Staff
EPIC

Ms. amanda | director/dance

She studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Acrobatics, Hip-Hop, Breakdancing, Musical-Theatre, Creative Movement and the art of Choreography. Luckily, she was able to study these areas of dance in her schooling as well as private studios. Starting at age ten, she assisted teaching classes in her private studios. Once she reached high school, she began a mentorship under the direction of Jessica Harvie of Harvie Kinetics. She trained with her for four years and then on her fifth year, she became an employee. Amanda was also the captain of her dance company her senior year of high school. She graduated from high school with high honors; she was inducted into the National Honors Society for Dance Arts and is also a member of the National Dance Education Organization.

After the closing of Harvie Kinetics, Amanda took the opportunity to open her own program to keep the dance culture within the community. She believes it is important for children to be not only occupied with extracurricular activities, but have them enjoy what they do. “My mission is to teach children to love the art of dancing while inspiring life-long healthy choices, developing self-confident students, and cultivating creativity in a wholesome, happy, family atmosphere.”

Mrs. denise | studio manager

Denise has been in the business world for the past thirty years running her family business as the fifth generation. Denise has been working alongside Amanda for the past three years Building Amanda’s Academy of Dance. Denise has been a leader in a multitude of fields she has worked in including, but not limited to, Lamaze Instruction, Business, Origami Owl, and Real Estate. Denise has “Dance Mom” experience with over twenty years of practice! Denise is looking forward to another great year with AAD and making connections with each and every dance family. Denise would like to see everyone make new friends this year! She says “Friendship isn’t a big thing. Its a million little things! A fun fact about Denise is that she is Amanda and Michele’s Mom!

Mrs. Paula | circus arts

Mrs. Paula Blackwelder is an aerial artist in the disciplines of: Flying Trapeze, Single Trapeze, Lyra, Web, Silks, Hammock, Perch and Cradle. She has performed in such venues as: Circus Circus Las Vegas and Reno, Circo Atayde, Hanneford Circus, Coronas Circus, Epcot, Kennywood Park, and several others. She enjoys encouraging her students to achieve confidence within themselves, by using aerial disciplines, taught with proven, Circus techniques.

Caitlin Legace | Dance

Caitlin Legace has been a dance instructor for 18 years. She began teaching in northern New Hampshire where her mom owned and operated a dance studio. Caitlin took over ownership of the studio when her mother retired in 2005. Caitlin instructed classes in Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Acro, Contemporary and lyrical. Ms. Caitlin was also involved in many community events including her local musical theatre group where she performed and choreographed for many musical theatre numbers. Ms. Caitlin moved to Florida in 2016 and is thrilled to teach dance once again with Amanda’s Academy of Dance. Ms. Caitlin’s goal for all of her students is to find their confidence in themselves and to let their personalities come alive through dance. This is what she hopes to be many years with Amanda’s Academy of Dance and she can not wait spread her passion for dance to all of her students. 

Josh Vaillancort | art

Joshua Vaillancourt is a Father, husband, visual artist, retired US Army NCO, clergyman, scholar, and dedicated volunteer for many causes. In addition to serving on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations and teaching visual art/painting at AAD, Joshua is also a full-time medical student. He has over 15 years of study in various fields and has earned many certifications and degrees, including a PhD in Comparative Theologies. While serving in the 101st Airborne Division, he spent time in many foreign countries, including combat service in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Joshua currently lives in Haines City, Florida with his family.

HALEY GREY | ballet/contemporary

Having dance classes since the age of 4, Haley Gray began rigorously studying dance at City Ballet School in Hagerstown, Maryland. There, she was a 3 year member of the pre-professional Western Maryland Ballet Company, where she gained a great deal of classical performing experience. In May of 2018, Haley received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA. She has had the privilege of directly working with faculty and guest artists of various styles including ballet, pointe,
modern, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop and heels. Haley has taught many master classes at various schools and studios, and been weekly faculty at Mercersburg Academy, Elite Movement LLC, and Creative Soles Dance Company. Her professional highlights include performing at VelocityDC, Southern Vermont Dance Festival and DUMBO Dance Festival in Brooklyn, NY. Infinity Talent Management also represents her for dancing and modeling. Her work has been
published in Lens Magazine, Important World Artists Vol. 2, and sold at various galleries in NYC, San Diego, Miami, and Florence, Italy where she was able to go and receive the Leonardo Da Vinci Universal Artist Award. Currently, as an expressive, technical and gravitating dancer/choreographer/director, Haley is the director of ballet at Creative Soles Dance Company in Windermere, FL. She also
covers a variety of weekly styles and lessons, along with choreographing a handful of competition pieces for the upcoming season. You can also catch some of her featured dancing and work on Youtube, through the national dance episodic series, Urban Generation. Amongst all of the weekly dance work, Haley will also be
traveling as a guest choreographer to other cities, dance studios and facilities including Millennium Dance Complex, Miami. With her past, current and future experiences, Haley strives to go grow in her artistry, brand, and network as a dancer, choreographer and director.

MS. SOPHIA | Dance

Ms. Sophia Aviles has been dancing for nine years. She began her dance training at Davenport School of the Arts at the age of nine. There she danced for four years and began her work as an assistant choreographer under the direction of Mariah Jost in the school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Sophia has experience in ballet, lyrical, modern, jazz, contemporary, and musical theatre. She was also accepted into All-County Dance on two occasions while attending Davenport School of the Arts. Sophia began her work as a Jr. teacher at Amanda’s Academy of Dance under the direction of Ms. Amanda Ferreira and Ms. Mary Lou Norrick in 2017. She is very grateful to have the opportunity to do what she loves and aspires to continue to spread her passion and experience of dance with her students.

MS. Heaven | Dance

Ms. Heaven began dancing at the age of 2 in New Hampshire at her grandmothers and then her mothers dance studio. There Heaven trained in tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary and acro. Heaven moved to Florida at the age of 11. She Found Amanda’s Academy of Dance in 2016 where she once again found her love of dance! Here she decided she wanted to help teach others and began her work as a Junior teacher under the guidance and leadership of Amanda Ferreira, Mary Lou Norrick, and her mother Caitlin Legace. Heaven is so grateful for the opportunities Amanda’s Academy of Dance has given to her, and through these opportunities she hopes to extend her passion for dance to all of her students.