The Dance Company

Mission Statement
The Dance Company’s mission is to provide dancers with comprehensive artistic education that fosters excellence in all forms of dance in a manner that embraces a passion for the art form. The Dance Company strongly believes in making dance accessible to everyone and strives to provide scholarships and tuition assistance through contributed income, sponsorships and in-kind payments. In addition, a key goal for The Dance Company is to instill in its dancers an enthusiasm for and desire to have a positive influence within their community.
TDC Director Stephanie Burkhardt has been a proud member of The Dance Company since the day of its inception under the direction of Carole Dickens. Stephanie danced with TDC for over 12 years and showcased her talent in numerous competitions, conventions, intensives, and performances up until her high school graduation in 2005. While studying at the University of Florida for her Bachelor of Science in nursing degree, she studied with the university’s jazz and theater departments and performed multiple genres with the student-run dance groups Extreme Dance Company and Danza Dance Company. During her summer breaks, Stephanie headed the dance department at Camp Wayfarer in Flat Rock, North Carolina and taught summer camps and teen intensives at The Dance Company. Upon completing her certifications as a Registered Nurse in 2009, she decided to further pursue her passion for dance by accepting the position as Dance Team Coach at St. Augustine High School and returning to The Dance Company to instruct classes. Stephanie has also become a guest choreographer for St. Augustine High School, Pedro Menendez High School, Murray Middle School, Cathedral Parish School, Nease High School, and Episcopal High School. Her choreography has been performed at numerous festivals, performances, and competitions and have received accolades for highest score, choreography, entertainment, and judge’s choice. In 2013, Stephanie created the St. Augustine Winter Spectacular! and has written and directed the original production ever since. Stephanie has continued her dance education by becoming certified in Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) and attending conferences such as the Dance Teacher Summit in New York City. Stephanie has also led collaborations with the Arc of St. Johns, Boys and Girls Club, Flagler College Dance Team, and fellow nonprofit organizations and works to provide funding for TDC’s “Everyone Dances” scholarship program. She has enjoyed combining her professional and dance backgrounds to help others learn and utilize the physical, mental, and artistic benefits of dance. Stephanie accepted the position of Executive Artistic Director at The Dance Company in 2011. Under her direction, The Dance Company has been awarded “Best Dance Studio” and “Best Performing Dance Group” for Folio Weekly’s Best of St. Augustine for the past 2 years.

Stephanie Burkhardt
Executive Artistic Director

TDC Instructors Ellie Potts Barrett, internationally recognized choreographer, dancer and dance educator, attended College at Boston Conservatory and received her BA in Dance, cum laude, from the University of South Florida. Ellie danced with the Ina Hahn Modern Dance Company, Boston Dance Company and Mary Anthony in New York, as well as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She has been an associate artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts to Master Artists Merce Cunningham, Meg Harper and Elizabeth Streb, and Florida’s prolific author, Carl Hiaasen. Ellie has had an illustrious career as a choreographer.  She has created shows and dances for Walt Disney World, Sea World, theme parks and musical theatre companies worldwide, surpassing the 200 show mark.In addition to teaching Modern at The Dance Company, Ellie also teaches Modern and Musical Theatre at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, in Jacksonville, and also at the Orlando Ballet School. She is a proud member of both, Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

Ellie Potts Barrett

Catie Burkhardt received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Dance from the University of Central Florida. Catie is currently a dance teacher at Murray Middle School Center for the Arts. Catie began her dance training at The Dance Company during its inaugural year and performed as a Company member for ten years. While in high school, Catie began assisting classes and teaching at The Dance Company and has continued to do so ever since. During college, Catie was a dance instructor at University Performing Arts Centre in Oviedo, Florida and performed in the UCF Spring Dance Concerts. Catie also worked professionally as a performer at the Walt Disney World Resort from 2007-2011, and was an opening cast dancer in the “Celebrate a Dream Come True” parade. Catie has also worked as an actor at Universal’s Orlando Resort and as a teaching artist with the VSA of Florida, teaching dance to students with disabilities. Catie continues to serve as a TDC Performance Ensemble Coordinator and leads the dancers to performances, competitions and conventions, where her dances have won awards for Entertainment and Choreography. Catie's time is divided between her commitments at The Dance Company in addition to being a full-time Dance Instructor at Murray Middle School Center of the Arts since 2013. Catie has been a proud member (both student and teacher) of The Dance Company for twenty-two years.
Catie Burkhardt

