About Ottawa Dance Centre School

Established in 1972, Ottawa Dance Centre School (ODCS) offers exceptional dance education in Classical Ballet and Contemporary techniques to students of all ages and abilities.

With a strong emphasis on developing technique, each class encourages students to reach their full potential. Small class sizes, adaptable teaching techniques and a cooperative learning environment are hallmarks of the ODCS experience.

Under the tutelage of Artistic Director Rebecca Middleton and the ODCS Faculty, students are guided in the exploration of dance as a creative art form from an early age. The school has a proven track record of graduating students into diverse careers, including performers, teachers, choreographers, and movement therapists.

ODCS is a cooperative school of dance that provides both recreational and vocational training under the guidance of a professional Faculty and Artistic Director. Each faculty member possesses professional dance performance and/or teaching experience which promotes their approaches to teaching the students of ODCS. The faculty regularly take part in Continuing Professional Development to uphold their memberships to a number of dance teaching societies. These include the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), the British Association of Teachers of Dance (BATD), and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD), among others. The mission of the school is to provide certified dance education to students from all backgrounds, regardless of race, colour, gender, creed, religion, or financial status.

ODCS operates on a not-for-profit basis and is a registered educational institution. The collected fees and tuitions are directed to faculty fees for services, studio rental, administrative supplies, and professional equipment such as ballet barres, mirrors, flooring, and sound systems. Any residual funds are channelled into scholarships to cover tuition for financially disadvantaged students.

As ODCS celebrates over 50 years of excellence in dance education, it remains committed to its mandate of providing quality dance education in a caring, cooperative, and inclusive environment.

Ottawa Dance Centre School - Ottawa Recreational Vocational Ballet School Royal Academy of Dance - ODCS-4

Our Studios

Ottawa Dance Centre School’s office and studios are conveniently located in downtown Ottawa. Nestled within the heart of the community lies an easily accessible gem, a place that beckons with convenience and welcomes all who seek what we have to offer. Whether by foot, bike, or public transport, our studios are a breeze to reach, removing the barriers often associated with distant or obscure locations. Its strategic placement allows individuals from across Ottawa and Gatineau to effortlessly be a part of the ODCS community.

Our studios are purposefully crafted environments that cater to the unique needs of dancers at the highest levels of training and performance. Each studio boasts expansive, well-lit spaces that provide ample room for movement. Mirrored walls on one or more sides of the studio create a excellent sense of depth. Adjacent dressing rooms equipped with ample storage space, and additional amenities such as water stations, waiting areas, and lounges contribute to the overall comfort and functionality of the space.

Our Office

500 Old St. Patrick St, Unit 3, Ottawa, ON, K1N 9G4

Our Studios

ODCS’ studios are located in De La Salle High School, 501 Old St. Patrick St, Ottawa, ON K1N 8R3

Our Faculty

Artistic Director

Founder/Director Emerita

Contemporary and Jazz Teacher

Classical Ballet Teacher

Contemporary and Jazz Teacher

Classical Ballet Teacher

Primary Ballet Teacher

Our History

The 1970s marked a transformative era in Ottawa’s cultural landscape, witnessing a remarkable convergence of visual artists, musicians, theatre, and dance. The inauguration of the National Arts Centre in 1967 lent credibility to a city previously lacking artistic stability, particularly in the realm of dance.

In 1971, the Dance Centre emerged on Rideau St., founded by Judith Davies and Joyce Shietze. The primary goal was to offer classes encompassing both modern dance and classical ballet. The response was overwhelming, attracting students of all ages and backgrounds in both dance idioms. Collaboration with the NAC’s Theatre Department, spearheaded by Denis Hayes, further enriched their offerings, fostering an exchange where modern dance and theatre improvisation became integral components. Within a year, the Dance Centre expanded its horizons, hosting workshops with notable figures like Judy Jarvis and exploring cross-cultural collaboration in dance. The premises soon became inadequate, prompting a move to a larger studio on Sussex Drive.

The 1970s marked a period of significant growth for the Dance Centre, welcoming talents like Carla Murgia. In 1974, responding to community interest in Dance Education, the Dance Centre Workshop Company was established. This semi-professional group, initially focused on educational performances, evolved into the Ottawa Dance Theatre (ODT) in 1976. In 1978, Judith Davies assumed solo directorship, leading both the performing Company and the school, renamed the Ottawa Dance Centre.

The National Arts Centre hosted the premiere of Ottawa Dance Theatre during the 1979-80 season, marking three years of a resident professional dance company in Ottawa. Despite a devastating fire at the Sussex Drive location in September 1980, destroying archives and assets, ODT received substantial support, allowing it to resume operations at the University of Ottawa within three months. In 1983, ODT presented a full-length original ballet, “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” a collaboration with Ottawa composer Peter Landey and the Nepean Symphony.

Ottawa Dance Centre and Ottawa Dance Theatre recovered and moved into a new home adjacent to the National Arts Centre. ODC transformed into an institution renowned for accepting students of diverse age groups and providing them with comprehensive training across a spectrum of dance genres, encompassing classical and contemporary styles.

Under the new name Ottawa Dance Centre School (ODCS), the institution has persevered in hosting distinguished teachers within the profession. It has consistently nurtured and guided students, paving the way for successful careers in the arts. Our commitment is to uphold and carry forward the significant legacy that the school has so steadfastly maintained.

Why Ottawa Dance Centre School?

Expert Faculty

Our dedicated faculty consists of accomplished professionals with a wealth of experience in the world of ballet and contemporary.

Holistic Training

We offer a comprehensive curriculum that goes beyond just technique. Our students develop not only exceptional dance skills but also a deep understanding of the art, history, and expression that define ballet.

Progressive Programs

From beginners to advanced levels, our programs cater to all ages and skill levels. We have carefully crafted curricula that allow students to progress seamlessly through the stages of their ballet education.

Dance For All

Dedicated to offering dance education to students, fostering inclusivity without regard to race, colour, gender, creed, religion, or financial status. We are committed to ensuring that no child is denied access to our programs due to financial constraints. Operating on a not-for-profit basis, ODCS is a registered educational institution, driven by the mission of making dance education accessible to all.

Performance Opportunities

We believe in giving our students the chance to shine. Throughout the year, we organize performances, recitals, and showcases that provide a platform for students to showcase their talent and hard work.