Instructors

Anne (Cichra) Carollo – Owner/Director

The most exciting thing I have ever done was to open Gulf Coast Dancenter.  I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to share my love and passion for dance with the next generation of dancers.

I have been dancing for 32 years, and have trained and performed with some of the most elite in the world of dance.  I started my dance training at Cameron’s Dancenter in Gainesville, Florida.  I was invited to join the resident Danscompany of Gainesville at the age of ten.  While part of the company, I performed in the full length ballet Cinderella.  I have performed the roles of Cinderella, Fall Fairy, and Winter Fairy.  In addition, I have performed in the Danscompany’s version of Cats, The Wiz, and their yearly galas.

In combination with my yearly training, I have also attended many summer dance programs which have included: The Rock School (Pennsylvania Ballet), Atlanta Ballet, Columbia City Ballet, etc.  At these programs, I got to take classes from the greats in ballet:  Gelsey Kirkland, Patricia Miller, Edward Villella, William Starrett, and Karena Brock just to name a few.

As a young adult, I trained with the Orlando Ballet.  I performed with the company for two years performing in Nutcracker and Carmen under the directorship of Fernado Bujones and Peter Stark (Boston Ballet 2 and formally Patel Conservatory).

Throughout the years of dancing as an adult, I have continued to further my education by taking Master Classes from: Mia Micheals (So You Think You Can Dance), David Howard, Finis Jhung, Mandy Moore (SYTYCD), Ray Leeper (Tony awarded choreographer), Frank Hatchett (Father of Jazz), Sheila Barker, etc.  In addition to the many master classes, I have also gotten certified by Florida Dance Masters in Ballet and Jazz and I continue to remain an active member of this organization.  In 2017 I also received my certification in Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), a conditioning and training format created specifically to strengthen dancers and to create proper muscle memory in the body.  I am a firm believer that as an instructor I should always be learning what’s new and exciting in the dance world so that I may bring this back to the studio to share with the students.  I do this by attending conventions and classes throughout the year.  I also hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-Vet and Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida.

My goal for Gulf Coast Dancenter is to provide excellent training in dance, a loving and nurturing atmosphere, and to become the home away from home destination.

Nicole Stuart – Ballet

Nicole began her dance training when she was 3 years old.  She trained at the Academy of Ballet Florida under the direction of Donna Morgan and Marie Hale and Palm Beach Ballet Center under the direction of Joan Miller.   Nicole attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for her first year of college.  At UNCSA, Nicole trained under Melissa Hayden, Fanchon Cordell, and Christine Spizzo, to name a few.

She began her professional career with Orlando Ballet and then went on to dance with Ballet Florida.  Nicole was also a guest artist for Palm Beach Ballet Center for multiple performances.  Her repertoire includes, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Helena in Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Nutcracker, Giselle, and Les Sylphides.  Nicole has been teaching ballet and coaching dancers on and off for the last 12 years.  Nicole received her B.S. from the University of Florida majoring in Health Science.  While studying at UF, she taught, choreographed, and performed with Floridance, a student run dance company at UF.  She has obtained her M.A. in Clinical Psychology and is currently working on her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Florida School of Professional Psychology.

Nicole loves teaching and choreographing and has a strong passion to help young dancers to reach their full potential.  This is her first season teaching and choreographing with Gulf Coast Dancenter.  She is excited to be a part of Gulf Coast Dancenter and Gulf Coast Dance Theater.

 

Heidi Strohl Romero – Ballet

Heidi Strohl Romero, a native of Winston-Salem, NC, is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she trained for nine years. She also studied at many intensive summer sessions, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joffery Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and the Hungarian Ballet Academy in Budapest, Hungary.

In her professional career since 1997, she has danced with Charleston Ballet Theatre (SC), Greensboro Ballet (NC), Northern Ballet Theatre (NH), Burklyn Ballet Theatre (VT), Kim Robards Dance (CO), Paradise Ballet Theatre (FL), Gleich Dances (NY), Key West Contemporary Dance (FL), and Tampa  Ballet Theater (FL).

In 2002, she performed as the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Other favorite roles include Lucy in Dracula, Odette in Swan Lake, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and the principal role in Paquita.

 

  

Dana (Stackpole) Barbour – Ballet

Dana (Stackpole) Barbour’s professional career as a dancer has spanned over 23 years, with 9 seasons at the American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov and 4 years with the San Francisco Ballet. She transitioned into a career on Broadway where she performed leading roles in such Tony award winning shows as Carousel, On The Town and the Billy Joel -Twyla Tharp sensation Movin’ Out. Other Broadway credits include, the Tony award winning Contact and the epic Broadway smash, The Phantom of the Opera.

