Meet Our Staff

Ian Bent (Piano, Music Theory)

Sought after for his versatility, sensitivity and taste, Ian Bent is in high demand as a pianist/keyboardist and arranger in nearly every corner of Halifax’s kaleidoscopic music scene.

Since returning to Halifax after completing his Masters of Music at the University of Montreal in 2008, Ian has performed with dozens of projects, in a tremendous range of styles, from Klezmer (with Oy Gevalt, and the Halifax Klezmorim) to Tango (Libertango), Chamber music, 16th-century sacred polyphony, Jazz, Indie Rock, Contemporary Folk and Blues.

With his band, Caledonia, Ian has performed across Canada and in the United States, packing venues in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The band’s latest album, We Are America was nominated for 5 ECMA awards in 2010.

In addition to his work as a collaborative musician, performing alongside artists such as songwriter and poet Tanya Davis, and recording and performing with the band Acres and Acres, and songwriters Keith Mullins, Steve Gates, Zac Crouse, Alana Yorke and Morgan MacDonald, Ian has been hard at work developing his career as a solo artist. He has taught students ages four to adult of all levels adding composition and theory if the student desires.


Kimberley Holmes (Fiddle, Piano Accompaniment, Accordion, Banjo and Ukelele)

Kimberley, a native of Nova Scotia, is one of Canada’s premier piano accompanists in the traditional style of fiddling and has won many awards for her fiddle playing as a solo performer. She has also captured first place at the Maritime Fiddle Festival in the group category with Dave Bagnell, Jocelyne Bourque, Samantha Robichaud and most recently with Sherryl Fitzpatrick on July 9, 2011. She is also the house accompanist and past artistic director of the Maritime Fiddle Festival.

Kimberley has toured with such artists as Graham and Eleanor Townsend, Richard Wood, Calvin Vollrath and April Verch among others, and has recorded with a long list of musicians including Richard Wood, Jocelyne Bourque, Ray Legere, J.P. Cormier, Tara Lynne Touesnard, Calvin Vollrath, Gordon Stobbe, Peter Dawson, Sherryl Fitzpatrick and Kelli Trottier.

Kimberley has been a member of the FRSPA staff since 2005 teaching both piano and fiddle to ages 4 to adult. She is a guest instructor at camps across Canada, most notably the Tobique Fiddle Camp in New Brunswick, Canadian Grand Masters Camp, Calvin Vollrath Camp as well as at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton.


Vanessa Buhr-Rountree (Voice, Piano)

Vanessa Buhr-Rountree has been teaching voice and piano at FRSPA since 2005. She has had the privilege of performing as a principal soprano soloist and actor in numerous operettas, musical theatre productions and concerts with such groups as the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of N.S.; Theatre Arts Guild (N.S.); Maritime Concert Opera ; Savoy Society Ottawa; N.S. Drama League; and Rhapsody Quintet. She has also been music director for productions such as Do The Right Thing (an antibullying project ), G&S’s Trial By Jury ; and the Canadian premier of Sheridan Morley’s musical Noel and Gertie, (taking it to two International Theatre Festivals).She has also worked in film, TV, radio and is a full member of The Alliance of Canadian Cinema , Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA).

Vanessa has degrees in Psychology and Recreation from Dalhousie University, with a minor in Theatre. She studied voice and piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music. She loves witnessing the “light-bulb” moments from her students as the musical experiences transform them to another level and believes in finding the music that best helps a student express themselves. Vanessa’s students have also done very well in RCM exams and Kiwanis Music Festival competitions.

Behrooz Mihankhah  (Piano)
a piano player, composer and singer/songwriter, born in Tehran, Iran. He moved to India in the year of 2007 and started performing professionally in India in late 2011. He started his musical journey by singing covers of the bands/artists that inspired him and gradually started composing his own music. In the year 2013 he went to S.A.M Music Academy in South India where he majored in Piano. He played and toured with various projects in India among which are the bands “Run Pussy Run”, “Riddim Funktion” and Behrooz Mihankhah Ensemble. Behrooz is currently studying Music Arts at the NSCC with piano as his major instrument and is involved in a number of upcoming project in Halifax such as ‘Lazeez’, ‘Superfluid’ and ‘Mellodora’. Behrooz Also plays in the NSCC Jazz as well as the World Music Ensemble (Klezmer and Middle Eastern). He started teaching after he finished his course in Music performance in the year 2013.  Behrooz has been very quickly making a name for himself in the Halifax music scene as a exemplary Piano player and musician.  



Ever since picking up a guitar at age 12, Kenneth’s love of music hasn’t stopped growing and evolving. He is currently studying guitar performance at Dalhousie University, and has become well versed in music theory and classical guitar technique. When he’s not studying at Dal, he’s playing lead guitar for Halifax based folk rockers Ryan Hull and the Storytellers, who are beginning to gain traction in the local music scene. Kenneth’s playing style is very diverse, and he feels at home in almost any genre. Whether it’s teaching, playing, or even just listening, he’s always happiest when sharing music with others. 




