SYTYCD, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
Derek Piquette began dancing at the young age of 10 in his hometown of Chicopee, MA. From there his dance career accelerated quickly. By the age of 16, he received full scholarships for several ballet intensives and won several National Titles. Derek then moved to Miami to follow his dreams of becoming a professional dancer, training over 50 hours a week and taught at Stars Dance Company. One of the most exciting experiences in his young career took place in 2015, when he competed on Season 12 of So You Think You Can Dance, finishing among the top 4 stage dancers and performing for over 37 million viewers. He followed up his appearance on the show with the So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour, performing in 70 cities across North America for over 190,000 audience members. In early 2017, Derek launched his newest project, Intrepid Dance Company, which had its first performance entitled “HER” that he directed and choreographed. Most recently Derek was the lead role in Cirque Du Soleil’s KOOZA as the “Trickster” traveling under Big Top in Australia, Singapore and China.
As a teacher and choreographer, Derek has worked for various dance organizations including On the Floor, Hit the Floor, CLI Studios, Mather Dance Company Online, Acrobatic Arts, Step Up 2 Dance, Twilight Dance Convention and Top Ten Dance Challenge where he has judged, taught, and assisted top choreographers in the industry. Since 2014, Derek choreographed more than 350 award winning pieces, including pieces for stars on Dance Moms, Disney Channel’s Backstage and So You Think You Can Dance. Derek currently teaches and assists for On the Floor: The Ultimate Dance Experience, working with young dancers all over North America and is a Core Faculty member for Millennium Dance Complex Toronto.
Derek is especially focused on working with young dancers around the world, hoping to instill in them his enthusiasm for dance and inspire them to become the best they can be.
Yury Kuznetsov has a background in Sports Acrobatics and was on the Russian National Team for over 10 years. He reached the highest honors when he became World Champion in Sports Acrobatics in Men’s 4. After his successful career in sport he performed in the Russian National Circus, after which he got invited to perform in the teeter board act in Cirque du Soleil’s touring show Kooza. After Cirque du Soleil Yury and his partner created the world renowned original act Duo Resonance, where Yury performs hand balancing on his partner while she is in contortion poses. Duo Resonance performs in shows and galas all over the world, with Cirque du Soleil, and were finalists on America’s Got Talent and Russia’s Got Talent.
Cirque du Soleil
Andrii Bondarenko is a Ukrainian-born World Champion in sport acrobatics and circus arts and is currently touring with Cirque du Soleil’s newest Big Top show Kurios. Andrii’s accomplishments in the circus arts include top prizes at many renowned international circus festivals. He is one of the most accomplished acrobats in the world. See the World Upside Down with Andrii Bondarenko.
ROBIN DAWN RYAN
Robin Dawn Ryan, owner and artistic director of Robin Dawn Academy of Performing Arts, started dancing when she was two years old in Indianapolis, Indiana where she studied tap, ballet, acrobatics and baton. She was a member of the young dance group called the “Ten Wonders” which traveled throughout Indiana. Robin won numerous awards in both dance and gymnastics, and at age 14, she competed in the AAU Jr. Olympics, placing 2nd in floor exercises and 4th all around for the state of Indiana.
In 1970 her family moved to Venice, Florida where she trained with the Sarasota Sailor Circus and traveled to Alaska to perform in the summer. Following high school graduation, she went to work as a professional circus performer in Colorado and New York, doing tumbling, aerial work and trick bareback riding.
In 1975 Robin opened RDA in Cape Coral, Florida where she and her staff have been training dancers for 41 years. She is a member of Dance Masters of America, Dance Teachers of America, and is one of fourteen Ambassadors for the Dance Teacher Summit held annually in New York, sponsored by Dance Teacher Magazine. She is most often asked to teach her stretch and flex warm up and strong technique classes after colleagues see the quality of her dancers during performance. This year she was asked to create the national curriculum in acrobatics for Dance Educators of America. For 31 years, Robin has been judging, choreographing individuals and groups, and guest teaching all over the United States and Canada.
She has been nominated for Lee County’s Angel of the Arts Award, ABC’s The View’s Most Remarkable Women, and the Dance Teacher Award sponsored by Dance Teacher Magazine.
Robin’s students have Broadway, Broadway tour, Disney Performer, Las Vegas performer, television, industrial, theme park, cruise ship, dance company, professional dance team, choreographer, teacher and studio ownership credits to their name. Many have gone into other aspects of entertainment and other professions. All note their Robin Dawn training as a major factor in their success.
Course Conductor, Adjudicator, Acrobatic Arts
Vicki brings 25 years of teaching experience in jazz ,tap ,acro, lyrical, stretch and conditioning and musical theatre.
