Ariel McDonald was born in Toronto, Ontario and has been dancing since age 3. She has an extensive background in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, acro and hip hop. Her passion for dance led her to begin teaching and choreographing from age 15 and competing throughout Southern Ontario. Ariel has also spent time training in Toronto at the Underground Dance Centre, mainly in heels, hip hop, jazz funk and contemporary. She was a member of the Badass Babes intensive program in 2018 and 2019 where she developed her passion for heels and fostered her skills in commercial dance.
Currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Ariel is a faculty member at House of Eights Dance Studio, and is president of and a choreographer for the Dalhousie Dance Society. Most recently, she started her own professional heels company alongside Kelsy Gillis, xo Rouge, for which she is the co-director. Ariel constantly seeks to work with and learn from leading choreographers including Jake Kodish, Kaela Faloon, Yanis Marshall, Neil Schwartz and Brinn Nicole Gooch. She is in the process of obtaining her Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers (A.D.A.P.T) certification, is a module 1 acrobatic arts certified teacher and is accredited through the Professional Adjudicators Alliance. Ariel’s primary goal is to constantly improve her own skills and abilities in order to give back to the dancers she works with. She is extremely passionate about teaching dance, and above all aims to empower and inspire others through her choreography.
What do you want people to get from your class?
My classes are all about personal growth and empowerment. I’ve always been taught that no matter how much you mess up a combo, if you leave feeling stronger than you felt at the beginning of the class, that’s a victory. Heels is all about living your best life and gaining confidence, whether you’ve taken a million classes or never touched a stiletto, I want everyone who comes to my class to leave feel empowered!
What motivates you to dance?
Dance has been my #1 passion and major obsession for my entire life. I spend as much time dancing as possible because I love the way it makes me feel. There’s something super special about being able to express yourself through movement, and I love creating those feelings without having to say a word. I’m extremely dedicated to my own training, I’ll take any opportunity to grow as both a dancer and a teacher.
What are some highlights of your career as a dancer/choreographer?
So far in my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to train with numerous influential heels choreographers including Brinn Nicole Gooch, Yanis Marshall and Kaela Faloon. I’ve spent 2 seasons training in jazz funk, hip hop and heels with the Badass Babes Toronto intensive company. I also pride myself on my skills in styles beyond heels. I’m in the process of becoming an ADAPT certified tap and jazz teacher, have had the opportunity to teach and choreograph in multiple styles of dance, and I’ve worked with dancers of all ages and abilities. In addition to House of Eights, I currently choreograph for the DalDance society and teach at a competitive studio in Ontario during the summer. I am most proud of the fact that wherever I go, dance is always a central part of my life!