2018 Professional Instructors

Desiree Bortolussi

Desiree is a graduate of The Canadian School of Ballet. She has participated in summer dance programs around North America including Toronto, Boston, Cincinnatti, and Calgary. In 2012 Desiree was a competitor at the BC Provincial Dance Festival where she was the winner of her division. At age 17, Desiree received her first professional contract with Ballet Kelowna, and in 2015, Desiree participated in The Banff Centre’s prestigious Summer Dance Program in which she had the privilege of working with the director of the program, Lindsay Fischer. This being her 6th season with Ballet Kelowna, Desiree has performed in over 60 communities in BC performing works by world renowned choreographers such as James Kudelka, John Alleyne, and Wen Wei Wang to name a few. Desiree is so excited to be a part of Swinging With The Stars this year to share her love of performing for such an important cause.

Warren Eaton

Professional Ballroom and Latin dance teacher, performer and choreographer for over 24 years.  Licentiate member of the International Dance Teachers Association(IDTA) and the Canadian Dancesport Federation(CDF).  He is the proud owner of Latinesque Ballroom and Latin Dance Co. here in the Okanagan since 2004.  Warren has competed both professionally, as well as with his students, and has taught in many different counties around the world(USA, England, China). He has been involved with Swinging With The Stars on 5 different occasions as both a teacher/choreographer, performer and most recently a judge.

Lucy Hazelwood

Artistic Director of LUKI Dance Productions, Director of On Pointe Dance Co. Licensee of Army of Sass Kelowna & Vernon and Studio owner of Luki Studios. Originally from the UK, Lucy has studied to the highest levels of Dance & Performing Arts. At the age of 17 she received numerous full scholarships from internationally acclaimed dance institutions such as Bird College, where she went on to gain a BA (HONS) Degree in Dance & Theatre Performance. Lucy’s professional work has taken her from performances in London’s infamous West End, to locations in and around the USA and across Canada. Lucy began ’LUKI Dance Productions’ here in Kelowna in 2011 and is now also the  Director of On Pointe Dance Co., Licensee of Army of Sass Kelowna & Vernon and proud owner of Luki Studios.

Jen Harden

Jen is a graduate of The Canadian School of Ballet and has had 15 years of dance training in the disciplines of ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary. While dancing at The Canadian School of Ballet she completed her Royal Academy of Dance Advanced Level 1. She also performed in The Nutcracker in various roles, including the soloist role of Arabian Queen. Currently Jen is an instructor at The Canadian School of Ballet where she teaches Jazz and Tap.  Jen has had the opportunity to perform at Swinging with The Stars for the past 4 year with “Company B” and is so excited to have now signed on as a Swinging with The Stars Instructor.

Jennifer Large

Jennifer was born in Kelowna and grew up dancing at the Canadian School of Ballet where she now teaches 16 classes a week of tap, jazz, acrobatics and hip hop to their younger students.  On top of which, she is currently working on a pilot project with Club Kleos to develop an inclusive dance program for children and teens with special needs.  She is also a registered massage therapist and works at the Active Care Chiropractic Clinic.  Jennifer has a very deep connection to hospice because her sister-in-law spent her last days in the Kelowna hospice and her daughter spent a lot of time in the Canucks Children’s Hospice in Vancouver.  Her tremendous gratitude for hospice paired with her passion for dance makes her very happy to be involved in this wonderful fundraiser.  She feels like it is a wonderful way to bring the community together to support hospice and loves watching the local celebrities perform after months of hard work.​​

Tina Mandl

Tina’s passion for dance began in the small town of Smithers, BC when she was just 11 years old. Although she has studied all disciplines of dance, she excelled in Hip Hop and Contemporary as a student and has continued bringing dance to others as an adult by starting a Burlesque-fusion company, “Femme Fatale” in Kelowna; Femme Fatale works with all levels of adult dancers and creates a 2 themed productions every year. Tina has worked with many different dance schools and the School District in Kelowna and has had her choreography showcased all over British Columbia. Dance has taken Tina abroad teaching at Summer schools in Tel Aviv, Israel and Winnipeg, Manitoba when she was younger. Tina is the owner of Oranj Fitness in downtown Kelowna, and teaches barre and burlesque regularly out of the studio. This is Tina’s third season with SWTS and could not be more excited!

Mahta Sadi

After over a decade of living the big city life – Mahta Sadi decided to make the move back to Kelowna early 2017. She spent the last 5 years living in Toronto, where she pursued her dream as a professional dancer for the NBA Toronto Raptors. During that time, Mahta was also working as a real estate agent, which she still continues to do in Kelowna. She spent four years with the Raptors — training, performing, travelling with the team and also pursuing other dance opportunities. With her knowledge and experience as a professional dancer, Mahta wanted to share her skills and style with Kelowna talent. After holding several workshops, the interest and response was amazing. So much so, that she started her own adult dance company call Dipp Dance. Mahta is excited to be a part of this opportunity where the community will be coming together for a great cause!

Larissa Stavrou

Larissa began her dance and performance career in London, England at the age of 4 and has trained in jazz, hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, contemporary and musical theatre throughout Europe and North America. Larissa received her Commercial Dance Diploma through Pineapple Dance Studios and the London Theatre School. She also had the privilege, at the young age of 18, to travel to California and Dance for Disneyland. Larissa joined Luki Dance Productions as a Company member in 2014 after completing her pre-professional training with the On-Pointe program and can now be seen performing at various events throughout the Okanagan.   After recently completing her teacher training for Army of Sass, Larissa is now a Sergeant Of Sass for AOS Kelowna . When  Larissa is not in the studio, she is busy working as the Production Manager at Showtime Dance Promotions where she travels across Canada with some of LA’s Top Dancers and Choreographers running different Dance Competitions.  Larissa teaches at LUKI Dance Productions in hopes to pass along her passion for dance to all her students.

Kurt Werner

Originally from Brampton, Ontario, Kurt has been a dancer with Ballet Kelowna since the summer of 2012. Prior to his move, he studied with several of Canada’s top professional ballet schools including the National Ballet School of Canada, The School of Alberta Ballet and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, where he graduated from their Ballet Academic Program in 2011.

During his time with Ballet Kelowna, Kurt has performed in numerous mixed repertoire programs locally in the Okanagan Region and throughout British Columbia and Alberta. Most recently he made his Kelowna Actors Studio debut in their production of Billy Elliot as Older Billy and will be appearing in their upcoming summer production of Mamma Mia. Kurt is very excited to get more involved with the local community again and to make his return to COHA’s Swinging with the Stars!