Alexandra was born in England in 1975 and raised in Portugal, she started dancing when she was three years old. At the age of nine she was accepted at Elmhurst Ballet school in Great Britain where she stayed till she was 18. www.elmhurstdance.co.uk
Alexandra Graduated from Elmhurst with a degree in Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Musical Theater. The last two years of her education at Elmhurst she had lead roles in Sound of Music and Pal Joey where she then went on to further her career in the US.
Leaving England behind, Alexandra performed in numerous musicals, cruise lines and dinner theaters and continued her career until little Liam arrived. Upon her arrival on Amelia Island 10 years ago she saw a need, and felt the calling to fill it by bringing culture and love of the arts to the children and families of Fernandina. Her studio offers a generous variety of all types of classes which focus on dance, theater, and music. In the past, aspiring young artists might have had to seek higher-level education elsewhere, RAD offers quality instruction right in your own backyard.
Alexandra chooses Instructors, (including herself), that bring experience and excellence. With a faculty of impressive instructors and increasing student enrollment, RAD’s reputation for excellence will continue to soar higher and higher.
"It is important that if a student has big dreams of being on stage, they start on the right foot learning proper technique.”
She encourages teachers and students to participate in real world applications of their chosen art form. For example, for actors, this approach might mean taking part in a local community theater production. Alexandra puts the best interest of each student first, and nourishes the love and passion of the arts into every child that comes through her door.
Susie Dodge is originally from Jacksonville, Florida, where she graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in 1994. She then moved to Dallas, Texas and graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Dance Performance. Susan moved to New York City to pursue her dream of dancing professionally and had the pleasure of dancing with many artists. She worked with Doug Merrifield, Patrick Corbin, and was a company member of The Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2.
Susan left dancing to start and serve as Artistic Director of The Dodge Dance Company from 2002-2006. Her choreography was reviewed by the New York Times, and Susan was selected to work at White Oak through The Field. She has also served as the Artistic Director of Dream Street, a performance company for adults with disabilities from 2007-2013.
Ms. Dodge has taught across the US at multiple Universities and Conservatories. Susan has served on the faculty for The Long Island High School for the Arts as well as for The Summer youth program at Walnut Hill Arts Academy. Susan has been on the faculty at The Paul Taylor School and is Co-founder of The Dance Project of Washington Heights.
Ms. Dodge teaches for Douglas Anderson School Of The Arts, Florida Ballet and Royal Amelia Dance Academy. We love having Miss Susie as a member of our RAD family!
Ms. McNeilly trained under Peter Martins, Melissa Hayden, MME Darvash, MME. Brionsky, Edward Villella, Nanette Charisse, Kelsey Kirkland, Bobby Blankshine, Leo Banielli, Tom Adaire’, Jaques D’ambois, MME Seda Sorvillo, Ben Harkavy, Chet Walker, Marcia Dale Weary, Martha Graham, Peter Anastos, Melinda Howe, Hilda Morales and Richard Cook. Ms. McNeilly performed as Clara with the Garden State Ballet Company under the direction of Peter Anastos, the following year she attended the International Dance Exchange held in Moscow Russia under the direction of the Bolshoi Ballet School. She then performed the role of Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen under the direction of Tom Adaire’ at the Bardavon Opera House, at the age of 14. She has studied and performed the techniques of N.Y.C. Ballet with Peter Martins, and in performances at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. She was a featured soloist for 3 seasons at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, performing works by Ben Harkarvy with American Ballet Theatre and the Paul Taylor dancers. Ms. McNeilly has performed and partnered with Joakim Svalberg and the Royal Swedish Ballet. Ms. McNeilly’s classical repertoire includes Les Sylphides, Gisselle, Paquita, Swan Lake, Coppelia, A Circus Polka, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker with the Eglevfsky Ballet. Marguerite danced with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Company in soloist performances at age 16. Her soloist performances including Coppelia, A Midsummers Night Dream and The Nutcracker at Hershey Park Arena. Marguerite has attended summer programs at the School of American Ballet. After receiving a B.F.A. from Emerson College Ms. McNeilly performed leading roles nationally and abroad in the European tour of Grease, she was Maggie in A Chorus Line, 2 seasons with Cats West Side Story at the Virginia Opera House. She performed as Estelle in No Exit, Hair and Cabaret at the Majestic Theatre. She was the Dance Director of then Pajama Game with Leo Nicole and was featured as the countess with Miguel Avilles in the nationally acclaimed Broadway musical The Grand Hotel. Ms. McNeilly previously taught ballet and musical theatre at SUNY Purchase College, The Logrea Dance Academy and the Westchester Ballet Company. Ms. McNeilly was the Director of dance at West Point for six years before opening her own dance studio The Hudson Valley Dance Center of Warwick.
