Artistic Director - Bio


Ariole K. Alei is a visionary facilitator and group process designer as well as a dancer, choreographer, designer, teacher, and writer.

At the age of seven she began training with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. An Honors graduate, she toured internationally with Anna Wyman Dance Theatre and the Judith Marcuse Dance Company before launching her own choreography as Ariole Alei Solo Dance (formerly Sharon Wehner Solo Dance).

Following her first, highly successful solo tour ("there's a camel on my back", 1989), Ariole embarked on what became a fourteen year 'temporary retirement' during which she focused her energies on other keen personal interests.

In 1992 she participated in the United Nations Earth Summit and parallel conferences, consequently founding VIA Vision Into Action Society in Vancouver. In 1994 she began convening a series of international conferences in London, England. Living for six years in England and India, she focussed her attention on the design of ‘A New Model of Exemplary Global Leadership’ which led her to meet personally with HH the Dalai Lama and other visionary leaders. She subsequently designed and facilitated a rich series of workshops and retreats in England and Wales, assisting numerous individuals to awaken their ability to vision positive collective futures.

Upon her return to Vancouver in 1999 she co-founded ViA Vision Into Action Consultants, a corporate consulting practice in which she custom designed and delivered a wide array of 'wellness programs' and seminars.

In 2003 she triumphantly returned to dance with "there's a camel on my back II & III" and the recent "Ascend". "Soul Stories" will tour in the ummer of 2005.

In 2004 Ariole began creating works on other dancers. Commissioned by Ballet British Columbia's Mentor Program, she choreographed "Kundulaian" in honor of lepers and street children and "L'Esprit Éternel", a contemporary ballet en pointe.

Ariole recently was invited to Adjudicate Modern Dance at the 25th Anniversary of the Manitoba Dance Festival.

In 2005/06 ARIOLE ALEI DANCE was intended to be launched as an ensemble company bridging the aesthetics of classical ballet with the innovative edge of contemporary dance.

The universe coordinates life in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways. Of eight major grant applications written and numerous Corporate Sponsorship acknowledgements of interest, no funds were received to this project.

Ariole has thus been freed to co-launch HeartSong Solutions including HeartSong Matchmaking - "the world's first holistic matchmaking service designed for personal growth oriented singles" - as well as HeartSong Couples, Families, and Teens. She and her husband Colin Hillstrom are publishing four books - to be released September 2006. They are HeartSong: Conversations About Love, Joy and Sex - Discover the Secret to a Fulfilling Love Relationship, When A Man Really Loves A Woman - Why We Must Love More And What To Do About It, Awakening Instinct * Running the Gauntlet * Windows Through Time - a trilogy, and Birds' Eye View - A Travel Guide to the Universe. For more information, please visit and

Ariole is also the co-founder of Veraxis Coaching and Training (HeartSong's 'parent') with her husband and fellow Certified Solution-Focused Coach and Psychosomatic Energetics Therapist, Colin Hillstrom.

In all of her endeavors, be it choreographing, performing, teaching, facilitating, or writing, Ariole thrives on bringing out the best in herself and others.


Guest Choreographer - Bio


Serge Bennathan has been artistic director of Toronto's Dancemakers since 1990. The French-born choreographer trained in Paris in classical and modern dance before working professionally with Roland Petit's Ballet de Marseille. Prior to his arrival in Canada in 1985, he directed his own company in Cannes for four years.

Bennathan's award-winning choreography includes a number of works for Dancemakers such as Quand les Grands-meres s'envolent, Chronicles of a Simple Life, Les vents tumultueux, Sable/Sand (Dora Mavor Moore Award), Les Arbres d'Or, The Trilogy of Sable/Sand, C'est beau ca, la vie!, Chemin de ronde, Few Thousand Miles…, The Invisible Life of Joseph Finch and his latest creation, The Satie Project, which won both Dora Mavor Moore Dance Awards (for Outstanding New Choreography and Outstanding Performance) in 2003. Bennathan's work has received ten Dora Mavor Moore nominations in all.

Bennathan has been commissioned by many dance companies and festivals, including Teatro San Martin Ballet Contemporaneo in Buenos Aires, Le Jeune Ballet International de Cannes, the Canada Dance Festival, les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Ballet British Columbia, The National Ballet of Canada, and the Canada Japan New Creators Series.

Also known for his extensive work with opera companies and directors, Bennathan has collaborated with the Flanders Opera, Grand Théatre de Geneve, the Metropolitan Opera Company, and the Canadian Opera Company (COC). His many collaborations with the COC include Venus and Adonis in 2000-01, the 2002 remount of Salome with Atom Agoyan, a collaboration with director Tom Diamond on Handel's Julius Caesar in 2002, and the spring 2003 remount of Bennathan's choreography for Jenufa. His direction and choreography for John Blow's Venus and Adonis earned Bennathan two Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations, for Outstanding Direction - Musical and Outstanding Choreography.

