The Bitove Method Team

The Bitove Method program is created by nurses and professional artists. We provide a safe comfortable environment designed to help participants express their thoughts and feelings of who they are and what they care about. 

Meet our Artists

Jennifer Hicks

Jennifer Hicks

Artist

Jenn is a Nia (Creative Movement) instructor who also runs a private practice in Speech-Language Pathology, specializing in acquired brain injury. She holds a Nia Black Belt certification and earned her Master’s of Health Science at the University of Toronto.  Jennifer's creative arts work has included supporting individuals through The Royal Conservatory's Living Through the Arts Program, The Alzheimer's Society of Toronto, Baycrest's Memory-Link Program, The Hospital for Sick Children’s Eating Disorders Day Treatment Program, New Outlook, The Residences on Bayview and the University Health Network's Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy.

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Kathleen Le Roux

Artist

Kathleen is an experienced theatre artist and professional arts-in-health practitioner specializing in relational applications of drama, clown and improvisation for elders in care. She is delighted to bring her creative talents to the virtual world of the Bitove Method, where co-creation, playfulness and community-building are at the heart of its approach to education and care.

Lisa Hickey

Lisa Hickey

Artist

Lisa has been making art her whole life, and has been working as a full-time artist for over a decade.  

 

She revels in nature, and uses oil and acrylic paint to translate what she discovers on her frequent wanders through the city’s ravines and beaches.  

 

Lisa’s work hangs in private collections all over the world. 

 

For more information: www.lisadhickey.ca

Monica Wickeler

Artist

Also known as @monicaonthemoon in the public art industry. When Monica isn’t found on tiptoes at the top of a ladder painting public art, she can be found sharing her joy of street art/public art with students of all ages. Sharing how art can transform a community, bringing joy and pride to all involved.

Robin D.heic

Robin Dann

Artist

Robin Dann is a singer and songwriter based in Toronto. She leads the Polaris-nominated band Bernice, who have toured internationally, and is an active member of Toronto's improvising and songwriting musical community. Robin’s interest in using the voice and song to connect, laugh and generally feel good continues to lead her in many directions including collaborative work with the Toronto Dance Theatre, backup vocals with Martha Wainwright and Bahamas, and exploring songwriting with different communities of people.

Robin Gertin

Robin Gertin

Artist

Robin is a Certified Arts Therapist, writer, singer and stand up artist.  She studied classical singing at the Royal Conservatory of Music, graduated with a music degree, performed as a children’s entertainer before going back to school to study expressive arts and psychotherapy. Her professional associations include working at the Sunnybrook Health Science Center, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab, L’Arche Toronto, Addiction Rehabilitation Toronto, Dr. Jay’s Grief Centre and UHN’s Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy.   Warm and welcoming, Robin’s programs are known for their gentle humour, playfully exploring everyday experiences with golden oldie songs, improvisation, poetry and dance.  

Simon Law

Simon Law

Artist

Simon is an international award winning songwriter, musician, producer, teacher and meditator. He has two Grammys with UK band Soul II Soul, one being the global hit  “Back To Life”. He brings 7 years experience in the field of music and dementia care, working at The Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy from its opening. Simon helped make and also composed all the music for the film Music Is Life about music and its role in relational caring at the Academy. 

Steve Koven

Steve Koven

Artist

Steve Koven is a composer, performer, producer, educator and film maker.

As an educator, Steve has been teaching in the Faculty of Music at Toronto’ s York University since 2003, teaching Contemporary Improvisation and Jazz Piano Studies.  In addition, Steve teaches in the Music Department at Centennial College in Toronto.   He holds a Masters in Music Composition and has presented master classes and clinics throughout Canada, China, Japan, Colombia, Barbados, Bahamas, USA and Mexico.  

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Yvonne Ng

Artist

A multifaceted professional dance artist (choreographer and performer) with an interdisciplinary approach to creating dance works. Yvonne grew up in Singapore and has made Toronto her home. Yvonne believes that we are all born dancers and that the source of creativity and wisdom is within each of us. Yvonne received her MA with research focused on Intergenerational Practice Programming. She is also a certified Dance for Dementia (NBS) and Open Source Forms teacher, who creates playful image-based movement activities to express one’s inner self. Recent awards include Muriel Sherrin Award (Toronto Arts Foundation) and Jacqueline Lemieux Prize (Canada Council for theArts).

