Bend Academy provides high quality dance & acrobatic programs for all ages & ability levels. With top notch, trusted, & accredited instruction, all programs are delivered with care and a focus on empowering each individual student to reach their personal best.

As of September 2022, Bend Academy has our own location at 5-2 Donald Street at the corner of Gertrude Avenue & Scott Street in Osborne Village! 

Bend Academy is directed & founded by Melanie Botelho-Urbanski. Melanie has been teaching acro since 2012 & started offering her own programs in 2017 under the name Bend With Mel & later Bend Acrobatic Academy. Opening an all styles studio has always been a dream of hers. Melanie is known for her professionalism & dedication to her work and is thrilled to be living out her dream of opening a studio.

Through dance, students develop more than steps, tricks, and combinations; students build character, confidence, self-esteem, friendships, and lasting memories. At Bend Academy we recognize that we are teaching so much more than movement. Bend Academy is a welcoming, positive, & inclusive atmosphere where we are always working to provide the best experiences possible for our students & their families. 

A few things that make Bend Academy stand out from other studios are:

  • Respect for Individual Needs
    • Focus on the individual student’s personal best & no hyper-competitive atmosphere. Students will never be pressured to compete or do more than they can handle. 
    • We are all about everyone feeling great about doing their own personal best, whatever that means for them.
    • All classes and students are valued equally.
  • Class Types
    • Options for recreational classes and technique/no recital classes or competition opportunities. 
    • Options to solely train or train and perform.
  • Amazing Acro
    • The caliber of Acro training offered at Bend Academy is unmatched in Winnipeg. With the popularization & growth in demand for acro dance in recent years, many dance studios now offer acro dance training. However, in Manitoba there is a shortage of certified and experienced teachers able to offer great acro programs. Bend Academy offers strong & technically sound acro training from an instructors who knows acrobatics inside and out.
  • Communication
    • Clear & concise communication with parents. We are all about having open communication with our families & will always respond to emails and calls in a timely fashion.


Our Team

Melanie Botelho-Urbanski, Director & Founder of Bend Academy

Melanie’s journey in acrobatics began at four years old. Since then Melanie has studied various styles of dance, artistic gymnastics, cheerleading, contortion, aerial acrobatics, hand balancing, and Pilates. She has competed and trained in dance and gymnastics across Canada and the United States.

Melanie enjoys teaching all ages and levels. She is a fully certified Acrobatic Arts teacher having completed her Module 1 & 2 courses. Melanie is also fully certified in Alixa Flexibility (Modules 1-5) and N.C.C.P Level 1 certified in Artistic Gymnastics. In addition, Melanie is a graduate of the University of Manitoba having attained a Bachelors’ Degree in Recreation and Community Development (B.R.M.C.D.)

One of Melanie’s greatest passions is teaching Acro dance. She enjoys creating choreography that blends dance and Acro seamlessly. Her pieces are often crowd favourites and have won multiple judges choice, all around high score, and audience choice awards. Melanie is passionate about teaching and loves sharing her knowledge and skill & helping her students realize their potential.

Anna Smith

Anna originally moved to Winnipeg to study at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program.  Over the course of the three years she spent there, Anna discovered a love of Pilates as well, and got her STOTT Pilates certifications shortly after her time at the RWB.  Today, she teaches both ballet and Pilates throughout Winnipeg, with students of all ages and walks of life, from young children, to aspiring professional students, beginner adults, to 65+. She loves the variety of people this career has given her the pleasure of interacting with and knowing.

Anna started ballet as a child, and eventually branched out into taking jazz and modern dance as well.  As a teacher, she strives to make every student feel included and welcomed, removing as many barriers to learning as possible.  Her favourite moment of teaching is the “ah-ha!” look on a student’s face when an epiphany happens.

Anna is very excited to join the team at Bend Academy, and cannot wait to see what the future holds.

April Gorman

April began her dance journey at the age of 4 and spent a lot of her time growing up at the dance studio. Over the years she has trained in many styles including ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, acro and contemporary. Ms. April has completed ADAPT tap and jazz exams as well as Cecchetti ballet exams. She has competed at numerous dance competitions throughout Canada and the United States receiving many awards. After her competitive dance days ended she started teaching a variety of classes and ages. Ms. April feels so lucky to be able to share her love of dance with so many tiny dancers!

Arden Barter

Arden has always been passionate about the arts, and is overjoyed to be part of the Bend Academy faculty. From a very young age, the thrill of dance has been a driving force in her life. She has trained in a variety of different styles such as tap, hip hop, heels, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, acro, musical theatre and more! She is a member of the Gold Winnipeg Blue Bombers Dance Team and the tap company, Language of Rhythm. She will attend University of Manitoba this fall. Arden is tremendously grateful for the many amazing dance mentors she has had throughout her life, and hopes to inspire her students to love dance as much as she does, to spread kindness and to have a positive impact.

Ella Rumak

Ella began dancing at the age of 2 and since that time has studied ballet, pointe, jazz, acro, tap, musical theatre, lyrical, contemporary, modern and hip hop. She began competing at age 7 at both regional and national competitions. During her time as a competitive dancer she earned many overall scores as both a soloist and a group dancer. Ella is an active member of the Winnipeg hip hop community and is currently dancing in the Ikigai Collective under the direction of Mikey Harris. Ella enjoys the creativity and freedom which dance provides her with and she aims to share this passion with her students while helping them to grow in a comforting and encouraging environment.

Katelynn Howells

Katelynn started dance at the age of 3 and has been a competitive dancer since she was 5 years old . She trained and competed in all styles such as; ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, acro, and tap. 

Katelynn trained for many hours a week up to 15+. She competed and participated in conventions for 13 years across Canada and the United States. Throughout this time, she has won many awards such as first places or overalls and judge’s choice awards. Katelynn also received scholarships through competitions and conventions throughout these years. 

Katelynn started to share her skills and love of dance with students when she was 14. She began assisting and substituting for many different classes.  Since then her joy for teaching has grown and she is excited to share her knowledge with younger dancers. 

Katelynn is excited to start teaching with Bend Academy while she is furthering her education at the University of Manitoba working towards an undergraduate degree. 

Natalie Sluis

Natalie Sluis is an emerging professional contemporary dancer and choreographer located on Treaty 1 Land (Winnipeg). She is going into her fourth and final year of intensive study in the Senior Professional Program at the School of Contemporary Dancers (SCD). Natalie started her movement career in competitive artistic gymnastics and later transitioned into dance through musical theatre. It wasn’t until she was scouted for the SCD program that she began her serious career in contemporary dance. Since then Natalie has choreographed, performed, and worked with many artists all over the world. Natalie has taught for over ten years and is now excited to bring her love of performance and movement to the younger generation at Bend Academy.