Ms. Amanda (Director)-Amanda Ferreira started dancing when she was just three years old. She danced recreationally, competitively, on cruise ships, and for the local communities. The little steps she took then have taught her to make big strides now.
Amanda never stopped dancing from that time. 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.”
Amanda is currently a full-time college student who was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa in 2013. She is a Sociology major at the University of Central Florida.
Amanda loves passing on her knowledge of dance and a healthy lifestyle to her students. They learn so much more than just simply dancing. They learn discipline, coordination, musicality, how to properly fuel their bodies, self-confidence and they make lifelong friendships along the way. Research indicates that children who work with music tend to do better in school. Amanda wants to encourage schooling as a number one priority by incorporating a mentorship program with dance for students who are struggling academically, physically, or emotionally.
Ms. Michele (Assistant Director)—Michele has been dancing for over two decades and loves every minute of it! Michele graduated from Valencia College with her Associates in Arts and her Associates of Science degrees. She is currently attending the University of Central Florida working on her Masters in Science of Nursing. She is presently a nurse with Florida Hospital. In her spare time, you will find Michele at Amanda’s Academy of Dance working with students and bettering herself. Michele is trained in Creative movement, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, and Acrobatics. A fun fact about Michele is that she is Ms. Amanda’s sister.
Ms. 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 (Instructor) — 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. Mary Lou (Instructor) — Mary Lou Norrick has been teaching dance and musical theater for almost 20 yrs. She is originally from Rochester, New York. There she owned a small dance studio and led her church worship dance team. She has also directed and choreographed several musicals in including The Wizard of Oz, Tom Sayer, Godspell, and others. She was also an adjudicator for the Stars of Tomorrow educational program. Miss Mary Lou has also choreographed and led several performing dance teams. Miss Mary Lou is very excited to be teaching this year at Amanda’s Academy of Dance. She looks forward to meeting everyone and joining this amazing dance family!
Marissa Camden (Instructor)– Marissa has been dancing since age three, and loves sharing her passion for dance with her students. She grew up dancing at Charmette Academy of Dance in St. Louis, MO where she studied ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, musical theatre and contemporary. Marissa also competed on Charmette’s competition team, the Stars of Tomorrow for over ten years. During that time she performed and competed in cities all over the country and got the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Dennis Caspary and Nikki Snelson. During high school and college, Marissa worked as a performer at Six Flags St. Louis for 6 seasons. She danced in a variety of shows in both the summer and Fright Fest seasons, and received the award for “Best Performer” for Fright Fest in 2013. Marissa graduated from Webster University in 2014 where she earned her BA in Psychology and a minor in Dance. She was also a member of Webster’s dance team for three years, and was the captain of the team for two of those years. After graduating Marissa moved to Orlando and completed an internship with Disney in the spring of 2015. She loved it so much that her and her husband decided to move down to Florida permanently. Marissa can’t wait to see what’s in store for her 7th year of teaching dance and is looking forward to getting to know all of her new students!