About Us

Grace Academy of Dance & Performing Arts follows the syllabus of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing for ballet, modern jazz, and tap.

Our highly skilled instructors ensure students receive a solid foundation in dance and theatrical technique in a friendly, non-competitive environment. In fact, Grace Academy is one of the few schools that does not concentrate on competitive work within our program. All our students are given opportunities to participate in examinations, to perform within the community, and to take part in a specially written family musical at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts each year.

Our focus is on building the individual – allowing students to grow at their own pace and in their own unique ways. When taught correctly, dance is a wonderful way to develop grace, strength and flexibility and to nurture growth in personal expression and confidence!

At Grace Academy, we strive to promote a sense of community both within our school and in the Oakville/Burlington and Milton area. We encourage our dancers to use their talents to help others. As such, our students have raised funds for the CIBC Run for the Cure, the Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Hope Totes, and the Wellspring Cancer Support Centre. In studio special events are held such as “loonie for love week” and “toonies for toys”.

Our Instructors

Heidi Knapp, FISTD, B.A. Drama
Academy Director

Heidi Knapp is a Fellow and Examiner with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. She holds qualifications that specialize in Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre Dance and Tap, as well as intermediate training in National Dance. In addition, to this, she holds a B.A. in Drama with a specialization in Stage Management.

Heidi is a firm believer that dance should be experienced by everyone. Her teaching experience spans more than 20 years and covers work in dance, drama and musical theatre with dancers aged 3 to 85! Heidi is the Director of the Spirit Moves Christian Dance Company, for which she was nominated for the Oakville Community Spirit Awards in 2005. She also teaches dance to seniors and is the choreographer for The Oakville Happy Tappers.

Grace Academy was recently nominated as small business of the year in the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence.

Sarah Vanduyvenvoorde
Dance Instructor

Sarah Vanduyvenvoorde is an Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. She holds advanced certificates in ballet, modern, tap, and national dance.

Having taught modern, jazz, tap, and ballet for 23 years, Sarah makes a wonderful addition to Grace Academy’s staff. Her enthusiasm and energy are greatly appreciated by all our staff and dancers. (For those of you new to our school, our dancers call Sarah “Mrs. Van Dunk” – a combination of her maiden and married names and much easier to pronounce!)

Dia Frid
Resident Guest Teacher – Senior Acting

Having received her theatrical training on both sides of the Atlantic, Dia Frid has spent the past 30 years watching proudly as Canadian performing artists grow in stature on the World Stage. Her work as a playwright has recently been added to that of director, actor, teacher, and coach.

A staunch supporter of the belief that, “All the world’s a stage”, Dia has spent much of the past two decades working in a variety of educational institutions including the University of Toronto, Ryerson Theatre School, Mayfield School of the performing Arts, Burlington Student Theatre, and Halton Waldorf School ensuring that young people learn that acting skills are life skills. She is delighted to have this opportunity to be working once again with Heidi Knapp and the talented young students of Grace Academy.

Natalie Spurrell
Resident Guest Teacher, Vocals – Musical Theatre

Natalie Spurrell has recently completed her Masters in Music Education with Boston University. She holds a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education from Memorial University in Newfoundland. She was a choral scholar with the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Choir and founded and directed an award-winning music and theatre camp in Newfoundland.

Natalie is the owner and director of Spurrell Singing Studio in Oakvillle. Her vast knowledge of vocal and choral music and her experience in directing musical theatre productions make her an exciting addition to the Grace Academy staff