Astrid Audet, Artistic Director
Astrid Audet began her ballet training at the late age of twelve at the Fort Lauderdale Ballet Classique under the direction of Magda Auñon and went on to study at the world-renowned Harid Conservatory under full scholarship at age sixteen. At these prestigious schools she performed soloist and principle roles in such famous Ballets including: The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Le Corsaire, Cinderella, La Bayadere, & Paquita, among others. It is during this time that she discovered and developed her true passion and love for the art and beauty of Ballet.
In 1990, Astrid received the coveted Presidential Scholar in the Arts award from hundreds of high school senior applicants nationwide and was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC before President George Bush and the first lady. Astrid’s other awards include: 1st place recipient for the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts and 3rd place recipient for the National Arts and Letters Recognition Competition. She also received numerous scholarships to study at America’s finest Ballet schools and companies including: American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, & Pennsylvania Ballet, among others.
From 1990 to 1992, at age 17, Astrid became among the youngest members to dance professionally with the acclaimed Boston Ballet. It was here that she gained her experience and expertise training among the best of dancers and ballet masters worldwide. She also enjoyed touring throughout the Northeast region and dancing repertoire from many famous Ballets and new contemporary works as well. After a difficult year of injury, Astrid came home and began her college studies at Florida Atlantic University and also began teaching ballet locally as she tried to heal her body. It was during this time that she discovered her love for teaching and working with children. In 1996, Astrid graduated with high honors from the New World School of the Arts in Miami earning her BFA degree in Dance and Teaching Certificate from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
For the past 25 years, Astrid has been teaching and choreographing throughout South Florida’s finest dance academies including her very first ballet school, Magda Auñon School of Ballet and Meg Segretos Dance Center, International Ballet Academy, University Center for the Performing Arts, Dance Academy of North Lauderdale, and Many But One. She is a certified teacher and educator through Florida Dance Masters and has worked for the association as a master teacher and guest choreographer. In 1995, Astrid was honored with a nomination for Who’s Who among America’s best teachers, an honor she holds very dear to her heart. In 2004, Astrid’s choreography of her own creation to “Pachabel’s Canon” for the Fort Lauderdale Ballet Classique won the Monticello Award at the renowned South Eastern Regional Ballet Festival. Students from Astrid’s Academy have won numerous awards and scholarship in the past years at local conventions and competitions as well as have gone on to dance in many of America’s leading professional companies and colleges including Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet, Joffrey, Ballet, Houston Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, New World School of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, UCLA, NYU, UF, and FSU among others.
In 1997, Astrid began her yoga practice, which became another love of hers, and in 2003 Astrid was invited to participate in a local Yoga Exhibition that granted her a first place award for the state of Florida and landed her a spot at the International Yoga Exposition in Los Angeles, California. She traveled to LA and came home with the Bronze medal from thousands of participants from all over the world including China, Japan, and India. She also enjoys running outdoors and participated in her first marathon in February of 2012.
Astrid and her husband Robert, along with their two daughters Gabrielle (19) and Annabelle (15) reside in East Fort Lauderdale where she continues to teach and share her passion and joy for ballet with children of all ages. This year Gabrielle, an accomplished dancer and excellent student and currently attends the University of Florida pursuing a double major in Dance and Journalism. Annabelle continues to dance and is in high school at Westminster Academy. She wishes to thank above all, Her Lord God Almighty for His grace and guidance and His greatest gift of salvation, as well as her family and friends for all their love and support and all her “Beautiful Ballerinas” for allowing her to share her gifts and talents with them. It is, without doubt, the most rewarding of all her accomplishments, to give back her gift and passion to help shape her students’ lives.
Natalie Parcinski, Assistant Director
Natalie Parcinski began her dance career when she was 5 years old at The Kit Andree Dance and Performing Arts Center in Denver, CO. She trained under the instruction of the fabulous Miss Kit Andree and her ever talented daughter Miss Phan Peterson. Natalie was extensively trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, Broadway and musical theater, lyrical and cheer. She attended many dance workshops including Dance Caravan, and competed in various local and national competitions.
In college, Natalie danced with the nationally competitive University of Colorado Buff Gold Dance Team. She was also recognized as a Top Dancer through the National Dance Alliance. During her second year, she was appointed as one of the Team Captains which eventually evolved into a choreographer and even a coaching position.
Throughout her dancing career, Natalie has always loved performing. From this passion developed the desire to share and teach others about the love of the stage. She has taught at studios in Colorado and Michigan focusing mainly on the tap, jazz and lyrical styles.
