We aim to be the premiere school that fosters artistic and academic excellence.

Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts is an Independent school that provides a unique opportunity for its students in Grades 3 to 12 to pursue excellence in both the Performing Arts and Ontario Ministry of Education elementary and secondary curriculum.

We offer specialized Arts programming in a supportive environment that strengthens the development of artistic abilities in Classical Ballet, Music, Vocal, and Drama. Our extra-curricular and leadership programs focus on organizing cultural events to allow our students to share their talents with the local community. Our qualified, experienced, and caring teachers guide the students to achieve their academic goals and appreciate high-level education.

Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts is the proud recipient of the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Hamilton Community News Reader’s Choice Awards

History of Our Building

In 1842 the Baptist congregation of Dundas built a brick church on Park St. West, and seven years later a baptistry was added.

In 1866, after the church was destroyed by a fired that started in the carpentry shop to the east, the congregation was able to purchase adjoining land to the west and construct a new sanctuary. A Sunday School was later built on the foundation of the original church and in 1868 a parsonage was erected at 104 Park St. West the site of the carpentry shop.

In 1904 the plain glass of the church windows was replaced with simple stained glass, and over the years, additions have been added to the rear and to join the Sunday School to the sanctuary.

The Dundas Baptist congregation moved to a new building in 2001 and the church buildings were then used by the Dundas Valley Montessori School.

In the summer of 2009, the building was purchased by Max Ratevosian and the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts was founded.

Renovations began and the Ballet Studio and classrooms were completed. Future plans include renovation of the stage and performance space.

Board of Directors

Max Ratevosian

Past President, Ex Officio

Mr. Max is the founder of the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts.  He sat on the founding board as President and is now Artistic/Executive Director and Past President, Ex Officio. Mr. Max has more than sixty years of experience in Ballet and the Arts.

Harriet Bigas


Ms. Bigas graduated from McMaster University with a Master’s of Arts in French literature. She has been a student of ballet since the age of 9, and volunteered and taught ballet to kids of all ages for several years. Ms. Bigas has worked in several organizations with a focus on children, including UNICEF and a children’s television broadcaster.

Joe Gennaccaro


Joe is a Hamilton business owner. He is a valuable member of the Board of Directors with a keen knowledge of budgeting, and policy. He has been a friend to and a supporter of both Hamilton City Ballet and the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts for many years.

Lisa Rogers


Lisa has been employed by The Hamilton Spectator for many years in the position of Sales Coordinator. She has taken courses in not for profit organization operations including roles and responsibilities of board members. Lisa has been instrumental in policy making.

Our Staff

Artistic/Executive Director, Ballet & Historical Dance Teacher
Max Ratevosian, B.A. Ballet Master, M.A. Choreographer

Over twenty year’s experience with Moscow State Ballet Theatre as Principal Dancer, Teacher and Ballet Master. He taught Stage Movement and Dance for Dramatic Arts at Shepkin University and Methodology for Classical Dance at Lunacharsky University. In Canada since 1991, he taught at L’Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec, in Montreal, The National Ballet School and The National Ballet of Canada in Toronto, as well as McMaster University in Hamilton. He is co-founder of Hamilton City Ballet and is the recipient of City of Hamilton Arts Award for Dance.

For many years Max Ratevosian has been a guest teacher in the U.S.A., England, Germany, and Japan. He has served on many juries for Ballet examinations and dance competitions across North America. Max is Artistic Director of the annual Nutcracker ballet presented in Hamilton. Max is an honourary member of the Vancliffen Arts Foundation and the recipient of the 2015 Dundas Valley Sunrise Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellowships Award for artistic contribution to the community.

Principal, Mathematics Teacher
Anna Shkolnik, B.SC., M.A.(T)

Anna is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and holds Math Specialist and Ontario Principal credentials. She has taught Mathematics at elementary and secondary levels in Kiev, Ukraine and university stream Math courses in Hamilton, Ontario.

Equipped with over 25 year’s Canadian experience as an Educator. She has worked extensively with international students, parents and educational consultants from all over the world, focusing on pre-university studies and university placement.

