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 iStaff

At IndepenDANCE Studio, we take pride in the culture and safety of our dance community.  We believe that starts with our Employees.  All of our employees are First Aid & CPR Certified,  as well as Front Line Emergency & Deescalation Trained by top local professionals in the field.  Many of our staff are higher ed degree holding or seeking in a variety of disciplines and professions.  We are proud to have AcroArts & Progressing Ballet Technique Certified Staff, and continue to pursue the latest dance education trainings and opportunities.
IndepenDANCE Studio is a member of the Gainesville Area, Newberry Area and Alachua Chamber of Commerces.  We believe in our business and those around us in the greater Alachua County area. 

Mary Mele


Jackie Larson

Dance Instructor, Ballet Director, Competitive Team Choreographer

PBT Certified Instructor


Sasha Owen

3 & Under Extraordinaire



Emily Lorenzo

Dance Instructor, Competitive Team Choreographer


Andrea Lavista

Dance Instructor, Competitive Team Choreographer


Alexandra Gambin

Dance Instructor

Samantha Holzman

Dance Instructor


Sophia Sanchez

Dance Instructor, Competitive Team Choreographer


Emmaline Sheahan

Dance Instructor

AcroArts Certified Instructor

Kyra Smith

Dance Instructor

Isabella Valiente

Dance Instructor


Eleanor Mele

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