With a lifetime of dance influences from ballet to tap and from contemporary to street dance, Meridith Burkhart brings a broad perspective to the classroom. Meridith’s professional experiences includes numerous industrial shows, cruise lines and musical theater. Her eclectic resume equals 20+ years both professional dance and teaching experience. She has been a member of our team at RAD for the last years and continues to inspire all her dancers with immense depth of knowledge and her passion of the arts.
Sarah Sandall was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI where she started dancing at just 4 years old. By age 10 she had begun her training with Wendi Debois and in 1995 was one of the founding dancers for the Youth Dance Theater of Michigan.
Sarah started teaching dance in 2001. She’s been teaching at RAD since 2007 and is very active in the dance and theater community on Amelia Island.
Since 2011, Kailin Lake has introduced RAD’s youngest dancers to the joys of performing! She specializes in Ballet, Tap & Jazz for ages 2-7 and Kindermusik for babies and toddlers.
Miss Kailin began her own dance education at age five, studying ballet and tap at Deerfield Beach Dance Academy. She pursued ballet all through her childhood, and later trained with Broward County’s University Center of the Performing Arts. At Florida State University, Miss Kailin studied Early Childhood Development extensively before earning a B.S. in Social Science with a minor in Philosophy. She loves incorporating education, storytelling, communication skills and creativity into every lesson.
Local audiences may have seen Miss Kailin perform at Amelia Musical Playhouse. Highlights include “Chicago” (Velma Kelly), “Drowsy Chaperone” (Janet Van De Graffe) and “South Pacific” (Nellie Forbush), plus ensemble / dance roles in “Les Misérables," “Guys and Dolls,” “Young Frankenstein” and “The Producers.”
Come enjoy Miss Kailin’s Ballet, Tap & Jazz classes every Saturday morning on Amelia Island!
Lauren was born and raised in Valdosta, Ga. She began her dance training at the age of 3 at Dance Arts under Linda Chase. Lauren trained in many kinds of dance there including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, and HipHop. She enjoyed dancing The Nutcracker with Dance Arts every December performing such roles as Clara, Dew Drop, and Snow Queen. It was at Dance Arts that she discovered her love of teaching. Lauren was an assistant instructor at Dance Arts throughout high school. After graduating she became an instructor at Dance Arts. Lauren has been teaching at RAD since 2015 and Loves being part of the RAD family.
With Laurens' extensive Classical Ballet training, she teaches our Level 1 and up classes.
Lacey Mickler’s primary goal as an instructor at RAD is to encourage students’ creative growth through dance. Lacey graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Jacksonville University. She has over six years of experience instructing students ages 2-5 in ballet, tap, and jazz techniques, and four years of experience teaching upper-level ballet, modern, and pointe. Through her ongoing journey as a student of dance, she has attended Gibney Dance Company’s two week summer intensive in NYC, and participated in residencies with Cleo Parker Robinson, Amy Miller, and Susan Dodge. Lacey’s BTJ classes are fun-filled and energetic with a focus on learning dance through structured play. Her upper-level classes nurture respect and understanding for the art form while furthering students’ ability to think artistically and aesthetically through their technique. Lacey is excited to share her passion for dance with her students!
Choreographer/teacher/performer, Alex Marques holds a dance theatre conservatory certification from the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and Hollywood, Los Angeles. Between the two cities, she studied traditional and contemporary dance and acting techniques, musical theatre performance, and choreography.
