Meet our artistic staff

Shannon White


Mrs. White is a graduate of the Royal Academy’s Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies (CBTS) and is a registered teacher with the RAD as well as the Canadian Dance Teachers Association, CDTA. She holds her Advanced 1 certificate in Classical Ballet from the Royal Academy of Dance. Shannon has been teaching RAD, Royal Academy of Dance, classical ballet, Character and Pointe for 20 plus years. Shannon has also studied and taught, Cecchetti and Vaganova classical ballet styles as well as Jazz, Modern, Lyrical and Broadway for over 15 years. Shannon has meticulously cultivated and developed the jazz program for Island Dance Academy to complement the RAD syllabus allowing IDA students to build and enhance their technique in multiple dance styles with a firm technical foundation. 

Shannon has performed and danced with the Charlottetown Festival’s (Anne) as an adult cast member for many summers and has had the pleasure of performing with the PEI symphony’s (Nutcracker) as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Chinese Tea solos. She has also performed in numerous trade shows and promotional events with Tourism PEI including PEI Tourism commercials as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Canada Games. Her choreography has won top awards in many competitions across the Maritime’s and many of her student’s have gone on to teach and perform with The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Broadway Dance Center NY, The National Ballet School of Canada, Ballet Jorgen, Alberta Ballet just to name a few.

Laken Lynds

Laken has been training and teaching at Island Dance Academy for over 10 years in such styles as RAD Classical ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Broadway and the Intensive Training Program. Laken holds her Advanced Foundation Certificate in Classic Ballet with the Royal Academy of Dance and she is a recent graduate of the George Brown Dance program in Toronto, Ontario with her Certificate in Dance Performance Preparation and a Diploma in the Dance Performance Program.

Laken is an accomplished choreographer and performer specialising in Modern, Contemporary, Ballet and Jazz. Laken’s most recent performances have included Unleashed 2018 (George Brown Dance) and In Haus 2017/18 (George Brown Dance).

Erin Cusack

L.C.D.T.A. B.Sc. M.A.​

Originally from Halifax, NS, Erin joins the Island Dance Academy (IDA) faculty with over 20 years of experience as dance educator and choreographer in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Contemporary. She is a graduate of the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts (MCPA) Dance Teacher Training Program and is a Licentiate in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap, and an Associate in Acrobatics with the Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association (CDTA). Erin was the former Artistic Director of Dartmouth Dance Academy and Footsteps Dance Team, and faculty in the MCPA Pre-Professional and Dance Teacher Training programs.

Many of Erin’s students have gone on to train professionally with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Peridance Capezio Center, Ballet Jorgen, Toronto Dance Theatre, Alvin Ailey, Ryerson University, and York University to name a few. Erin currently serves as the Vice President of the CDTA Atlantic Branch and is a member of the contemporary dance company Nostos Dance Collective.

With a B.Sc. and M.A. in Health Promotion, Erin is highly trained in anatomy and injury prevention and believes that strong technique, healthy bodies, and open minds are the foundation of dance artistry. Erin is excited to join the IDA team and share her holistic and inclusive approach to dance, health, and life with her students.

Olivia Bruce

Olivia has been dancing since she was 5 years old and has trained in many dance styles such as ballet, jazz, Broadway, contemporary, pointe, and step dance just to name a few. Olivia has graduated from the Island Dance Academy’s Intensive Training Program and has successfully completed CDTA jazz examinations. Olivia has also competed on and off island in numerous dance competitions in various styles receiving multiple high marks and awards. 

Olivia has been performing all over the island in scores of professional shows and theatres, Charlottetown Festival and the Guild have become her second home. Olivia has danced, acted, and sang in such shows as, Charlottetown Festival’s Anne of Green Gables and the world premier of Evangeline. She has also been a cast member of The Guild’s Anne and Gilbert for 3 seasons.

Olivia brings a fresh perspective with her, and she looks forward to passing on her love of dance and performing to all her new students. With her extensive years of teaching with The Guild’s Musical Theatre program and student teaching with Island Dance Academy she will be an asset for years to come.

Kathleen Henthorn

Kathleen has been with Island Dance Academy since she was 3 years old, fostering a love of performing and dance from an early age. She has completed examinations in Classical Ballet through the Royal Academy of Dance and Jazz with the Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association. She is well-versed in styles such as Ballet, Jazz, Broadway, Step and Contemporary which she has studied over the course of almost 15 years of training. Kathleen has also completed Island Dance Academy’s assistant teacher program and has assisted with classes for many years.

Kathleen has been involved in theatre on the Island since she was little, performing in Anne of Green Gables and various Charlottetown Festival performances. More recently, she was in The Guild’s Anne and Gilbert and appeared as Belle in Beauty and The Beast. In 2015, Kathleen was the recipient of the Glenda Landry Scholarship for a young aspiring performer. 

Kathleen is thrilled to be joining the artistic team at IDA. She cannot wait to share her passion for dance and teaching with the eager and vibrant students.