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Dance Accompanists

Mytyl Aiga 

Mytyl has been playing the piano for 16 years and currently accompanies dance classes at the Shadbolt centre. She was also a dance student at the Shadbolt Centre for eight years. Currently she is part of the Master program in Cell and Development biology at UBC.

Nick Apivor

Nick received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria in 1986 and has since been actively freelancing in Vancouver with such groups as Juno-nominated Rumba Calzada, New Orchestra Workshop, Ache Brasil, and numerous others. Some career highlights include playing with the Victoria Symphony, drummer in the pit orchestra for the Vancouver Playhouse Musicals 2000-2003, and recording with Grammy-nominated composer Paul Dolden. Nick has accompanied dance classes at the Shadbolt Centre since 1990.

Joanna Chapman-Smith (Occasional Substitute)

Joanna started here at the Shadbolt Centre in the fall of 2005. She sings, plays guitar, piano and just about anything that will make a noise. She excels at accompaniment for modern dance for all ages and will be a graduate of the Contemporary / Interdisciplinary Music Program at SFU in August of 2006. Joanna also performs regularly in Jazz, Gamelan, Folk and Pop ensembles. You can enjoy her recently completed CD, “Plain Jane” playing over the speakers — or say hello to her as she jingles through the halls.

Gillian Dolinski (a.k.a. Gill Civil)

Gillian is a New Zealand composer/piano accompanist who has had diverse experience ranging from accompanying Ballet and Modern Dance Companies in Australia to playing keyboards with the pop band “Crowded House”. Since her arrival in BC, Gillian has worked with Ballet BC, Karen Jamieson Dance Company, Judith Marcuse Dance Company, SFU, and many dance schools. She has created many commissioned works for dance and film and her compositions have also appeared in more than a dozen records and CDs.

Robert Mitchell 

Robert started working at the Shadbolt Centre as an accompanist for dance in 2000. Having over 25 years of experience, he specializes in live performance of original music and is currently working with the electronic pop band “THE HERMIT” ( and also with the funk band “Groove Dept”. Robert is sponsored by Moog Music synthesizers.

Duane Murrin 

After taking the Commercial Music Program at Capilano College, Duane enjoyed playing in a number of bands. Recording CDs, performing live, and getting on the radio from time to time. Eventually he went on to Simon Fraser University to work towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts, studying mainly music composition, electro acoustics and dance accompaniment. In 2002 he participated in a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and now composes, performs and records music for numerous dance, theatre and film projects, as well as working as a dance accompanist at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. 

Alex McKechnie 

Alex graduated from Capilano College’s Bachelor of Jazz Studies. He performs with a number of bands, including his own jazz trio and teaches a course in African drumming at Capilano College. Alex accompanies modern and creative dance classes at the Shadbolt Centre. 

Sarah Russ 

Sarah Russ is a ballet accompanist, instructor, and music Fine Arts Leader at the Shadbolt Centre. She is also a relentless nighttime composer and has written many pieces of music for the Shadbolt dance recitals. Four of her piano pieces have been digitally published by RYCUN Music Company (

Shelley Molnar-Eckstein

Shelley Eckstein is a multiple award winning musician and songwriter who has spent her life pursuing her passion. Raised in Calgary, Alberta she began classical training at the age of 7 and by age 12 she obtained best in Alberta. By the age of 15, Shelley was already teaching piano and accompanying dance. Shelley attended the University of Calgary majoring in performance going on to teach students of all ages, accompanying vocalist, choirs including the GMWA gospel choir for 5 years. Her rich, varied background and drive for excellence makes Shelley a true creative powerhouse
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