Luis Abella

Luis was born in Cuba and began studying ballet in 1983 with many of the best ballet Masters of the country. There he studied methodology and history of classical ballet. He graduated from the National School of Ballet in Havana, Cuba in 1991. Luis has performed all over the world as a Principal Dancer and soloist with many renowned ballet companies including the National Ballet of Cuba, under the direction of Alicia Alonso, Bellas Artes Nacional of Mexico, the Minnesota Ballet, and the University of Miami Ballet, under director Rosario Suarez. Luis is also the artistic director of the St. Augustine Ballet. Luis is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 & Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Zoica Garcia

Zoica was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba where she began the study of dance that would become her liife's passion. She graduatied from the Superior Institue of Art in Havana, Cuba with a Master's Degree in Fine Arts and Ballet. She continued her studies as a teacher, dancer, and choreographer, receiving a post-graduated degree in Ballet and Character Dance Methodology, and a certificate in Musical Theater and Dance from Opera Lyrical of Cuba. In Havana, she taught at the National School of Dance.  Zoica has been a principal dancer with the National Opera in Cuba and other world renowned companies.  In 1996, she received 1st place at Havana’s Festival of Elsimor.  Zoica was a teacher, dancer, choreographer, and artistic director for Studio Capezio in La Paz, Bolivia.  She currently teaches ballet, character and  pre-ballet classes at Abella’s School of Dance in St. Augustine, FL.

Grace Karger 

From the age of nine, Grace Karger has received ballet training from former professional dancers Luis Abella and Zoica Garcia at Abella’s School of Dance in St. Augustine, Florida.  This is Grace’s ninth season performing with the Saint Augustine Ballet under the direction of Artistic Director, Luis Abella where she is a member of the Junior Company.  In December 2018, she debuted in the role of Sugar Plum Fairy in their tenth-anniversary production of “The Nutcracker”.  Her past roles include Dew Drop, Snow Queen, Arabian and Mirliton in “The Nutcracker”; Tiger Lily in “The Ballet of Peter Pan”; and Caterpillar in “Alice in Wonderland” and the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz".​

Devin Mantei 

Devin began her training at age 8 at Abella’s School of Dance where she currently dances in the Pre-Professional division.  As a senior at St. Augustine High School, she is proficient in ballet, pointe, contemporary, modern, tap, jazz, hip hop, character, and Latin ballroom. She danced for the St. Johns County Center for the Arts for five years. Devin has been a company member with the St. Augustine Ballet since 2011.  She has danced featured roles such as Dorothy in Wizard of OZ, Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, Snow Queen and the Arabian Pas De Deux in the Nutcracker. She has assisted the choreographer in Nutcracker and Alice in Wonderland, teaching choreography to young dancers. Currently, she is teaching 5-7 year old tap and jazz. 

Brooke Shoultz

Brooke originally hails from Houston, Texas where she grew up dancing at Call to Glory Dance School and then Excelsior School of Dance where she was trained in the ABT Syllabus. She has danced professionally with Owen Theater, Chara Dance Company, Refines Arts Houston, MSCD and Ballet Excelsior of Houston (2011-2015). During her time with Ballet Excelsior, Brooke traveled as a corps member and then a soloist with their international touring company, in addition to being a company member. Brooke has taught at Profusion Preforming Arts, Excelsior School of Dance and Mercy Steps School of Dance where she was also the Jr Company Director and School Assistant Director. She has taught ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, lyrical, modern, folk, tap and hip hop. Brooke has also written a ballet syllabus for Profusion Preforming that follows the ABT Syllabus and is still being used today. 

Jenne Vermes

Jenne  has been dancing for 31 years. She received high quality foundations of dance training at both conservatory and competitive levels in south Florida. She studied music for her B.A. and earned two Master's degrees in education at Florida State University.  Jenne  worked extensively as an intern and assistant teacher with the American Tap Dance Foundation in New York City. From 2010-2012 she toured as a dancer/singer for the internationally acclaimed band, The Crüxshadows, which traveled across Europe, the Caribbean and North America. She is also the Professor of Tap Dance at Florida School of the Arts and at the University of Florida, and she is also a music teacher for Duval Public Schools. She is the Artistic Director of two professional tap dance companies: Noise Complaint - Tap Dance Theatre and Rhythm Theory Tap Ensemble, currently performing across the US. 

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