Jacquie Franz is the Owner/Director of Academy of Dance, located in Jacksonville, Florida. She began her career as a dance instructor in 1978 at the Dance Center, Inc. in Miami, Florida where she spent 10 years instructing classes in Classical Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern and Musical Theatre. During this time she also was employed by the Dade County Magnet School Program as a Jazz and Tap teacher, choreographer, and consultant. Following this position, Jacquie was hired by Dance Works of Miami teaching Classical Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. While there, she directed and produced numerous Musical Theatre Summer Workshops. She has studied jazz extensively with Karen Finan of The Dance Center in Miami and Frederick Brather, formerly of the Alvin Ailey Dance Co. She studied modern with Delma IIes, Director of the Momentum Dance Co. and classical ballet with Thomas Armor and Judith Newman of the Miami Conservatory. Jacquie has been trained in the teaching of the Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus of Ballet in addition to being a F.A.P.A. Certified Tap Instructor.
Jacquie and her husband relocated to Jacksonville in September 1997 and was employed as the assistant director at the Nieden-Johnson Academy of Dance in Mandarin. In August 2001, she acquired the business and became owner/director of what is now called Academy of Dance. She has also been a guest teacher at the Lavilla School of the Arts. In addition to running the studio and instructing classes, Jacquie created Dance on Location 20+ years ago. This program offers instruction at area schools as part of their after school programs.
Carolyn Brennan assists with our Musical Theatre class as dance instructor and choreographer. She has always had a passion for Musical Theatre, having been vocally trained from a young age. She actually started dancing right here at the Academy of Dance when she was only 12 years old. After graduation she became a teacher for Academy of Dance, starting off teaching our Creative Ages and 5&6 year old classes as well as Musical Theatre. She briefly concentrated all her efforts towards Musical Theatre, but now is back to teaching our Creative Ages and 5&6 year olds. Carolyn has choreographed a number of shows such as, "Xanadu Jr.", "A Chorus Line Jr.", "The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood", "Jump 'n' Jive Juliet", and "Into the Woods". She is also the choreographer/co-coach for our AOD Thespian Competition Team.
Carolyn is a graduate from Flagler College with a degree in English Literature and currently works full time at Publix. She is so excited to be at the studio where her passion for dance and theatre was born.
Emily Cazzolli has been teaching here at AOD for over six years now with our youngest dancers on up to our Intermediate Jazz and Advanced Hip Hop, as well as being a Choreographer/Coach to our Junior and Teen Competition Teams. Emily started her dance career here in Jacksonville, Florida under the direction of Jill Gieger and our own Jacquie Franz. Emily is a former member of the cheerleading squad for Jacksonville Jaguars, The ROAR. During her five years tenure on The ROAR, Emily served as a team captain, was selected to represent her squad in the Armed Forces Entertainment tours to Andros Islands, Bahamas, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tegucigalpa, and Honduras. She also represented her squad in Mexico City, Mexico doing special appearances for NFL Mexico.
Emily graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Florida with her degree in Elementary Education. In addition to teaching here at Academy of Dance she is also a Kindergarten teacher for Duval County Public Schools.
Mikayla Dushane joins us this year as our Tap Teacher. She has been dancing since the age of 2 and her passion for the performing arts has only grown.
Mikayla started training at the Academy of Dance when she was 9, and began competing the following year, under the direction of Jacquie Franz. She continued on the competition path for 8 years, competing in jazz, tap, contemporary, musical theatre and vocal. Mikayla has won numerous top awards for her dancing and singing.
The past two years, Mikayla had the opportunity to work with Ms. Jacquie and the Junior Company, choreographing pieces for their competitions, and most recently won a choreography award.
In addition to her training at AOD, Mikayla has also studied with world renowned choreographers and performers such as Stacey Tookey, Gene Gabriel, Kevin Covert, and Michael Slinger.
Mikayla is thrilled to be a part of the staff at AOD, and passing along her love of dance to the new generation. She will be continuing her training in the fall/spring at UNF, pursueing a Performing Arts degree.
Mindy Dushane is our Musical Theatre/Vocal Teacher as well as the Office Manager. She has been a part of music and theatre for over 30 years.
Over the years Mindy has performed in numerous show choir concerts and plays at various venues around Florida. She has been teaching, directing, or assisting with Musical Theatre since 2007. During this time she assisted with voice, staging and set design for the Saint Augustine Community Theatre as well as being the drama and stage director for the North Florida Christian High School Fine Arts Camp. Mindy has also worked in multiple settings with adult and children's choirs, ensembles, both as a performer and director. Mindy particularly enjoys working with the K-12 age group, expecting excellence in an atmosphere that builds confidence and inspires growth.
Mindy joined Academy of Dance in 2012, and since then has written, produced and co-directed many Summer Musical Theatre Dance Camp shows as well as directed several full productions such as "Disney's Alice in Wonderland", "Willy Wonka Jr.", "Annie Jr.", "Shrek the Musical", "Into the Woods", "A Chorus Line", and many more.
Mindy also started AOD's first Thespian Troupe, which has gone on to achieve numerous top awards. She brings us all things voice, drama and stage performance in this well rounded program, emphasizing on the "triple threat" of the dance/theatre/voice world. Mindy is a performance-based educator with the desire to help each student achieve success as a performer.
Lindsay Lynch-Malinowsky began her dance training in Orlando, Florida, training as a classical dancer in Ballet, Pointe and Jazz. After graduation, she began her teaching career in children's dance focusing on preschool and elementary dance education while pursuing her college degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. While studying at Valenzia Community College she was privileged to work with the Jose Limon Company and performed multiple times for the American College Dance Festival Association across the country. While residing in Orlando she became a choreographer for the Wekiva River Players, a musical theatre company specializing in children's choreography. After receiving her A.A. in Dance Performance she moved to Jacksonville, Florida where she achieved her B.F.A. in Dance from Jacksonville University. While studying at JU she was able to train with various choreographers and companies such as the Muller Company of New York. Lindsay developed her choreographic interests here and presented original works at various venues including the American College Dance Festival, Jacksonville Art Walk, Florida Alliance for Health Physical Education for Recreation, Dance and Sport, and many collegiate shows. After graduation Lindsay taught at several local dance schools in Jacksonville and delved into the world of competitive dance earning several top choreography awards.
It was in 2011 when she was invited to move to Pontlevoy, France with the Blacklight Theatre Group, Inc. to work in the school for theatre and dance that she was able to grow into the dancer and teacher she is today. While in France, Lindsay studied under her greatest mentor, Christina Teague Mann, studying the art of Contemporary dance, Children's Education, and Choreography. During her stay in France, she performed several times in various festivals and events and taking Master Classes throughout her year abroad. Upon her return to the U.S., Lindsay became a choreographer and company member with East Coast Ballet, traveling to the Midwest to dance and present original works created by herself and director Mindi Mende. In addition to her training in Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary and Modern, Lindsay received training in West Coast Swing and the Hustle and became an amateur competitive dancer. She most recently became a professional Ballroom dancer, studying under several World Champion instructors and competing and performing in the Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Fox Trot. Her future plans include earning her Masters degree in both Education and Choreography.
We are happy to have Lindsay return were she started her teaching career here in Jacksonville as our Contemporary, Inter/Adv Jazz, Acrobatic Dance teacher as well as the coach for our Performance V/Elite competition teams..