FESTIVAL DU BALLET
MEET THE JUDGES FOR 2023
Naomi Stikeman is proud to be the Artistic Producer for Ballet BC in Vancouver, Canada. She is also a guest teacher for world renowned schools and companies, and a former host for the prestigious Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland.
Prior to joining Ballet BC, Naomi was honoured to be the Physical Performance Coach for Céline Dion for all demands pertaining to her physical performance, both in Las Vegas and on tour.
Naomi earned international acclaim performing with The National Ballet of Canada, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, La La La Human Steps, and Céline Dion’s A New Day. Naomi’s performing career culminated with a Gemini Award (Canada’s Emmy) and the production of her own show, Çaturn, with distinguished collaborators Crystal Pite, Peter Chu, Frédérike Bédard and Matthew Banks.
Driven to support the next generation of artists, Naomi is the founder of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Initiative (LVPAI); an educational program that connects schools from Nevada and California with celebrated performers, choreographers and directors through educational workshops.
Nancy Pezzo - In her dancing years, Nancy has mastered all dance forms, specializing in ballet training. She is a Registered Teacher, Mentor and Practical Teaching Supervisor with the Royal Academy of Dance. In addition, she holds an Honors Certificate through the Imperial Society Teachers of Dance for Modern and National. She is also a graduate of the Ryerson University Theatre Department specializing in Dance.
In her varied career, she trained in acting and has appeared in commercials with CTS Television Studios. She worked on choreographic projects for Hudson Bay Company, Lancôme Paris, Toyota, Reitmans, Zellers, TD Bank Financial Group and many more. Her talent has been recognized by several respectable talent agencies and included a scholarship for the International Model and Talent Network (IMTN) held in New York City. She is an established and reputable Dance Adjudicator for several respectable dance competitions across North America. Recently, she judged for Dance Worlds and the event was televised on ESPN at Walt Disney World. She also appeared as a Guest Judge for the World Championships of Performing Arts held in Hollywood California. She is a proud member of the Professional Adjudicators Alliance and is a certified member with the International Academy of Dance Adjudicators. A renowned Dance Educator, Choreographer and Performer; also adds her expertise and advice with Industry Dance Magazine. Nancy holds several master and workshop classes throughout North America and is one of Toronto's most highly regarded ballet educators.
As an instructor, Nancy teaches at varied dance schools and elementary schools throughout the Greater Toronto Area and has been the recipient of many choreography awards. Her combined career experiences have enabled her to become a well rounded professional in the dance field. She is particularly eager to share her experiences, passion and love for dance with today's young dancers.
Sherri Urkow, L.I.S.T.D, A.I.S.T.D, R.A.D
Sherri Urkow received her training in London, U.K at the Ivy Baker School of Dance, Grandison College and Bush-Davies, under some of Britain’s top instructors. She holds her Licentiate and Associate Teaching Diplomas in Classical ballet, Modern Theatre and Tap and also holds major examinations in National, Classical Greek, Ballroom and Drama. She has also trained extensively in Musical Theatre, lyrical, modern & contemporary.
Sherri appeared in the Oscar winning movie “Oliver”, as well as various theatre productions, including “Carousel”, “Camelot” and “Under Milk Wood” to name a few and has performed for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at the Royal Albert Hall. She has performed extensively with top names in the British entertainment industry.
After a successful professional career, she taught at all 3 of her former schools and in 1975, accepted the position of Senior instructor at the St.Albert School of Dance, Alberta, where she taught for 18 years, eventually becoming Artistic Director. In 1993, she opened her own studio, The Art of Dance in St.Albert and also founded the Stardust Dance Company, a semi-professional group, whom have performed world-wide. She has won numerous awards as a choreographer and has choreographed for many functions, including the Alberta Winter games, the Opening of the Special Olympics, the Senior Winter games, Legends Gala and a special performance for the Premier of Alberta.
Sherri’s students have gone onto prolific careers in dance, including Chicago’s Hubbard St, Azure Barton & Artists, Les Ballet Jazz du Montreal, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Cirque du Soleil, Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines. A firm believer in giving back to the community, her students performed regularly at local functions and special charity and fund-raising events.
Sherri has been a member of the Alberta Dance Educators Association and served in all of their executive positions, as well as serving on various cultural boards. She won the Mayors Excellence in Teaching of the Arts Award, as well as Small Business of the year. Sherri decided to close her studio in 2013 to focus on other projects and family.
She is still in great demand as an adjudicator, judging competitions and festivals across Canada as well as a freelance choreographer and guest instructor and is looking forward to being part of this event.
She wishes all participants good luck and remember to have fun !