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Spirit of Dance has been servicing the Thunder Bay area for 22 years offering high quality dance instruction in a high energy and fun environment. Our dedicated and versatile instructors are continuously upgrading their education in the Dance and Arts field. Our instructors are trained to provide an encouraging and educational dance experience for your child’s needs. Whether you are new to dancing, or an experienced performer, Spirit of Dance offers classes for ages 2 to adults, and all expertly crafted to suit your level.

Lori Ann Nelson

Owner & Director of Spirit of Dance

Lori Ann Nelson was immersed into dance, acting and gymnastics at a young age. Through her training, she discovered her passion for the art of Dance. Lori Ann set sail to her dreams when she partnered up with Amy Lintunen in 1999 to open Spirit of Dance. Now in her 22nd year as a proud Owner and Director of Spirit of Dance, Lori Ann has achieved numerous accomplishments with her choreography including; awards from Applause Talent, Thunderstruck Canada, Dance Olympus, DanceCanada, and Dancefest-- along with most entertaining routines from Starpower, Applause & NexStar. Lori Ann successfully auditioned and brought students to perform at Walt Disney World, Sea World, Times Square, and the Disney Cruise Lines in Nassau, Bahamas. She has choreographed for the World Junior Baseball Championship, Walt Disney World performances, local schools, retirement homes, the Boys and Girls club, and CF Telethon. Her students have won numerous specialty awards and overall placements. Lori Ann recently opened a second location for Spirit of Dance in Atikokan, Ontario and is continuing to pursue her studies of dance.

Marissa Nelson

 Manager & Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Marissa grew up at Spirit of Dance, where she started dance at the young age of 2 and began teaching at the age of 16. Growing up she had the opportunity of training in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Modern, Contemporary and Acro. Her choreography has received numerous specialty awards and choreography awards, and her students have won many overall standing placements. She has had the liberty of performing at Walt Disney World, Sea World, and in Nassau, Bahamas (Walt Disney Cruise Line). Marissa has also performed in the Walt Disney World parades and Electrical parade. Marissa recently received her Acro Dance Adjudicator certification to begin adjudicating for dance competitions, starting this upcoming season. She is also currently working on her certifications for the Kinder, Junior, Intermediate and Advance levels through Acro Dance Teacher’s Association. 

Airyana Nelson

 Social Media Manager & Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Airyana began her dance training at Spirit of Dance the age of three. She studied and performed in various styles including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Modern, Lyrical, Pointe, Acro and Hip Hop. Airyana has had the opportunity to perform at the World Junior Baseball Series championships, Walt Disney World, Sea World, Nassau, Bahamas and in New York City. She has also performed in the Walt Disney World parade and electric parades. Airyana is currently Spirit Of Dance’s social media manager and a teacher/choreographer. She is currently working towards becoming a certified Acro teacher as well as getting her Adapt Jazz and Tap Certification.

Kelsi Beals

 Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Kelsi has taught for five years at Spirit of Dance. She began her dance career at the age of four. After studying various dance styles, she began working towards and completing her B.A.T.D. Jazz Exam and B.A.T.D. Ballet Exam. She has had the opportunity perform at Walt Disney World, Sea World, and in Nassau, Bahamas. In 2019, Kelsi completed Year One of ADAPT Teacher Training School in Vaughan, Ontario. She has now began teaching Pre-Junior and Junior exam work. Kelsi recently received her Acrobatic Arts Teacher Certificate for Acro Dance Pre School. She is working towards receiving her International Dance Teaching Standards Certification. 

Tyra Woodbeck

 Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Tyra began her dance training at the age of four under the guidance of Fay Gleeson Dance Center. After fourteen years of training, she completed her CDTA and ADAPT examinations for Ballet, Jazz, and Tap. Tyra has achieved numerous Overall Awards and Judges Choice Awards with her choreography in Thunder Bay and Chicago. Tyra performed in many local performances including the Jorgen Ballet “Swan Lake” Tyra is excited to continue training the younger generations with all her knowledge of dance while continuing to further her dance career.

Caitlyn Aune

 Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Caitlyn has been studying dance since the age of five at Spirit of Dance. She has completed multiple levels of ADAPT exams in Jazz and Tap, however she has trained in many other styles of dance including ballet, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, modern and hip-hop. As a group and a soloist, she has achieved numerous awards and overall placements in local and out of town competitions. Caitlyn has a passion for dance, a strong focus on tap. After many years dancing, Caitlyn began her teaching career assisting group classes and soloists at Spirit of Dance to gain experience in the field of choreography. She 

Hannah King

 Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Hannah has been dancing for eleven years under the guidance of Lesley Oake School of Dance and Spirit of Dance. Throughout her years of dance training, she has studied and performed a variety of styles, including hip hop, jazz, tap, ballet, musical theatre, contemporary and production. She studied through a Dance Course at Westgate CVI for two years, became a member of the Westgate CVI Dance Team and is now a member of the Lakehead University Dance Team.