Ryan Cox (Bass, Guitar, Rock Ensembles, Campfire Guitar)

A native of Windsor Junction, Ryan has been teaching at FRSPA for ten years. Originally born a bass player, Ryan has grown into a talented multi-instrumentalist.  Equally at home on either guitar and bass, Ryan has also developed a reputation as a uniquely stylized and prolific song writer. His current musical project, SecondBand, has released several singles to critical acclaim and has performed throughout Nova Scotia to growing audiences. Ryan teaches several of the Rock Ensembles, The Campfire Guitar Classes, and has run the popular FRSPA Rock Camps for many years.

Zach Smith (Drums, Percussion, Pipe Band Snare, Drum Line)

Zach Smith brings over 20 years of teaching and performing experience to FRSPA and has been with the school since 2003. After obtaining both his performance degree (percussion) and music education degree from Acadia in 1998, Zach has been teaching, performing, recording and touring with some of the best musicians in the Maritimes including Christine Campbell, Alycia Putnam, Kimberley Holmes, Darren McMullen, Pogey, The Band of the Ceremonial Guard (Ottawa), and Richard Wood.  Zach maintains a large teaching studio where ages range from 6 to 60. He currently fronts his own band, The Worry Birds, and is the lead drummer for Maritime Champion Dartmouth and District Pipe Band.

Shawn Mullen (Guitar, Music Theory, Rock Ensembles)

Shawn Mullen grew up in Middleton, Nova Scotia, where lazy Sundays were spent listening to his Grampy wail out bluegrass tunes on the fiddle and music was integral to everyday life. Carrying on the family tradition, Shawn began seriously playing guitar at age eleven and has spent almost two decades developing both his ear and his technique.

Shawn holds a Bachelor of Music (guitar & music theory) from Dalhousie University, where he graduated on the Dean’s List in 2007. Subsequently, Shawn spent five years in Montreal where he achieved his Diploma in Sound Recording & Production from Recording Arts Canada and began his career as a freelance Audio Engineer, a job that has allowed him to dip his hands in everything from music studio production to sound design.

Shawn specializes in steel-string fingerstyle, bluegrass flat-picking and classical style guitar. He is admittedly a bit of a music theory nerd and has a wide-range of teaching experience, including conservatory and freelance sessions, with students of all ages.

Dave Fultz - (Guitar, Bass Guitar, Rock Ensemble and Summer Rock)
Dave started playing piano at the age of 5  By Junior High he had added Violin lessons, Saxophone and Percussion to the list of instruments he would  continue to play. He picked up a guitar while in 2nd year University and it has become his instrument of choice.Dave is well known in the Halifax music scene performing and  touring with such bands as Liars on Fire, Willie Stratton & the Boarding Party, Second Band, and  The Barrowdowns, playing Piano, Guitar, Banjo, Violin, Drums and even Flute when the occasion presents itself!   Dave also has his own band appropriately named, "Dave Fultz & Whatever Happens:  Dave taught at  both our 2015 and 2016 Summer Rock Camps.
We are pleased to have Dave join our weekly teaching staff at FRSPA, to share his love of music and as he  says "whatever knowledge he can" to our eager students.

Brittany Hann (Voice, Musical Theatre)
Brittanny Hann has been involved in the performing arts for almost 25 years, and has been teaching/directing for 12 of those years. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with honours) from York University (Toronto, ON) and a Bachelor of Education from Crandall University (Moncton, NB). Brittanny is a licensed member of many performing arts education associations such as Performing Arts Educators Canada, Carl Orff Canada and Royal Academy of Dance, Canada. She is trained in Musical Theatre, Jazz Vocal Performance, Jazz Trombone, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz Dance and Ballroom dance. She has directed over a dozen children’s plays and has starred in, written and directed many plays and musicals for a variety of theatre companies nation wide. She has played Velma Kelly in Chicago, The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, Rusty in Footloose and Maureen in Rent – to name a few. You might say that being a bit sassy has led her to some type-casting! Brittanny moved to Halifax 4 years ago where she taught dance, voice and musical theatre at Maritime Dance Academy and Theatre School. Two years in, Brittanny decided to make the switch to the wonderful community of Fall River. In addition to teaching Voice and Theatre at FRSPA, she teaches music full time at Ecole Burton Ettinger School in Halifax, and is the Artistic Director for Lake and Shore School of Performing Arts at the Lake and Shore Rec Center in Porter’s Lake, NS.  Last year, Brittanny directed The Wizard of Oz at FRSPA. Brittanny is excited to be teaching at FRSPA again this year and cannot wait to                                            begin production of this year’s musical, Annie!


