Our Story

At IndepenDANCE Studio, we believe dancing should be a joyful experience for people of all ages and abilities. Our name is a reflection of our commitment to helping every student develop independence and enjoyment as they express themselves through the artistry of dance.

From babies and toddlers to teens and adults, we believe everyone should feel welcome, comfortable, and joyful when they step onto the dance floor. We serve students throughout the Greater Gainesville area and Alachua County with fun, energizing dance classes everyone can enjoy. It’s never too late to start dancing!

Find Your Light

As a young dancer, IndepenDANCE Studio owner and creative director Mary Mele learned the concept of “finding your light” from one of her favorite dance instructors, Ms. Anna. Just as early Hollywood actors were taught to find the place they could be seen on stage by looking for the spotlight, Ms. Anna taught her students to find their light by remaining true to who they are and encouraging others along the way.

Throughout her dance career, Mary has always found inspiration in this concept of finding her light. She strives to pass this same confidence and joy on to each student who comes to IndepenDANCE Studio. Whether you are a beginner or you have had years of instruction, dancing should be an opportunity to find expression through being yourself. We invite you to join us and find your light!

Meet the Staff

Mary Mele

Owner & Creative Director

Jackie Larson

Dance Instructor, Ballet Director, PBT Certified Instructor, Office Manager

Sasha Owen

iBaby & Me, iDance Tots, Dancewear Store & Office Assistant

Catalina Cunha

Dance Instructor, Competitive Team Director, Competitive Team Choreographer, ACROBATIC ARTS Certified Instructor

Emily Lorenzo

Dance Instructor, Competitive Team Director, Competitive Team Choreographer

Alaina Thomas

Dance Instructor, Competitive Team Choreographer, ACROBATIC ARTS Certified Instructor

Andrea Lavista

Dance Instructor, Instructor Assistant, Competitive Team Choreographer, Desk

Alyssa Criswell

Dance Instructor, Instructor Assistant, Competitive Team Choreographer, Desk

Alexandra Gambin

Dance Instructor, Instructor Assistant, Desk

Kristie Colman

Dance Instructor, Instructor Assistant, Desk

Liz Nelson

Dancewear Store Manager, Ballroom Dance Instructor & Wedding Dance Choreographer

Eleanor Mele

Marketing Manager, Social Media Coordinator, Door Greeter & Morale Booster

Nicole Macaluso

Competitive Team Tap Choreographer