OUR VIRTUAL MENTORS & JUDGES
Each choreographer will have the opportunity to work with and receive feedback from an established working artist and mentor. They will help you prepare for your final video performance and explore your artistic vision. A mentor will provide personalized and valuable video feedback on your performance piece.
Director, Choreographer and Teacher Derek Piquette began dancing at the young age of 10 in his hometown of Chicopee, MA. From there his dance career accelerated quickly. By the age of 16, he received full scholarships for several ballet intensives and won several National Titles. Derek then moved to Miami to follow his dreams of becoming a professional dancer, training over 50 hours a week.
One of the most exciting experiences in his young career took place in 2015, when he competed on Season 12 of So You Think You Can Dance, finishing among the top 4 "Stage" dancers and performing for over 37 million viewers. He followed up his appearance on the show with the So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour, performing in 70 cities across USA and Canada.
In early 2017, Derek performed the lead role in Cirque Du Soleil's KOOZA as the
"Trickster" traveling under Big Top in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Singapore and China. One of Derek's most recent endeavors included competing as a finalist on NBC's World Of Dance Season 3 featuring Jennifer Lopez.
In 2019, Derek choreographed and was featured as a principle dancer in a new Netflix film "Work It" produced by Alicia Keys, as well as, worked as a principle dancer on another Net fl ix series directed by Kenny Ortega "Julie and the Phantoms". Alongside his partner Mitchell Jackson, they choreographed solos on Briar Nolet for Jennifer Lopez's "Its My Party" Tour.
Most recently, Derek filmed an Apple+ TV limited series entitled "Schmigadoon". Derek was cast as a chorus performer/ core dancer and was also brought on as an assistant choreographer to the legendary Christopher Gattelli for one of the episodes. Later in 2020, he was part of the creation process and danced on camera for a new Netflix series "Scaredy Cats" choreographed by Tori Caro.
As a teacher and choreographer, Derek has worked for various dance organizations including On the floor, Hit the floor, Cll Studios, Mather Dance Company Online, Acrobatic Arts, Top Ten Dance Challenge where he has Judged, taught, and assisted top choreographers in the industry.
His career has taken him to destinations throughout the United States, Canada, England, Central America, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, China and Singapore where he has taught at over 200 competitive and professional dance studios/companies. Since 2014, Derek choreographed more than 450 award winning pieces, including pieces for stars on Dance Moms, Disney's Backstage, World of Dance, Netflix, Family Channel's The Next Step and So You Think You Can Dance.
Derek currently teaches for On the Floar: The Ultimate Dance Experience, working with young dancers all over North America. He has also been a Co-Director as well as a choreographer and principal dancer in On the floor's Gala for SickKids Hospital in Toronto for 6 years and has helped raise over $350,000 for the Childlife Program.
In 2019 Derek launched the Intrepid Dance Company's Post Secondary Training Program, which is a 1-year intensive program to help dancers on the path to a successful dance/dance-related career. Derek has now Directed and Choreographed two professional shows for Intrepid Dance Company entitled "Her" & "Tempus". Derek has achieved many professional and artistic goals and has helped other dancers do the same. Derek is especially focused on working with young dancers around the world, hoping to instill in them his enthusiasm for dance and inspire them to become the best they can be.
Mitchell Jackson first discovered his love of dance in the small northern Ontario city of Sudbury. While most dancers learn their first steps as children, Mitchell did not begin dancing until he entered Sudbury Secondary School and was introduced to jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary dance, and musical theatre. His passion for dance eventually led him to Toronto. Within two years of beginning his competitive career Mitchell won numerous awards across North America. Television has also beckoned: Mitchell has performed on CTV, Much Music, MTV, Rogers TV, Breakfast Television, So You Think You Can Dance Canada and a dancer for many artists.
Mitchell has now focused his career as a director, choreographer and co-owner of On The Floor: The Ultimate Dance Experience. Over the past few years his work can be seen on Disney’s “Backstage”, “The Next Step” (TV show and tour) NBC’s “World of Dance” and Fox “So You Think You Can Dance”. Most recently he had the opportunity to choreograph in the Netflix film “Work It”. TV and Film is a passion for Jackson, but he still loves live stage and theatre. This past summer he was given the opportunity to choreograph the opening of JLO’s It’s My Party tour featuring Briar Nolet.
Mitchell has become a much sought-after choreographer and teacher. Last year alone he choreographed over 200 award winning routines across the world. In 2019 Mitchell decided to open a training program, “Intrepid Dance Company” inviting dancers from across the globe, prepping them to become professionals in the dance industry. He has taught at the some of the largest studios in the world, and has trained dancers who have performed with Ne-Yo, Usher, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber.
He also cofounded On the Floor (OTF), a program of competitions, conventions and workshops, focused on training and educational opportunities for dancers. OTF also includes a fundraising component in support of SickKids Hospital in Toronto. The money raised by OTF is used to provide dance parties and other entertainment to the patients. These events give the young patients a chance to forget their troubles and focus instead on having fun. In the past 7 years, the OTF team has grossed over $352,000 for the hospital. As Mitchell said in a recent profile in NorthernLife.ca, the kids are always really excited for these events and cannot wait for the dancers to come. It is moments like these—when he can share the incredible joy of dance—that inspire Mitchell to continue on the path life laid out for him, starting on that high school stage in Sudbury and leading him to a rewarding career doing what he loves.
Based in Toronto Hayley Paone is the epitome of a versatile artist. With a diploma in Interior decorating and a professional background in the dance industry as the former owner and artistic director of "iNhayle Dance company,” choreographer, creative director, adjudicator and photographer it is only natural that we define her as a "multi-hyphenate” in the creative world. Hayley continues to run and develop her “Artistic Dance Program” (ADP). Most recently coordinating and curating pop-ups and events for designer brands in both fashion and beauty Paone easily connected with her clients exposing them to consumers. Hayley has been collaborating with numerous brands which has developed her deep love for fashion and beauty photography. Her movement direction behind the lens is vital to her work and helpful for all of her clients. Hayley uses photography as a continuation of dance, Where she creates stillness, shapes and suspensions infusing it with emotion and intention similar to her work as a performer and choreographer. Fashion has always been at the forefront for Paone providing the inspiration needed to produce her overall vision for any dance piece or project. Creating brand content for clients across digital platforms as well as providing artistic direction for both commercial and editorial projects. Hayley's skills extend to styling a space or model, event ideation and planning and executing on any scale. Hayleys natural ability to lead provides solid execution for any project she touches motivating her team energetically during the process. She is thrilled to be mentoring these young creators and is truly inspired by all of their talent.