Jumping right into choreography after graduation, some credits include: Spamalot, Tarzan, Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, and several dance company performances. Recently, Alex worked with Jacksonville’s own Three Hearts Dance Company as a featured artist. Alex now travels beside her husband teaching, choreographing, and performing along the way. A lifelong learner, she is also finishing up a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Communications. Alex is so excited to join the RAD family!
Marlee was born here on Amelia Island in December of 1999. She has grown up with the lovely community of islanders. She began dancing with Bean School of Dance when she was three years old.
From the ages of three to nine she participated in both Jazz and Musical Theatre classes. She also assisted with many classes alongside her friends. From ages five to eight she participated in cheerleading camps and gymnastics. As she grew older at the tender ages between ten to fifteen, she switched dance studios to join TNT Dance Force where she took Jazz, Hiphop, and multiple performance style classes.
In middle school, she was a part of the cheerleading team and the drama club. She enjoyed helping with shows, costumes, lighting, backstage, and on stage. She has taken classes from professional choreographer Scott Benson who has worked with Micheal Jackson as well as choreographed for movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean. Marlee also participated in multiple dance competitions across Florida and Georgia. Marlee has choreographed dances for many programs including Dance Fitness for children. Currently, Marlee is on her third year of instructing Dance Trance (Dance fitness for adults) and is being trained in Kickboxing.
Marlee is a child at heart and carries the energy to match it. She loves getting to know each child she meets individually and forming a strong friendship with them. She aspires to inspire, encourage, and share her love for dance, adventure and fitness with everyone she meets no matter their age.
Zoë has been dancing since she was 7 years old and is a current member of Paradigm Flux dance company in Jacksonville. Zoë is a graduate from Jacksonville University with a bachelors of science in Kinesiology. She is currently working towards being a high school health teacher and eventually wants to own her own dance studio.
Jessica Mainor Thiele is a Florida native who delights in educating children in the arts. She is grateful to live in such a beautiful coastal town with her husband, Chris. She has been a teacher on Amelia Island for six years and is still learning daily. When she isn't at RAD, you can find her at the BlueJay Gallery in Kingsland, Georgia, where she and her mom, Julie, bring art education and inspiring works to the community. Jessica also volunteers and performs at Amelia Musical Playhouse, where many of our RAD teachers, students, and parents come together to enjoy theatrics! She believes that we should all immerse ourselves in creativity and play, even grown-ups. Fostering a love of music, dance, and theater in our future generations is her greatest honor.
Although Ms. Jessi has been a part of the Royal Amelia Dance Academy team in previous years, this season she will be leading ballet, tap, and jazz for our little dancers! She is trained in exciting and fun programs, like Kindermusik, Dance Adventures, and Twinkle Star Dance. With these wonderful curriculums, her love of music and performance, and lots of patience and energy, your students will have a blast learning and expressing themselves in Jessica's classes!
Jules Bouchard teaches Ballet, Modern and Contemporary. She danced and graduated from Florida Ballet and graduated from Jacksonville University with a Bachelors in Fine Arts. She is also a Soloist for the Amelia Island Dance Festival. Jules is an advanced teacher in the art of Classical Ballet, Modern and Contemporary dance, She also teaches at ARTS Edge in Jacksonville and is excited to be teaching for the new 2020-2021 dance season at RAD Wildlight starting in August.
Linda Loftis-Vrooman, Office Manager of RAD is originally from Charlotte, NC. She has a mixed background of dance and construction. Dance being her first career passion she received her Bachelor of Science degree in dance from Coker College, Hartsville SC. After college she moved to New York City where she continued to study, perform and choreograph for eleven years in modern, ballet and jazz. After fulfilling her dance career her second career desire moved her back to NC to run the family owned underground utility construction business where she served as its President. The knowledge and enjoyment of both careers has given Linda a diverse life experience. It is with great pleasure she just happened to discover RAD where she enjoys the energy of all the dancers, instructors and parents plus the operation of the dance studio business.