About the Academy

The dance floor is a place of vulnerability, growth and acceptance. It’s a place where we can celebrate our differences with something that we all have in common, our love for dance. Whether you want to forget about your day and escape into dance, or celebrate and let it be your outlet, the dance floor will always be there. No matter where you come from or who you are, when we’re in the studio, we are all on common ground.

Common Ground provides a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment that fosters a love of dance for children and adults. We install the qualities of self-discipline, motivation and hard work into our students to promote excellence in dance. Our driving goal is to promote creativity and self-expression.

Our Family

Elisabet White

Elisabet White, RAD RTS, ADAPT TTS

Owner & Artistic Director

Alison Van Kessel

Alison Van Kessel

Instructor

Anissia Nasr

Anissia Nasr

Instructor

Cheryl Goodwin

Cheryl Goodwin

B.A. (Honours), RADRTS, CDTA

Instructor
Christine Macmillan

Christine Macmillan

Instructor

Common Ground - Dance

Debra Workman

Instructor
Ella Hoffmann

Ella Hoffmann

Instructor

Kateri Jacobs

Kateri Jacobs 

CPA, CA, Associate (Cecchetti)

Instructor

Kateri Jacobs

Kiana Lawrence

Instructor

Lisa Alli

Lisa Alli

Instructor

Madelyn Detailleur

Madelyn Detailleur

RAD, RTS

Instructor

Nicole Binnington

Nicole Binnington

Instructor

Saffi Petersen Ndiaye

Saffi Petersen Ndiaye

Instructor

Taylor Maxsom

Taylor Maxsom

Instructor

Bana Alghussain

Bana Alghussain

Receptionist

Common Ground - Dance

Class Assistants 

We Believe in…

An opportunity for everyone

We all learn at different levels and in different ways. We believe that everybody deserves the opportunity to learn at a pace that works for them in a welcoming, judgement-free environment. With the right support, anyone can succeed in dance.

Progress over perfection

Perfectionism is common in the dance community. But we believe in encouraging progress and growth over perfection. Learning something new takes time, and that’s okay!

Quality dance education

Our dance curriculum was designed to offer the highest level of education in all styles of dance. Our trained instructors have extensive experience in dance and dance education.
Common Ground - Dance

The Studio

Our dance studio is located in Ottawa South, in the Findlay Creek neighbourhood. This newly renovated space is designed specifically for the best dance experience!

CGDA’s studio features Harlequin Floors, a special type of flooring that is ideal for dancing. This spring floor panel system reduces the risk of injury of dancing on a hard, unsprung floor.

By investing in Harlequin Floors, a world-leading brand in dance flooring, we are investing in the wellbeing of our dancers ensuring they can learn in an optimal and safe environment!

This prestigious flooring is used by professional dance companies and performing art companies around the world, and optimizes performance by creating an extraordinary environment for dancers.

Be a Part of Our Community

At Common Ground, dance is for everyone. We’d love to have you in the studio!

Common Ground - Anne-Frédérique Turbide

Cheryl Goodwin 

Instructor

Cheryl has been teaching dance in the Ottawa area for over 40 years. During this time, she was the owner and Director of the Children’s Ballet Studio for 8 years.

She is a Registered Teacher and Full Member of the Royal Academy of Dance and the Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association. She also holds the Elementary Certification in ISTD National Branch.

Cheryl has successfully coached students in attaining their Solo Seal Award, the highest performing award of the Royal Academy of Dance.

She is fully bilingual and has attended many dance courses in Canada and the U.K. Cheryl is highly respected among dance educators. Under her tenure, students have been very successful in examinations and competitions. Through her guidance, many of her students have gone on to pursue a post secondary education in dance. She is currently specializing in Graded and Vocational R.A.D. Ballet.

