Laurel Ashbee – Studio Owner/Artistic Director

Laurel is the Founder, Owner and Artistic Director of Expressions Dance Centre Inc. as well as the Director of the Expressions Dance Company, performance group and competitive dance team.  She also currently works full-time as a teacher and choreographer at the studio, with both the recreational and competitive students.

Laurel’s students and choreography have won many awards, scholarships and overall high score awards and have earned recognition for herself and for her studio.

Since opening Expressions Dance Centre Inc. in 2003, she has run and managed the creative vision for the studio. She has over 20 years teaching experience at various schools and programs in the greater Toronto area. She teaches all ages and levels in a variety of styles, such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Acro, Musical Theatre and Hip Hop. She also teaches classes in creative movement, improvisation, choreography and composition. She thoroughly enjoys the variety of technique and choreography-based classes and rehearsals, but especially loves teaching creative movement and introductory dance to the preschool aged children.

Laurel earned her Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA Hons) in dance from York University in Toronto, Ontario in 2004. During this time, she studied in courses such as anatomy, kinesiology, dance injuries and prevention, sciences, psychology, pedagogy, choreography and more. She also danced and performed in a variety of shows and was a member of the performance dance team.

She also earned her Bachelor of Education degree (BEd.) concurrently at the Intermediate/Senior level, with Dance and English as her teachable subjects.

Although she is no longer teaching with the Durham District School Board, she maintains her membership in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers.

Laurel begin dance at a young age; she completed numerous exams in a variety of levels and styles, and she competed across Canada and the United States with many competitions and organizations, such as Dance Educators of America.

She has spent over 30 years training with some of the top industry professionals. During this time, she has successfully completed her Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance Associate Teaching exam (with honours) in Modern Dance, in 2007 training under Virginia Fleming (former head examiner, and owner of the Fleming School for the Performing Arts in Oakville, Ontario). She also holds her Advanced 2 level Tap with the ISTD, as well as her Intermediate RAD Ballet with the Royal Academy of Dance.

In 2010 she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification, in hopes of bringing some of her yoga practises and philosophies into her dance teaching for her students. She is a firm believer in the many benefits of yoga, meditation and breathing techniques, for physical and mental health, and overall well being.

Laurel continues to train through classes, courses and workshop programs, and strongly believes in lifelong learning, growth and evolution.

Dance should be fun and accessible to all, which is how Expressions Dance Centre was first born back in 2003. She hopes you will consider joining us in future and experience the difference for yourself.


Laura Bianco – Teacher/Choreographer

Coming soon.


Tara Forbes – Teacher/Choreographer

Tara began her journey with dance very early in her life.  She studied tap, jazz, ballet and modern, and was a successful competitive student for many years in Canada and the U.S.  Since then, her passion for dance has continued to grow and has become a way of life for her.

She has enjoyed over 25 years in the dance industry.  Her experiences as a competitive dancer, professional performer, choreographer and teacher have taken her through many different areas of the dance world, including intensive classical ballet teaching studies, musical theatre, stadium concerts and music videos.  Her diverse background has given her knowledge and experience with many different dance styles and performance platforms.

Tara’s projects include choreographing “SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Musical” which won Best Production at Theatre Ontario in 2010, and “Cabaret” for which she was nominated for Best Choreography at the ACTCO festival in 2013.

Tara enjoys teaching a variety of dance styles including ballet, tap and jazz/contemporary.  She is a fully certified teacher with both the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers (ADAPT).  Many of her students have gone on to achieve successful dance careers either as performers or teachers.  Tara is also a member of the Professional Adjudicator’s Alliance.

Tara continues to take classes herself, and believes it’s always important to keep learning and evolving.


Amanda Mattar  – Teacher/Choreographer

Amanda is a seasoned artist who started her love of dance with Ballet at the age of 3. She continued to intensify her studies at The Studio of Dance and Performing Arts (Traditions) in Whitby, Ontario adding Jazz, Modern, Tap, Lyrical and Musical Theater to her repertoire. During those years Amanda not only competed and placed 4th out of 14 in the Dance Educators of America National Competition in Las Vegas, but also received workshop scholarships. By the age of 18, she completed her Bronze, Silver and Gold Jazz, RAD Intermediate Ballet, RAD Grade 8 Ballets, ISTD Advanced 2 Modern Theater as well as ISTD Intermediate Modern Theater – Tap.

In 2001 Amanda focused on one particular style of dance and attended the Contemporary program at Concordia University in Montreal for a year before beginning her career abroad with Carnival Cruise Lines. In her first 3 years with CCL, she quickly earned her place as a member of the inaugural cast of the Carnival Valor travelling throughout Europe.

Taking a hiatus from CCL to intensify her studies in dance, Amanda moved to New York in 2005 and continued her dance education as part of the Steps on Broadway Ensemble. While attending Steps, Amanda took the opportunity to engross her self in as many styles of dance she was able to take furthering her knowledge in dance. Amanda was blessed with the opportunity of performing in the New York Musical Theater Festival, Dumbo Dance Festival, Battery Dance Festival, NuDance Festival and The Latin Choreographers Festival to name a select few. She’s worked with Maria Torres, Ray Hesselink, Tony Stevens, Jason Winters, Derek Mitchell, Bradley Shelver and performed with Karen Gayle’s company Xodus Dance Collective.

On her return to Carnival in 2009 Amanda was asked to join her 2nd inaugural contract to Europe on the Carnival Dream bringing Hip Hop to CCL and leading the company away from it’s traditional Vegas Style review shows. In 2012 Amanda was one of the first 4 casts to install the 2.0 shows which was a small cast of 8 all singing and dancing. Another milestone for CCL as commercial/concert styled shows were introduced with choreography by One Direction’s choreographer Paul Roberts, Layla Ellison, and Broadway styled theatrical choreography by Peter Flynn. Amanda focused on growth within the company and became a Playlist Cast Manager. She finished her career with the company as a Ship Supervisor teaching and training the incoming casts to the CCL standards.

Amanda’s passion and intention for dance is ever present. She loves any opportunity she has to share and pass on all she has learned throughout her career and is very excited to bring her high energy and creativity to Expressions Dance Center!



Upcoming Important Dates

Thanksgiving - Studio Closed • October 9, 2017
Halloween - Studio Closed • October 31, 2017
Winter Break - Studio Closed • December 16, 2017 to January 7, 2018
Classes Resume • January 8, 2018
Family Day - Studio Open • February 19, 2018
March Break - Studio Closed • March 9 - 18, 2018
Classes Resume • March 19, 2018
Good Friday - Studio Closed • March 30, 2018
Easter Monday - Studio Open • April 2, 2018
Victoria Day - Studio Closed • May 21, 2018
Showcase Dress Rehearsal • May 23, 2018
Showcase • May 25 and 26, 2018