Meet the Cast of DPA 2023

Nicia John, Danseuse

Nicia John

DPA Artistic Director, Ballet Instructor, Dancer

In the heart of a void, Nicia John sees potential. Gaps, negative spaces, questions, … the undefined, the unexplored, the unknown. She is tied to these positions by ropes of curiosity and reels herself in to unearth that which his hidden. This philosophy carried Nicia through an Hons BFA in Dance and Psychology (magna cum laude) at York University (with training under Claire Wooten, Patrick Parson, Catherine Glasser and Tracey Norman), where movement became a tool for contorting physical and abstract space. In creating choreography and exploring dynamism, she found herself enraptured by the complexity of human motor systems.

Presently, Nicia continues her studies through an MSc in Psychology: Motor neuroscience with a focus on motor memory, sequence learning, and expert motor skills. Her continued ballet training at Ballet Divertimento, under notable dance professionals such as Owen Montague, Era Chrona, Christine Cyr and Kristen Céré, serves as ongoing inspiration for her scientific exploration. 

In creating creARTe and Danse en Plein Air, she seeks to propel the development of an ambitious career in dance and neuroscience, documenting stories and experiences of how the arts and sciences may collide.

Zoe Venema

DPA Program Coordinator, Dancer

Zoe Venema’s curiosity for dance sprouted at young age, but it was only in her teens that she ventured to pursue full-time professional dance training. A dedicated student of Ballet Divertimento for the last two years, Zoe has received top training from a range of acclaimed artists and choreographers. From this, she enjoys that her daily learning offers the chance to explore new techniques and freedoms of movement. This summer, Zoe is expanding her dance explorations to Toronto where she will attend Ballet Jörgen’s professional training intensive and, under a full-tuition scholarship, the Dance Arts Institute’s (formerly Toronto Dance Theatre) 2023 summer intensive. With new insights of the moving body and its ability to move communities, she seeks to use her artistic language to draw people closer together in engaging ways that may have gone unconsidered. She is dedicated to and gifted in supporting the art form in both on- and offstage roles. Seeing others enjoy the beauty and depth of dance is what she cares about most!


Angélie Gamache

DPA Dancer

Angélie Gamache is a highly-skilled dancer and performer with distinguished training from Montréal. Angélie’s work is influenced by her early experiences in elite gymnastics and circus training. Now, she uses her unusual strength and agility to guide her recognized proficiency in ballet and contemporary dance. In 2022, Angélie received a merit-based scholarship to continue professional ballet training at Ballet Divertimento under Owen Montague, Christine Cyr, Era Chrona, Marisa Pauloni, Zack Tang, and Kristen Céré. Since then, she’s been granted the opportunity to further develop her skills through the prestigious RUBBERBAND winter intensive and Prague Ballet Intensive. Her recent repertory solo début in the remount of John Alleyne’s (Ballet BC) Four Seasons sparked awe in the hearts of many, as she graced the stage with intricate choreography rehearsed under notable choreographers John Alleyne, Alexis Fletcher, and Sylvain LaFortune. In her spare time, Angélie additionally expresses her love for K-pop dance with the Novaki dance crew, who recently toured to Toronto for the filming of recent choreographic works. Overall, Angélie uses her go-getter personality to whole-heartedly attend to performance art with artistry, precision and virtuosity. She looks forward to doing the same with the Lamondance Company (Vancouver, BC) for their 2023/24 season.

Sylvia McCaughey

DPA Dancer

Sylvia McCaughey is a dancer, teacher and creator based in Montreal. She teaches contemporary dance and ballet to many different ages at Ecole Ballet Ouest and Ballet Divertimento. Sylvia is also an independent artist who is interested in self discovery, human connection, imagination and interdisciplinary art. She studied dance at various schools (such as; Ballet Ouest De Montréal, Ballet Divertimento and Copenhagen Contemporary Dance school) where she had the opportunity to work with many different choreographers, creators and mentors. Sylvia continues to search for knowlege through different opportunities at professional dance workshops/intensives and by exploration of different mediums of expression/art.


Johanna Simon

DPA Dancer

Of many origins, Johanna Simon is a movement artist like no other. A creator, teacher and performer without limits or boundaries, she is gradually carving out a place for herself in the artistic world. Trained at numerous institutions, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Movement (STAPS, 2016, France), as well as a Bachelor’s in Visual Arts (UQAM, 2021, Canada). During her studies, she danced, performed and collaborated with various choreographers from the Montreal and international European stage. In search of professional opportunity, she joined the BIGBANG program directed by Stéphanie Decourteille with her solo “Le temps d’un instant” (2021); worked in Charles-Alexis Desgagnés’ “JPCMDLM” (2022), Corpus Collective’s training program; and joined the Anima company in 2023. Her artistic approach is a hybrid of influences inspired by living things and the arts, nature and architecture. Johanna infuses her movement with her sensitivity and curiosity for the “poé(li)tique”.

Alessia Moschettino

DPA Dancer

Born in Italy, Alessia Moschettino is a dancer based in Montreal since January 2023. She studied at several professional courses around Italy as Balletto di Toscana (Florence) and ArtVillage (Rome). After the pandemic she was selected for the contemporary dance program OpificioPro (Rome), where she choreographed her first solo, “Q”. With one year of experience with the Reverso Junior Company under her belt, she was offered a position in the main company cast, Reverso Dance Company (Rome). As a dancer, Alessia is particularly interested in the study of the free movement and the research of improvisation. During her training years, she was additionally exposed to workshops led by international choreographers and artists, such as Ohad Naharin, Nico Monaco, Yael Cibuski and Dana Gingras. Her workshop experiences insipired her to venture beyond Italy in search of new freedoms and means of experession. In Montréal, Alessia now trains intensively with the 11th edition of BigBang, led by Stéphanie Decourteille.

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Sandrine Melanson

DPA Dancer

Recently graduated from Ballet Divertimento’s professional program, I am excited to participate in different projects with a multitude of inspiring artists from our community. I approach dance and movement as a creative outlet and love exploring the endless possibilities of movement, testing visions and working with partners to get out of my comfort zone. 

Clara Therrien-Tassé

DPA Dancer

Clara is a 20-year-old multidisciplinary dancer based in the South Shore and Montreal area. She began dance training at the age of two in ballet and continued to contemporary hip-hop and jazz forms. Graduating from Heritage Regional High School with a fine arts focus in Dance Discipline, she came to appreciate the surreal joy that comes with studying dance. “It’s a feeling of freedom that provides a means of self-expression. It is the one thing I count on to allow continued creativity and flow. A true therapy!” Clara’s studies carried over to a classical focus with Ballet Divertimento’s pre-professional training program. Since then, she’s performed in The Nutcracker with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, among several other formative dance opportunities. Beyond her joy for the arts, she loves nature, animals, family, sports, everything self-care and food — of course. With Danse en Plein Air, she looks forward to exploring new movement and ideas with the dancers of this creation opportunity.