 

www.princessproductions.ca

Brian Katz

Artist

Brian Katz is internationally acclaimed for his solo guitar playing, and for his evocative compositions. He is also an expert in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, a whole-body approach to music  education and teaches at the University
of Toronto and York University where he has taught many courses including Music for Health and Wellness. Brian has worked as a music-health expert in a variety of contexts ranging from working with the blind population to those with memory loss, to those in
palliative care. Brian was recently nominated for a University of Toronto Teaching Award. Of his solo guitar recording, Leaves Will Speak, noted European music critic Alexander Schmitz wrote, “If you want music that speaks—here it is.” 

 

You can read more about Brian and watch videos at:  
www.briankatz.com

Katia Engell

Artist

My name is Katia. I am a Toronto-based visual artist and a dedicated advocate for creative, relational approaches to working with others, particularly with persons living with memory loss. I have been making art my whole life and love to explore all kinds of artistic mediums, including: painting, drawing, textiles, poetry, collage, mural painting, animation, you name it! Over the last decade, this love for art has transformed into a love for making art with others - it is the kind of art-making I cherish the most.

 

In my undergraduate degree, I studied Illustration and graphic design at OCAD University. I later completed a Master's in Recreation and Leisure at the University of Waterloo, focusing on arts-based and relational approaches to working with others. My thesis focused on friendship in care contexts and used arts-based methods to explore the topic of friendship with people living and working in long-term care. Coupled with a deep understanding of relational theories, I also have a decade of practical experience working creatively with persons living with dementia and older adults. My approach focuses on the process and joy of art-making, connecting through creation, going with the flow, and learning from one another. I look forward to exploring our curiosities together and getting to know each other through the Bitove Method virtual classes!

Susee Padias

Artist

Susee’s friendly and positive energy thrives on making connections with people. As a collaborator and artist, she brings her life experiences as a needle art teacher, functional adult exercise and chair yoga instructor. She enjoys embracing the smile muscles and may get a little laughter yoga out of you and having fun with games or activities that engage all folks in her presence.She loves the bookends of young ones and older adults and the meaning they hold for each other.Susee has led programs and activities at the Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy, Toronto Public Library, Alzheimer’s Society, Community Wellness Centres, Adult Living buildings and out in the open beauty of nature!

Meet our Staff

Kristin Bartlett

Artistic Project Management Consultant

I have always been enchanted by the telling of our stories. Sharing a series of experiences that shape who we are, while imagining infinite possibilities, is at the heart of my work.
My degree in Theatre and Community Development at Concordia University has taught me how to weave these offerings into beautiful works of art. Moving from Montreal to Toronto, I sought to pursue a career in community arts working with such organizations as MabelleArts, and Mixed Company Theatre. I learned how to offer creative spaces for people to share their stories, and collectively create theatrical productions that bring our community together. While finishing my degree in Recreational Therapy at George Brown College, I serendipitously landed at The Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy. Their art-based, relational care philosophy immediately resonated with me. I found a home in this way of being, in learning how to authentically be present, seek creative ways to express ourselves, and build meaningful relationships. After the Academy closed its doors due to the pandemic, The Bitove Method, emerged from an urgent need to support our community in a virtual setting.
Here Vonna Bitove, and I brought together a talented and compassionate team who are ready to offer creative opportunities for people living with memory loss. I am so excited to open up our doors to our new global community. Welcome!

Lesley Hirmann

Lesley Hirmann B.Sc.(P.T.)

Collaborator

I was born and raised in Thornhill, and attended the University of Toronto receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiotherapy. I practiced as a physiotherapist in Canada and New Jersey for 20 years, specializing in the assessment and treatment of individuals with neurological impairments. I chose physiotherapy as a career because rehab professionals spend consistent one on one time with their patients on a daily basis. This is especially true in the neurological field, when often rehab spans over a period of months. This was important to me, as it offered me the opportunity to really get to know my clients, establish relationships with them and their families, in order to enhance the rehab process. 
After living out of the country for 16 years (New Jersey and Belgium), I returned to Toronto and sought a different career path.  I volunteered at a few different settings-- one of them was the Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy.  It was there that I was introduced to the philosophy of relational caring, reminiscent of my original career goal—getting to know people well in order to engage and learn from each other. After volunteering at the academy for a year and having had the privilege of meeting so many talented people, I was hired by the academy to join their team. I worked there for 4 years and it proved to be one of the most rewarding opportunities in my career.
I now hope to continue to support the benefits of engaging in the arts through a relational caring environment with the Bitove Method virtual classes. I look forward to meeting you online!