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!
amanda | director
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. 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.
Ms. Caitlin | 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.
Amaya Sims is a 22 year old college graduate in the process of completing her Masters Degree. She has years of experience as both a cheerleader and dancer throughout high school and college. She grew up as a competitive dancer trained in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical and Hip Hop. She took the journey to expand her dance career in Hip Hop and become a professional dancer within the dance industry at age 14. She has trained in numerous places across the United States from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas etc. Amaya has performed with A-list artists like Young Thug ,Miky Woodz, Delaghetto, Christistan artist Blanca and many more . In addition to performing live she has been in a handful of music videos.
Ms. Amaya | Dance
Mr. Josh | 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.
Ms. MEAGAN | DANCE
Meagan Torres began dancing at the age of 2 at Dana’s Dance Academy in Irving, TX. At the age of 14 while attending at Dana’s, she became an assistant and substitute for the beginning and intermediate classes until she graduated from high school. Throughout her youth, she performed with the Irving Ballet Company and Moscow Ballet in various productions of The Nutcracker, Dance for the Planet, and The National Tap Dance Celebration at Dallas Summer Musicals. She attended Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, TX from 2012-2016 and earned her Bachelor of Science in Dance. While in school she was a member and student choreographer of the SFASU Dance Department, president and team choreographer of SFA’s Dancers Against Cancer Organization, competition coach for Venetia’s Dance Studio, guest artist for the Gobel School of Dance’s production of Swan Lake and founding company member of Dimensions Contemporary Ballet. Upon graduation she moved to Central Florida to participate in the Disney College Program. She continued taking classes at various studios in the greater Orlando area, and performed with the Central Florida Ballet for the Fall ‘17- Spring ‘18 season. Throughout her 24 years dancing, Meagan has mastered a strong technical base while cultivating a love for the artistry and athleticism of dance within herself. She is very excited for this new opportunity and looks forward to sharing her knowledge and passion for dance with the students of the Epic Center!