Emily Pearson

     Emily has been dancing for years 17 years. She began training in acrobatics at the age of 11 under the instruction of Samantha Weathers. She has trained extensively in Tap, Acro, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Ballet, Pointe, Musical Theater, and Bollywood. She is continuing her education through Relevé’s Rack Training program under the instruction of Linda Samuels Elchak and is also in pursuit of her AA at Florida State College of Jacksonville.

Megan Knickerbocker

     Megan began her ballet training in Orange Park, FL at the age of 9. Her teacher, Marta Jackson, was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. Marta taught Vaganova and Cuban technique styles as well as the importance of learning what artistry is and how to express oneself through ballet. In 1997 at the age of 16, Megan performed in Clay Ballet Theater's production of Giselle as Giselle. In May 2000, she participated in the National Society of Arts and Letters where she received honorable mention and The Mary Fife memorial award in classical ballet. Megan was the one of the very first to compete in the Youth American Grand Prix competition. In the regionals, held in February of 2000, Megan won first grand prize. In the finals held in New York City, she was awarded third grand prize for classical and contemporary ballet. During the summers of 1997-2000, Megan attended American Ballet Theater's Summer Intensives. She was awarded the Coca-Cola Scholarship for all four years. The scholarship funded Megan's training at Marta Jackson School of Dance and for the summer program in New York City. 
     After graduating high school in June 2000, Megan was accepted into American Ballet Theater's Studio Company. She performed both classical and contemporary ballet pieces and worked in a professional atmosphere. While at ABT, she studied with artists such as Julia Adam, Leslie Brown, Gage Bush, Susan Jones, Gelsey Kirkland, John Meehan, Kirk Peterson, and Lupe Serrano. Megan also appeared as a dance extra in the Columbia Pictures Movie, "Center Stage". After leaving ABT, Megan danced with Alabama Ballet in Birmingham, AL under the direction of Wes Chapman and Roger Van Fleteran. She performed both corps de ballet and soloist roles. 
     Megan has returned to her home town and has been teaching and choreographing at Marta Jackson School of Dance for the last 10 years. she teaches students to dance with artistry and soul, as well the importance of classical ballet technique. She has been ballet mistress for Clay Ballet Theater's Nutcracker in 2008-2010 and has also performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy in 2009-2014.
     Megan is now the Ballet Mistress, Ballet Instructor and Choreographer at Relevé Academy of Dance, carrying on her beloved Marta Jackson's Ballet Legacy at the finest dance school in Orange Park, Florida!

Linda Samuels Elchak

    Linda Miss Linda is a passionate mother, dancer, choreographer, and educator, as well as the artistic Director and Founder of NAO Dance Collective.  She has trained under teachers from the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the Mark Morris Dance group, the American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet.
     Miss Linda teaches dancers how to access their potential, and her unique technical training allows dancers to access their own body wisdom to dance longer and stronger throughout their career.

Christina McDonald

     Christina has been studying dance since she was a young child. She received her bachelor's degree in dance from Jacksonville University. While in college she worked with several famous choreographers who instructed residencies and set new, as well as historical, dance choreography on her. Mrs. McDonald has received choreography awards while at JU and at various dance competitions. While growing up she was a member of the Brunswick Civic Ballet Company and begin instructing at the age of 16.
     Christina began teaching in Jacksonville in 1986 and became the owner and artistic director of Fascinatin' Rhythm in 1989. She also instructed dance through Duval county schools magnet program for five years. She choreographed and performed with Jacksonville Actors Theatre, choreographed for the Theater Jacksonville, and instructed in Theater Jacksonville's arts camp as well as the Jacksonville Centre of the Arts summer arts camp. She has choreographed and directed plays for San Jose Catholic school, the JCA, and St Joseph’s Catholic school.
     She attended classes in New York City at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, Martha Graham, David Howard, Alvin Ailey, and Erick Hawkins. She has also worked with First Coast Nutcracker and is excited to be instructing this year at Releve's Summer Intensive.

