Bios

Sara Adams often jokes that she started dancing as a fetus, when her mother took a jazz dance class while pregnant. She started taking formal classes, however, at the age of 4 and hasn’t stopped dancing since. She did most of Sara Adams often jokes that she started dancing as a fetus, when her mother took a jazz dance class while pregnant. She started taking formal classes at the age of 4 and hasn’t stopped dancing since. She did most of her early training at Joseph Wallin School of Dance and danced competitively with Footnotes Dance Troupe, mostly dancing jazz, lyrical and musical theatre, along with some ballet training. Over the years, Sara has dabbled in hip-hop, contemporary, modern, tap, highland, Indian, ballroom and African, among others; she loves expanding her movement vocabulary! Sara is currently a high school teacher, specializing in French, Science, Yoga, Dance and Visual Arts and she loves expanding dance in public education. She served many years as President of the Board of Dance Nova Scotia and works to bring dance to more children and teachers every year. When she’s not teaching or dancing or advocating for dance, she’s spending time with her two young daughters and husband. Sara is excited to strut her stuff with the folks at thirtySomething and hopes you all enjoy the show!

Laurie Barker Jackman started dancing at age 13 with Joseph Wallin School of Dance, focusing mainly in jazz. Her love for dance and performing led her to join and be a founding member of the performing group, Footnotes Dance Troupe.  She also had the opportunity to dance in the Nova Scotia International Tattoo for a few years, performing many styles from the jive to Scottish dance. One of her most memorable dance moments? Being choreographed by Paula Abdul at Bust a Move in Halifax – what an experience! She has enjoyed some Latin classes over the years, and takes advantage of any dance floor she comes across! Laurie joined the talented team at TSDC in 2019 and looks forward to every rehearsal connecting and moving with this team. Laurie is a proud mom to Layla and Max and shares many laughs with her Newfie husband. The four of them can often be found in kitchens, dancing. 

Cassandra Belanger is excited to continue as part of the TSDC family this season, this time as a choreographer. After many years of being a super fan, having attended nearly every show since the group’s inception in 2004, she remembers attending the first show the group presented at the Halifax Fringe Festival, “Dancers with Day Jobs”. She instantly became a fan of what the group was all about – dance, friendship and performing for the love of it! Cassandra started dancing at two-and-a-half with Maritime Dance Academy and grew up there through to University, completing all levels and exams of the Intensive Training Program in ballet, jazz, tap and modern. During her dancing life, Cassandra spent many years performing with the Maritime Dance Performance Group, The Young Company of Halifax Dance, and The Nutcracker presented by Symphony Nova Scotia and Halifax Dance. Cassandra is thankful to have the opportunity to choreograph on the TSDC crew and can’t wait to see another amazing show!

Abby Clarke Caseley began dancing when she was four, and is an alumnus of Halifax Dance’s Intensive Training Program, YOung COmpany, and Symphony Nova Scotia’s The Nutcracker. In her teens she participated in Dance Nova Scotia’s Taking Steps to Fly choreographic showcase, where she was the co-recipient of the Special Adjudicators Award in 2009, and was awarded the Pat Richards Choreographic Award for her piece in 2010. While studying for her BA, Abby joined the Saint Mary’s University Dance Team, where for two consecutive years, the team was invited to compete at Dance World in Walt Disney World. Abby is thrilled to be joining TSDC onstage again this year to continue pursuing her love of dance. She wants to thank the TSDC members, her boyfriend James, and her family for their never-ending acceptance, love, and support. Enjoy the show!

Stephanie Craig started dancing at the age of nine when she began training at Maritime Dance Academy in a Teen Jazz class. She quickly found herself enrolled in other styles including tap, ballet and modern for 13 years. She was a founding member of the Maritime Dance Performance Group where she performed in school tours, the Atlantic Fringe Festival and the annual Company Showcase for five seasons before “retiring.” Coming out of retirement in 2011, Stephanie began dancing with thirtySomething. She was drawn to their energy, camaraderie and of course, dancing. Dancing with these incredible women over the years has provided new friendships and opportunities she is incredibly grateful for. Much love to everyone dancing with us this year, especially our new members. Further, love to hubby, John and our tiny beings, Ethan and Logan – thank you for your continued support.

Laurianne Desrosiers’ first attempt at dancing wasn’t conclusive; walking around the stage being a garbage bag while others were being homeless people wasn’t fun at all. Her mom registered her at another studio the next year and she fell in love! She danced jazz and tap until the age of 18 at École de danse Maureen MacDonald in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec and participated in many competitions in Ontario and Quebec. School made her stop dancing and love brought her to Nova Scotia. It took a year after moving before she heard that TSDC existed – thanks Stacey! When asked to join the group for the summer class, it was a no-brainer! She is so grateful for all the support and laughs the TSDC ladies bring in her life!