Sarah Burkhardt began dancing at the age of 3 following her sisters' footsteps at The Dance Company. She joined the company team when she was 11, where she performed in several competitions and shows until her gradation in 2011. At St. Augustine High School, Sarah was in the Cambridge AICE Program and a part of St. John's County Center of the Arts dance program all four years. Her junior year, she joined the dance team under the direction of her sister, Stephanie Burkhardt. After high school, Sarah went on to study at the University of Florida where she took classes in ballet and modern and was a member of the Floridance dance club. During the summer, she would continue to stay close to her Dance Company family and teach summer camps to the younger students. In 2015, she graduated with honors and received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics to pursue a teaching career. Sarah now lives back in St. Augustine, where she tutors for the AVID Program at Pedro Menendez High School and is a dance instructor at The Dance Company.

Sarah Burkhardt

Jeanette fell in love with dancing at the age of six at the TwinkleToes Dance Studio in Brooklyn, NY. At the age of sixteen, she pursued her passion, and graduated from the High School of Performing and Visual Arts Center, predecessor of the acclaimed New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL, where she trained in ballet, modern, jazz and performed with the musical theater department. She studied ballet with Thomas Armour, Mariana Alvarez Brake, and Tony Catanzaro and danced professionally with Freddick Bratcher and Company Contemporary Dance Theater. Her most memorable performance was for Pope John Paul II which was broadcast live internationally. When Jeanette took on the role of Managing Director, she expanded the Company’s outreach programs including dance education for underserved children and created A Storydance Project. Jeanette is also a Florida certified teacher with a Bachelors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a Masters in Science Education. She has taught prekindergarten through high school levels, specializes in mathematics and science, trains teachers through National Geographic Learning, and is the FL Assessment Specialist for With over twenty years experience of teaching dance to children through adults of all ages, Jeanette is excited to share her talents with the students of The Dance Company.

Jeanette Bratcher

Javier Garcia Bustos, “Javiolo,” was born is Madrid, Spain. He started dancing Flamenco when he was 3 years old and later added other styles like modern and hip hop. He took dance lessons in a variety of styles in Spain, Italy, UK. and France. At the age of 12 he competed in national and international hip hop championships and by the age of 14 he started preparing groups to compete for international hip hop championships. At the same time, he was dancing for different choreographers on T.V. shows such as “Sorpresa, Sorpresa”. At the age of 18 he performed for various artists including Kesha, Marta Sanchez and Alejandro Sanz, touring around Spain. At age 22, he opened a dance school in Spain as a co-owner and started preparing for the next generation of dancers for T.V shows and musicals. He also performed for a famous musical in Spain as“ Hoy No Me Puedo Levantar” for 7 years. Since he moved to the U.S. he joined a few dance ensembles in CA. N.Y. and MA. Recently he joined the artistic staff of The Dance Company in St. Augustine, FL and he is looking forward to passing on his knowledge to the next generation of dancers, teachers, and choreographers.

Javi Bustos

Jennifer has been involved in the world of dance for over 40 years.  She was trained under the tutelage of Barbara Riggins, Kip Watson, Leslie Brasseaux, and Russell Sultzbach of the Southern Ballet Theater (now the Orlando Ballet).  Jennifer has also studied with talented instructors in a variety of studios and settings, including the late Larry Long of The Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago, and Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens of ABT NTC. In the Pilates realm, she has studied under Davidson Reid, Brent Anderson, and Dana Eisenstein (Power Pilates), and was mentored by Monica Perez (a student of Lolita San Miguel, one of the First Generation Master Teachers).
In 2013 Ms. Dournaux earned the American Ballet Theater’s Teacher Training Certificate for pre-ballet to level 3.  She intends to return to the ABT program over the next two years to complete her certifications in all seven levels.
In 2012, Ms. Dournaux completed her master’s degree in humanities, with an emphasis on dance history.  Her graduate thesis focused on dance education, specifically that of ballet in America.  In addition to graduate studies in the arts, she also has a tremendous curiosity for how the human body functions in movement; this curiosity has propelled an on-going love affair with self-education in anatomy and kinesiology.

