LIANNA ASHTON [CIRCUS] was brought up singing and doing 'Risley', where her dad, Michael Ashton, juggled her and her brother Miles on his feet starting when they were only 2 years old. At 3, she made her debut at Bush Gardens where she joined the act, the family tradition of Risley. She would soon go on to Circus Circus in Las Vegas and when only nine years old was offered center ring on Ringling Bros. Barnum & Baileys Greatest Show On Earth Tour. Growing up and traveling worldwide, as The Amazing Ashtons, she began to develop her own hula hoop show. That coupled with singing with her father in his nightclub act, they wouldn't stay under the radar long. Soon, they would go on to appear on such shows as David Letterman, Jay Leno, The Steve Harvey Show, Regis and Kathy Lee, Arnold Schwarzengger Body Expo, Voted NBA top halftime act, and numerous benefits for the Kennedy family and their foundations. The crowning achievement for all these accomplishments for Lianna was in 2001 when she and her family, The Ashtons, were inducted into The Circus Ring Of Fame in Sarasota, Florida.
ANGENETTA BETTS [HIP HOP, TAP] started her dancing career at the young age of 3. She has danced at many dance studios in Charlotte County and spent her last 5 years at Elite Fine Arts Academy. During her last 2 years at Elite she was an class assistant and a student teacher. Angenetta has been on many dance companies for a number of years and a competition team for 1 year. Throughout her years she has been able to perform at venues like Universal Studios, Disney World, and varies other places. Now she is a first year student at Florida Gulf Coast University perusing a major in forensic science. She continues to peruse her love for dance by becoming a member of the Elite faculty.
DANI LEIGH BOURKE - Dani has been performing for over 30 years and has been working as a choreographer and teacher for the past 20 years. Dani has studied and performed with The Rhinebeck Dance Centre, Tommy Sternfeld Dance Studio, NYCA, The Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC, Tri Arts, Ruskin School of Acting in Santa Monica, CA, Strut Dance Company in London, England, and The Broadway Dance Center in NYC. Dani has also served as a choreographer and dance instructor for Red Hook High School, Rhinebeck Performing Arts, Port Charlotte Players, Hudson Valley Performing Arts, A Better Place Dance Studio, and Haven Dance. She is looking forward to many years to come at Elite!
ALEXIS CHEEK - My name is Alexis Cheek and I have danced for 18 years. In those 18 years, I have taken Acro, Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Point, Tap, Musical Theater, Contemp and Latin Jazz. Through those years of taking all of the classes, dance has always pushed me past that comfort zone. I didn’t choose to be a dancer, the Lord made me a dancer. The reason I dance is for those moments where your in class or on stage and you feel free from this world. It’s those moments where you take a deep breath and you just let out every emotion you are feeling. Dance to me, is a place where you get to express yourself no matter how your feeling inside and have other people feel that emotions just by watching you dance. Dance taught me discipline, it taught me how to be confident, to work hard for what you want in life. If there is one thing I could teach kids about dance, it wouldn’t be dancing in itself. It would be that when you dance you can change your life and others around you.
MEGAN FERRERO [HIP HOP] Miss Megan was born and raised right here in Port Charlotte and has been dancing since the young age of 4 years old. She received training in multiple genres including tap, jazz, musical theater, and her favorite; hip hop. She is a class of 2013 Port Charlotte High School graduate and attended Southwest Florida College where she received a certificate in Medical Assisting, which she utilized today working alongside physicians in a doctor's office. Her goal as a hip-hop instructor is to bring her dancers out of their shell and to turn them into the best most confident dancers they can be.
RACHEL FERIA [BALLET, CONTEMPORARY, LITTLE ELITE] Ms Rachel’s love of dance began at the age of six with a single ballet class. This love grew into a passion and led her to pursue a degree in dance. She graduated with honors from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a BFA in ballet performance where she was awarded the Melita Ballet Award. Some of her performance experiences include The Nutcracker, Valse Fantaisie, Who Cares?, Western Symphony, Raymonda, Les Sylphides and musicals such as Guys and Dolls and West Side Story. She is happily married and a homeschooling mama of five. Ms Rachel is excited to be back in the studio and to be a part of the Elite Fine Arts Academy!
HUGH FULLER - 5th Degree Black Belt -Moo Duk Kwan [COMBAT MOO DUK KWAN - STREE LETHAL] Hugh Fuller started his Karate training at 8 years of age in his native land of British Honduras (Belize). He added Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and Boxing when he was14 in Ottawa, Canada. At 17 he added Ji Do Kwan (Korean Karate) to his arsenal. Under the tutelage of undefeated Korean Master and Olympic training coach, Dong Keuen Park, Hugh started to compete. He won fighting competitions all over New York and New Jersey. He even fought at Madison Square Gardens. During his stay in New York he studied Kobokinshikai- Japanese full contact Karate. Hugh also wrestled in college.