Melanie Dumaresq is a founding member of thirtySomething Dance way back when she was actually thirty-something. Melanie started dancing at the ripe old age of 13 at Halifax Dance. The dancing bug took and then the choreography bug, she has created pieces in jazz, musical theatre, contemporary, even venturing into a bit of hip hop. She has also choreographed for PushPull Dance (Toronto), Theatre Arts Guild, and JL Ilsley High School. Melanie is very excited to be back to dancing after a “brief” hiatus to become a Registered Nurse. Choreographing was a creative outlet during nursing school. It was therapeutic, especially while fulfilling the role of student/mom/wife/friend, but dancing is amazing too. From now on you can find her splitting her time between the studio, home, and the postpartum unit at the IWK in her first RN position. Thanks to Kathryn for going down a silly rabbit hole with me. Many thanks to Rob, William, and Finn, as always. 

Veronika Fitzgerald has been with TSDC for three seasons now and is very excited to be back on stage with such a vivacious bunch! Originally from Halifax, Veronika started her dance career at the age of four, eventually enrolling in the ITP program at Maritime Dance, and spent three years as a member of Maritime Dance Performance Group. Veronika didn’t slow down when she attended Mount Allison University either, spending five years as a member of the Varsity Dance team where she performed, coached, and competed in Hip Hop, Jazz, and Contemporary, including two trips to Dance Worlds at Disney World in Orlando. Upon returning to Halifax she haphazardly took adult classes at Halifax Dance before promptly falling off the dance wagon entirely. After a few-years hiatus she is excited to be back in action and is thankful for the TSDC team for putting up with her antics. A huge thank you as well to family, friends, and everyone in the audience for the support!

Melissa Geddes is thrilled to join the dancers of TSDC and to be dancing again. Melissa started dancing at the age of five and her passion for dance only continued to grow. Melissa danced in the Intensive Training Program and performed with the Maritime Dance Performance Group. As the former Assistant Director at Maritime Dance Academy, Melissa taught in both the Children’s Program and the Intensive Training Programs. She continued to dance, as well as teach, while achieving her Bachelor of Commerce and HR Certificate from Saint Mary’s University. She left the dance world to join the family real estate business where she is the Operating Principal at Keller Williams Select Realty. Melissa would like to thank all of the TSDC members, her family, friends and most of all her husband, Mark, for all of their support!

Kitchen-dancing with her dad, an unhealthy obsession with the movie ‘Stayin’ Alive,’ and performing in high-school musicals were formative experiences for Kate Hayter, a self-confessed dance junkie. Now her kitchen dancing involves her husband and salsa partner for life, Christopher, and their twins, Ruby and Nate, who have epic “dance parties” on the trampoline out back of their Beechville “estate.” Dance took a back seat to real life while she got her M.A. at Dalhousie University and then graduated top of her class from the photography/digital imaging program at NSCC. As a full-time wedding photographer, recent public relations graduate and communications specialist, Kate is a professional cat herder, hand holder and fire-putter outer. Kate would like to thank all the TSDC members for their continued fabtacularness, and for making the creation process as much fun as the performances.

Sue Healy began dancing at the old age of 14. Shortly after starting with one teen jazz class, she became fully immersed in ballet and tap. She has also trained in modern, hip-hop, African, Irish step dance, belly dance and salsa. Starting salsa classes resulted in Sue finding her husband, Jeff. When she is not concocting chaotic creations in the kitchen, Sue spends her time dancing and choreographing with TSDC, of which she is a founding member. Her choreographic strength is modern interpretive, where nobody really notices her lack of rhythm. Outside of dance, she enjoys raising chickens, the great outdoors, eating and making a fool of herself. She is a stay-at-home mom and homeschools her children. Her stage babies are Liam, Olivia, Nestor and Charlotte.

Mary-Ann Hudec started dancing at age eight and is now in her 60s; still young at heart, her body at times is showing its age! In her first recital, at age eight, she was a snowflake in the holiday show. She fell in love with performing then and loved her white tutu and silver sparkly ballet slippers. She studied ballet until age 16 then education took over for many years and she became a psychiatrist. She returned to dance as an adult and has taken classes in many genres at Halifax Dance. She got the performance bug again with Jazz Bliss shows and then helped start up thirtySomething Dance Co-operative. It is an ongoing pleasure to dance with the ladies of thirtySomething Dance and entertain our loyal show goers. I am especially excited to emerge from the pandemic and help spread sparkles and sunshine!! Special thanks go to Rob, Ian and Olivia – your support is invaluable especially when I make you live through my pre-show craziness! In addition, a shout out to the best personal trainer in Halifax, Adrian Veinot, who has kept me fit and strong for 16 years.  

Elaine Mailman started her first introduction to dance class when she was four and danced full throttle until she was eighteen. She was trained using the British Association of Teachers of Dancing syllabus at Joseph Wallin School of Dance, and enjoyed the competitive side of the dance world with Footnotes Dance Troupe for multiple years. In high school, Elaine took her dancing shoes to the other side of the harbour to Jackie Vacca’s Just Dancin’, and was a member of the group FreeZone. After a crisp 14-year hiatus from dancing, she returned to the competitive dance world as a member of the Strut Dance Collective reinvigorating her love for dance. Elaine is excited to dance her third season with TSDC and continues to enjoy learning choreography for performance versus competition. Elaine would like to thank her family the most for the undying support and constant encouragement. Enjoy the show!  

