We are delighted that you have chosen our studio for your dance education.
At Accentz Dance Studio, we seek to provide excellence in dance training for the pre-schooler through to the adult, and the beginner to advanced student; whether or not the student intends to become a professional dancer. This instruction is achieved through individual and group instruction where students are trained in correct dance techniques, are inspired to be creative and learn to be their best.
Accentz promotes a family atmosphere, where students can express themselves through dance, learn self-discipline, gain self-esteem, and, where students can meet their peers and form common bonds of friendship that will last them throughout their school years and into their adult futures. There are two different routes you can take with us at Accentz. You can join our fun filled recreational programme, which has classes for all ages, levels, dance styles, boys and girls. Or for the more serious dancer, we have our competitive and exam programme. This programme requires commitment and usually several hours of dance training each week. Please check the board and website for studio holidays thoughout the year. Accentz Dance Studio follows the school district 22 calendar with the exception of Pro Days when there WILL be dance classes. All studio newsletters will be sent via email and a master copy will be posted at the studio. If you do not check email, please make every effort to check the studio notice board regularly. We seek to provide excellence in TRIPLE THREAT training for the pre-schooler through to the adult, and the beginner to advanced student; whether or not the student intends to follow a career in the fine arts. This training is achieved through individual and group instruction where students are trained in correct techniques, are inspired to be creative and learn to be their best.
Becky was born in a small town in central United Kingdom. After graduating high school she pursued an education at the Prestigious Laine Theater Arts Performing Arts School in London. She graduated with 4 teaching diplomas and also a performing arts diploma.
She continued on to perform with UK’s family comedian Michael Barrymore and then decided that it was time to travel. She worked for several Cruise Line Companies as a dance captain, performing in the shows and supervising the entertainment department over the next decade and then upon meeting her husband, Anthony, a decision was made to settle on dry land in Canada.
Settling on Vancouver Island for 1 year and then making their way back to Anthony’s home town of Vernon to get married and begin a future. During this time Becky furthered her education into the realm of Pilates and to this day continues to practise and use some of the exercises to benefit her students.
Accentz Dance Studio was born in September 2005 – The happy couple built the 4 professional studio complex with their own hands from the ground up (Anthony Is the handy one). Within the next 3 years their family grew – Mikey and Niko were born and their family complete The Okanagan is the most perfect place on earth to live and raise a family. Life is So GOOD!!
Accentz Dance Studio has grown over the years. They have had and continue to have the best community of professionals teaching of students. Currently with the launch of our brand new DANCE ACADEMY with SD22, Becky is busy working on this new adventure.
Becky Lives daily by her studio moto “I CAN – I WILL – WATCH ME”
Sarah was born and raised as a midwest girl but the west coast always called her name. Within the first year of moving to Los Angeles to see what the entertainment industry was all about she was cast in Austin Powers to portray one of her idols, Goldie Hawn from Laugh In. It was apparent to her that following her heart and instincts was the way to live.
She continued on her path in LA landing a record deal with Disney's Hollywood Records and appearing in more movies and Guest Starring on TV shows like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and CSI:NY.
Wearing her heart on her sleeve, as she always does, Sarah followed her ex-NHLer husband, Jason Podollan, to B.C. Canada to grow a family. She lives a true Canadian lifestyle with her three beautiful young boys. Her days are full of hockey, family and outdoor living. Sarah's family loves giving back to their community by donating to the local schools and giving away new hockey equipment to young players. Being a mom, wife, entrepreneur and performer it's safe to say she is the ultimate multitasker.
Sarah is so excited that the film and TV industry is growing every year in Canada. As she always say's, "Pinch me, life is good."
Chris Larsen started dancing in Prince George, British Columbia with Judy Russell’s Enchainement Dance Centre. At the age of 13, Chris was accepted to study at Canada’s National Ballet School where he continued until graduation. After graduating, Chris had the opportunity to train with the Royal Danish Ballet’s apprentice program. From there, Chris went on to dance professionally in international ballet companies for over 15 years. He danced with Ballett-Art François Klaus in Switzerland, the Hong Kong Ballet, and the Birmingham Royal Ballet in the United Kingdom, where he danced for 10 years before retiring as a Soloist. He has performed a large range of roles, from corps de ballet through to principle parts in many of the great classics as well as numerous new works, while also having the opportunity to have roles created on him. During his dance career, Chris had the privilege of touring and performing at the most prestigious venues worldwide, along with of dancing in international Galas.