Jennifer Dournaux

Brittany started her training in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of three. She started performing for her studio's competition team at age 5, and at age 17 started choreographing dances to compete. Throughout high school, Brittany was also a part of her high school's dance company and multiple musicals, including "Cha-Cha" in Grease. She then studied at Northern Kentucky University for theater and dance and became a part of the traveling dance troupe. Brittany has furthered her dance education by taking many classes in New York from amazing teachers like Mia Michaels. Brittany was a performer at Paramount Kings Island for two years. She moved to St. Augustine in 2013 and has been working with The Dance Company ever since.

Brittany Dwyer

Kara was born and raised in Virginia where she started her dance career at age 7. She began teaching preschool dance classes at age 15. Kara graduated from Adelphi University in New York with a degree in Journalism and a Dance minor. After college Kara moved back to Virginia where she taught a variety of dance classes to students ages 2-19 while teaching preschool and instructing pre and postnatal fitness classes. In the summer of 2017 Kara and her husband moved to St. Augustine to be by the beach. Kara and her husband have two children (Jackson age 4 and Mia age 1). She enjoys working with dancers of all levels but has a true passion for preschool age dance classes. “I believe it’s important to create a warm and nurturing environment for dancers at a young age. I enjoy cultivating their love for dance at such a young age and encouraging them to have fun.”

Kara Gentile

Christina is originally from Virginia and studied at The Richmond Ballet. She received her B.F.A in Dance Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. She has been performing with the Radio City Rockettes in New York City for 13 years, performing in numerous television and live events. National Tours: Guys and Dolls, Dorcas in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Regional Theater: Beauty and the Beast, Christmas Dreams, Cirque Dreams. Along with performing at Tokyo Disneyland, She was also a member of the Philadelphia 76ers Dance Team and danced with artists such as Alec Baldwin, Akon, Pink, P-Diddy, Al Yankovich. Christina is also a certified personal trainer and a yoga/barre instructor. After living in NYC for 15 years as professional dancer, her and her family now reside in Florida.
Christina Hedrick

Abby began her dance training at the Dance Company at the age of three. There, dancing as part of their competition team she took part in many conventions and competitions getting to take class from many different master teachers. Through school Abby was an advanced dance member with SJCCA at Murray Middle School and St Augustine High School. Abby danced one season for the Jacksonville Giants basketball team but then learned her love was for teaching and choreographing. Abby is head coach of the St. Augustine High School Dance Team and has shared her love of dance with many dancers around St. Augustine and hopes to continue to do so as long as possible!

Abby Holland

Anna Holland began her dance training at the age of three at The Dance Company in St. Augustine, FL. She quickly learned that dance was a guiding light in her life and continued her training at Murray Middle School. Anna was a member of The Dance Company’s competitive team for 10 years and was showcased at many competitions, conventions, workshops, and summer intensives around the country. In high school, Anna was accepted into Douglas Anderson School of the Arts dance program where she trained under the guidance of Dr. Phyllis Penny. After graduating in 2013, she then went on to study business at Tallahassee Community College. In Tallahassee, she was a member of Dance Tallahassee’s Pre-Professional Program. This program was comprised of many talented young artists who were wanting to continue their dance education with performance and technique training under the directorship of Ashley Adams. After returning to St. Augustine, Anna quickly found her way back to The Dance Company as an instructor. Her choreography has been showcased on TDC’s Performance Ensemble, St. Augustine High School’s Dance Team, Murray Middle School’s Dance Program, Pedro Menendez’s Dance Program, and other studios in the North Florida and South Georgia region. Anna’s biggest passion in life is dance and she hopes to be able to spread her love and joy for dance with the younger generations she has the pleasure of teaching. Anna Holland
Studio Manager

Madie Johnson recently graduated from Pedro Menendez High School. While dancing in high school, Madie was active in IB Dance, the Menendez Dance Ensemble, and the Magic Dance Team. She is currently a freshman at St. Johns River State College. She also works and dances at Funkytown Fitness in St. Augustine, Florida. Madie is excited to bring her experience and love for dance to TDC!