Common Ground - Anissia Nasr

Anissia Nasr

Instructor
Anissia’s passion for dance started at a very young age. Like most little girls, she started with tap and ballet jazz and danced her way through high school and university. She dreamt of auditioning for So You Think you Can Dance and becoming a background dancer for Janet Jackson. She didn’t make it, but her passion for dance lives on through Zumba. Anissia discovered Zumba classes in the early 2000’s. She credits Zumba for boosting her energy and self-confidence. Today, she is spreading #ZumbaLove across the community. Join Anissia’s Zumba Party. #ForAllByAll #DoWhatMovesYou
Common Ground - Katherine Ng

Katherine Ng

Choreographer
Katherine is actively working as a professional dancer since 2014. Born and raised in Ottawa, she attended Canterbury High School Performing Arts Dance Program and later graduated from The School of Dance Contemporary Dance Diploma. Started in Montreal, Katherine had the opportunity to perform in many International dance festivals like Festival Internacional de Danza de la Ciudad de Mexico, Attakalari Dance Biennal and Ramallah International Dance Festival. While working more theatre dance, she stumbled into the world of production shows and was immediately in awe with all the possibilities. Her last contract was with MGM in Macau, where the show tested limits having Katherine dancing 15meters up from the floor! Katherine had worked with Michael Jackson’s choreographer Travis Payne, danced with Kylie Minogue for a one off event and shot a music video with Celine Dion. Katherine is very excited to start this season with Common Grounds and share her passion to the Common Ground Community!
Common Ground - Taylor Maxsom

Taylor Maxsom

Instructor

BATD (Acrobatics and Jazz)

Taylor Maxsom has been trained as a competitive dancer at a studio focused in Aerial apparatuses as well as Acrobatics. She has practiced many different styles over her dance career such as ; Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Tap and Acro. Taylor is now focused on teaching and choreographing. She has taught at various studios and community programs within the Ottawa area. She enjoys teaching children of younger ages and developing a strong connection with her students throughout the material she demonstrates in acro. Taylor has completed many examinations through the British Association Teachers of Dancing and has also achieved her associates in Jazz and Acro. In addition, Taylor is also certified under Acrobatics Arts. She graduated from a French high school in 2016 and got her diploma from Collège La Cité in Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy assistant in 2020. She is now continuing her education in Nursing.

She looks forward to working with dancers of the studio this year!

Common Ground - Nicole Binnington

Nicole Binnington

Instructor
Nicole started dancing at age 3, and never stopped! Nicole danced at I’ve Got Rhythm School of Dance in Kingston where she completed her A.D.A.P.T. Intermediate 3 Jazz and Tap, along with her B.A.T.D. Elementary Ballet. In 2010, she taught her first dance class and found her passion lay in teaching! Nicole completed a Bachelor of Arts at Dalhousie University, where she danced with and choreographed for DalDance Recreational Society and the Black and Gold Competitive Dance Team. In 2016, Nicole took on extra responsibility as a council member of the Black and Gold Competitive Dance Team, putting on the team’s first ever showcase. Nicole then moved to North Bay to complete her Bachelor of Education at Nipissing University. Nicole has been working with kids for many years, and is so excited to get the opportunity to connect with many more as part of the CGDA family. Nicole is eager to build confidence in her students through the best language, DANCE!
Common Ground - Madelyn Alexander RAD, RTS

Madelyn Detailleur

RAD, RTS

Instructor

Madelyn Alexander started dancing at the age of four at which time she was only focusing mainly on ballet and tap. She fell madly in love with dancing because she could express herself without the use of words. At that moment, she knew that her love for working with children and her passion for dance could propel her into becoming an amazing dance teacher with the main goal being, to let others experience the wonder of dance. As the years went on she studied many various types of dance including contemporary, modern, musical theatre, hip hop, and jazz; although she enjoyed all types of dance Madelyn’s main focus continued to be ballet. She studied the RAD method and completed her grade 1 up to her advanced exams. She has now completed her studies at Canada’s National Ballet School and is a certified RAD ballet teacher. The Teacher Training Program focused on how to teach every person no matter what their background is. During her studies she also became certified in teaching people with dementia and with Dancing with Parkinson's.

Madelyn believes that everyone should have the opportunity to experience dance and truly be able to express themselves. To become an amazing dancer you need to first be able to show great artistry and have the proper classical technique. In Madelyn’s class you will see a strong presence of technical work to achieve ballet in its purest form but also sessions of creative work where we can see the students expressing who they are and their personal interpretation of dance.