Bennathan is currently collaborating with Stormy Nights Productions on his first film, which is based on his 1992 work, Quand les Grands-meres s'envolent. This September 2003, he began work on a new creation entitled Tziganes.

Bennathan is also a writer. His tale, Julius le piano voyageur, was launched the 19 th of October at Le salon du livre in Toronto and is published by the French-language publishing house Le GREF.


Guest Composer - Bio


Arne Eigenfeldt has created music for Ballet Monte Carlo, the Stuttgart Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, Dancemakers, and Ballet BC. His music has been performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East, and he has received awards from the Canada Council, the Performing Rights Organization of Canada, the Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers of Canada, and ASCAP. Currently living in a suburb of Vancouver with his wife and three children, he teaches music and technology at Simon Fraser University.

He has been commissioned to compose music for dance for choreographers including Serge Bennathan, John Alleyne, Judith Garay, Marla Eist, and Pipo Damiano.

He has received Awards from BC Cultural Fund Music Commission, Canada Council Music Commission, Canada Council Explorations Grant, Canada Council Travel Grant, ASCAP - Raymond Hubbell Music Composition Award, SOCAN Serge Garrant (chamber music) Award, CBC Young Composer's Competition (chamber music), and the SOCAN Hugh LeCaine (electroacoustic music) Award.


Artistic Director - CV

Ariole Kesari Alei

(birth name Sharon Elise Wehner)

Artistic Director, Choreographer, Performer, Designer

Born November 26, 1961

c/o 6975 Prescott Street 'Cottage'

Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6N 1N2

(604) 731-1783

Dance Training

1968 -1983 Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division - including choreographic workshop; Graduate; Winnipeg, Canada

1980 -1981 Banff Centre School of Fine Arts, Dance Program; Scholarship Student; Banff, Canada

1982 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; International Scholarship Student; Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Professional Experience

1980 – 1983 Manitoba Opera Association; Dancer; Rigoletto, La Traviata, Carmen (* lead Dancer); Winnipeg, Manitoba

1981 – 1983 Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division performances; duet by Peggy Baker, solo by Sandra Neels; Winnipeg, Manitoba

1983 -1986 Anna Wyman Dance Theatre; Dancer; Vancouver, Canada

1986 “Encore! Encore!” Dance Reconstruction Project; Dancer, Actress; Toronto, Canada

1986 -1988 Judith Marcuse Dance Company - including choreographic workshop; Dancer; Vancouver, Canada

1988 – 1989 Freelance projects with Iris Garland and Gisa Cole; Dancer; Vancouver, Canada (including “Dancing On The Edge” Festival)

1988 –1989 Sharon Wehner Solo Dance; “there’s a camel on my back” (5 solos); Performer, Choreographer, Lighting Designer, Costume Designer, Administrator, Tour Coordinator; Winnipeg, Victoria, Vancouver, Canada

1989 Sharon Wehner Solo Dance; “there’s a camel on my back” full-evening performance (7 solos, including Judith Marcuse’s “Seascape” & Gisa Cole’s “time … rolling, rushing on, swift, silent”; televised by Rogers Cable; VECC; Vancouver, Canada

1990 “Dragon Fly” performed in numerous benefit concerts; British Columbia, Canada

1992 “Global Gathering of Minds”; Conceptual Design, Initiator & Coordinator; Vancouver, Canada

1992 United Nations Earth Summit; Citizen Participant; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1992 -1994 VIA Vision Into Action (Society); Founder, Executive Director; Vancouver, Canada

1994 “Raven’s Ait - A Global Conference on the Creation of a New Model of Global Leadership”; Initiator and Facilitator; London, England

1994 - 2000 Meetings with His Holiness the Dalai Lama - reviewing visions for a “New Model of Exemplary Global Leadership”; Dharamsala, India

1995 -1996 Workshops, Retreats, and an In-Depth Discourse Into The Evolution Of A Planetary Ethic ; Facilitator and Initiator; London, England and Wales

1994 - present Yoga and Meditation Teacher; England, India, Canada

1995 – 1997 “Dancing Into Ecstasy – Dancing FromWithin” and “Dancing Into God – A Tantric Reawakening” workshops; Designer and Facilitator; Glastonbury Festival and London, England

1997 - 1998 Water Lilies the story of an elongation , the story of a waking up; and Keys to a Clear Path - Living a Simple Life in Flow ; Author; India and England

1999 - 2002 “Dancing Into Ecstasy – Dancing From Within”; Workshop Facilitator; Vancouver, Canada