While he was a member of Birmingham Royal Ballet, Chris led and participated in many outreach projects with the company’s Education Department; educating audiences and introducing dance to youth in schools and community groups. Since retiring from professional dance, Chris received The Professional Dancers Teaching Diploma from the Royal Academy of Dance and returned home to British Columbia.
Chris has adjudicated for Danceworks Festival in Victoria, and the Kootenay Festival of the Arts in Trail, B.C. Often called upon by the RAD to guest-coach workshops and seminars, Chris has also guest taught for intensives in Vancouver, Toronto, LA, and Prince George and most recently was invited to guest teach at the Victoria Academy of Ballet.
Currently, Chris co-directs a Pre-Professional Program at The Canadian School of Ballet in Kelowna, where he has also worked to re-stage CSB’s 25th anniversary production of the Nutcracker. Chris co-founded Dance Training Okanagan in 2017 which hosts a Summer Dance Intensive in Kelowna every summer with incredible teachers and artists from across Canada.
I am a mother of two amazing little boys and a wife to an incredible man who has made it possible for me to pursue my dreams. I grew up dancing in Northern Alberta, focusing primarily on ballet and Ukrainian dance until high school when I added EVERYTHING else. I continued my dance training after high school when I moved to Vancouver for the summer, and shortly after that I moved to Paris, France to train with the International School of Ballet for just over a year. I returned home to run a small non for profit dance studio for the next four years but found time to travel during the summer months and this enabled me to study dance all over the world in places like Toronto, LA, New York, Tokyo, London, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Cuzco, Rio de Janerio, and Hong Kong.
Vernon is home to me now and I continue to teach ballet at Accentz Dance Studio, as well as run my own photography business, Carousel Studios, and feed my passion for dance photography with Famous Photos. I love the way that I can connect with people through both dance and photography. To see the product of my passion for teaching is the most amazing feeling. I love what I do.
Sally has been into fitness and sports since she was a child. She embraced track and field, swimming and the high school weight room. At age 22, she started to play rugby and trained and competed for 9 years for two clubs.
Sally found her passion for teaching youth while coaching high school rugby. After graduating from Mount Royal in Calgary with a Child and Youth Care diploma in 1995, she pursued a Personal Trainer Fitness Certificate in 2002. She worked with and wrote programs for people of various ages and abilities as a personal trainer.
Since moving to BC, she taught Jazzercise from 2010 until spring 2018, and is now certified in Barre & Pop Pilates. She done seminars/workshops in Progressive Ballet Technique and The Foot Collective and has also learned through doing her own strength training for hip stability through Precision Movement. She recently did a teacher’s training with Sugarfoot Therapy which fuses injury prevention based exercises designed by Physiotherapists, with movements that blend with art of dance. She will continue to seek out new learning opportunities to ensure top quality training for her students.
She loves sharing her passion for safe and effective strength training and injury prevention with the Accentz competitive team. She wants these young dancers to grow and improve through overall strength and healthy habits, not only in body but also in mind. Healthy growth mindset is a component that she strives to include within her classes.
Sally is happily married to Todd with two beautiful children, Sarah, who is an Accentz competitive dancer and her son Nicholas who is almost a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Sally is also an instructor at Soul Studio.
Kennedy Knopf was born and raised in the town of Vernon BC where she began her dance education at Accentz Dance Studio. Continuing her artistic training in Vancouver BC, she is a graduate of the Vancouver Training Society biannual scholarship, The Dance Initiative, as well as Harbour Dance Centre’s – Source and Aviary Dance Company’s’.
As an independent artist, Kennedy has fortunately worked with Carlo Atienza in “Sonder”, Heather Dotto with ‘Dances for a Small Stage’, as well as a performing apprentice with Heather Laura Grey in her original work “The Tunnel” and many others.
She is currently apprenticing with the successful, Vancouver based, contemporary company Radical System Art under the direction of Shay Keubler.
A few other accomplishments include the short film, “She” by Adele Thomas awarded Accolade Award of Merit from The Accolade Global Film Competition, as well as 2 Laurel nominations. Kennedy was the primary dancer in Vancouver Spring Show 2016 (Joel Hanna). She was the BC Stage Provincial winner in 2012 and a Team Canada soloist dancing in the I.D.O World Championships (Danielle Fischer).
Kennedy’s TV and Corporate Credits include, PRP Productions and Disney.
Kennedys’ bubbly personality, dedication and persistence has made her a valuable artist. She is hungry to share her passion for movement and to continue excelling within as many facets of the industry she can get her hands on.
