Ms. Thiessen knew that teaching dance was her calling and a year after finishing high school, she was accepted into the RWB’s Teacher’s Course Program. She graduated after 3 years of training with having completed several exams which included her Associate designation from the Imperial Society of the Teachers of Dance – Cecchetti Branch, as well as passing her jazz exams in the Brian Foley ADAPT Syllabus. She then moved to Indiana to take over the Ballet and Jazz programs as well as teaching Tap and Beginner Tumbling at Newburgh Academy of Dance and Performing Arts School.
After 2 years in Indiana, Debra moved back to Winnipeg, and began teaching again for the RWB’s Recreational Program. Her experience in Indiana with choreographing for festivals and competitions helped her to do the same for the Jazz Workshop and Ballet Workshop classes at the RWB. Her dedication showed in her students as they continue to receive passing marks in their Ballet, Jazz, and Tap exams and receiving awards and scholarships at festivals and competitions. But Ms. Thiessen didn’t stop with her students, she also continued her training and was awarded her Licentiate with the Cecchetti Society of Canada in 2003.
She is a versatile and accomplished teacher, whose experience in many dance disciplines and levels has enabled her to work in Canada, United States, and England.
For the past 3 years, Ms. Debra has been living in England with her family where she spent most of her time travelling throughout Europe, volunteering at her children’s school, and enjoying being a stay-at-home mom. She, however, could not forget her dance roots and worked with the school’s Head Master and teachers and helped implement a “Shake Awake” dance program that stimulates the brain in preparation to learn. She also choreographed for the school’s various plays, fundraisers, and other performing events.
Before moving to England, Ms. Thiessen and her family lived in Illinois for 5 years. While there she took a much needed break from working to help her family transition as well as give birth to her second child. She later went to teach full time with the Peoria Ballet where she taught ballet, pointe, jazz, and tap as well as workshop classes in lyrical, modern, and hip hop. Ms. Debra enjoyed working alongside the company’s Artistic Director and School Director in auditions and rehearsals for with their version of The Nutcracker and choreographed for year-end shows.
Debra’s contagious energy and enthusiasm is evident as her students continue to learn and strive for more. She only hopes to open the door to a vast world of dance to all those who want to learn.