Vicki graduated from Dance Masters of America’s Teacher’s Training School at Kent State University and the University of New York in Buffalo and is also certified through the Ontario’s Gymnastics Federation.
Vicki has adjudicated dance competitions and has taught workshops at many studios in Canada. She feels it is very important to stay current with your training so attends workshops and conventions whenever she can. She has won many awards for her creative and innovative choreography and her students have won numerous awards, scholarships and titles. Many have gone on to pursue their own careers in dance whether it be performing in companies or on cruise ships, studying dance in University and becoming teachers themselves.
Through her years of teaching Vicki has become more and more passionate towards the acro aspect of dance and has had great success in building a strong acro studio. This love for acro and the desire to see it done safely by teachers and students is what makes being a part of Acrobatic Arts so exciting for her.
She is looking forward to working with students and teachers from all over the world who share her passion for acro.
with Special Guest, Kayla Leigh
AcroDance / Contemporary
Performing Artist, Cirque Du Soleil
Mike Tyus is a performing artist specializing in dance theater and acrobatics and is currently performing with Cirque Du Soleil. Mike is a firm believer that art expresses that which we feel but cannot say and that story-telling and the practice of creation are ingrained in our DNA. He began training in dance, at the age of 11, after being prescribed dance as physical therapy following reconstructive leg surgery, Mike found his passion. He soon began performing and choreographing for a company called Urban Poets Dance Theater. Finding his personal sense of artistry unexpectedly lead him to work for Cirque Du Soleil and Pilobolus Dance Theater. There he was able to hone his skills in directing while co-creating company repertoire that is still performed today. He finds great satisfaction in guiding the next generation of artistic athletes and is happy to be a part of the F L I G H T AcroDance Faculty!
Contortion / flexibility
Otgo Waller is a professional contortionist as well as the creator and owner of Flexible Body Art LLC technique and school. Otgo grew up in the shadow of the holy mountain Bogd Uul near the Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar. When Otgo was 7 years old she dreamed of becoming a contortionist, and by 13 years old Otgo was one of the best contortionists in the world. In 1980, Otgo graduated from the Mongolian State Circus, specializing in Contortion Art. She also appeared on Mongolia’s postage stamp as one of the most prestigious contortionists in Mongolia. In 1991, the Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey circus discovered Otgo and she immigrated to America. After arriving in America, Otgo’s career exploded.
Otgo was featured on the NBC, Discovery Channel, SyFy Network, PAX Network, MTV, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Donny and Marie Show,” “ Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” and E Network’s “Talk Soup.” She has also been a featured performer with Cirque du Soliel’s “O” Show, the NBA halftime shows, NHL halftime shows, NCAA halftime shows, and Britney Spears “MTV Video Music Awards.”
Otgo Waller’s choreographic works have been featured at the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening and Closing ceremonies, The International Contortion Convention, and the San Diego Circus.
After performing for many years, Otgo began to teach the art of contortion and flexibility. Otgo created her own training technique to help every individual become more flexible. Otgo has trained people of all ages and levels. Her most notable clients include Olympic athletes, top professional contortionist and circus artists, international high fashion models, competitive body builders, and national level ice skaters.
Choreographer, teacher, aerialist and dancer
Meaghan Wegg graduated in 2005 from L’Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montreal specializing in aerial hoop and contortion. Meaghan has toured globally with Cirque du Soleil, Les 7 Doigts de la Main (The Seven Fingers), Cirque Eloize and Pigeon’s International (a ballet and contemporary dance company). In 2011 Meaghan staged her own show, “Something Real” in Montreal. The show is a dance and circus review based on the original music of her husband, Tim Buckley. Meaghan holds a diploma from L’Ecole Nationale de Cirque specializing in the highest level of circus coaching. She choreographed The Girlie Show Live, assisted choreographed on Cirque du Soleil special events and acted as an onscreen coach for a new TV show in South America. Meaghan is a private acrobatic coach and Makeup artist. She attracts students from around the world and is highly recommended by Cirque du Soleil. Her focus is on career development and professional stage preparation. Meaghan is the director of Move With The Beat dance competitions and the Australian Division Manager for Acrobatic Arts her goal is to promote new talent and career opportunities for the next generation in dance, circus and performance.
Founder, Acrobatic Arts
Mandy Yip is the creator of the Acrobatic Arts Certification Program and Syllabus, and considered an expert in the art of AcroDance. She currently manages the Acrobatic Arts program through thousands of dance studios and tens of thousands of students following the curriculum throughout North America, Australia and Europe. As the past owner of a highly successful dance studio, she understands the demands for an exceptional product and a well-trained dance teaching staff in the studio. Highly sought for clinics and workshops across North America and Australia, Mandy is known for bringing passion, technique and in-depth practical knowledge to engaging classes.