“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion” (Martha Graham)
Sandra Bald Jones
Sandra comes from Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and now resides in Hamilton Ontario, Canada. Before emigrating to Canada, she was a competitive Highland Dancer, winning many awards and Championships including two World titles, Junior and Adult. As a dancer, she has been featured on Scottish TV programmes and touring shows, and was presented to the Queen following a Royal performance at Holyrood Palace in Scotland.
Over the years, Sandra has choreographed for many groups, both amateur and professional. Her own “Schiehallion Dancers” have carried the banner of Highland Dancing with performances across Canada, United States, Great Britain, Macau and Europe in such venues as the Edinburgh Tattoo, Berlin Tattoo, and Brittany’s L’Orient Celtic Festival. Sandra is a Founder and one of the Directors of the professional dance ensemble, “The Scottish Dance Company of Canada”. Their production of “Immrama” (Adventurous Journey) received rave reviews wherever they performed. She also did the choreography for the Mirvish production of “Needfire” where she worked with Director Kelly Robinson. This choreography was chosen for the 1998 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, and was also nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Award. In 2002 she was the Director of a Canadian Highland Dance Team who performed with other Dancers representing Commonwealth Countries at the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration 2002 Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Sandra Bald Jones is a Fellow and Examiner of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance, Fellow of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing, Member of the United Kingdom Alliance and an adjudicator with the Scottish Official Board’s panel of Judges. Judging, teaching, and choreographing have taken Sandra all over Canada, the United States, Scotland, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
In 2011 Sandra was presented with a prestigious award from the SOBHD called The Atholl Clasp. Nominated by members of the Board, the recipient is chosen for their dedication and contribution to the sport of Highland Dancing. She has also been accepted as an Honorary Member of the SOBHD.
Dana Gamache MSDTA, MUKA, SOBHD Judges Panel
Dana has been dancing with the Sandra Bald Jones Dance Studio since the age of 5 and has been a solid fixture on the international highland dance scene. She is a 9-time qualifier for the World Highland Dance Championships, including an overall 6th place finish in 1999. She represented Ontario 5 times at the Canadian Championships and won the South African Highland Dance Championships. A member of both the Schiehallion Dancers and The Scottish Dance Company of Canada, Dana has performed throughout North America, Scotland and Bermuda. She was a cast member of the Mirvish production of “Needfire: Passion of the Heart”, performed at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto in 1998, was in the Nutcracker with the Moscow State Ballet, and danced for the Queen when she won the Best Overseas Dancer at the Braemar Highland Games. She was a member of the Canadian Highland Dance team that danced in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Celebration 2002 Edinburgh Military Tattoo and performed on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the 2005 Canada Day Celebrations. One of the highlights of her performance career was dancing in the Scotland the Brave show at the Lincoln Center in New York City in 2009.
Dana has been teaching at the studio since 1998. She is a Member of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance, a Member of the United Kingdom Alliance and is an adjudicator with the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing’s panel of judges.
Dana has often described the Sandra Bald Jones Dance Studio as her home away from home. What started as a childhood hobby grew into a lifelong passion that she is excited to pass onto future generations. Dana is a strong believer that Highland Dance, and Mrs. Jones, taught her many valuable life lessons including goal setting, hard work, perseverance, and handling success and disappointment. Dana has a Bachelor of Engineering & Biosciences and a Master of Business Administration from McMaster University. In her non-dancing life, Dana is a Product Sales Specialist in the Medical Device industry.
Chelsea Verbeek Fellow SDTA
Chelsea has been dancing at the studio for over 15 years both competitively and as a performer. She has travelled with the Schiehallion dancers to numerous tattoos across North America and Europe over the years and participated in the 2008 Edinburgh Military Tattoo with Canadiana Celtic and 2012 Basel Tattoo with Ailsa Craig Highland Dancers. As a member of the Schiehallion dancers, Chelsea has choreographed a Disney inspired number titled “Remember to Smile” which was performed at the 2014 Fergus Tattoo and 2015 Scotdance Canada Championship Series in London, Ontario. Under the direction of both Mrs. Jones and Dana Gamache, she has trained and successfully competed across Canada, United States and Scotland, with highlights including the Scotdance Canada Championship Series and the World Highland Dance Championships in Dunoon, Scotland. Joining the Scottish Dance Company of Canada in 2009, allowed Chelsea to expand her dancing accomplishments to include dancing and performing alongside some of the best dancers in Canada.
Gaining experience personally as a student at the studio throughout her life, Chelsea feels she positively contributes towards helping our dancers grow both as dancers and as individuals. Teaching at the studio allows Chelsea to continue her love for highland dancing and she loves being a part of the SBJ Dance Studio Instructional Team. Chelsea graduated from McMaster University with her Bachelors of Science degree specializing in Life Sciences in 2014.
Mackenzie Jones ASDTA
Mackenzie has been dancing since the age of two, and has been a member of the Schiehallion dancers for the past five years. She has performed with the Schiehallion dancers in many places such as The Virginia International Tattoo in 2015, The Bermuda Highland Games in 2013, The Bermuda Tattoo in 2015, The Fergus Tattoo in 2014 and 2015, and The Canadian International Military Tattoo for four years. Mackenzie has also traveled across Canada, The United States, Scotland, and South Africa for competitions and performances with highlights including dancing at the World Championships in 2015, Performing in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2016, winning the Tribute to J.L McKenzie Scholarship Award in 2016 and the South African National Premiership in 2017.
Michelle Napholc ASDTA
Michelle has been a dedicated student at the Sandra Bald Jones Dance Studio since 1992. She has developed her dancing career since though her travels and performances with the Schiehallion Dancers and the Scottish Dance Company of Canada; two well-known and very professional dance ensembles also founded and directed by Sandra Bald Jones. Michelle is very passionate about teaching and keeping the love of Highland Dancing alive!
Besides her involvement in Highland Dancing, Michelle is a serving member of the Canadian Forces. (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)