In 2013, Natalie and her husband welcomed their first daughter into the world, only 3 weeks after the annual recital! Her bundle of joy joins two dog children in their home in Fort Lauderdale. She and her husband are both attorneys, but she believes that dance adds a balance to her life that she thoroughly enjoys.
Francys Torres, Office Manager & Teacher
Francys Torres is proud of her Puerto Rican/Cuban heritage. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, she danced for 10 years at Mrs.P’s Dance and Acrobatics studio located in Coral Springs. During those years, Francys competed in group and solo numbers in different competitions and conventions such as Stars, Intrigue, CanDance, Hollywood vibe, and more! Francys grew as a dancer and decided to continue her dance career at DANL dance center In Coconut Creek for her last 2 years being of high school. DANL opened many doors for her. During those two years she competed at Starpower Nationals, Step it up, Onstage New York and more. While Francys was dancing her heart out, she also started working in the gymnastics industry. Francys has been a certified gymnastics instructor since 2012. She is currently working at American Twisters in Coconut creek and she is also currently attending Broward College, striving for a major in Business and a minor in Dance. While doing all these things Francys is also a Bang Energy fitness model. This job includes dancing in fashion shows, choreographing dances, promoting sport and nutrition supplements, energy drinks, and fitness/bikini clothing. Francys is super excited for this upcoming year teaching at the Astrid Audet Academy of Ballet.
Gia Acevedo found a love for dance at an early age as she began her dance training at the age of 2, and later began her training with Ms. Astrid at the age of 7. Gia has most recently been training with the senior company with Ms. Astrid, and currently continues to advance her technique at the academy. She has studied ballet, pointe, pas de deux, contemporary tap, jazz, modern & hip hop. Gia has participated in many of Ms. Astrid’s recitals and most recently got the chance to dance as Lumiére in Beauty and the Beast. Not only has she performed in the recitals but, she also has performed in the Academy’s annual Nutcracker as well. Gia went from performing in the Nutcracker as a soldier to performing as the Arabian for 3 consecutive years. She also has gained a lot of experience from participating in summer classes as well as summer intensive; also from attending convention classes from amazing guest teachers and competing. Gia has experience in teaching since she assisted and taught for many years now, and only hopes to continue.
Born in Cuba, Lorenzo began his ballet training at the National School of Ballet of Cuba and then graduated with honors from the Royal Conservatory of Professional Dance “Mariemma” in Madrid, being recognized as the best graduate of his class. He went on to dance professionally with Víctor Ullate Ballet for six seasons, performing in numerous works by Ullate, including Jaleos, Samsara, Après toi, El Amor Brujo, Carmen, Wonderland, and El Arte de la Danza, among others. Lorenzo joined the Tulsa Ballet in 2018. Since joining the company, he has performed in Derek Deane’s Strictly Gershwin, Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella and Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table. He won the second prize at the International Ballet Competition in Havana, Cuba in 2003.
Claudia Alvarado was born and raised in Broward County. She trained in Ballet under the direction of Ms. Astrid as a young student. She continued dancing through college and completed her Degree in Modern Dance from the University of South Florida in Tampa. While in Tampa, she also found a new passion for teaching children to dance. She has since been teaching children ages 3-18 Contemporary, Acro, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Jazz
Funk, and Hip Hop at various studios throughout South Florida. After College, she performed with several different Professional Dance Companies, but has always come back to teaching children. She has created several Champion Dance Teams and been invited perform in the World Dance Championships in New Jersey for 3 consecutive years. She recently began teaching at Astrid Audet’s Academy for Ballet and is excited to be part of the team.
Annabelle Audet began her dance training at the very young age of two and has not stopped since. She has been dancing at the Academy for over 15 years in all styles of dance and excels especially in contemporary and jazz dance. Annabelle attended several summer Intensives including America’s Ballet in Tampa and Joffrey Ballet in New York City as well as all our Intensives at the Academy. Annabelle has participated in yearly dance conventions and competitions with Florida Dance Masters and Dance Educators of America earning high gold and platinum awards and placed in the top three solos in 2021. She has performed in all 12 of The Academy’s annual Nutcracker Ballets dancing most roles starting with Angels to Clara and Snow Soloist. Annabelle also cheers for her high school Westminster Academy where she is a junior and co-captain of her team. She has earned the Scholar Athlete Award for the highest GPA in her grade both her Freshman and Sophomore years. Annabelle has been assisting and helping at the Academy during our summer camps and classes over the many years and is delighted to take on her very own Pre-Ballet class this season. She is adored by all her baby ballerinas.
