Zoika Garcia is the founder of Zoika's Dance in St. Augustine, Florida. A professional dancer, choreographer and teacher, Zoika is a former principal dancer with the National Opera of Cuba and Capezio Ballet of Bolivia. She has travelled extensively as a dancer and choreographer, participating in festivals and winning awards at international competitions in ballet and contemporary genres. Zoika is the former artistic director and choreographer of Capezio Ballet in La Paz, Bolivia, and the former owner, artistic director and choreographer of ZoikaDance in Guatamala.
A native of Cuba, Zoika attended the Superior Institute of Art in Havana, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Ballet and Fine Arts with honors. She continued her studies as a teacher, dancer, and choreographer, receiving a post-graduate teaching degree in Ballet and Character Dance Methodology, and a certificate in Musical Theater and Dance from Opera Lyrical of Cuba. Zoika is also a Certified Fitness Instructor and personal trainer with in-depth knowledge and experience in conditioning for dancers. Always growing as an artist, Zoika is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Choreography at Jacksonville University.
As a teacher, Zoika has taught ballet at the school of the National Ballet of Cuba and the Superior Institute of Art in Havana, Capezio Ballet Studio in Bolivia, and ZoikaDance in Guatemala. In the United States, Zoika has choreographed and taught for the Saint Augustine Ballet.
A bundle of warmth and energy in a tiny package, Zoika is committed to nurturing her students’ growth as dancers, as well as their confidence in every aspect of life. Zoika’s students have received awards at international dance competitions and invitations to pursue dance at professional ballet and contemporary companies. Her students have also received scholarships to continue their dance studies at universities and colleges.
Zoika's Dance Instructors
Amaani Grant is a dancer and choreographer who was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She graduated from Florida School of the Arts and Jacksonville University, earning her A.S. and B.A. in Dance. Amaani was featured in a music video alongside popular Jamaican artist, Ding Dong. In addition to works by Zoika's Dance, she has choreographed works performed at the American College Dance Association, Florida School of the Arts, The Romanza Showcase, and Pedro Menendez High School. Amaani competed with the SAHS dance team and SJCCA Dance in Hip Hop and Jazz throughout the state of Florida. She also competed in the Dancing with the Stars of St. Augustine raising money for the Boys and Girls Club.
Tap and Contemporary
Jenne Vermes is a professional tap dancer and choreographer from Jacksonville, FL. She is the Artistic Director of professional tap dance companies Noise Complaint Tap Dance Theatre and Rhythm Theory Tap Ensemble, currently performing across the US. She is also a Professor of Tap Dance at Florida School of the Arts, and a music and math teacher for Duval Public Schools. She holds a B.A. in Music and two Master's degrees in education from Florida State University. From 2010-2012 she toured as a dancer/singer for the internationally acclaimed band, The Crüxshadows, traveling across Europe, the Caribbean and North America. From 2014-2018 she was a member of the "#Taplife" Tap Dance Company based in New York City.
Jazz and Musical Theater
Christina Cruz is a dancer, choreographer, and director with a Master’s degree in Theater Studies from Montclair State University, a degree in Musical Theater from Florida School of the Arts, and a B.A. in English and Psychology from Florida State University. A lifelong dancer in all genres, she has studied at intensives with the world famous Rockettes and at Broadway Dance Center in New York. Christina is also a ballroom dancer and certified ballroom dance instructor. Her choreography has been featured at Symphony Space Theatre in NYC. She has choreographed, directed, and performed in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Rocky Horror Show, Gypsy, Lend Me a Tenor, Big River, and Spamalot at the Limelight Theater. She has also choreographed shows including Fiddler on the Roof, Jr., Guys and Dolls, Jr., The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Jr., Annie, Jr., and The Lion King, Jr., among others.
Ballet and Pointe
Grace Karger is a musician and former ballet dancer whose roles included Sugar Plum Fairy with partner Julio Concepción (Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Cincinnati Ballet, OK City Ballet), Dew Drop, Snow Queen, and Arabian in the Nutcracker; Tiger Lily in Peter Pan; Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz; Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland; and solo variations including Paquita Etoile, Kitri Act III, Gamzatti Act III, Sleeping Beauty Aurora Act II and Lilac Fairy. Grace trained with Zoika Garcia and spent summers training with American Ballet Theatre, Irina Dvorovenko & Maxim Beloserkovsky (ABT), and Steps on Broadway.
Katie DeAcutis is a dancer and choreographer and was a part of the BFA program at the University of Florida. She has worked with and trained under Zoika Garcia, Dante Puleio (Limon Dance Company Artistic Director), Trent Williams, Augusto Soledade, Xan Burley and Alex Springer (formally from the Doug Varone and Dancers Company), Elizabeth Johnson, Andrew Cao, and many others. Her choreography has been displayed in various showcases. For 4 years, she was a member and performance coordinator for a K-Pop cover group in Gainesville, Genesis Dance Crew. During her tenure, Genesis performed live for many organizations, competing at conventions, and filming covers. Recently, you could see her choreography in Cinderella by Zoika's Dance. She is excited to bring her original and unique style to Zoika's Dance.
Hip Hop and Contemporary
Raquel Clory is a singer, actress, and dancer with a BFA in Musical Theater from Jacksonville University and Florida School of the Arts. She has been singing professionally for over 10 years, and studied with a wide array of teachers, including Natalie Weiss, in a variety of styles. Raquel toured with an off-Broadway theater company from 2012-2015 and performed in summer stock productions during the off season in New York. Some of her roles ncluded Anita (West Side Story), Cathy (The Last Five Years), and Joanne (Rent). She has also performed in many community theater productions in the Jacksonville area. Her performances included Camilla (In The Heights) and Queenie (The Wild Party). She taught acting, singing, and dance for Infinity Visual and Perfoming Arts in New York, and she is very excited to be teaching again.
Peter Larson graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. He is a Brookbush Institute Certified Personal Trainer, with a specialization in Sports Performance through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). He is crrently working toward a Human Movement Specialist certification from the Brookbush Institute. In addition to teaching students at Zoika's Dance, Peter is employed as a persoanl Trainer at Marsh Creek Country Club in St. Augustine.
Claudia Ruby is Founder and Owner of the largest Performing Dance Center in her native country of Bolivia. She studied Classical Ballet in the Ukraine and later on graduated from PennState University with a degree in Education. She continued her education at the University of South Florida in Dance Education and worked for Hillsborough County Public system for many years. She now directs Ruby Dance Center in Riverview, Florida and offers a unique After School Program to 15 local schools.
Melanie Anastacia Van Allen,
Ph.D, M.A., M.F.A
A New York City-based choreographer, dancer, teaching artist, and emerging scholar of dance. Melanie holds a Ph.D. in Dance Studies from Texas Woman's University. She also hold a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Draper Program of Social Thought at New York University and a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University. She also holds Master of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography/Perfomance from the University of Michigan. Melanie has presented her research and choreography internationally at various academic conferences and performance venues. She is a certified Yoga Instructor, completeing her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at Pure Yoga in New York City.