Susan Bensmiller has an extensive dance background spanning over 45 years. She is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School’s prestigious Teacher Training Program, and was privileged to have been taught and inspired by renowned teachers such as Carina Bomers, Debbie Bowes, Carole Chadwick, and Glenn Gilmour.
Susan taught in numerous dance schools throughout Canada and later became Ballet Mistress for DancEast Contemporary Dance Center (New Brunswick) and principal of its affiliated school. In 1996 she joined the teaching faculty of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and was also the Cecchetti Representative for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Eventually Susan returned to BC and taught Pre-Intermediate to Advanced levels ballet for eight years at Penticton School of Dance. In 2006 Susan established Armstrong Dance Academy and nurtured many dancers in the community of Armstrong for 14 years.
Among her accomplishments, Susan was commissioned by the CBC and Sesame Street to choreograph segments for television. She also choreographed Canada’s premiere production of “Goldilocks”, the world premiere of “Emuria and the Unicorn”, and has adjudicated numerous dance festivals. Despite her busy schedule she continued to upgrade her teaching certifications and holds her Fellowship with the Cecchetti Society of Canada; her Licentiate in ballet with the Canadian Dance Teachers Association; and her Associate in Stage (Jazz) with the Canadian Dance Teachers Association.
Susan is very proud of her students that have continued to train and perform with Arts Umbrella, School of the Alberta Ballet, Goh Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Canada’s National Ballet School, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Toronto Dance Theatre, and Carnival Cruise Lines.
Robin has been immersed in the world of gymnastics since before she had
learned to walk. She was often the toddler using the gym as a playground while her own elite gymnast mother trained. Once her own classes began she quickly realized her talent and love for the sport was more than simply something that had been passed down to her. She progressed and trained for 13 years and competed as a successful National level gymnast. Along the way Robin also developed a love for dance that led her to win choreography awards for her routines at numerous competitions.
She then decided it was time for her to pass on her knowledge and began
coaching at the age of 16. She taught in B.C for 7 years before moving to Alberta and it wasn’t long before she once again found herself in the gym. Shortly after moving to Calgary, a long time training friend introduced her to the incredible world of The Young Canadians! This School of Performing Arts was a perfect fit for Robin. It allowed her to combine her knowledge of gymnastics with her passion for dance and performance, leading her to teach and eventually direct the school’s Acro-dance department.
She has spent the last 8 years growing and developing the Acro-dance program at the YC School of Performing Arts and is looking forward bringing her knowledge and passion to the students at Accentz Dance!
Rachel has been dancing since the age of three. She grew up training and competing with Accentz and enjoyed every minute of it! One of Rachel’s greatest accomplishments was competing with Team Canada, representing her country at the world championships in Germany. After graduating, Rachel attended Studio 10 Dance and Drama in Liverpool where she studied teaching and performing arts. Rachel loves all styles of dance, and her favourite are lyrical, tap, and acro!
Erica started dancing at the age of three and joined Accentz when she was 6. She attended dance competitions and conventions up until her graduation in 2018. At the age of 17, she joined Team Canada and competed in Germany at the IDO World Championships. After high school, she studied 2 years at Studio 10 Dance and Drama in Liverpool, UK, focusing on teaching and performing arts. Erica had trained in a number of dance styles, her favourites being jazz, tap and acro.
Robin fell in love with yoga while preparing for the birth of her first child. She developed her practice over many years and has always loved the philosophy of blending your mind and body to work out your full self. Over the years, she has seen countless benefits of practicing yoga and has wanted to deepen her practice through teaching it to others. Robin is an experienced high school teacher and received her 200 hr YTT Certification to help complement her teaching style. She is so excited and humbled to be able to share the benefits of yoga and work on flexibility goals with the dancers at Accentz.
Meet our studio physiotherapists
Paiten is a small-town Alberta farm girl. She graduated with a Masters in Physiotherapy from the University of Alberta and an honours degree from the University of Calgary in Health Sciences. When she’s not at work, Paiten is usually getting her sweat on in the gym or out for a run. Paiten is the team trainer for the Okanagan Rockets Major Midget Hockey team for the 2020/21 season so she knows her
Alex is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. When he’s not at the clinic, you’ll most likely find Alex riding a bike. Alex is fascinated by high-level sport and has a special interest in working with athletes of all sorts.
Natasha is from a small town in Saskatchewan. She graduated with her Master’s in Physical Therapy from the University of Saskatchewan. After moving out to B.C. she can’t get enough of the lakes and mountains. If she’s not at work you will probably find her exploring all that nature has to offer.