Madelyn loves working with people of all ages teaching dance. She has taught classes with dancers who are as young as two years old up to seniors which the oldest was 98. Madelyn believes that it is never too late to learn and hopes more adults learn as well and they too get to experience dance for themselves. Madelyn wants the classroom to be a diverse, fun experience for everyone.

Common Ground - Elisabet White

Elisabet White, RAD RTS

Owner & Artistic Director

Elisabet has been teaching dance for over 10 years and dancing for more than 25 years. Born and raised in Ottawa, Elisabet danced locally where she successfully completed her RAD Advanced 2 Ballet and ADAPT Advanced Jazz examinations while attending Canterbury High School - Performing Arts – Dance program. In 2012 Elisabet went on to attend the prestigious Ailey School Professional Division, NYC where she received a Certificate of Dance with Honours. After graduating she pursued a certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies through the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). She has also trained at Alonzo King LINES, San Francisco, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Summer Professional Programs. During her dance training she had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers such as: Alonzo King, Sidra Bell, Matthew Rushing, Darrell Moultrie, Amy Hall, Ray Mercer, and Carlos Dos Santos.

While studying dance at The Ailey School, Elisabet had the privilege of teaching children in The Ailey School First Steps Program, and travel to Florida as a guest teacher. These opportunities ignited her passion for teaching dance. After graduating from The Ailey School, she went on to expand her teaching skills in Halifax, NS and the surrounding area, teaching various methods of ballet, and jazz styles of dance, to children and adults, and choreograph for national competitions and local performances. While in Halifax she also volunteered at local schools to engage students in dance activities.

Over the years, Elisabet has had the opportunity to perform in the Tri-State area of New York, Canada and Mexico.

Elisabet has now returned home to Ottawa and in pursuing her passion for dance and vision to explore dance with children, she opened the doors to Common Ground Dance Academy in 2020.

Her passion for teaching children the art of dance is evident in her guidance and support for her students.

As Elisabet continues to pursue her passion for dance and to teach the art of dance, she now sees her vision to offer her love for dance to children of all ages and opened the doors to Common Ground Dance Academy to pass on her passion to the community.

“No matter where you come from or who you are, when we’re in the studio, we’re all on common ground” is the founding vision of Common Ground Dance Academy.

Hello Families of Common Ground Academy!

The Competitive Team is excited to bring to you our Fall Basket fundraiser starting Saturday, September 23rd. We will have our baskets on display in the studio beside Theory Dancewear.

Our Competitive Fundraising Committee and all of our Competitive parents have come together to make incredible baskets. You don't want to miss out!
The team has put together 6 baskets with value averaging $300 each.

All proceeds raised will go towards our Competitive Team this season.

How it will work:
Tickets will be available at the studio (beside Theory Dancewear)

Step One:
Purchase your ticket(s):
$10.00 for 1 ticket
$20.00 for 3 tickets
$40.00 for 7 tickets

Step Two:
Tell your friends and family, they would love to purchase a ticket!

Step Three:
Wait in anticipation to see if your name or someone you know has been drawn on Thursday, October 5th at 7:00pm.

A huge thank you to our Common Ground Family for your continuous support!

Please see below the list of items included in the baskets.
Ballots are available in studio CASH Only.

Sincerely,
Common Ground Competitve Fundraising Committee

Basket #1 - Kids Only Basket 

-- 2 $25 Marshalls gift cards
-- 2 $25 ultimate dinning card
-- $50 Theory Dancewear gift card
-- Size 4T Pink Common Ground Shirt
-- 2 Gatorades
-- Assortment of candies and chocolates
-- Tim Hortons Hot Chocolate Mix
-- Variety of kids arts and crafts

