Jessica McMillan grew up in Ladner and is proud to be a graduate of Delta Secondary School. Some of her fondest memories of childhood involve her years spent dancing at the Dance Connection (now Studio West). Her love for the arts continued throughout high school, where she developed a passion for photography. After graduating in 1999, Jessica studied at Langara College and UBC, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and History. She then returned to UBC to complete her Bachelor of Education, and began her teaching career with the Delta School District.
PROFESSIONAL DANCE INSTRUCTORS
Melissa began dancing at the age of 4, and has trained in multiple disciplines including ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary in her home province of Ontario. Through her training she has been privileged to study and compete both nationally and internationally; interacting with some of the leading choreographers and dancers. Her students have achieved great success including overall and top performer scores in multiple dance disciplines and competitions. Melissa has earned her Associate Members Teaching Certification in jazz and tap from the BATD, is a member of the RAD as well as earning an Honours Bachelor of Science degree specializing in Kinesiology. Melissa is a positive and influential role model to all her students, who all look up to her and love coming to her classes.
Jessica Caldera (nee Shatzko) has been dancing since the age of three. Her passion and natural ability in dance began at a very young age. She trained in various styles such as: R.A.D. Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Hip-Hop, Tap and Contemporary. Caldera represented Canada two years in a row at the World Tap Championships in Riesa Germany that wowed the crowd. However, not until her later years she discovered the dance that would change her life, Salsa. Wanting the best training in the Lower Mainland, she discovered Bravo Dance Company. Training directly under artistic director Alfonso Caldera, she was invited to join his professional team. Not long after the opportunity arose, Caldera became Alfonso Caldera’s official dance partner. After competing and successfully winning the World Salsa Championship in the professional division, she represents Vancouver Canada at many local and international events including World Latin Dance Cups and Congresses around the world.
Since that time Caldera has also appeared in music videos with Michael Buble, Emily Harder, dancing for Jose Alberto and on the TV series, Smallville. Filled with fire and a love for dance, Caldera was hired as a dancer on the Disney Cruise Lines, trained from top choreographers based out of Toronto. Receiving many awards and scholarships throughout her dancing career, as a choreographer she has landed many overall high scores as well as choreography awards. Caldera continues to fullfill her dreams by choreographing, teaching, performing internationally and giving workshops at a number of top studios.
Jyla Davis: Guest Artist & Choreographer
Owner/Director/Instructor of Studio West Dance and DSS Alumni
Jyla Davis was the founding instructor at the Delta School District’s Dance Academy when it was proposed to the School Board in 2010. She has been an integral part of the growth of the Academy and its dancers. The Academy is grateful to have Mrs. Davis on staff as Guest Instructor and Choreographer.
As the owner and director of Studio West Dance, which she bought in 2009, Jyla is thrilled to be providing high school students with professional training in technique, choreography and performance within their regular school day. As a young performer, Jyla competed at provincial and national levels – winning scholarships to L.A., New York, and to the Randolph Academy in Toronto. She was a BC provincial champion in stage level 3, the Canadian Triple Threat Convention Winner, and North American Champion at the 5678 Showtime finals in 2002. Professionally, Jyla has worked for Norwegian Cruise Line as a singer/dancer, and also became an associate director for the company. She has toured Canada and danced on Much Music, danced for “Avril Lavingne” in the 2006 Olympic closing ceremonies in Torino, Italy, and danced for singer/song writer “Janajana”. Jyla was apart of the character creation process of “Miga”, the Sea Bear, a mascot for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and traveled throughout Canada on the launch tour. Most recently, Jyla was a Performance Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, and Mrs. Claus in “The Magic of Christmas”. Some musical theatre credits include; “Peter Pan”, “South Pacific”, Cha Cha in “Grease”, Demeter in “Cats”, Joanne in “Godspell”, Lorraine Fleming in the tap musical, “42nd Street”, and Dorothy Parker in “Thoroughly Modern Millie”. She has also performed on tour as Cranium, the mad scientist, in Vancouver’s original halloween musical, “The Great Big Boo!” Some TV and film credits include, “Life As We Know It” with Kelly Osborne and Jyla was an actor in Nickelodeon’s TVMovie, “Spectacular!”, with Victoria Justice. Before becoming Director of Studio West Dance, Jyla spent many years teaching competitive dance throughout Vancouver as well as creating her own original dance program throughout lower mainland elementary schools. Jyla’s focus is and always has been offering her students the highest quality training so they can decide if dance is something they want to pursue professionally and, if that’s the case, they will have the skills to do so!