Shelissa Morris

     Shelissa was raised in Fort Walton Beach, FL where she began her dance training in ballet. She attended the performing arts school, Northwest Florida Ballet Academié for 6 years where she was classically trained in ballet and modern. She trained under Dorothy Lister, Katia Garza and Ian Carnegie while at the Ballet Academiè. She then went on to become a member of her high school’s dance team and Winterguard. She was the captain for 2 years and won several regional awards while in high school. 
     She then moved to Mississippi where she attended the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and received her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in dance and psychology. At USM she was a member of the Southern Misses dance team and performed at pep rallies, football festivities, and the men and women home basketball games. She was also a member of the Repertory Dance Company for 2 years. While in college, Shelissa was granted the opportunity to do an internship at Walt Disney World where she was able to live out her dream; dancing in the entertainment role as a character performer. 
     After graduation and moving back to Florida she was a choreographer for Oakleaf High School as well as a dance instructor with Little Dancing Stars. Over the years she has taught several workshops and choreographed for several teams. Shelissa enjoys sharing her passion for dance in a fun and energetic way.  

Melissa Cowan

     Ms. Melissa became interested in dance at the young age of 5 when she began her dance training in her home town of Titusville, FL. As she grew older, Melissa focused on traditional Modern Techniques and Classical Ballet as she studied throughout the Central Florida area. Melissa later received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL. While attending she performed works by Robert Battle, Sean Curran, Paul Taylor, and Annabelle Ochoa. In addition, she spent her summers studying at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Ailey School, and was on scholarship at The American Dance Festival.
     Post graduation, Melissa has been keeping herself busy as a freelance dancer, choreographer, and teacher, exploring the New York contemporary dance scene. Ms. Melissa is excited to return to the Sunshine State and continue sharing her passion for dance. 

     

Kendall Blow

     Kendall began her dance training at the age of 3 at Fascinatin’ Rhythm in Jacksonville. She started competing regionally and nationally at age 7. Kendall has trained in many styles of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip-Hop. Kendall has spent her summers training with The Florida Ballet, and the Next Generation Ballet, as well as various dance intensives throughout the state. 
     As a teenager, Kendall began training/competing with Keegan Dance Company in Titusville, FL. Throughout her competitive dance career with Fascinatin’ Rhythm and Keegan Dance Company, Kendall won numerous awards and scholarships as well as regional and national championships.  
     Kendall spent the past season as a dancer for the Jacksonville Giants Basketball Team. She is currently a dance instructor in St John’s County Schools after school programs. She currently dances with 1Vibe Dance and is a full-time college student.

 

Ashley Franco

     Ashley was born on October 9, 1989 in Hollywood, Florida. Her passion for dance started when she was just 6 years old. She studied Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz, and Contemporary. Ashley's strengths in both Jazz and Contemporary have gotten her national dance awards as a soloist and in group dances as well. Prestigious institutions like Florida Dance Masters in Tap, have awarded Ashley with scholarships. The University of Arizona presented her with a summer internship in Jazz. She has had the pleasure of training with David Parsons and Jon Leher. She has had TV appearances on the Latin station Univision & shows like: The Daily Buzz, mornings show segment of “So You Think You Can Dance”, and “El Show de Christina” where she was a backup dancer for Lilly Ponce. She has also danced in the feature film “Renee," and in music videos for Hip-Hop Artists & Rapper NIKO IS/ NU South Productions.
     Ashley was part of a local improve contemporary dance company called NAO Dance Collective in Orlando FL. That experience, about 5 years ago, changed her perspective and mentality on dance. The experience with NAO has molded Ashley into who she is today as a dancer, but most importantly as a teacher; and she has Linda Eve Elchak founder of NAO Dance to thank for that. Ashley believes that with Linda she has learned all that has made her a great teacher and an even better dancer. 
     Ashley has traveled to South America to teach at ''BALLET MILLUZKA." She also has traversed through Central Florida teaching for competition teams and studios, along with private schools, magnet programs, and universities. Some of those include:
·  THE DANCERS POINTE
·  LAKE HIGHLAND PREPARATORY 
·  DR.PHILLIPS HIGH SCHOOL
·  UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA 
·  VALENCIA COMMUNITTY COLLEGE 
·  EDGE DANCE STUDIOS
·  DANCE 360 ORLANDO
     Ashley has won numerous of awards for her choreography. She is eager to share her knowledge and passion for dance with her students, and she wishes to inspire, to train, to perform, and to live the dance-language through the moments and movements, with her students and for her students.   
"WORK HARD. DANCE HARDER <3” – Ashley