Dana is certified in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum as well as in both Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® . She also is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and a licensed Zumba Instructor. Her desire is to help impart the joy of dance and is summed up in this quote by Martha Graham: “I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” ― Martha Graham.​

Amy DiBongrazio – Jazz, Contemporary, and Acro

Amy DiBongrazio has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance Studies from the University of South Florida. She started her dance training at the age of three at Stewart Johnson Dance Academy in Hamilton, New Jersey. In her spare time, she takes classes with the University of South Florida’s resident dance company Shoes at the Door.

In 2011, Amy received a scholarship to attend the Dance in Paris Program with USFdance. She spent the month studying Modern, Ballet, and Choreography at Micadanses in Paris, France. She performed “Une Chambre ave vue” choreographed by Stephanie Batten Bland. She also performed “Drift,” which included a self choreographed solo, a duet in collaboration with Amelia Son, and group piece with guidance from Michael Foley and Ottowan Nyoung.

Amy is passionate about teaching and is currently teaching Jazz, Contemporary and Tumbling at Gulf Coast Dancenter in Clearwater, FL. She believes in giving back to her community and inspiring today’s youth. She one day hopes to own her own Performing Arts studio with a focus in Dance.

 

Kayla Dewees – Tap

Kayla Dewees has been tap dancing for 8 years and going. She was brought up learning not only tap, but jazz and ballet, and had the opportunity to attend classes from Lane Napper, Frank Hatchett, Tommy Alexander, and many others. Kayla is currently a member of Tapped In Inc., studies under Lyla Menkhaus and enrolled in the iTapOnline program taught by Hillary-Marie. She jumps at the chance to take classes to further her knowledge. Aside from her dance career, Kayla has a bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida and is a power distribution engineer by day.

 

 

Lyla Menkhaus – Tap

Lyla Menkhaus came into this world as an artist.  Born in Buffalo, NY, Lyla has been dancing and performing since the age of three. Lyla has had the opportunity to  participate in a variety of shows in the Western, NY area.  Her musical theater performances include Copacabana, The King and I and Pippin.  Lyla has also had rolls in ballets such as Baba Yaga, Giselle, and The Nutcracker.  She has participated in internships with Shakespeare in Delaware Park and the Irish  Classical Theater Company. She was also a member of the 2000 US Tap Team under the direction of Matthew Clark and competed in Riesa, Germany at the World Tap Championships.

In addition to performing, Lyla has a passion for teaching, and has been assisting and teaching at studios and schools around Western NY since the age of 11.  Since relocating to Florida in 2011, Lyla has been teaching and choreographing in the Clearwater area.  In the last year alone, she has produced over 20 shows for performers in the community.  Most recently she created a Flash Mob for the Opening Ceremonies for the Clearwater Little League, and choreographed several numbers for X-Factor finalist and Broadway Performer Stacey Francis.  She is currently the Performing Arts Director at Delphi Academy of Florida.  This is Lyla’s third season with Tapped In.

 

Willow – Adult Dance

With deep and varied experience in dance, Willow specializes in teaching adult students, teachers, and professional dancers. As a child she trained in classical ballet with strong emphasis on supporting American styles such as broadway, jazz and contemporary dance.
Willow attended Lines Ballet School and San Rafael Ballet School for her classical ballet training. Her entry into the professional world was in ballroom dance, where she stayed and developed her skills for the next twenty years.
Willow is an ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance) certified teacher of ballroom dance, a professional latin competitor in the Latin and Rhythm styles, and also has owned two studios, both specializing in adults in the ballroom, ballet, jazz and contemporary styles. She has worked with, trained, and choreographed for many professional dancers and enjoys that process greatly.
Willow’s strength is in her development of the artist within through choreography and special work in drawing out the expression in every dancer. She is excited to work with anyone with a dancer’s heart.

 

Janae – Office Manager

Mrs. Janae is from Durham, North Carolina where she graduated from Durham School of the Arts. Her interest has always been for digital arts and photography, but she has enjoyed being introduced into the performing arts world and taking beginning dance classes at the studio.

Her passion is working with children and families and making a difference in the community.  She does this by overseeing the facilities of a local early childhood program as the center director, that serves children 0-5 years old.  In the evenings, at Gulf Coast Dancenter, she manages the onboarding, communications, and daily administration that helps the studio run smoothly.  Mrs. Janae recently received her bachelor’s degree from St Pete College in Community Educational Studies.

I have enjoyed meeting the families at the studio, and those reaching out and sharing their appreciation of me at the front desk in this short time.

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