Executive Director

Sarah Balda Dance InstructorSarah Balda, B.A. Dance Studies, MNA Masters of Nonprofit Administration

Sarah Balda holds a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. in Dance Studies from the University of South Florida. Mrs. Sarah has trained with some of the country’s top dance educators and choreographers. Madame Gabriella Darvash, Gretchen Ward Warren (Penn. Ballet Theater & ABT), Gerri Houlihan, Michael Foley (Sean Curran), Alexandra Beller (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), John Parks (Alvin Ailey) and Lynn Wimmer are a few of her previous instructors. Mrs. Sarah has also had the privilege of taking master classes from company members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Urban Bush Women, Parson Dance Company. The United State Embassy commissioned her choreography for the Splash Gala in Kazakhstan. She has worked as an artist in residency through the Brevard Cultural Alliance at Brevard County Public Schools and has solicited professional dancers from across the nation to teach master classes and residencies at Dance Arts Centre. Ms. Sarah is heavily involved with the nonprofit sector and the arts community. She has a strong desire to educate others on the art of dance and, she is dedicated to making dance accessible to our community’s youth regardless of one’s ability to pay.

Instructors

Catherine Alexander Dance InstructorCatherine Alexander, B.F.A Ballet Performance

Catherine Alexander has over 30 years experience teaching classical ballet and pointe in Brevard County. She holds her BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of South Florida. Ms. Catherine is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Catherine’s ballet classes taught at Level Pre-Primary ( age 5 and 6), Primary (age7), and Levels 1, 2 and 3 (age 8 to 10) will be taught according to the ABT National Training curriculum. During her dance teaching tenure she has choreographed over 30 original works and staged ballets including Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. She previously served as the President of the Florida Dance Association, where she currently remains as an active board member. Ms. Catherine spent summers studying with the likes of Robert Atwood, Diane Bjorn, Patrica McBride and Zena Rommett, and has continued her Vaganova training with Victoria Schneider and Marat Daukaev. In 2013 Ms. Catherine retired from NASA as a Project Manager/Contract Officer Technical Representative.

Marty Mercado Dance InstructorMarty Mercado

Mercado brings more than 30 years of dance experience to Brevard County. Ms. Marty is a Florida Native born in Pinellas County where she began her training with Mrs. Agnus Phillips dance master for the Royal Ballet in England. Her training continued with superb training with teachers from the University of Utah, University of South Florida, American Ballet Theatre, Kirov School of Leningrad and Ballet Concerto Company of Cuba. Ms. Marty danced professionally with Florida West Ballet Company, Milwaukee Ballet, Joffery Ballet and Tampa Ballet. Ms. Marty has shared the stage with such wonderful dancers such as Martin Freedman of the Kirov School of Leningrad, Haydee Gutierrez of Cuba, Lauren Rouse of Joffery Ballet, Nobuyoski Nakajima of Tokyo City Ballet Company, Henry Hernandez of Southern Ballet and Orazio Messina of Teatro La Fenice, Venice Italy. Ms. Marty has worked as an Artist in Residence for Brevard Cultural Alliance and Very Special Arts of Florida. She has taught dance in the Brevard County Juvenile Detention Center, Space Coast Marine Institute, and Rainwater Girls Institute striving to bring a form of artistic expression to youth at risk. She has written dance curriculum for Arts for a Complete Education with the Florida Alliance for Arts Education and has served on the Florida Dance Association Board of Directors. Ms. Marty also was chosen to work with dance writing team for the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for the Arts (NGSSS-Arts). Ms. Marty was the owner and Artistic Director of Precision Contemporary Dance in Brevard County for over 12 years. She produced original works at The King Center and The Henegar Center in Melbourne. She was also one of the co–curators for Robot Love.

Catherine Alexander Dance InstructorSoozi Childers

Suzanne’s professional career began as a “baby ballerina” on CBS television’s “Jackie Gleason Show. She appeared on stages throughout Asia, South America, and Europe, before retiring to open a dance studio in the San Francisco Bay Area, with her mother Sabina, a highly regarded dance educator of young children. Suzanne’s 30+ years teaching dance includes serving as the ballet instructor for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. She is currently the owner of Choozi Entertainment, creators of the first ever aquatic spectacular at sea, as well as theatrical entertainments throughout the world. Suzanne was also a published writer for Dance Teacher Now, offering advice to young dancers wishing to pursue a career in the performing arts. She is currently the owner of Choozi Entertainment and Choozi by Design, where she directs, choreographs, and produces entertainments for the cruise industry, as well as theatres throughout the world. Soozi is excited to be returning to her passion, that is passing on the traditions of ballet instruction to a new generation of dancers. She believes ballet offers the soundest technique in which to support all other genres of dance. She is thrilled to be joining the DAC family!