Madie Johnson

Marie Laperriere has been dancing since 1989. She studied biochemistry in college and was deeply involved in the San Francisco arts and music scene. She was a manager for four years at Café DuNord- a very successful S.F. live music venue, well known and respected for showcasing underground talent, and holding often avant garde performances. She has studied dance at Western Michigan University, The City College of San Francisco, the ODC School/Rhythm and Motion in San Francisco, and after moving to St. Augustine in 2003, at The Dance Company. She has studied Afro-Haitian, West African, Middle Eastern, Jazz, Hip Hop and Ballet, attended numerous contemporary workshops and summer intensives at The Dance Company as well as the 2008 and 2009 American Dance Projekt in Jacksonville. She performed at The Limelight Theater in “La Follies-La Joie de Vivre,” “Divas Tonight” and “St. Augustine’s Got Talent.” In March 2011 she performed with a group of local dance teachers, as The St. Augustine Dance Guild, in their own production, “Visual Harmony.” In August 2010 she took a group of 9 Dance Company dancers to Cambridge and London England as part of a dance-exchange she organized with The King-Slocombe School of Dance in Cambridge. In 2011, four King-Slocombe dancers participated in The Dance Company’s summer intensive. She has an eight year old son and has worked full time for the past five years as a Course Reviewer providing instructor support for The Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Marie Laperriere

Jessica Lengyel Allard received her bachelor's degree in Dance with a dual concentration in ballet and jazz from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She now dances with Surfscape Contemporary Dance Theatre of New Smyrna Beach and teaches dance at Pedro Menendez High School. Jessica trained at The Dance Company of St. Augustine and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. She was a Company Member at the Dance Company for ten years and a member of Douglas Anderson’s Dance Theatre for three years. She has attended various summer programs such as the Orlando Ballet School, the Joffrey Ballet School, the Nashville Ballet School and the Florida Dance Festival.  Jessica has been privileged to work with choreographers such as Francesca Harper, Nicholas Petrov, Peter Merz, Ronen Koresh, Ann Sorvino and Alison Seidenstricker. Jessica has had the opportunity to teach and choreograph in Pittsburgh and around the St. Augustine area.  Jessica currently serves as a Performance Ensemble Coordinator at The Dance Company. Jessica is currently a full-time dance instructor at Pedro Menendez High School where she is also the dance team coach.
Jessica Allard

Lara Tant was born in Philadelphia, PA where she began dancing at the YMCA.  She trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC under the direction of Ludmila Markovina and Alla Sizova. Additionally, she supplemented her training through summer programs at American Ballet Theatre, where she had the opportunity to be coached by Leslie Brown and Rebecca Wright. Finally, she completed her professional training in the Trainee Program at the Joffrey Ballet School. Lara began her professional career at the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, where she also embarked upon her career as a ballet teacher, next she joined Connecticut Ballet in Stamford, CT. In New York City Lara co-founded Exit 12 Dance Company; and performed with many companies and choreographers during her years there. In the summer of 2016 she joined the Farm to Ballet Project in Burlington, Vermont as a principal dancer, and was part of a PBS documentary.  In 2017, she was a guest artist with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet in Connecticut.  Lara has performed many classical and contemporary works; her favorites include Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty, Gamzatti in La Bayadere and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker. Lara has taught ballet and creative movement at Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Ballet Des Enfants, Armonk Dance, ATB, Brooklyn Ballet, Steps on Broadway, The Hartt School, and Boston Ballet. She is a Bolshoi Certified Ballet Teacher for levels 1 through 3. In 2015, she traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to teach dance to children in the townships. From 2010 to 2016 she was a full- time faculty member at the Joffrey Ballet School in Manhattan in the Children, Youth Ballet and Adult Programs. Lara graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Dance Performance Degree from the College of Saint Mary’s, LEAP program. In the summer of 2016 she was the Artistic Director of From Studio to Stage 2 summer program at the Hartt School in Hartford, CT where she choreographed a full-length original ballet with an original score by Arthur Abrams, The Velveteen Rabbit, which she dedicated to her mom. In 2016, she became the artistic director and dancer with Azoth Dancer, where she currently performs and with them has toured five times to France, Poland and Finland; teaching and performing. She has traveled twice to India to teach dance to children in Bangalore. In 2017, she wrote a curriculum for the Pennsylvania Ballet Education and Community Initiative program called Dance Chance to be used in Philadelphia Public Schools. Last year she taught in the Youth and Adult program at Koresh Dance in Philadelphia. She graduated in June 2020 with a 4.0 and earned her master’s degree in Dance Movement Therapy and Counseling from Drexel University. Lara is thrilled to move back home and join the lovely community at The Dance Company!