Gabrielle Audet began her dance training at the very early age of 2 and has not stopped since! Her training includes Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Contemporary, Modern & Hip Hop among others and is at an advanced level in her technique. Gabby dances with the Senior Company at Astrid Audet Academy under the direction of her mother along with many other excellent professional teachers.
Gabrielle has performed extensively in the past 11 recital productions at the Academy as well as in all 9 of the Academy’s annual Nutcracker Ballets where she began as an angel, mouse and soldier; to Clara and most recently the Snow Queen Sugar Plum and Grand Pas-de-deux. Gabrielle has also competed in 7 of the Florida Dance Masters annual conventions, earning high gold, platinum and Encore awards for her performances. She is also active in the community & church- participating in many local events, mission trips & ministries. Gabrielle also has extensive experience and training in gymnastics and acro-tumble through Fort Lauderdale Stars Teams, Kimling’s Gym, and at the Academy. She has been a cheerleader captain and flyer for her school, Westminster Academy, for the past 6 years where she also competed in states.She was honored to receive the Freshman, Sophomore, and Senior Scholar Athlete Awards- in recognition of the highest GPA for varsity athletes in her class. Gabby has been assisting and teaching classes and summer camp at the Academy for the past several years and is beloved by all her students and parents! She currently attends the University of Florida in Gainesville and is pursing a double major in Dance and Journalism.
My name is Jayme Pagliaro Batt. I have been involved in the sport of gymnastics for 36 years. I was a competitive gymnast until the age of 17 and I have been coaching competitive gymnastics since then. I graduated with a Business degree from Marist College in New York, where I was also part of the dance team. I have been coaching gymnastics and choreographing gymnastics floor routines for 22 years all over the country. I am also USA Gymnastics Certified, as well as Safe Sport Certified. I am beyond excited to become part of the Astrid Audet Staff!
Meagan began her Ballet training at the age of 8 at Expressions of Joy under the direction of Josie Geyer and transitioned to the Academy at age of 12 to further her training in all styles of dance. She has excelled in all genres and is one of our most versatile and impressive dancers.
Meagan has participated in six of our annual Nutcracker Ballets over the years dancing many roles including the Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy. She has also attended many conventions and competitions and received both Platinum and Top Overall awards.
Meagan has attended the Academy of Ballet’s annual summer Intensive as well as the Joffrey Ballet in Miami in 2017. Meagan attends the New World School of the Arts in Miami for high school and accelerated dance training. She has been assisting at the Academy over the years and teaching at our summer camp and classes.
Emily Chu, from Saratoga Springs, NY, found her love of dance at an early age. She spent her early years dancing at various local studios and spent her summers at the Nutmeg Conservatory, Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive, and American Academy of Ballet, among others. She began her pre-professional career at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA, where she graduated with a major in ballet, directed by Mr. Michael Owen. In 2015, she received her BFA in ballet from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), directed by Ms. Shellie Cash and Mr. Qi Jiang, where she was able to further her training into contemporary, modern, choreography, and pedagogy.
Julie Cigankova began her dance training at the age of 3 with Josi Geyer of Expressions of Joy. She has trained in various styles of dance including Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Modern. She has taken part in performances such as Narnia, Coppeila, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and also participates in Astrid’s Annual Nutcracker. She has performed lead roles in Nutcracker including Clara, Dew Drop, Snow Queen, and Spanish Soloist. Julie has participated in both Expressions of Joy and Astrid Audet Academy Intensives. Julie was 12 years old when she started at Astrid Audet Academy of Ballet and here is where she continues her dance training to this day. Julie has been an assistant teacher for the past several years at the Academy and is excited and ready to teach her own classes this season!
Born in Boca Raton Florida, Alicia has been dancing since four years of age. At the age of 13, she became of student of the renowned Cuban ballerina, Magda Auñon, in pursuit of a professional career. After a few years, Alicia accepted an offer to train at Ellison Ballet in New York City year round. Graduating in 2018, she then went on to dance professionally with New York Theatre Ballet. Currently, Alicia resides in south Florida, finishing her degree and teaching classical ballet to a wide range of ages.
Alicia has performed in a variety of ballets, including Cinderella, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker, Don Quijote, and more; as well as a multitude of other works including those by George Balanchine and Merce Cunningham.
Maria Alejandra Jimenez Buiza- Ballet Master-choreographer and dancer.