1999 ViA Vision Into Action Consultants and Vision Into Action Coaching; Founder and Partner; Vancouver, Canada

2002 Meditation For Executives; Author; Vancouver, Canada

2002 “Dragon Fly” solo performance; Choreographer, Dancer; 12 Minutes Max; Vancouver, Canada

2003 Sharon Wehner Dance; “there’s a camel on my back II”; Performer, Choreographer, Lighting Designer, Costume Designer; Victoria Fringe Festival; Victoria, Canada

2003 Sharon Wehner Dance; “there’s a camel on my back III”; Performer, Choreographer, Lighting Designer, Costume Designer; Vancouver Fringe Festival; Vancouver, Canada

2004 Sharon Wehner Dance; “Ascend”; full-evening of ten solo dances; including “Dancing Into Ecstasy – Dancing From Within” public workshops; Performer, Choreographer, Lighting Concept, Costume Designer; Vancouver, Canada

July 2004 Sharon Wehner Dance; “there’s a camel on my back III”; Performer, Choreographer, Lighting Designer, Costume Designer; Winnipeg, Canada

December 2004 Sharon Wehner Dance; "Kundulaian"; Ballet British Columbia Mentors presented at "View New"; Choreographer; Vancouver, Canada

2005 Sharon Wehner Dance; "Kundulaian" and "L'esprit Éternel" Ballet BC Mentor performances at 12 Minutes Max, Vancouver International Dance Festival, BBC Mentor June performances, Moberley Arts Centre, and other venues in negotiation; Choreographer; Vancouver, Canada

May 2005 - present Veraxis Coaching and Training; Principal and Co-Founder, Vancouver, Canada

June 2005 Sharon Wehner Dance; "Untitled" (title tba); commission for Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts summer performances; Choreographer; Vancouver, Canada

Summer 2005 Sharon Wehner Dance; "Soul Stories"; summer solo tour; Performer, Choreographer, Lighting Designer, Costume Designer; Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Victoria, Vancouver

April 2006 - present HeartSong Solutions including HeartSong Matchmaking, HeartSong Couples, Families, and Teens; Principal and Co-Founder, Vancouver, Canada

August 2006 Ariole Kesari Alei; legal name change

September 2006 Birds' Eye View - A Travel Guide to the Universe; Author; Vancouver, Canada

September 2006 Awakening Instinct - the true feminine principle * Running the Gauntlet - navigating our way to our fully embodied potential * Windows Through Time - a 'possible evolution' story - a trilogy ; Author; Vancouver, Canada

September 2006 HeartSong: Conversations About Love, Joy and Sex - Discover the Secret to a Fulfilling Love Relationship ; Co-Author with Colin Hillstrom; Vancouver, Canada


Choreographic Credits (*listing city of premiere)

1988 "The Times After"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume/Props/Lighting Designer; AD Perry (score); AD Perry (piano), Toni Stanick (violin); Vancouver, Canada

1989 "Dragon Fly"; Choreographer, Performer, Lighting Designer; Winnipeg, Canada

1989 "Lost"; Choreographer, Performer, Lighting Designer; Winnipeg, Canada

1989 "Back from the Edge"; Choreographer, Performer, Lighting Designer; Winnipeg, Canada

1989 "Romp (or Act IV, scene V The Final Breath)"; Choreographer, Performer, Lighting Designer; Vancouver, Canada

2003 "Infinity"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume/Lighting Designer; Victoria, Canada

2003 "Was … Is"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume/Lighting Designer; Vancouver, Canada

2003 "The Passage"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume/Lighting Designer; Vancouver, Canada

2003 "Ziyarah"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume/Lighting Designer; AD Perry (score); Vancouver, Canada

2003 "The Great Escape"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume/Set/Lighting Designer; Vancouver, Canada

2004 "Woman Awakening"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume/Set Designer, Lighting Concept; Vancouver, Canada

2004 "above the clouds"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume Designer, Lighting Concept; Vancouver, Canada

2004 "THIS IS THE SEA"; Choreographer, Performer, Costume Designer, Lighting Concept; Vancouver, Canada

2004 "Kundulaian"; ensemble piece created in honor of lepers and street children, commissioned by Ballet BC Mentor Program; Choreographer; Vancouver, Canada

2005 "L'esprit Éternel"; ensemble contemporary ballet on pointe commissioned by Ballet BC Mentor Program; Vancouver, Canada

2005 "Untitled" (title tba); ensemble contemporary ballet commissioned by Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts; Vancouver, Canada

Other Roles



I have always felt a passion for expression. A lover of the arts, I continuously delve into and explore my own new artistic frontiers, and I greatly enjoy assisting others to discover theirs.

Described as “a breath of fresh air”, I am awed by the power of the human spirit.

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