About Our Team
At First Dance Vancouver, we are more than lucky to have a very special team of artists that helps us support our work. We wish acknowledge their incredible talent and share their stories with you.
Portia Favro – Main Teacher and Consultation Assistant
photo by: Kristine Cofsky
Portia Favro is a classically-trained contemporary dancer, turned pin-up who is has plunged into Vancouver’s rich dance scene.
She is an award-winning dancer, choreographer, and teacher with extensive experience performing and working across Canada, the West Coast and Europe. She has worked with international choreographers and artists such as Galen Hooks, and continues to travel to teach and choreograph heels, cabaret and retro go-go technique for beginners to professionals.
Portia is the Lead Instructor for Luminesque Dance, teacher at the Vancouver Burlesque Centre and Produces Go-Go Bungalow at the Shameful Tiki Room, Vancouver’s only weekly retro go-go show!
She’s performed in the Calgary International Burlesque Festival, The Canadian Olympic Committee, Lost Girls Burlesque, NSFW, The Lovers Cabaret, The Lost Girls, Wet Coast Burlesque, GSG Productions and many more. In 2016, Portia produced her first full-length production “From Bond with Love” an ode to the women of the James Bond movie franchise. After a sold-out run and encore in Vancouver, she took it on the road to audiences across British Columbia.
When she’s not in Vancouver, Portia is on the road teaching and choreographing for local dance studios across Canada, and is often called upon for creative direction and input on commercial productions, photo shoots and other projects.
You never know where this pin-up is going to pop up…
First Dance Vancouver is so fortunate to have her as part of its generous and competent team of teachers and assistants. Clients love her energy, creativity and kind heart. She has a way to pull the very best out of people. You will love every second of your time spent in the studio with her!
Photo by Michael Slobodian
Racheal Prince – Instructor
Racheal Prince was raised in Wasaga Beach, Ontario and received her early training at the Quinte Ballet School under the direction of Brian Scott. She attended the School of Alberta Ballet’s Pre Professional Program with Murray and Nancy Kilgour and received the prestigious Ali Pourfarrokh scholarship. Racheal began her professional career with the Alberta Ballet Company where she danced for four years. Now in her 10th season with Ballet BC, she has performed works by Cayetano Soto, Crystal Pite, Itzik Galili, and Sharon Eyal among many others. Her performance highlights include Jorma Elo’s 1st Flash, Emily Molnar’s In Between Disappearing and Becoming, William Forsythe’s Herman Shmerman and Work Within Work. Racheal has choreographed five works for the Arts Umbrella Senior Company as well as one for the apprentice company. She has created works for the dancers of Ballet BC for the Shadbolt Centre for the arts. Racheal was the 2016 Ceccichete Awards Adjudicator, Choreographer and Workshop Teacher. She has also been a guest teacher for the Alberta Ballet Schools Professional Summer Intensive.
Caitlin Griffin – Instructor and Special Events Choreographer
Photo by Moonrider Productions
Toronto native, Caitlin Griffin began her training with the Oakville Ballet Company, performing in lead roles at a young age under the mentorship of Etienne Lavigne of The National Ballet of Canada. In 2004 she traveled to Vancouver to join The Goh Ballet Academy’s Youth Company with whom she performed across Canada and China in a broad spectrum of classical and contemporary repertoire.
In 2009 Caitlin joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal for Ferdnand Nault’s Casse Noisette. Her ongoing affiliation with the company has included dancing corps de ballet roles in the annual production for six consecutive seasons. Caitlin has also developed standing affiliations with companies including Ontario Ballet Theatre (2007-2008) MOVE: the company (2009-2011) Henry Daniel’s Full Performing Bodies (2011-2012) with whom she has performed nationally and internationally.
Additional career highlights include being involved in production for Sony Pictures Feature Film “Center Stage: Turn it Up”, performing at Bangkok’s 13th International Festival of Music and Dance as well as in the 2010 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies for a television audience of over 30 million viewers. Choreographed by Jean Grand-Maitre and directed by David Atkins, “Sacred Grove” also featured Sarah Machlachlan, Donald Sutherland, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and played to over 59 thousand live viewers in BC Place.
In 2012 Caitlin spent a semester on scholarship with EDAM’s Peter Bingham to study contact improvisation. Later that year the BC Arts Council awarded Caitlin a significant professional development grant, enabling her to live in Israel’s Galilee Dance Village where she was immersed in daily practice with pioneers in dance creation including Rami Be’er and Rina Sheinfeld. Caitlin worked closely with artists from the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company as well as other visiting artists from around the world. Her experience in Israel culminated with a choreographic showcase and several performances in partnership with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.
As an emerging choreographer, Caitlin’s works have been presented by programs and festivals including 12 Minutes Max, Dances for a Small Stage, The ROMP! Festival, The Dance 2 Dance Festival (Audience Choice Award Winner), MOVE: the company, The City of Vancouver’s Biennial Open Air Museum, The Firehall Arts Centre BC Buds and most recently The Dance Centre Open House via Project CPR 5. In 2013 Caitlin became affiliated with Team Canada Dance as she choreographed a bronze medal winning solo for a young dancer in competition at the World Dance Championships in Poland. A year later, Caitlin has taken over the role of head ballet choreographer for the 2014 Team, preparing the team’s group, solo and duo choreography. Caitlin continues to perform on a freelance basis.
Kyle Toy – Instructor
Kyle Toy’s dance career began at Canada’s prestigious National Ballet School, and soon spread to several other styles and mediums. His dance company credits include Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ballet Victoria and the Canadian Opera Company. In addition to his strengths as a classical and contemporary dancer, Toy headlines a Michael Jackson tribute show as the King of Pop himself, touring nationally with high-profile corporations such as Rogers Telecom and performing private events for celebrities like Sarah MacLachlan and Hollywood Foreign Press Association Chairman, Ruben Nepales. Toy’s choreographic work has been produced throughout Vancouver, and he has acted as a co-choreographer in the Sony Pictures feature film “Center Stage: Turn it Up” (Ethan Stiefel, Kenny Wormald). Toy has also appeared in Hollywood films, on hit TV shows, in commercials, and danced as a Featured Professional Performer in the XXI Vancouver Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremony dancing with Alberta Ballet alongside recording artist Sarah McLachlan.
Kirsten Wicklund – Instructor
Kirsten Wicklund is a dancer and choreographer from Vancouver, BC, completed her classical training at the prestigious GOH Ballet Academy. Kirsten performed as a soloist in YAGP’s Gala “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” at New York City Centre, the International Ballet Gala in Florida, Space Coast Ballet Gala, and shortly after joined The Washington Ballet Company in Washington, DC. Kirsten was then invited by Alonzo King of LINES Ballet to join his professional choreographic workshop followed by an internship at Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company in New York City. She is currently a member of Billy Bells’ LUNGE DANCE COLLECTIVE, and has toured with New York City Dance Alliance since winning their National Title. She has performed across Europe and beyond to Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, India, and the US. She teaches master classes and workshops all over Canada and the US. Kirsten is the Artistic Director of project based workshop and choreographic series PROVOKE Movement (www.provokemovement.com), as well as a 200HR RYT Yoga Instructor. She has now been a full-time member of Ballet British-Columbia since 2015.