Staff
EPIC

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!

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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. 

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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.

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.

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.

SOPHIA AVILES | DANCE

sARAH BOUCHER | DANCE

Sarah Boucher has been dancing since the age of 3. She began dancing at the Milford Dance Center in Milford, MA. She then decided to further her career into a more competitive driven studio. She began dancing at McKeon’s Dance and Gymnastics at the age of 13. With her time at McKeon’s she progressed in her own dancing, and has had the privilege to compete with her teammates at many regional and national competitions. She was also invited along with her teammates to The World Dance Championship is Meadowlands, NJ for two of there routines. Not long after she was given the opportunity to start teaching the younger generations within the studio. Having taught for 3 years at McKeon’s she has learned new ways of teaching. With her time at McKeon’s she had grown a passion to not only dancing, but sharing her passion of dance with others. She has experience in the the styles of jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet, tap, hip hop, acrobatics, and gymnastics. She looks forward to furthering her career in the dance industry, and sharing it with the future generations.

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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.

MEAGAN TORRES | 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!

MAGGIE SULLIVAN | DANCE

Maggie Sullivan, a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, began her ballet training with Kristin and Peter Degnan at the Degnan Ballet Center. She studied jazz and modern dance under Tim Early and Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch at the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary, and Lynne Mariani and Kris Cross at the Wilkes Conservatory. She continued her studies at Mercyhurst University, on scholarship, under the direction of Tauna Hunter, where she received a B.A. in Dance Pedagogy, choreographed a number of works presented at the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center, was the student coordinator of the Liturgical Dance Ensemble, served on the Leadership Team, and was an Ambassador for the university. She received several awards during her undergraduate career, including the Jenni-Lyn Watson Spirit of Dance Award, the Palmer Service Award, and the Etoile Student Leadership Award. She has danced professionally in Washington DC and is currently an apprentice with Florida Dance Theatre where she has performed various classical and contemporary works.

She founded and previously directed the Holy Redeemer High School Dance Team in Wilkes Barre, PA and the Youth Program at Dance Loft on 14 in Washington DC, as well as served as artistic director of Connect The Dots Dance Company in Washington DC and of Little People's Creative Workshop in northern Virginia. Maggie has been a teaching professional for over a dozen schools and studios in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and Florida, working with students ranging from toddlers to adults in conservatory, competition, and recreational settings.

Euther Garcia has been skating for over 20 years in various forms of skating including Slalom Skating, Cone Skating, aggressive skating, and recreational ramp skating. Euther has skated for both Disney and Universal, along with other stunt skills including stilt walking, and power skips. Euther was born in Venezuela, but calls central Florida home with his wife and daughter.