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Instructors

Meet our instructors:
Maria Ford | Todd Coulthard | Daniela Bajtos | JP MarchandAssistants 

Maria Ford (Owner/Operator)

Maria Ford. Photo by Victor Daller.

Styles: West Coast Swing | New York Hustle | Partnered Blues | East Coast Swing | Latin Club

I have danced since before I could walk. Today, I focus on West Coast Swing, Hustle, Blues, and other partnered street dances including Salsa, Bachata, and Kizomba. I actively compete in the top divisions of both WCS (All-Star) and Hustle (Professional/Open).

As an instructor, I have taught in a variety of adult-education settings for two decades, including as a professor and coach in a college, and nearly a decade teaching adult dance and training others to teach effectively.

Some of my proudest accomplishments in dance include:

  • Earning the “Top Teacher” award at Toronto Open Swing & Hustle Championships 2016
  • Owning & operating Smoothstyle since 2008
  • Coaching Ottawa’s first West Coast Swing dance team (with Andre Danis) through two fantastic routines
  • Mentoring and training emerging instructors
  • Co-choreographing and performing two West Coast Swing routines, including “Tore Down”, which was undefeated in Rising Star division, with David Ward
  • Achieving Master’s-level certification and Judging certification from the Global Professional Dance Instructors Association (GPDIA)
  • Growing local WCS community scene in Ottawa

This is not my full-time job, but it is a full-time passion. I am also a business owner and professional communicator (Kaszas Marketing). I am a member of the World Swing Dance Council, the International Hustle Dance Association, and the Global Professional Dance Instructors Association.

You can reach me by email or phone: (613) 291-4376.

Now, I’d like to introduce you to my teaching team:

Todd Coulthard

Todd Coulthard

Todd Coulthard. Photo by Sylvain Lanouette.

Styles: West Coast Swing | Partnered Blues

Todd has danced from a young age, beginning with Jazz classes at the age of 8. Dance has always and will always be a part of Todd’s life, and this is evident in his passion for sharing dance with others, and in his creative personal style. Today, Todd competes in West Coast Swing at the Advanced level and has numerous first places and podiums to his name.

While living in Calgary, Todd taught Blues dancing, and in Ottawa he began teaching West Coast Swing to co-workers. Soon after, he began to pursue formal teacher training with Smoothstyle.

Todd can be reached by email or by phone: (613) 914-2446.

Daniela Bajtos

Daniela Bajtos

Daniela Bajtos. Photo by Sylvain Lanouette.

Styles: West Coast Swing | Hustle | Lindy Hop | Partnered Blues

Daniela has danced since 1999, when she discovered Blues and Lindy Hop dancing while at the University of Waterloo. A veteran community builder, she served as president and events coordinator at the university’s swing dance club while also teaching and organizing events for a private dance school, where she helped to teach Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Balboa, Blues, and Charleston. She continued to teach classes and workshops in the greater Toronto area, later adding Salsa to her teaching repertoire. Daniela is known as a fantastic follower with beautiful styling. 

Since arriving in Ottawa to work in her field, she has taught Salsa, Casino Rueda, and with Smoothstyle, West Coast Swing and Hustle. She is pursuing formal teacher training with Smoothstyle.

Jean-Paul “JP” Marchand

Jean-Paul Marchand. Photo by Sylvain Lanouette.

Jean-Paul Marchand. Photo by Sylvain Lanouette.

Styles: West Coast Swing | Hustle | Ballroom | Latin | Country Two-Step | East Coast Swing

JP has danced and taught dance for more than 20 years. He is a certified teacher in Ontario with a specialization in Dance. He taught Ballroom and Latin at Arthur Murray Dance Studios and in numerous community locations in the Ottawa area. JP is a sought-after leader and consummate social dancer, as well as a popular teacher.

In Ottawa, JP teaches West Coast Swing and Hustle for Smoothstyle, is pursuing further teacher training with Smoothstyle, and teaches all varieties of partnered social dance through private lessons.

JP can be reached by email.

Christian Gagné

Christian Gagné

Christian Gagné. Photo by Sylvain Lanouette.

Styles: West Coast Swing

Christian started partner dancing in 2011, beginning with Lindy Hop, then Salsa/Bachata, and most recently West Coast Swing. Christian is a keen technician and his dedication to learning and practice has resulted in his rapid development into an exceptional leader. He is a popular social dancer as well as a successful competitor.
 
Christian is fully bilingual in English and French, and can be reached by email.

 

 

 

Janet Spencer

Janet Spencer. Photo by Sylvain Lanouette.

Janet Spencer. Photo by Sylvain Lanouette.

Styles: West Coast Swing, Salsa

Janet discovered West Coast Swing in 2013, drawing on her partner dancing background in Salsa and her movement technique from 10 years as a figure skater. She is also a veteran competitor, both in horse riding and now in dance, where she competes with her dance partner, Vince.

In Kingston, Janet was instrumental in creating a Salsa dance community for university students. She has brought her beautiful style and natural community building instincts to Ottawa, where she is a popular follower, instructor, and “big sister” to many new dancers.

Janet can be reached by email.