st. john’s newfoundland

school of dance and artist incubation center


Magpie Movement’s mission is to uplift our community of movers and shakers by sharing the joy of creative movement. We empower and inspire students through quality dance education with caring, professional instructors in a supportive and positive atmosphere. We aim to broaden the reach and impact of eclectic dance through active community engagement.

We are the music makers,

    And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

    And sitting by desolate streams; —

World-losers and world-forsakers,

    On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

    Of the world for ever, it seems.

Excerpt from “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy (1873)


Our short-term vision is to expand our programs based on our community’s continued interest in dance and creative movement, facilitating growth of the physical, emotional, and intellectual wellbeing of our students. We aim to instill a belief in the creative process, informed by body awareness, mindfulness, and mutual respect

Our long-term vision is to serve as an artist incubation center, where we can nurture entrepreneurs, small business owners, and amateur artists as they develop their own movement-based practise. We want to own a facility with multiple fully-equipped studio spaces where artists can cultivate their work in a space that they can call their own. Think of Posie Row, or Quidi Vidi Village Plantation, or hair salon suites – but for dance and movement!

  1. Fostering a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome.
    • It’s important to us that you feel supported to be who you are, just as you are.
    • We hold non-judgement and non-competition in our hearts.
    • We encourage finding your own artistic voice.
  2. Championing great people through diversity, inclusion, and allyship.
    • We hear the voices of our community.
    • We elevate voices who aren’t heard as often.
    • We see the good in people.
    • We value the wisdom of experiences that differ from our own.
  3. Acting with courage, challenging the status quo to find new ways to grow.
    • We keep learning and pushing boundaries for growth so we can better serve our community.
    • We never settle for how things have been done.
    • We approach change with an open heart and an open mind.
  4. Prioritizing accessibility and community relations over profit.
    • We are flexible in our policies and allow accommodations for life.
    • We offer financial relief, subsidies, and scholarships when possible.
    • We seek accessible spaces and offer a mixture of attendance options for comfort.
  5. Minimizing environmental impact.
    • We invest in greener and eco-friendly options.
    • We shop and source from local business and minimize shipping.
    • We reduce our waste and reuse or repurpose things as often as possible.
    • We’re paperless and energy efficient.
get to know us better

meet our team


vanessa matthews

belly dance

Vanessa is a contemporary and fusion belly dance artist living in St. John’s NL. She is the owner of Magpie Movement, artistic director of Seraka Dance Company, producer of Belly Dance Brew, and sits on the board of directors for the Untellable Movement Theatre. Vanessa is known for her subtle nuances, fluid arm and hand work, and outstanding musicality. She builds on her background in music and theatre, and strives to continually push her creative boundaries.

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guest teachers

honey fury

Honey Fury is a burlesque performer, a choreographer, and a dance instructor from St. John’s. As Newfoundland’s most experienced burlesque performer, she has spent the past 15 years refining her burlesque skills, supplemented by a multitude of other movement styles with a strong focus on heels dance (including The Arch Method Heels Dance & Performance Training)

heather labonté

belly dance

Heather’s twenty-two year dance adventure spans belly dance, jazz funk, and contemporary, among others. Known for her compelling emotional command of audiences, extensive technical knowledge, and fondness for rule-breaking, Heather loves to make, teach, and perform dances that push the boundaries of what her dance is and can be.

elaine dunphy

nia technique

Elaine is a true seeker of joy. Since her first class the Nia Technique has brought her so much joy that she decided to spread the feeling to others wherever she can. As a Nia blue belt and a certified instructor with training in ‘Moving to Heal’ and ‘Ageless Grace’ she is committed to helping people connect to their own sense of playfulness through this unique mind-body-spirit conditioning movement practise.

miss kitty fantastico

Miss Kitty Fantastico is everyone’s “Burlesque Mama” and has been a pillar of the St. John’s burlesque community for the last decade. Headmistress of St. John’s Burlesque Academy and one-third of the production powerhouse Here Kitty Kitty Productions, Miss Kitty has been using her lifetime of multi-disciplinary training in movement, theatre, and costuming to spread the joy and empowerment of burlesque since 2010.
get in on the fun

join our team

We want to expand our team with people who are excited about helping to build a supportive community based in creative movement and dance.

Whether you’re coming with your own program and curriculum, or are interested in being an assistant or instructor in our existing programs, we would be delighted to discuss our flexible arrangements and compensation.

we want movers, shakers, and whimsy makers

We would LOVE to support movement artists and small businesses who need a home – especially for those styles of movement that often don’t fit the mold of standard dance schools.

  • Wellness (Nia, Yoga, Pilates, Mindfulness, Adaptive Dance, etc.)
  • Fan-favourite dances (Burlesque, Twerk, Striptease, etc.)
  • Street dances (Breakdance, Pop, Lock, Waacking, House, etc.)
  • Latin dances (Salsa, Bachatta, Tango, Samba, etc.)
  • Spanish dances (Flamenco, Sardana, Sevillana, etc.)
  • Indian dances (Bollywood, Kathak, Odissi, Bharatanatyam, etc.)
  • Middle Eastern dances (Raqs Sharqi, Dabke, Saiidi, Khaleeji, Kawleeya, etc.)

We ultimately want to serve the community as an ARTS INCUBATOR, and we have big plans to expand in the future!

send us an email and join our team