Lara Tant

Nicole Tiller began dancing in 1984 in Long Island, New York. She became a student of Carole Dickens and Monika Macbeth in 1988, and began teaching full time in 1995. Nicole has studied under Ellie Potts Barrett, Marcellus Brown, Lynette Wadsworth, and Dorothy Lambert. She has attended numerous master classes in Orlando, Jacksonville, and the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Nicole graduated from Florida School of the Arts in 1999, with an Associate's degree in modern dance. She is an award winning choreographer, recognized by the Florida Dance Association. Nicole is currently on staff at The Dance Company as well as a guest teacher at Murray Middle School and St. Augustine High School.
Nicole Tiller

Presley Nowak, the newest member to our faculty team, has grown up through The Dance Company starting at the age of ten. Presley expanded her dance through multiple arts schools including SJCCA and ultimately graduating from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts with a dance seal. She is currently continuing her education at Saint Johns River State College towards a nursing degree while still pursuing dance. Presley has expanded her horizons into the choreography field and is excited to take this new step in challenging herself as an instructor and choreographer.
Presley Nowak

Taryn Fuller Torregrosa has been dancing ever since she can remember. She started at Five Flags Dance Academy in Pensacola, FL where she grew up. Taryn was twelve when she moved to St. Augustine where she got accepted into the SJCCA dance program and gifted program at R.J. Murray Middle School Center for the Arts. During her Middle School years Taryn joined a local dance studio called The Dance Company under the direction of Carole Dickens. Taryn continued her dancing in the SJCCA program at St. Augustine High School.  After graduating high school Taryn got the chance to become a dance instructor at The Dance Company under the direction of Stephanie Burkhardt. During her years at TDC, Taryn attended many workshops and competitions where she learn skills and techniques to further her teaching career. Taryn was lucking enough to coach Dance Team after school at Allen D. Nease High School. This experience opened up many doors for Taryn and allowed her to meet many St. Johns County School District staff. A few years later Taryn apply and got hired to teach dance at R. J. Murray Middle School. Taryn is truly blessed to teach and give back to the place where it all started. Taryn attends many workshops, competitions, and most recently the 2018 Dance Teacher Summit to keep current with that dance world.
Taryn Tarregrosa

TDC Office Manager Ms. Jennifer is the first face you see when you come into The Dance Company. She entered the dance world when her daughter, Ashlee began taking classes at the age of two. The more her daughter danced the more involved she became! She has much experience “behind the scenes” in the studio industry. Jennifer has over 30 years in office management and accounting as a former legal secretary/paralegal and real estate assistant. She assists in the day to day policies and procedures manages and oversee the administration of the studio and all accounts payable, receivables, and monthly billing.
Jennifer Hyland

Board of Directors

President: Dana Evans
Vice President & Secretary: Shawn Stonaker
Treasurer: Carol Branson
Members: Linda Bartimus, Leaa Cruce, Ailine Helms, Sonja Warring

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