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.
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..
Haley Ferrell-Young has been dancing since 2000 and was a competition dancer for 12 years. She has been working with young children for many years, and started her teaching career by dancing in many daycare locations around Jacksonville. Haley joined the Academy of Dance faculty this year but has been teaching for 4 years and has come to love teaching the art of dance to our newer generations. Haley graduated from Jacksonville University in 2020, majoring in Dance and Psychology. While attending Jacksonville University she trained under Paul Taylor company members and also trained with the Brian Nicholson. Haley hopes that she has been able to teach children of all ages how to love the art of dance and encourage determination and passion that will last a life time.
Jill Geiger is an accomplished dancer, instructor, choreographer and business professional. Originally from Boston, Jill made her way down to Florida to attend Jacksonville University where she studied dance education. Through the years Jill has had the opportunity to teach at various studios in both MA and FL leading classes of all ages and skill levels. She keeps busy balancing a full time career in technology with her love of dance and teaching. Jill is passionate about leading and enjoys working with her students to hone the skills they'll need to succeed in both dance and in life. She believes that anything is possible through hard work, discipline and perseverance. Nothing worth having or doing is easy! Jill is thrilled to be returning to the Academy of Dance and looks forward to being part of the journey for generations to come!
Stephanie Sergent has been a part of the Academy of Dance family since 2013. While a student at AOD, she was a member of the competition teams for five years, competing in both dance and musical theatre. Stephanie graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in 2020, majoring in musical theatre. She is currently studying at the University of North Florida, majoring in Kinesiology. Stephanie began teaching at Academy of Dance in 2019, training dancers in various styles, and is also one of our competitive dance team instructors. Stephanie hopes to continue sharing her passion with her students and watch them grow as they develop a love for dance that is just as strong as her own.
Bio Coming Soon!
Elissa Smith started dancing when she was 2 years old at the Academy of Dance. She performed on the dance team for five years and was a founding member of the Thespian Ensemble Troupe in 2016.
She has been a character performer at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for ZooLights, Spooktacular and the special "Night of Dreams." She is an accomplished cosplayer, using her skills as a makeup artist, costumer and actress to bring her characters to life. Elissa has assisted the Thespian Ensemble Troupe, Musical Theatre Class as well as our summer musical theater programs for the last 3 years and is excited to join the studio for these programs!
Carolyn Brennan was our amazing Musical Theater instructor as well as the award-winning Director of our Thespian program. She had a passion for Musical Theatre from a young age when she started to dance at the Academy of Dance at 12 years old. She continued to dance at AOD through high school. After graduating from Flagler College in St. Augustine with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, she returned to the Academy of Dance as a teacher. Under the guidance and tutelage of Ms. Jacquie, Carolyn also found a love for teaching our young dancers in Ballet and Tap.
Carolyn choreographed many Musical Theatre productions, such as "Xanadu Jr", "A Chorus Line Jr", "Shrek Jr", "Into the Woods", "Willy Wonka Jr", and "Alice in Wonderland Jr". Most recently she choreographed and directed a fabulous production of "Peter Pan Jr". Her competition team choreography won multiple awards over the years including Overall High Score Superstar Awards and Choreography Awards.
Carolyn believed that everyone deserves a chance to shine, and that with hardwork and a lot of heart, anything is possible! Her enthusiasm for all things song and dance was contagious was a wonderful asset to our studio.
Her legacy will live on at our studio.
"Forever in the Wings of our Stage"