Born in Caracas Venezuela, Miss Maria A Jimenez has over 28 years of ballet teaching experience. She began her studies in classical ballet at the early age of eight at NINA NOVAK’S School of Ballet. At thirteen, she auditioned and received a three-year scholarship with the BALLET NACIONAL DE CARACAS, under the artistic direction of Choreographer VICENTE NEBRADA. At sixteen, Miss Jimenez won the Silver Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Trujillo Peru. The following year she was hired as a principal dancer at NINA NOVAK’S Ballet Clasico of Camara and performed principal roles in many classical works including: Don Quixote,Coppelia,Corsaire,Swan Lake, Diana and Acteon,etc..Masters such as Kaleria Fedicheva, Edmund Novak, Ruta Butviliene, Ramona de Saa, Magaly Suarez,Rosa Alvarez,etc..This intensive training led her at the age of eighteen to perform with the principal Cuban dancer Carlos Junior Acosta dancing the principal role in Diana & Acteon Pas de Deux. Miss Maria A Jimenez has over 28 years of experience teaching classical ballet to children, adult and professional dancers in Venezuela and South Florida. Most specifically, she has taught at: Magda Augnun school of Ballet, Performing Arts Network, Keyla Ermecheo Dance Studio, Ballet Clasico de Camara, and Nina Novak’s escuela de Ballet. She also performed for the Florida Grand Opera, South Broward Ballet Company and New Century Dance Company. For the past eight years , Miss Jimenez has been ballet Mistress and assistant to the Artistic Director at the South Florida Ballet Company. Maria also helps to improve people’s lifestyles and health through her wellness organization.
Abigail started her first ballet class at the age of 4 at Joy Deco Enterprises in Margate FL. Shortly after, she started dancing at Expressions of Joy, learning the Russian Vaganova syllabus. She has taken part in many performances such as Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Coppelia, Cinderella, Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music. Abigail has also danced at New Covenant Church, and has been to many different summer intensives including Expressions of Joy, Astrid Audet Academy of Ballet, and CCA. In 2010, Abigail danced in Magda Aunon’s Nutcracker at Fort Lauderdale Ballet Classique, and has continued to be a part of Astrid’s yearly Nutcracker. When she was 13, Abigail started dancing at Astrid Audet Academy of Ballet and More where she continues to dance today. She now has 11 years of dance experience, and is trained in Ballet/Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Modern.
Carolyn Yancey Paddock
Carolyn Yancey Paddock graduated Cum Laude from Point Park University, with a B.A. Degree in Dance and Musical Theater and a minor in Business Carolyn has been dancing since her pre-school days and grew up performing with the Tulsa Ballet. Her performing career has been in all styles of dance and theater. She has performed international and on the High Seas. Carolyn is also an accomplished chorographer – Music Videos, Off Broadway Musical in NYC, Musical Review Shows and many other Brow ay Musicals, along with Wedding Dances and Quinces and Sweet Sixteen events – and has produces her own Dance Productions for Cruise Lines, Corporate Events, and Private Parties throughout the world. She has been teaching for the past 27 years, both locally and abroad. Carolyn has taught in and choreographed for various schools statewide. Carolyn currently teaches advanced ballet technique classes at the Academy.
Etta was born and raised in Winter Park, Florida where she fell in love with dancing at The School of Performing Arts. She moved to south Florida for college and graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2011 with a degree in Dance Performance. She began her professional dance career cheering for the Florida Panthers for one season. She went on to become a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader for four seasons, where she was a captain for 3 years, as well as rookie and veteran of the year. She’s had the privilege of performing at the NBA All-Star game, live with Flo Rida, and as well as MTV music videos. After she retired from being a professional cheerleader, she became the Director of a local children’s dance company called Mizfit Inc. When she’s not dancing, you can find her coaching varsity cheer at Westminster Academy or playing with her cat named Finn. Stay connected with her on Instagram: @etta_priest!
