Traci Bourne - Director
Cheryl Blumke
Shannon Cote
Mhaire O'Shea
Danica Venables
Lori Birk
Inge Brady - Office Manager

Okanagan Dance Studios
is one of British Columbia’s most highly respected dance schools. Known for it’s professionalism and for training well-rounded, highly talented dancers and performers in all forms of dance. Okanagan Dance Studios prides itself on creating a positive and encouraging environment for it’s students. The teaching faculty of Okanagan Dance Studios has been with the studio for many, many years creating consistency and a real sense of family within the school. 
For the last 22 years, Okanagan Dance Studios has been a strong supporter of the Penticton local Arts Community. Each year students participate in the Penticton and Kelowna Kiwanis Music and Dance Festivals and have won numerous awards and scholarships. Okanagan Dance Studios is home to B.C. Festival of the Arts Provincial winners and runners-up in Ballet, Stage Dance and Modern Dance. Studio Alumni have gone on to train and perform all over Canada and the world including, Ballet B.C., Tokyo Disneyland, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Randolph Academy, Ecole Superierue De Ballet Contemprain, Toronto Dance Theatre and Ryerson University. Okanagan Dance Studio students have been accepted to summer schools at the National Ballet of Canada, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the Banff Centre of the Arts.

Traci Bourne
spent her early dance training in Penticton BC under the direction of Lorna Bull and Marci Melton. After graduation, Traci became a member of the GOH Ballet training company. She spent two years dancing with the company, performing all over British Columbia and internationally at the Recontres Internationales de la Danse Festival in France and the Beijing Dance Festival.

Traci then went on to dance professionally with Ballet North, Ontario Ballet Theatre, Banff Festival Ballet and the National Ballet of the Czech Republic. Her professional performing highlights include Swan Lake, Giselle, La Fille Mal Gardee and Balanchine’s Serenade.
Traci’s teaching career began in Japan on a yearlong exchange between the Goh Ballet and Haga Ballet Academy. Since then Traci has taught all over BC as a guest teacher and adjudicator. She has been the director of Okanagan Dance Studios for the past 12 years. Her passion for ballet, modern dance and choreography continues to grow with every student she works with. Traci feels blessed to be able to teach and encourage so many lovely students and to work along side such talented and passionate instructors.

Cheryl Blumke
was introduced to the art of dance as a little girl growing up in Calgary, Alberta. She continued to study and explore dance, achieving honors in tap and jazz exams in Al Gilbert technique. After graduation moved to Victoria, B.C. and then to Sooke, B.C. where she opened her first dance studio teaching children from age 3 to adult in ballet, tap, jazz and musical theatre.

In October 1983 Cheryl, her husband and two boys moved to Penticton from Vancouver Island and began offering classes, which she taught in her basement studio of her home until she had enough students to move to a larger facility. Only a few months later (due to such a large enrollment) a studio on Okanagan Avenue, Penticton was opened. Her students were soon competing in local and provincial competitions.
Cheryl auditioned and was accepted to be a member of Terpsichore Dance Company, sponsored by the City of Penticton to perform for various conventions in the city as well as producing their own annual shows.
After a severe leg injury from skiing in 1986, she was forced to stop teaching and spent two years rehabilitating. In 1988 she opened Okanagan Dance Studios on airport road in Penticton. More classes were offered and lyrical and hip hop was introduced. The building was renovated once more and a second studio was added to accommodate more classes and students. The studio continued to grow and students competed and performed at numerous events throughout the valley. She formed "Dance Attack" a group of dancers to perform throughout the valley, which was sponsored by "Sunshine Kids Fruit Snacks" and later by the local radio station, "Magic FM". In 1996 the studio began taking groups of students to perform in Disneyland, where Cheryl and her students take workshop classes with Disney choreographers and various professionals at Edge Studios in Los Angeles. She has taken many groups for this experience and many feel it is one they will never forget.
In August 2001 Cheryl's first grandchild was born and she sold Okanagan Dance Studios to her ballet and modern instructor, Traci Bourne. She continues to teach at Okanagan Dance Studios and now has former students bringing their own children to be taught by Cheryl. This is truly rewarding and is affirmation that Cheryl has been able to instill in others the benefits of learning such a wonderful art, teaching not only the art form, but the importance of discipline, respect, physical exercise, teamwork, time management, and so many other life skills.
As well as Okanagan Dance Studios, she now teaches at Dance City Academy in Kelowna as well as choreographer for their "Touring Group" and also choreographs for the "Showgroup at Dance Oasis Studios in Osoyoos.
Her students have also perfomed on cruise ships, resorts in Mexico and in New York City's Central Park, Battery Park, Pier 17 and Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. They studied with world renowned teachers at Broadway Dance Centre, Steps Dance Centre, Alvin Ailey Studios and took audition and theatre classes with broadway performers from the productions of Newsies, Mary Poppins and Annie . They attend conventions in Western Canada and the United States to experience other teachers and choreographers as well as competing in many competitions. Her students continue to win many awards as well as herself for choreography.
Cheryl has also choreographed for theatre productions such as Wizard of Oz , Showboat, Peter Pan and Annie, as well as Miss Penticton Pageant and was choreographer for the Miss B.C. Pageant for many years. She has adjudicated competitions in Vancouver, Calgary, Grand Prairie and Toronto. Cheryl has been in many commercials as well as dancer/actor for a music video produced by CHBC.
The studio has become a second home for many of the students where they spend much of their time with teachers and friends who all share the love of dance. Many of Cheryl's students have pursued performing and teaching careers in Canada, United States, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Japan, Hong Kong, South Africa and others have said that their dance experiences have positively influenced them in their lives today.
Cheryl's desire to continue teaching and grow in her knowledge of dance has not diminished. In 2013 Cheryl celebrates 30 years in the Okanagan Valley. She cherishes her time with her husband, family and her three dogs.

