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
Tap, Ballet & Jazz
Emily Masson is a dancer and instructor with a degree in dance from Florida School of the Arts. Beginning at just five years old, Emily’s passion for classical ballet, which grew over the years to include tap, jazz, and modern dance, has influenced her every move. After earning her degree, Emily took her talents to Atlanta and Boston before returning to her hometown of St. Augustine. With over a decade of experience as a dance and fitness instructor, as well as working as a full-time teacher at Island Prep Elementary,
Tap & 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.
Shellsea Monge is dancer, choreographer, and instructor who began her dance education in New York at the age of two, studying jazz, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, Latin fusion, flamenco, and many other folk dances. She began competing nationally at the age of seven, and has been choreographing since the age of sixteen. During her career, Shellsea has danced professionally for the NY Nicks and the national Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City. As an instructor and coach, she has been privileged to have her original choreographed pieces compete and win many national titles. Shellsea recently relocated to Florida, and she is excited to begin teaching at Zoika’s Dance!
Hip Hop, Jazz
Breilyn (Brei) Tipton is a gymnastics and acro instructor with over 8 years of coaching experience in all levels of recreational gymnastics, acro, and tumbling. She has an extensive background in gymnastics and cheer. In addition to teaching at Zoika's Dance, Breilyn coaches intermediate and advanced tumbling/gymnastics and is the Special Events Director at WGV Gymnastics. Breilyn has emergency situation training and is CPR + Concussion certified in the state of Florida.
Voice & Musical Theater
Lisa Lockhart is a professional soprano and instructor with over 25 years of experience and a great love for helping students of all ages to grow and reach their fullest potential as singing actors. Ms. Lockhart is also an adjunct vocal instructor at Florida State College in Jacksonville and a frequent musical director for the Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine, Florida. An active performer, Ms. Lockhart enjoys singing opera, musical theatre and in concert, and has appeared on stages across the U.S. and throughout Europe. Since moving to St. Augustine from the NYC area 9 years ago, she has been featured in many local productions. To see where she is performing next and to learn more, visit her website at www.lisalockhartsoprano.com.
Alex Rubio is a professional tap dancer and instructor from Miami, Florida. He earned his B.A. in Economics and Theater/Drama from the University of North Florida. Alex is one of the founding members of professional tap dance company, Noise Complaint Tap Dance Theatre, which performs throughout the U.S. He has also been a featured performer in Zoika's Dance productions for the past three seasons. Alex takes his greatest inspiration from the legendary dancer, Fred Astaire, and he is excited to share his passion for tap dance with students at Zoika's Dance.
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.
Ballet & Pointe
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.
Voice & Musical Theater
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.
Zoika's Dance Guest Instructors
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