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
Owner and Academy Director

Heidi Knapp is a Fellow and past 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 close to 30 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.

In November of 2017, Heidi received the Canada 150 Sesquicentennial Citizenship Award for engaging and inspiring youth in the community. Grace Academy was also recently nominated as small business of the year in the Oakville Awards for Business Excellence.

Heidi takes pride in offering dance to all ages and fostering creativity, a strong work ethic, integrity and a sense of community in all of her students.

Sarah Vanduyvenvoorde
Dance Instructor

Grace Academy is very fortunate to have Sarah VanDuyvenvoorde on staff. She has been teaching modern, jazz, hip hop, tap and ballet for 26 years and is an Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Sarah also holds advanced certificates in ballet, modern, tap and national dance. For those of you new to the school – our dancers call Sarah “Mrs. Van Dunk” – a combination of her maiden and married name- and much easier to pronounce! Sarah brings creativity, energy and a genuine love of children to all of her classes! She is dedicated to excellence, and has been an important member of our staff since we opened!

Ali Daly
Dance Instructor

Ali Daly also joined our staff in 2017. Ali is a Ryerson University graduate with a B.A in Creative Industries. She specializes in hip hop dance and has trained with various projects in Toronto including: O.I.P Dance Company, Professional division at BOSS Dance Company and is co-director of The Clique Dance Crew. Ali also co-produces a dance workshop and event series called The Industry Toronto. Ali has performed in Toronto showcases including: Fever After Dark, The Industry Season 2, Choreoball, The Dance Teacher Expo, Bazaar, The Beatdown, G.O.A.T Dance Competition and many more.

In 2018, Ali worked at da Costa talent management to continue to expand her knowledge of the performing arts industry. This fall, she is excited for the opportunity to work with the popular “Mini Pops”, as a content producer and tour assistant!

Natalie Spurrell
Resident Guest Teacher, Vocals – Musical Theatre

Natalie Spurrell will return to work with the musical theatre class. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Music Education, majoring in voice. She also recently completed her Masters in Music Education with Boston University. She is the owner and director of Spurrell Singing Studio in Oakville. She has directed many musicals and award winning choirs – most recently, the Spurrell Studio Choir was chosen to attend International Choral Kathaumixw in Powell River, British Columbia and received The Elmer Iseler Award for the best performance of an original Canadian choral composition. They have also achieved 1st place at Nationals with the FCMF (Federation of Canadian Music Festivals) and a gold standing at MusicFest Canada.

Dia Frid
Resident Guest Teacher – Senior Acting

Dia Frid is our resident guest teacher, specializing in working with our older acting students. Dia’s work as playwright, director, actor, teacher and coach has seen her work in a variety of educational institutions. These include the University of Toronto’s Erindale campus, Sheridan University, Ryerson University, Canadian Indigenous Theatre, Mayfield School of the Arts, The Creative Theatre Company, First Light Theatre Company as well as various schools in Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton. Most recently, Dia has created FridKids - taking classic children’s literature from ‘page to stage’ and allowing young people to perform and produce live theatre!