Anne (Cichra) Carollo – Owner/Director
Anne is the esteemed proprietor of Gulf Coast Dancenter, a distinguished ballet and technique-focused studio that was established in 2011 to address the demand for superior dance education in Pinellas County. Complementing this accomplishment, she also serves as the founder of Gulf Coast Dance Theater, a nonprofit dance company aimed at providing exceptional performance opportunities for aspiring youth and adult dancers in Pinellas while engaging with the community through noteworthy events and service initiatives.
Anne’s journey in dance began in Gainesville, Florida, under the guidance of Nina Cameron at Cameron’s Dancenter. Furthering her training, she sought out prestigious summer dance intensives such as The Rock School for Dance Education, Atlanta Ballet, and Columbia City Ballet. Anne’s exceptional talent and dedication led to an invitation to dance with Orlando Ballet, initially under the directorship of Vasile Petrutiu and subsequently under the direction of Peter Stark and Fernando Bujones. During her tenure at Orlando Ballet, Anne showcased her artistry in numerous productions, including the company’s illustrious Nutcrackers and Carmen.
While dancing at Orlando Ballet and seizing the opportunity to substitute for their esteemed school, Anne discovered her passion for teaching. Since then, she has dedicated over 20 years to honing her pedagogical expertise, holding prestigious certifications in ballet and jazz from Florida Dance Masters, Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), a certified 4-Pointe teacher, and the coveted distinction of an ABT® Certified Teacher. This accolade was attained through successful completion of the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. In addition to her dance certifications, Anne holds a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Pre-Veterinary Studies from the University of Florida.
Anne’s impact as an instructor is reflected in the accomplishments of her students, who have excelled in esteemed institutions and professional companies such as Washington Ballet, Rochester City Ballet, United Ballet Theater, Colorado Ballet, School of American Ballet (SAB), Miami City Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB), among others. Additionally, numerous students have continued their education at the university level, pursuing promising careers in the competitive world of dance.
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 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.
Rebecca – Adult Dance
With deep and varied experience in dance, Rebecca 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.
Rebecca 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.
Rebecca 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.
Rebecca’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.
Edee Alexander – Office Manager
“Making a positive impact on someone’s life provides great satisfaction.”
With a strong customer service background and over 30 years as a Hotel Concierge in Las Vegas, Edee has been able to assist thousands of guests from all over the world in creating memorable tour & entertainment experiences.
Edee has recently relocated to Tampa Bay to enjoy precious time with family and the beauty of this incredible environment. Being able to easily access the spectacular gulf coast beaches & daily sunsets has been a dream come true.
“When I see our dancers from ages 3 to 70 years old walk through the door at Gulf Coast Dancenter, it gives me great satisfaction to know that their lives are positively changing forever through the magic and beauty of dance.”