Basket #2 - Rise and Shine

-- Happy Goat Guatemala coffee beans
-- Happy Goat Brazil coffee beans
-- Happy Goat coffee travel mug
-- Happy Goat mug
-- Starbucks siren cup
-- Starbucks color changing cups with straw
-- Small assortment of chocolate
-- Starbucks pour over set
-- 2 adult movie ticket passes
-- 2 $50 gift cards to Local Public Eatery
-- $25 gift card to David's tea
-- $50 gift card to Starbucks

Basket #3 - Kens Time

-- Dark Amber & Oud scented candle
-- Cuban Rum
-- Cognac
-- Snacks
-- 2 cool towels (super cooling towel)
-- Toilet Time Game (mini golf game)
-- Brazilian Rum
-- 2 magazines
-- $25 gift card to LCBO
-- 2 $50 gift card to Crust and Crate
-- $25 gift card to Stinson gas station

Basket #4 - Wine & Dine 

-- 3 set northern woods candles
-- Chef on the Fly (personal chef service for two)
-- Lindt chocolate bar
-- 2 Cook books
-- Champagne
-- Fortified wine
-- white wine - Pinot Grigio
-- Red wine - Baco Noir

Basket #5 - Pamper Me

-- Bath salts
-- 3 set northern woods candle
-- Bath bombs
-- Sleep eye shade
-- Small wine travel cup
-- Eye, face, and foot masks
-- Lindt bar
-- Hair head band
-- Hair accessories
-- Stud earrings
-- Lush products
-- Small candle
-- Chef on the Fly(personal chef service for two )
-- 2 $25 Happy Her gift card
-- 2 $50 Joeys gift card
-- Assortment of flavored teas
-- Hair and body products
-- Teacups and saucers, teapot, creamer, sugar pot (set)
-- Champagne
-- White wine
-- Red wine

Basket #6 - Bambooozle

--2 $100 gift card to Mama Teresa restaurant
-- $50 gift card to Bambu
-- Vodka - Belvedere
-- White wine
-- Sparkling whine
-- Red wine - Blanco Noir
-- Prosecco
-- Sweet white wine
-- $50 gift card to Kimono (poke and ramen)

Term 1

Classes Start: September 11

Thanksgiving: October 7 - 9

Halloween: October 31

Winter Break: December 23 -January 7

Term 1 Ends: January 28

Term 2

Term 2 Starts: January 29

Family Day: Feburary 19

March Break: March 11 - 15

Easter: March 30 - Aril 1

May Long weekend: May 18 - 20

Recital Dress Rehearsal: June 5

Classes End: June 9

Recital: June 10 & 12

Common Ground - Anissia Nasr

Saffi Petersen Ndiaye

Instructor

As a graduate of Common Ground, Saffi is excited to continue her dance journey as a teacher and create a positive environment for her students, whether that be in class, at competitions, or onstage. 

Saffi began dancing with a focus on ballet and modern, but was introduced to other styles such as jazz, contemporary, and lyrical early on in her dance education. She has completed many A.D.A.P.T and R.A.D exams, notably her Advanced 2, where she received distinction this past year and will now begin preparing for the R.A.D Solo Seal award. Saffi received additional professional training at Ballet Jorgen's Summer Intensive, where she was taught by a wide variety of artists and applied the knowledge she learned to her students. Saffi was previously a gymnastics coach and has also taught ballet, jazz, and contemporary classes in Ottawa. She recently graduated from Canterbury High School in the visual arts program.

Saffi will work on artistry and technique with her students, focusing on each dancer's abilities, while understanding and appreciating the fact that everybody is different. In her classes, it's a judgment free zone and what's most important is enjoyment and improvement.

Common Ground - Anissia Nasr

Lisa Alli

Instructor

Lisa began dancing at the age of 5 in the Niagara region at the Dunnville Dance Centre. She has always had a passion for dance, teaching dance, and creating choreography. Lisa has received all of her tap exam certificates with the C.D.T.A., receiving Honours at the Advanced level. Lisa has trained in tap dance in Niagara, Toronto and Montreal and is thrilled to share her passion of tap and rhythm with the team at CGDA.