Hugh has trained under many world class instructors namely Benny 'The Jet' Urquidez, who was undefeated full contact World Champion in the 1970-80 in Los Angeles. He has also taken numerous Master Classes with legends such as Bong Soo Han (trainer of Vietnam Special forces) in Hapkido. He has had extensive training with Her Majesty's Royal Irish Rangers and in 1995 presented a teaching seminar for Belize's Dragon Unit -an elite police para military fighting force. For 10 years Hugh competed out of Ft Myers, Florida in Moo Duk Kwan where he won such titles as:
4 Time Florida Heavy Weight Champion
2 Time Florida Regional Champion
1981 Silver Medalist in the Pan American Games: Houston, Texas
1987 Competitor and Coach in the Pan American Games: Indianapolis, Indiana
2 Time Grand Champion Tampa Bay Sun Dome Fights
Heavy Weight Champion St Pete Bay Front Center and Houston Astrodome
In his years at J.Lee Tae Kwon Do in Ft Myers, Florida he taught many members of the DEA, FBI, and Ft Myers Police Department. Hugh opened his first Tae Kwon Do School in Pt Charlotte in 1985 where he taught members of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Department and produced many Florida State Champions. He retired from active competition after 2 serious auto accidents, one of which kept him out of the World Championships in Spain and the other the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Because of his injuries he has incorporated Kali Knife Fighting into his extensive repertoire. Kali is a deadly knife art well suited for street survival.
NICOLE HOEBERLING [BALLET, CONTEMPORARY] Nicole has been moving and in love with dance since she was a young girl. She began training at a local studio in Port Charlotte, Fl. as well as Elite Fine Arts Academy. She has received training in a plethora of dance genres such as Jazz, Tap, Musical Theater, Hip Hop, Pointe, and Modern. Beginning high school, Nicole knew that she wanted to take her training a step further, so she auditioned and attended Booker High School’s Visual and Performing Arts program in Sarasota, Fl. It is there that she fell in love with dance even more and decided it would be her life career.
Upon attending college, Nicole started out at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA as a BFA dance student. Circumstances led her back home to the sunshine state and into University of South Florida. Nicole is a recent graduate from USF with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance, magna cum laude. While at USF Nicole had the opportunity to perform the work of Andrew Carroll, Michael Foley, Bliss Kohlmyer, Paula Nunez, Andee Scott, and Jeanne Travers. Recently she was selected to perform in guest artist’s work “Echad Mi Yodea”excerpts from Minus 16, choreography by Ohad Naharin and restaged by Yaniv Abraham of Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel. Nicole’s choreographic work, “Over Again” was selected to perform at the 2014 American College Dance Festival’s southeast conference in Georgia. While at the festival she also had the opportunity to perform Bliss Kohlmyer’s work, “Let go, Let go, Let go” that was selected to perform in the final Gala performance.
Nicole is excited to return to her roots and take the next step into her career as an artist and teacher.
HEATHER NELSON [BALLET, POINTE]. Heatheris a graduate of the University of Utah Ballet Department, having earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Instruction and Performance. She has received Associate and Registered Teacher Status of the Royal Academy of Dance, after achieving Distinction on her Advanced II Ballet examination and completing the Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies Program.
As a Soloist with the San Diego Ballet (2002-06) and as a Featured Dancer and Principal Swing in Don Arden’s Jubilee! at Bally’s Las Vegas (2006-2010), she performed numerous created and repertoire roles.
After dancing professionally for eight years Heather has recently retired to pursue a career teaching, and to spend time with her growing family. She aspires to pass on the love and joy of dance that has been so generously given to her through countless hours of instruction from caring and passionate professionals
LESLIE YOUNG-PINES [CIRCUS/ACRO] Leslie Young-Pines started dancing at the age of three at her mom’s studio in Sarasota, Florida. There she studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and acrobatics. Her passion for travel and the circus took her away from Sarasota performing on the road throughout the world and then to Las Vegas. After a seven year stint in Las Vegas, she missed the road and ended up on Ringling Bros circus, and travelling as top halftime act for the NBA. Her credits include, The David Letterman Show, The Jay Leno Show, Regis and Cathy Lee Show, Baby Talk with George Clooney, and special performances for Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Kennedy family in Washington D.C.