Mitzi Vecchio

 Instructor at Spirit of Dance


Natalie Ann Doyle

 Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Cassidy Imbeault

 Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Natalie received her early training of dance in Thunder Bay before attending the National Ballet School's Teacher Training Program. Upon graduating, she received her Associate in Cecchetti and National Ballet. She also received her intermediate level in R.A.D. Exams as well as her CDTA Tap Advance Exam levels. She has both trained and taught extensively in recreational and professional programs in Toronto and Ottawa.

For the past 15 years, Cassidy has trained in various styles of dance including tap, jazz, ballet, Musical Theatre and lyrical. Throughout her training, Cassidy worked to receive her ADAPT exam certifications in Jazz. Cassidy has a great passion for all types of dance; however, she has always had a special love for Musical Theatre and Lyrical. She has travelled to compete across North America competing in groups, solos and duets. She has been very fortunate to receive numerous scholarships, judges’ choice awards, and overall placements, as well as Miss Photogenic Awards for the past 3 years. Cassidy has had the opportunity to dance on the Walt Disney Stage at Downtown Disney in both 2011 and 2013 as well as at the World Junior Baseball championships. Cassidy continues to attend as many dance workshops as she can, to learn and expand her knowledge of dance in various styles. She looks forward to teaching her new students at Spirit of Dance this fall and share her passion of dance with others! 

Amy Lintunen

Guest Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Amy Lintunen is a Toronto based dance artist who explores the elements of storytelling through movement, rhythm and spoken word. Originally from Thunder Bay, Amy co-owned a dance studio with her sister for over ten years, before heading off to France to study at Off Jazz. Since moving to Toronto, she has performed with What’s On? Tap! (PanAm Games, CP24), Ismailova Theatre of Dance, The Parahumans, Toronto Rhythm Initiative, Dianne Montgomery (Montreal Tap Festival, Moving Soundscapes with Ron Davis’ SymphRONica, Toronto International Tap Dance Festival) and as a Tap Percussionist with The Red Rhythm, The Charlie Ringus Trio, and a featured soloist with the Jason Raso Quartet in Jazz Goes to the Movies. Amy is co-founder of Vintage Taps, an entertainment group focusing on tap dancing and singing songs from the Vaudeville Era. Vintage Taps produced their first full length production, “The Laundry List”, in February 2018, to a sold out audience. The show returned to the Toronto Fringe Festival with much success, including “The Spirit of Fringe” award. Amy is also the artistic director of Sisu Dance Projects, which aims to educate and entertain through tap workshops (The Rhythm Lab), choreography and performance pieces that focus on social justice.  Amy believes that tap dance gives voice to the full human experience. She enjoys teaching students to find their voice and creating performances that speak for others. You can keep up to date with Amy and her events at:

Harmony Appell

Guest Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Harmony was practically born in the studio, starting dance at the age of 2 and a half. For the past 18 years she has thoroughly enjoyed her time in the studio and on stage. Harmony has auditioned for and successfully been accepted into numerous dance programs over the years including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet school’s summer intensive program and 3-year post secondary Teacher Training Program, the National Ballet of Canada, as well as the Moscow Ballet Company’s production of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. She has trained in almost every style you can imagine including jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, acro, hip hop, musical theatre and ballroom. Throughout the years, Harmony has received hundreds of awards and scholarships both locally and internationally allowing her the opportunity to travel to Paris, LA, Montreal and New York. She has also received many exceptionally high marks and placements on a variety of different performances. Most recently, Harmony has been acknowledged for her outstanding jazz, ballet, and lyrical choreography.

Ashley Harju

Guest Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Ashley Harju is a talented, energetic, and technically trained dancer with over 22 years of dance experience and comes from a diverse dance background. Ashley has received training from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and has graduated from the Commercial Dance Performing Arts program at George Brown College. Ashley previously danced for the CFL Toronto Argonauts and the formerly known Toronto Raptors Dance Pak. Continuing the excitement, Ashley has performed on live television for the Marilyn Dennis Show. Ashley has worked on various music video sets. Her performance credits include Splash N’ Boots on TreeHouse Television, The Marilyn Dennis Show, Haunted High Fallsview Casino Resort Dinner Theatre Show, Latin Vegas Show Girl, The Night of Great Gatsby, The Nutcracker, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Fever After Dark, NBA All-Star Game, and the Rapid Eye Movement at Nuit Blanche. Ashley continues to share her knowledge, experience, and love for dance as a Dance Adjudicator for competitions across Canada.

Amy Kopp

Guest Instructor at Spirit of Dance

Miss Amy grew up dancing in Calgary Alberta at the age of 2. She began strictly in ballet until moving to Prestige Dance Academy at the age of 8 where she branched out into other styles including jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary and acro. Amy has successfully competed in many competitions across western Canada, completed RAD Examinations in ballet, and performed in several ballets including the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. She completed a fine arts certificate while attending a high school with a performing arts program where she had the opportunity to learn new styles including West African, Bollywood, Swing, body percussion and hip hop. Amy has attending summer intensives in Calgary, Vancouver and New York City in order to further her dance education, try new styles and attend auditions. Miss Amy is excited to continue to teach SOD dancers from afar while she studies at graduate school. Her favourite styles to teach are ballet, contemporary and lyrical but contemporary is her favourite to choreograph.

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