Having monopolized the family record player from the age of four, Jennifer McDonald’s parents suggested dance lessons in her preteen years. After dancing her way through middle and high school in Miramichi, Jennifer took a seven-year hiatus from dance to pursue both a math and engineering degree. In 2001 Jennifer settled in Halifax full-time and has performed with and choreographed for thirtySomething since its inception in 2004. Jennifer had since become a wife and mother of two energetic boys and, in 2020, started a handmade business called Vivid Vision Bags in her “free time.”

Emily Munro is excited to be joining the dancers of thirtySomething again this season! Emily began dancing at the age of three at Halifax Dance and is an alumnus of its Intensive Training Program, YOung COmpany, and Symphony Nova Scotia’s The Nutcracker. While completing her Bachelor of Music Degree, Emily was a member of the Varsity Dance Team at Mount Allison University. As a member of the team, Emily got to experience the competitive side of dance with the highlight team moment being competing at Dance Worlds in Walt Disney World Florida with the Hip Hop Team. Emily is a P-8 music and band teacher, who squeezes in teaching some Zumba on the side. Emily would like to thank the TSDC members for being amazing, her mom, sister and friends for always supporting her dance dreams, and her husband for putting up with her singing show tunes at top volume all the time. Big love, enjoy the show!

Kathryn (Appleton) O’Neill was inspired to dance at an early age, but when she joined TSDC, the love of dance took on a whole new and wonderful meaning. Beginning with many years in ballet and modern, she was a founding member of Coastal Dance Theatre in Dartmouth. Later, she discovered the flirty styles and infectious rhythms of Salsa and Latin ballroom dance and competitions. Kathryn joined TSDC in 2009 and knew the group well for their unique style and energy, but she found so much more. It has been ten seasons with TSDC and Kathryn continues to be grateful for the beautiful friendships created and humbled by the grace and spirit of her fellow dancers, both on stage and off. Thank you for coming to our show and for supporting us in doing what we love. Most of all, thank you to the best hubby ever, Jeff, and our little fireballs, Miles and Harrison. You motivate and inspire me every day to live, laugh, love and dance to the fullest.

Stacey Robichaud’s dancing days began at the age of three with her mother’s desperate attempt for her to burn off some energy and help improve her coordination. At age 12 she discovered jazz and realized that she loved performing: costumes, make-up, an audience… what could be better? Today, she is still dancing and loving every minute of it. Stacey performed in Halifax Dance’s Jazz Bliss for several years before taking a break to become a Mom. Stacey officially joined TSDC on stage in 2005 (but was given honorary membership into the founding crew due to being nine months pregnant at TSDC’s inaugural show). Stacey is grateful for having all of the fabtacular TSDC members in her life (both past and present). Stacey is also very proud to be a crazy “dance mom” to her awesome kids Chloe and Ben. She couldn’t be happier that they are carrying on with her love of dance. Break a leg kiddos on the upcoming dance competition season!

Andrea Smillie started dancing at age eight, after her younger and braver sister had tried it out first. Her love of ballet was immediate and kept her busy and out of trouble… more or less. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from York University many moons ago. After a long break to raise three children, and go back to school, she rekindled her love affair with dance when she joined TSDC. She feels very fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful group of passionate dancers and wants to thank all the members of TSDC for their bravery and dedication. She also thanks her family and Jerry for all of their support. Enjoy the show. I hope the joy is infectious.

Maddie Smillie-Sharp is excited to be joining TSDC this season, after many years as a proud audience member watching her beautiful aunt (Guess who? She’s also performing today)! Maddie started dancing at three and continued her training at Halifax Dance, completing the intensive training program with TSDC member Abby! She is an alumni of the Halifax dance’s YOung COmpany and Symphony Nova Scotia’s The Nutcracker. Maddie is thrilled to be returning to Halifax and to the stage after being away at school. Maddie is honoured to be taking the stage with such an inspiring group of women! Maddie sends her love and thanks to her amazing family and her friends. Special shout out to my parents and partner for their unwavering support!

Émilie Vaillancourt is excited to be joining the ladies of TSDC this season. She started formal dance lessons at the age of 10, although her passion originated at a much younger age. She began dancing jazz but quickly added tap, musical theatre, and hip hop to her repertoire. Émilie has participated in many dance competitions and recitals for her home studio, Happiness is Dancing. After moving away for university, she decided to join the uOttawa Dance Club, where she eventually became an executive member and helped run the club of over 200 dancers. When moving to Halifax, Émilie started taking adult tap and jazz classes at Maritime Dance Academy, and this year, joined thirtySomething. Émilie is a high school science teacher for the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial and has recently completed her Master of Education. She also spends her free time at spin classes and volunteers for Girl Guides of Canada. Émilie sends a special thank you to her parents and her partner Seydou for supporting her dance journey.