Georgia Skinner - Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, Ballet and Hip Hop

Originally from Halifax, Georgia trained for 17 years in Classical Dance through Coastal Dance, starting at age 3. She trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Ballet and was a member of Coastal Dance Theatre's Young Performance Group for 6 years.She has entered her own choreography into Taking Steps to Fly and choreographed for Coastal Dance Theatre's "in Concert".  In 2011 Georgia attended The School of Toronto Dance Theatre's Professional Training Program.  As part of her education she performed in "The 60 Dance Project" by Ted Robinson, at The Canada Dance Festival in. 2014  Upon Graduation from Toronto Dance, she returned home to Halifax where she works with "The Woods Hip Hop Company, Nostos Collectives, and teaches for East Coast Dance Academy, Coastal Dance, and Rock in Opposition Yoga Studio.  In the summer of 2015 Georgia travelled to Vienna Austria to participate in workshops of ImpulzTans International Dance Festival, where she worked with such highly regarded artists in the International Community, including Eleanor Bauer, Bruno Caverna, Clara Furey and Peter Jasko, Philippe Riera. Francesco Scavetta, and Doris Uhlich.  She was then able to work with Mocean Dance on contracted artists projects, such as Emerge Project 2015 and CLEARaR Forum 2015 and 2016. In 2016 she participated in Moceans' 15th anniversary piece, entitled 15 for 15 and understudied a new commission, for a quartet by Daniel Desnoyeres.  Georgia currently works in both the Hip Hop and Contemporary realm professionally and feels fortunate to receive an abundance of opportunities as an independant artist in her hometown. 

We are very excited to have Georgia Skinner join us at The Rage Dance Studio!


Jessica Lowe - Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Modern and Ballet

Jessica Lowe hails from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She started dance at the age of five at Dartmouth Dance Academy and Leica Hardy School of Dance. Pursuing dance has always been her career goal and upon graduation she moved to Toronto in 2011 to attend York University’s BFA Dance Program. Throughout University she was given many performance and choreographic opportunities. Jessica has had the opportunity to train with many Toronto dance artists such as: Julia Sasso, Carol Anderson, Susan Lee, John Ottman, Eryn Waltman and many more. She has also had the opportunity to perform with Eminence Dance Company, YA! Dance company, York Dance shows and Bazaar showcases. She has also worked as an intern with the Dance Current.  

After graduating York, Jessica co-founded Nostos Collectives Dance Association. Nostos Collectives is a registered non-for-profit based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and Toronto, Ontario. Their mandate is geared towards creating performance and choreographic opportunities for local emerging dance artists. Over the past two years, she has led Nostos Collectives to perform in two Atlantic Fringe Festivals, the Fundy Fringe Festival and three self-produced shows in Halifax and Toronto.

Welcome Jessica Lowe to The Rage Dance Studio!

Lacey Cox - (Hip Hop)

Lacey is a veteran of our Dance Studio.  Her first classes were in Jazz, Ballet and Hip Hop.  She studied with Halifax Dance for Ballet and at our  studio with Karla Hodge and later Carol Jedidi..  She joined a competitive Hip Hop  team when she was 12 and when she was competing at 14, she was spotted by the Director of the Woods and  asked to join the professional Hip Hop company  as a full time member. She began to teach both Hip Hop and Ballet until she left for Acadia University.
She became involved with the Smile program at Acadia in her first year there and for each of the next three years until her graduation in the spring of 2016. She has worked with children at community centers in and around HRM during the summer months as leader and program director. Lacey graduated with her Bachelor of Science in both Psychology and Biology. She continued with "The Woods" throughout university and still is a full time member today. Lacey's love for Hip Hop is evident in both her live performances and while teaching in the classroom.  Come join in on a Hip Hop class led by this enthusiastic instructor at The Rage Dance Studio.

JILLIAN MACKENZIE - Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary and Lyrical

Jillian is from the city of Sydney in Cape Breton Island. She has been dancing since the age of 2 with D&R Dance Ltd. Growing up she competed competitively and performed in many local shows such as the Savoy Theatres Nutcracker ( casted as the sugar plum fairy). She has had the wonderful opportunity of working with many local choreographers and teachers. From taking classes in New York City at the Broadway Dance Centre, to PeriDance every opportunity has built her into who she is today. Having a love for ballet Jillian decided after graduation to move to Halifax to work on her Bachelor of Science degree at Dalhousie University, while taking part in the Maritime Conservatory of Dance post-secondary Teacher Training Program. She feels that each and everyone of her students can always be growing and that dance needs to be always pushing you past your limits mentally,physically and emotionally. Always driving her students to be the best dancers they can be, she thrives to share her love of dance with them. Jillian feels that you can never stop growing as a dancer and that you always need to be achieving a new goal. She loves to watch her student evolve and become the artists they are today. She can't wait to see what the future holds and hopes that it will always include her love of dance!


Welcome Jillian!




From: virginia cox <>
Sent: April 13, 2017 7:54 PM