   

Kris Danley

Samantha Weathers

     Samantha began her dance career at the age of 3 at Marta Jackson School of Dance under the instruction of Marta Jackson and Linda Samuels Elchak. She has studied Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Tap, Modern, Lyrical, Jazz, Acrobatics, Contortion, and Bollywood styles of dance for over 25 years, as well as Rhythmic Gymnastics for several years. 
     She competed in regional and national dance competitions from the ages of 3-17 and won many awards and scholarships. Samantha was awarded the Ambassador of Dance Master of America at the age of 15. She continued her education at Florida State College of Jacksonville in the FSCJ DanceWorks Company under the direction of Rosemary Fletcher and Maryanne Aycock. She worked with many nationally recognized guest artists such as Edgar Zendajas' company EZDanza, and Tony Parisi, an award winning Broadway performer, choreographer, and founder of Camp Broadway. In 2009 she worked with award winning Bollywood choreographer Rujuta Vaidya, and the Trey McIntyre Company. Samantha also worked as the DanceWorks Company Manager for one of the three years she was enrolled in the company and received the Talent Grant Scholarship for all three years.
     In 2014 she choreographed a piece for a short film by Drew Brown entitled "Person," which went on to receive a Student Academy Award. She received her AA in Dance/Dance Education in 2010 and is continuing her Fine Arts Bachelor's degree at the University of North Florida.
She is certified in Progressive Ballet Technique and Acrobatic Arts.
Samantha is now the Artistic Director and Co-Owner of Relevé Academy of Dance.  

Here are the Instructors you will meet at our Summer Intensive Program

Rhonda Lalonde

     Rhonda is native of Jacksonville, and began her dance training at Fascinatin’ Rhythm Studio of Dance at the age of five. Continuing her training in high school, she attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and graduated as a dance major. Then to further her education, she went on to study dance at Florida Community College of Jacksonville. Rhonda has had the privilege to study under numerous artists such as Arthur Duncan of the Lawrence Welk Show, Frank Hatchett, Gregory Hines, Mia Michaels, Beytee Morrow: former student of Gene Kelly, and has attended countless classes at The Alvin Ailey School of Dance and Broadway Dance Center in NYC.

     Rhonda was the dance director for The St Johns County Center of the Arts at St Augustine High School for 4 years where she provided an educational atmosphere where students had the opportunity to grow intellectually, technically and express their creativity.  Also while at St Augustine High School, she not only taught dance but choreographed musicals such as West Side Story and The Music Man, and was the coach for The Ja’Quettes Dance Team.  Rhonda is very excited to be teaching at Releve’ Academy of Dance during the Summer Intensive where she can share her passion of dance with their students. 


Leah Strickland

     Miss Leah has been instructing at Fascinatin’ Rhythm since the fall of 2006. She has danced for 20 years at Fascinatin’ Rhythm where she was also a member of the Movin’ Company and Tap Ensemble for 5 years and participated in many competitions, conventions and local area shows. She has attended classes in New York City at Alvin Ailey, Broadway Dance Center, and Steps On Broadway.
     Miss Leah is a school teacher for the Duval County Public Schools. She was also a cheerleading coach at Hendricks Day School for two years and led her team to be the 2004 Division State Champs! She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health with a minor in Exercise Science in 2008 from the University of North Florida. She has won numerous choreography awards from regional competitions such as Nexstar, Starpower, Showstoppers, Applause Talent, Platinum, Hall of Fame, KAR, Fluid Dance and VIP.
     In 2012, her dance “Nine Crimes” was awarded Overall Regional Champion at VIP Dance and went on to win VIP Dance Nationals as the Overall National Champion and VIP Dance Nationals Choreographer Walk of Fame.