Mikael Maynard Dance InstructorMikael Maynard

Mikael Maynard acquired a love for dance at the ripe age of 9. She began her training at Precision Contemporary Dance Association under the excellent instruction of Marty Eyster. She participated in the Precision Dance Company for 10 of those years, which gave her the opportunity to perform throughout Florida and develop as a dancer. In 2007 and 2008 she was accepted into Milwaukee ballet summer intensive and Boston ballets summer intensive. In 2008 Mikael attended the Florida Dance Association summer intensive at New World School of the Arts in Miami with a full scholarship. She began her teaching career in 2009 and has continued to share her love for dance and movement ever since. Ms. Mikael graduated from UCF with a degree in environmental studies.

Amanda Manus Dance InstructorAmanda Manus

Amanda Manus is a performer and educator born and raised on the Space Coast. She took lessons with Ms. Marty at Precision Dance and expanded her horizons as a performer with theater classes, gymnastics, and cheerleading. When Ms. Amanda went to college at the University of Florida she majored in History but joined Extreme Dance Company keeping her hand in the performance game. After college Ms. Amanda pursued performance as a profession. She has performed locally for the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, Titusville Playhouse, and the Henegar Center. She has also had the honor of performing in musicals and large scale productions on the West Coast of Florida and two tours with Feld Entertainment Disney Live! and Disney Jr. Live! shows one domestic and one international. Ms. Amanda has taught and choreographed at the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse for the STARS of Tomorrow program, at the Henegar Center for Black Box and MainStage shows, and at Better Than Broadway Dance Studio. She assistant directed a studio production of the Little Mermaid in Tampa. She has volunteered with the Cocoa Police Department to teach a ballet class to underprivileged girls and loves nothing more than challenging her students to do more than they ever thought they could. When she isn’t performing or teaching Ms. Amanda works as a 911 dispatcher for a local agency.

Eldrin Shorts Dance InstructorEldrin Shorts

Eldrin’s first dance experience came as a young kid copying choreography from music videos of top performers like Micheal Jackson and Janet Jackson. A native of Atlanta his passion for dance started from a very young age and eventually became more than just a hobby. Throughout high school Eldrin became an outstanding performer and quickly became a choreographer for students in the theater and dance program of his school. Eldrin has had training from world famous hip hop choreographers such as, Shaun Evarista of Movement Lifestyle, Brian Puspos of Most Wanted Crew, Bam Martin of Most Wanted Crew, Lyle Beniga just to name a few. Eldrin has competed with Extreme AllStars and has placed 1st in the US and 2nd in the World for two years. He was a member of Funkywunks, a dance crew that won 1st in the World Championship under the leadership of Julie Johnson. He has made appearances on NBC’s Americas got Talent with the Funkywunks crew. Eldrin’s choreography was also recognize by MTV, and chosen to be a part of their top 15 dancer in the Week Wraps Dancing with DNCE contest where viewers voted him to the top 3. Eldrin continues and strives to perfect his craft and stay innovative and his passion for dance has become a permanent motivator in his life. He is currently working as a member of Sole180 Productions as a choreographer for up and coming Artistic events and venues.

Sam Scott Dance InstructorSam Scott

Ms. Sam has been dancing in Brevard County for almost 20 years. In her youth she received most of her training from Marty Mercado at Precision Contemporary Dance and went on to teach there for 4 years. Ms. Sam was in Precision’s company for about 10 years where they performed numerous performances around Brevard County such as Dracula and Young Frankenstein. She has also worked with the Brevard Cultural Alliance traveling to different schools and underprivileged neighborhoods teaching various types of dance. In 2007 and 2008 she was accepted into Milwaukee Ballet’s summer intensive. Ms. Sam also formerly taught at Dance Art Centre from 2008 to 2013. She moved to Virginia in 2013. In Virginia, she taught dance and sports with the Starz Program. Ms. Sam received her Associates in Arts at Eastern Florida State College and continued her studies at the University of Central Florida and Norfolk State University in Hospitality and Event Management.

Shayna Gardner

Shayna Gardner has been both a dancer and competitive gymnast, attending studios throughout all of Brevard County for the last 20 years. Ms. Shayna is passionate about teaching dance and acro and has been an instructor for various local companies since she was 18 years old. In May of 2011, Ms. Shayna graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in Psychology and conducted research specifically in the fields of Developmental and Behavioral Psychology. She also enjoys writing and editing and maintained several leadership positions for a number of UF campus publications and is currently working as a Technical Writer for Avion Technical Communications during her days.