Associate Artistic Director, Ballet Teacher, Choreographer
Melania Pawliw, D.E.C. Dance

Melania Pawliw is a graduate of L’Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec and received her diploma in Dance Performance and Teaching from C.E.G.E.P. du Vieux-Montreal, in Montreal.

Melania was a soloist and principal dancer with various classical companies in Montreal and abroad-notably with the Kiev Opera and Ballet Theatre in Ukraine. Melania’s teaching career began as an assistant at The National Ballet School in Toronto and subsequently taught at L’Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec in Montreal. Melania co-founded the Hamilton City Ballet school in 2001. In addition to teaching, Melania choreographs ballets for the dancers of Hamilton City Ballet.

Melania was dance-educator for the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through the Arts program, for school boards across the regions of Niagara, Brant, Kitchener/Waterloo and Halton. Melania taught Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum subjects through movement and dance.

Melania is Artistic Director of the annual Nutcracker ballet presented in Hamilton. Melania is an honourary member of the Vancliffen Arts Foundation and the recipient of the 2015 Dundas Valley Sunrise Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellowships Award for artistic contribution to the community.

Development Director & Business Administrator
Patti Cannon, B.A. McMaster University, Courses in Management, Fundraising, Board Development.

Patti has worked in the arts for over 25 years as administrator, fundraiser, event co-ordinator, board member, actor, director, and artistic director. She has served as the executive director for Hamilton Arts Council (formerly Arts Hamilton & Hamilton and Region Arts Council), a member of the Board of Directors of HECFI, member of the City of Hamilton’s Art Advisory Commission, Chair of the City’s Arts Award, Artistic Director of Northern Lights Theatre, participated in different capacities with the Hamilton Fringe Festival and coordinator for Imagine in the Park Children’s Arts Festival. In 2016 she was the recipient of the Hamilton YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Arts.

Teacher, Drama
Marie Franek – Hon. B.A., B. Ed., M.A. Drama

Marie has worked extensively as an actress, a dramaturge, a director, and as a president. She founded Studio Babette Puppet Theatre.

Teacher, Modern Dance
Julia Garlisi

Julia is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre Professional Training Program. She is an active company member of Dance Theatre David Earle.


Teacher, Vocal
Marta Greda-Kicek, B.A. Opera/Performance

Ms. Greda-Kicek holds a major in Opera and Pedagogy from the Academy of Music in Poland and a diploma in Performance from Wilfred Laurier University. She performed as an opera singer in Germany and Austria and collaborated with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Teacher, Violin
Anita Hiripi, BA Béla Bartok University of Music

Ms Hiripi has been a member of the Debrecen Symphony the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra. In Canada she became a member of Symphony Hamilton, the Dundas Valley Orchestra.

Teacher, Science, Mathematics & Computers
Frank Macchiusi, B.Sc., M.A.Sc., B. Ed.

After graduating Mr. Macchiusi moved to Brussels, Belgium – the heart of Europe where he  taught science, computer and mathematics courses at both the middle and high school levels at the International School of Brussels. He returned to teaching in Canada after 17 years in Europe.

Teacher, Flute
Mate Szigeti  B.A. M.A. Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Debrecen.

Maté has appeared internationally as soloist and orchestra member in North America, Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland. He was both principal flautist and soloist with the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra the faculty Mr. Szigeti is Assistant conductor of the Dundas Valley Orchestra, Music Director of the Hamilton City Ballet Orchestra.


Teacher, English, Social Studies & History Teacher
Jessica Welsh, B.A. English and Communications, B. Ed.

Mrs. Welsh graduated from McMaster University with a double honours degree in English and Communications and from Brock University with Bachelor in Education. She also has a Diploma in Advertising and Communications Media from Mohawk College.

Teacher, French
Dr. Felicity Field, PhD, Oxford University, A.B. Magna cum Laude, Harvard University B.A.

Dr. Felicity Field has travelled widely and has extensive experience in lecturing, research, curating and teaching. She is a published author and mother of four children.


Teacher, Math, Special Ed., Home Economics
Filomena Sienna-Caterini, B.A., B. Ed.

Filomena has taught in both elementary and Secondary Schools in the Hamilton and Kitchener school boards. She has extensive experience in special education and learning resources as well as Life Skills.