Wind in the Leaves Collective amongst others, and is a performing company member with Little Pear Garden Dance Company. In addition, she has also performed in various festivals such as Fall for Dance North, Dance Ontario DanceWeekend, The Carnival of the Arts and Nuit Blanche. Alongside performing, she is a faculty member at York University, where she pursues her passion of teaching and shares her learnings with her students.
Caitlin Meyer is a multidisciplinary dancer, teacher, and choreographer in the Tri-City area and GTA. Caitlin holds a BA in Honours Psychology and a Minor in Marketing from University of Guelph. While attending University of Guelph, Caitlin was a company member of Gryphon’s Dance Pack, University of Guelph’s varsity competitive dance team. Caitlin also has a Choreography Certificate from Broadway Dance Centre. She was a YoungCreators Choreography Finalist in 2018 with her piece “That Day”, and has only become more sought after as a creative and educator since. She was an ensemble dancer in Tyler Hutching’s full length show “whole new world” (2023).
Falciony Patino was born in Funza, Colombia. He began his training in Colombian folk dance at the age of seven with the group Zaquesazipa, in Funza. After finishing high school, Patino got into the Superior Academy of Arts of Bogota (ASAB) to study contemporary dance. During his time at ASAB, he was part of the folk group Orkeseos. In 2009 he moved to Toronto, to join Ballet Creole, as a student and a company member. In 2015 Alejandro Ronceria invite him to be part of a show Amalgama in the pan american games, in 2016 he danced for Kaha:Wi Dance Theatre as a part of a the honoring and from 2017 he has been doing Mistatim an unforgettable story of reconciliation for children; the creation of Red Sky Performance . In the spring of 2012 Patino created Cabildo, a group that explores a contemporary approach to Colombian folk dance. Since he was very young he has been experimenting with different dance styles from folk dance, ballet and contemporary to afro, urban dance, capoeira and parkour. Dance is what drives Patino out of the ordinary.
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Associate Artistic Director
Yi Yuan is one of the soloists of Little Pear Garden Dance Company and holds the role of Assistant Production Coordinator. She had begun her Chinese dance training from a young age at the Beijing International Arts School, specializing in both classical and contemporary Chinese dance styles. Yi is a professional performer and experienced dance educator with a BFA at York University, where she is completing her MA in Dance. Her enthusiasm and motivation in Chinese dance have informed her research interests, focusing on the transmission and the evolvement of Chinese dance in Canada.
Ugai Yui was born in Hiroshima, Japan. She majored in drama at high school and then in dance and music at Kobe University. She performed in Toru Shimazaki’s contemporary dance works, Patch Work, Here We Are, and Run. Yui obtained professional ballet training at the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) under the tutelage of Owen Montague and Joannes H. Nuyts, and she was awarded a prize for excellence in dance by the magazine Dance Dance Dance (DDD) in 2008. Yui holds BFA, Dance from York University in Toronto and Kobe College in Japan. She had performed at Nuit Blanche, Fringe Festival, WE DAY, Dance Ontario Dnace Weekend and Dance Matters a s a dancer. Yui has her career as an actress began with the film “Summer Days,” directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi, and she worked with the Hollywood casting director Yoko Narahashi. Yui was a heroine for the short film “Raptura” premiered in imagineNATIVE Film+Media Arts Festival at TIFF and ReelWorld Film Festival. In Japan, she produced the dance event, “Dance Kotoen: One Coin One Hour Theater” sponsored by Nishinomiya City to support youth dance artists and community since 2011.
Yuliya started dance training from early childhood in Shanghai, China. She got Chinese folk dance training in China Welfare Institute Children’s Palace, and later was select into Oriental Little Companions Collective. During her dance journey with the little Companions, she continued enhanced her Chinese folk dance technique, as well as exposed to jazz and ballet. She performed in many large shows, and these abundant dance experience gave her a solid dance foundation. After she moved to Canada, she was inspired by the culture here, and desired to learn different dance styles. Therefore, she spent several years in street jazz and hip pop dance training in Toronto. Now she is a street jazz dance instructor at Dantitude Dance Studio. She has performed on Canada National TV’s New Year’s Gala at Sony Center, and has been invited as a guest performer in many big events.
Xinmei Zou received her MFA through researching performing arts at The Beijing Dance Academy. She was a dancer at the China National Opera And Dance Drama Theater. She has performed in more than 120 dance dramas, 30 operas, and over 10 major productions. She studied Chinese Classical Dance at The Beijing Dance Academy and was awarded the 2015 Excellent Graduate. Xinmei was crowned as the ATV Miss Asia Pageant mainland China in 2015.