Taylor Russell received her MFA at Hollins University and received her BFA from Jacksonville University for her undergrad. During her MFA, Russell decided to study and focus on mental health and the catalyst behind it. It has allowed her to dive deeper into understanding black history and culture, narrowing her focus on researching black women’s mental health and how it has affected them over the years. Her passion for dance started at the tender age of three and has had the privilege of training at Meg Segreto’s Dance Company and Performance Edge Dance Complex leading up to her college training. Russell is well versed in disciplines such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Pointe, Contemporary/Lyrical, and more. Throughout the years of her dance training, she has attended many prestigious summer programs, including Alvin Ailey, Rockettes, Vladimir School of Classical Ballet, Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive in L.A., California, Alonzo King Lines Summer Intensive training with Alonzo King himself. As a competition dancer, Russell was a repeated high scorer in small group and solo dances, competing for title in her senior year of high school, taking 3rd place in the national championship. In love with drama as well, Russell was chosen to be the lead choreographer and lead performer in several adapted musical stage plays for Standing Ovations Theater, the most renowned homeschool drama club in Broward County. Grease, High School Musical, and Fiddler on the Roof are some of her credits during that time. In her four years at Jacksonville University, she has quickly become a chosen favorite for exclusive pieces early on in her freshman year. She has worked with and been a principal dancer for choreographers such as Robert Moses, April Henehan, The Nicholson Twins – backup dancers for Ariana Grande, Joe Cutler of Koresh Dance Company, Kara Davis of Alonzo King Lines Ballet, and several others. She had a short stint on the Sirens Jacksonville University dance team but chose to focus on her classical dance training and finish up her B.F.A. of Dance. Regarding professional experience, she performed in Superbowl 2020 as a field dancer as team Shakira. As a dancer and educator, it is her desire for all children, regardless of socioeconomic background, to experience and explore the gift of dance. Upon graduation, it is her desire to grace the stages in the United States and abroad, sharing her love for dance as a hopeful professional and dance teacher.
Rome has had a 30+ year career in professional theatre including international ballet companies, equity musical theatre companies, major cruise ships, local production companies, and Tokyo Disney. His wealth of knowledge and experience has led him to the creation of his own production company, Saladino Productions, Inc. During his ballet career he performed with many companies including the Sacramento Ballet, Icelandic Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, receiving reviews such as, “Saladino is a standout male dancer with a unique quality that could turn into genuine stardom.” He has had the privilege of working with many amazing people; including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Fernando Bujones, Jürgen Schneider, Alonzo King, Jon Engstrom, Ann Reinking, Sonja Haney (Bob Fosse’s Assistant), and Nannette Fabré, to name a few. He also starred in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Brigadoon, Fiddler on the Roof, Pippin, West Side Story, and A Chorus Line... He joined the American Broadway Music Theatre in Tokyo Disney, where he was one of the Lead Male’s in Encore! After his experience in Tokyo, he performed as an Adagio Dancer and Singer on cruise ships touring all over the world. While earning his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance at Florida Atlantic University, he has been the lead dancer along with his wife, Marina, for ZMC Entertainment, Inc. and Kevin Black Productions. All these experiences led to his greatest challenge, Rome self-produced, directed, and starred in Singin’ and Dancin’ in the Rain, a song and dance tribute to Gene Kelly. As an instructor, Rome has taught ballet, partnering, jazz dance, character dance, boy’s classes, and musical theatre at the University of Utah Dance Department, Esther Center, Sacramento Ballet, Boca Ballet Theatre, Florida Atlantic University, University of Miami and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s AileyCamp Miami. He recently graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Theatre and Dance.
Sage Sappey started dancing when she was 3 years old in Georgia and at the age of 8 she started dancing with Ms. Astrid. She has participated in 7 of our annual recitals and Nutcracker Ballets. At the age of 10, Sage started assisting dance classes here at the academy. She is currently attending Cardinal Gibbons High School and is part of their dance team.
Rae was born and raised in West Lafayette, Indiana, recently graduated from Indiana University Bloomington with her BFA in dance, major in Pre-Optometry, and Spanish minor. Here she worked with Juel D. Lane, Azuki Umeda, Cameron McKinney, Baba Stafford, Erik Abbott-Main, Beatrice Capote, and Elizabeth Shea. She trains in a variety of dance styles but especially enjoys concert modern, contemporary, jazz, Southern African and Cuban dance forms. In spring 2022, Rae was recognized as a Marina Svetlova Award Recipient with her self-choreographed contemporary solo and produced music. She has a passion for movement creation and has choreographed for Miami Arts Charter School, Miami Royal Ballet, IU’s Senior Capstone Showcase and Junior Choreographic Production Project, West Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School, Lafayette Jefferson High School, Tippecanoe YWCA, consisting of solos through large ensembles in contemporary, jazz, pom, musical theater, and hip hop. While attending IU, Rae danced professionally with the African American Dance Company. Currently, she is a company member with Dance NOW! Miami for the 2022/23 Season, and is a Community Engagement Teaching Artist for Miami City Ballet.