Shannon Cote
began her career as both a competitive dancer and choreographer in British Columbia.  She attended the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. There she studied dance voice and acting. She attended master classes with the legendary Gregory Hines. Shannon has also attended workshops and received training from Milton Meyers, Sergio Trujillo, Jeff Amsden, Brian Friedman, Dan Karaty, Dee Caspary, Joey Dowling, and other world renowned choreographers. After graduating the Randolph Academy with the Triple Threat Award, she has been very fortunate to have worked on many different projects. One of her most memorable was as a dancer in Paul McCartney’s Driving USA Tour.  Shannon has been involved in various commercials, music videos and independent films.  A short film Look Both Ways was awarded a Gold Remi award at the 2007 Worldfest International Film Festival.  Shannon’s first love is Musical Theatre. Some acting credits include Sweet Charity, The Life, Grease, West Side Story, and Oklahoma. Her most cherished role was that of “Audrey” in Little Shop of Horrors. Another highlight of her career was studying with Karen Andrew and being a featured member of Aurora Live Inc.’s premiere dance company. The success of the company’s production; Jane’s Little Madhouse was tremendous and to be a part of it was a great honor.
Shannon has also added adjudicator to her list of credentials, judging for different pageants, and dance competitions. At the LUV2DANCE competition, she carries the prestigious title of “Special Awards Judge”. There, she recognizes positive and special elements of the competitor’s abilities and performances throughout the entire season. Returning to Toronto, after intensive study at New York’s Broadway Dance Center, Shannon taught at many studios and schools in the Greater Toronto area, including work with the York University dance team and in all of the triple threat, childrens’ and college programs at the Randolph Academy. There, she has also been choreographer for the Randolph Young Company’s productions of Footloose, Free To Be You and Me, West Side Story and Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr.  Recently, Shannon also choreographed the Canadian Premiere of Jerry Springer: the Opera at Hart House Theatre alongside director and Toronto theatre critic, Richard Ouzounian. In addition to being a choreographer, Shannon has also directed at Okanagan Stage’s summer stock theatre in Penticton, BC.  There, her professional credits include: Choreographer and co-director for Suds--The 60’s Rockin’ Musical and as Director/Choreographer for You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Entertainers Gone Wild and Little Shop of Horrors. Shannon is currently working with the Upstaging Cancer fundraising festival of theatre, music, and dance in Toronto. There she is choreographing the play, Another Sense. As well as working behind the scenes, assisting with directing and stage managing. 
 For the past few years, Shannon has been pursuing another genre of performing arts, as the lead singer of the all-girl rock band, Beatrix.  This four member female group has entertained in several night clubs and outdoor festivals throughout Toronto including the famous Horseshoe Tavern and Hard Rock Café. Shannon is thrilled to be returning to Penticton and Okanagan Dance Studios. Thankful for all of her experiences and training, she is excited to bring it back full circle and return home where it all began.

 

Mhaire O'Shea
first jazz class at Okanagan Dance Studios with Jennifer Stevenson is when I fell in love! I started at OKDS 6 years ago, taking one class a week, and built on every year since then until I was dancing almost 10 hours a week in my senior year. Being a member of the Showgroup for a number of years I was fortunate enough to travel to New York City and take class from professionals there. I've also traveled to Vancouver to take class at Harbour Dance Centre; every class I take teaches me something new and fuels my passion. I am continually inspired at Okanagan Dance Studios by all the teachers there, my dance colleagues, and now my students. I'm thrilled to be teaching at Okanagan Dance Studios, and hope I can inspire and influence my students in the way that the faculty of OKDS inspires me. I will also be teaching at Dance Oasis in Osoyoos this year, as well as at GetBent in Penticton, and at FitKidz Gymnastics Club in Penticton. I'm really looking forward to all these opportunities to work with kids and share my knowledge and passion with them. I love the discipline and etiquette that dance instills; I think it teaches many values that are important to carry over into everyday life. On top of dance being an aesthetically and ethically rewarding sport, it helps kids incorporate physical activity into their lives. Health and fitness is another passion of mine, and I'm currently working towards graduating from Okanagan College with a diploma in Human Kinetics.

I can't express how grateful I am to have all these opportunities, and I'm looking forward to a busy and exciting year full of dancing!! Thank you so much to all the faculty at OKDS, and all the students for inspiring me every single day!!!

Danica Venables
teaches Ballet, Modern, Preschool and Conditioning classes at Okanagan Dance Studios. She holds her Cecchetti Associate qualifications from The Cecchetti Society of Canada, 200 RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) Certificate from Reflexions Yoga Studio and a Certificate in Stretch Therapy from Kit Laughlin’s Monkey Gym. She graduated from the joint program between National Ballet School, in Toronto and Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, with a Teacher Training Program Diploma and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Dance, respectively. Danica is inspired by the joy shared in the class room, when students learn and master a new step; every day is an opportunity for achievement. She fell in love with ballet and contemporary dance early on and was consumed with a desire to teach. Danica has taught at Dance Oasis, Osoyoos, Maureen Saunders School of Dance, Williams Lake and Boston Dance Collective, Victoria and summer classes at studios across BC. Danica’s early training exposed her to various ballet styles including syllabus in RAD, Cecchetti and Vaganova, and her classes are a blend of these disciplines, while highlighting human anatomy. Danica’s passion with giving back and providing opportunities for dancers is evident in volunteer hours for the Penticton Kiwanis Music & Dance Festival, acting as President and Dance Director since 2011, as well as Co-Chair of the 2014 Provincial Committee.