About Us

Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts Private Day School Students in Uniform

We foster artistic and academic excellence.





Hamilton Academy, also known as the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts, is an Independent school located in the heart of Dundas in Ontario, Canada.

The Academy 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.

The Academy offers enriched academics and specialized arts programming in a supportive and nurturing family environment. Our programs strengthen and develop artistic abilities in art forms including but not limited to: 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 and beyond. Our qualified, experienced, and caring teachers guide the students to achieve their academic and artistic goals. Whichever paths our students decide to take, they will embark on each journey with curiosity, dedication, passion, and a lifelong appreciation for arts and culture.

Since 2010, Hamilton Academy has been the proud recipient of multiple Hamilton Community News Reader’s Choice Awards per year.



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 fire 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 were made to the rear 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.




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

Max Ratevosian has over twenty years of experience with the 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 has taught at L’Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec in Montreal, The National Ballet School and The National Ballet of Canada in Toronto, and McMaster University in Hamilton. He is co-founder of Hamilton City Ballet and the Artistic Director of the annual Nutcracker ballet presented in Hamilton. Max is the recipient of the City of Hamilton Arts Award for Dance in 2008.

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 the recipient of the 2015 Dundas Valley Sunrise Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellowships Award for artistic contribution to the community, an honourary member of the Vancliffen Arts Foundation and a member of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO.

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

Anna Shkolnik 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.

Anna is equipped with over 25 years of experience as an Educator in Canada. 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-Ballet

Melania Pawliw is a graduate of L’Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec and received her diploma in Dance-Ballet 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. She 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, and for school boards across the regions of Niagara, Brant, Kitchener/Waterloo and Halton. She 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 the recipient of the 2015 Dundas Valley Sunrise Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellowships Award for artistic contribution to the community, an honourary member of the Vancliffen Arts Foundation and a member of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO.


Teacher, French
Dr. Cecily Field, A.B. Magna cum Laude, Harvard University, Ph.D., Oxford University

Dr. Cecily 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, 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 has collaborated with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Teacher, Violin
Anita Hiripi, B.A., 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, and the Dundas Valley Orchestra.

Teacher, Science, Mathematics & Technology
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, English & Social Studies
Crystal Skiehar, B.A. English Literature, A.O.C.A.D, B.Ed.

Ms. Skiehar graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She is an Associate of the Ontario College of Art & Design, where she specialized in Fine Art Photography and Printmaking. She obtained her Bachelor of Education at Lakehead University.

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, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden, and Switzerland. He was both principal flautist and soloist with the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra, and a part of the faculty. Mr. Szigeti is Assistant conductor of the Dundas Valley Orchestra and Music Director of the Hamilton City Ballet Orchestra.

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 and 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.