In Lisa’s classes, students will be given a safe, inclusive, and positive environment where they are free to express themselves. It will be a space to learn and grow for new or returning dancers (of all ages!). The classes will emphasize technique, musicality and expression while also including an introduction to improvisation and highlighting tap history.

Common Ground - Nicole Binnington

Alison Van Kessel

Instructor

Alison began dancing at the age of 3. She has trained and competed in various dance styles including; Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Acro, and Musical Theatre. Alison has trained up to Advanced 1 in RAD Ballet and Intermediate 3 in ADAPT Jazz. She has had the pleasure of dancing in Walt Disney World and performing at the NAC with the Royal Winning Ballet.

Alison has graduated from the ADAPT Teacher’s Training School with a gold seal. She is now certified in teaching all levels of the ADAPT Jazz and Tap syllabus. Alison is currently studying Early Childhood Education at Algonquin College. She is passionate about combining her knowledge of dance and education to lead exciting and inclusive dance classes.

Common Ground - Anissia Nasr

Kiana Lawrence

Instructor

It's clear that dance is a significant part of Kiana Lawrence's life and passion. Starting at a young age and progressing through various styles, Kiana's dedication to dance is evident. From beginning with recreational ballet and transitioning to competitive dance, her journey showcases a commitment to honing her skills and pushing her boundaries.Kiana's experience isn't just limited to being a dancer; she has also taken on the role of a dance teacher. Teaching jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and musical theatre highlights her diverse expertise and ability to communicate her knowledge to others. This experience likely helped her grow as a dancer and instructor, as teaching requires a deep understanding of the art form and the ability to convey its nuances effectively.

Notably, Kiana was a part of Carleton University's competitive dance team during her first year of university. This involvement demonstrates her desire to continue her dance journey even while pursuing higher education. Being a part of a competitive team adds a layer of discipline and teamwork to her skill set, which can be valuable both in dance and other aspects of life.Her teaching experience also extends across different regions, having taught in both the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ottawa. This suggests that Kiana's influence as a dance teacher has been felt in multiple communities, and she likely brings a unique blend of styles and approaches to her teaching methods.

Overall, Kiana Lawrence's journey in dance, from a young age to her university years, and her role as both a dancer and teacher, showcases her dedication, versatility, and passion for the art form. With her background and experience, she is well-prepared to continue making a positive impact as a dance instructor, sharing her love for dance with others and contributing to the dance community.

Common Ground - Anissia Nasr

Kateri Jacobs

Instructor

Kateri grew up in the National Capital region where she has completed most of her dance training in ballet, jazz and contemporary. After many years in the competitive dance world, she trained at The School of Dance in their post-secondary Contemporary Dance Program. After completing her bachelor's degree at STFX university, she returned to The School of Dance to complete their ballet teacher training programme and obtained her certification as an Associate of the Cecchetti Society of Canada. Kateri has a passion for teaching all ages, from 2yr olds to adult beginner classes, and believes everyone deserves a spot on the dance floor. 

Kateri is also a mother of two and a Chartered Professional Accountant. In her spare time she volunteers as the Treasurer for the Ottawa Dance Directive, a local professional contemporary dance company and centre for professional dance. 

Common Ground - Anissia Nasr

Christine Macmillan

Instructor

Christine received her dance training at the Halton Hills School of Dance, where she discovered a lifelong passion for the art of movement. She trained extensively in ballet, jazz, lyrical, and modern, and successfully completed graded and vocational examinations with the Royal Academy of Dance. She received additional professional training at the Quinte Ballet School's summer intensive program and is a graduate of Mayfield Secondary School's Regional Arts Dance Program. 

Christine has enjoyed the opportunity to teach and choreograph at studios across Orangeville, Halton and London, Ontario. Her gifts lie in her natural musicality and musical interpretation, which are integral to who she is as both a teacher and choreographer. Outside of dance, Christine is a licensed Physiotherapist with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, and her specialized knowledge of the human body is central in her teaching methods. She helps her students develop an understanding of the mechanics of movement from an early age, so that they can explore the art of movement on a more profound level. Christine believes that above all else, dance is about artistry and self-expression, and she strives to help her students find their own voices through the art of dance.