Faculty 2023 - 2024

Shane Gibson - Artistic Director

Shane Gibson is a former member and past President of the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, with whom he danced for more than 14 years. During his involvement with Shumka, he toured extensively throughout Canada, the United States and China as a cast member of Absolutely Shumka, Cobbler's Princess and Cinderella. Shane has received training in Character Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Musical Theatre and has worked and trained with several celebrated artists in North America and Ukraine. 

Shane has complemented his dance training with studies in gross human anatomy/physiology, biomechanics, and visual and performing arts. He has shared his love of dance with students across Western Canada as an Artistic Director, Instructor or Adjudicator and is currently focused on developing and delivering quality professional development and resources for Ukrainian dance instructors. Shane has successfully created an original full length production for Tryzub's Ensemble titled Heroiam Slava - Glory to the Heroes; taking this on tour to Ukraine in the summer of 2019 and Western Canada in the fall of 2019.

Olena is a graduate from the Berdiansk State Pedagogical University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in dance.

Olena was a  dancer of the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble Zaporozhtsi of the Zaporizhia Regional Philharmonic from 2006 to 2022. As part of the team, she visited many Ukrainian cities to present Ukrainian folk dance. Also, since 2003, she taught at the Baida Children's Folk Dance Ensemble as an instructor and later as a choreographer. The children's team took an active part in all Ukrainian and international competitions.

Olena Brahina

School Lead Instructor and Ensemble Assistant

Vitali Brahin

Ensemble Assistant

Vitali was a dancer with the National Honoured Academic Dance Ensemble of Ukraine, Virsky for 6 years. He also danced with the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Zaporizhia Regional Philarmonic from 2006-2022.

Since 2003 he has shared his talents with the Baida Children's Folk Ensemble in Ukraine as a choreographer and later as Artistic Director. His dancers have participated in festivals and competitions throughout Ukraine and internationally.


Miss Natasha brings with her over 2 decades of dance experience. Since the age of 3, she has been training in ballet and Ukrainian dance. She has completed RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) ballet exams Primary to Grade 8, as well as vocational exams Intermediate Foundation to Advanced 2. Miss Natasha has been teaching ballet, Ukrainian and lyrical for the past 12 years, and has loved every moment. 

She is a graduate with a Bachelors in Commerce in Operations Management from the University of Calgary, with a minor in dance. Natasha is certified with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) as an instructor.

You will also find Natasha on the stage performing as part of Tryzub's Ensemble.


Natasha Krochak

Ballet Lead Instructor

Christine Biss

School Assistant Instructor

Christine began her Ukrainian dance career at age five, and was a student of Tryzub School for eleven years. In 2007 she joined Tryzub's School faculty striving to share her love of dance with her students. She has studied Ukrainian dance, ballet, and musical theatre under several very talented instructors, including Anna Kanevets and Shane Gibson.

Christine has been performing with the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble since 2008; her career highlights have included international tours to Mexico, Turkey, Panama, and Colombia, national productions of Razom and Razom 2, and most recently the 45th anniversary tour of Heroiam Slava-Glory to the Heroes in Canada and Ukraine. Tryzub has always been a primary focus of Christine's life and family; both her parents are Tryzub alumni, and her husband danced with her in the Ensemble. Christine's ultimate goal as a dancer is to break the record for Tryzub's highest performance count. In addition to being a dance instructor Christine works fulltime as a chemical engineer.



Nolan van Ryzewyk

School Assistant Instructor

Lauren Saunders studied ballet at the International School of Ballet with the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus for 13 years. Through her ballet career, Lauren danced with Jeunesse Classique Ballet where she climbed the ranks to perform principle roles such as Sugarplum, Aurora, and most recently Coppélia. She danced at the Alberta Ballet School for one year of training with their junior school where she studied the Cecchetti syllabus, and attended The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Post-Secondary Aspirant Program where she performed in RWB’s Nutcracker and Swan Lake. 

More locally, Lauren is a member of Tryzub's Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. She is excited to take a deep dive into Ukrainian dance and culture through her assistant teaching.

Lauren attends U of C as a student in Kinesiology.


Lauren Saunders

School Assistant Instructor

Alexandra Andrekson

School Assistant Instructor

Alexandra is an active member of the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, having toured with them in Western Canada and in Ukraine in 2019. In 2007, she began dancing with Tryzub School of Ukrainian Dance followed by Junior Tryzub under the instruction of Anna Kanevets, Vasyl Kanevets, Christine Biss, Anne Copeland, Dean Mackedenski, and Shane Gibson. 

Having participated in the dance instructor apprentice program under Shane Gibson last year and assisting at Tryzub's summer dance camps, Alexandra is looking forward to sharing her love of Ukrainian dance with the students this upcoming year. 

She is also a student at Mount Royal University continuing her studies.