Tonya Wolfe was born and raised in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. She started taking dance classes at the age of 2.5 under the instruction of Anne Frasier. Shortly after, she began attending cheer classes as well. When Tonya was about 15 she took her love and passion for cheer and turned it into a job by teaching it to younger children. From that moment on she knew it was more than a job for her, it was her mission to inspire and develop little dancers and cheerleaders! Tonya has worked at many studios and has learned a little something from each director to guide her in her teaching career. From Teacher to Business Owner, Tonya started her own dance business out in San Diego, California and ran it for 11 successful years before she moved to Chandler, Arizona where she ran her dance and cheer program at the JCC and started Mobile Dance and Cheer programs. One summer day she took a leap of faith to move back home Palm Beach County to be close to family and continued her Mobile Programs here, opening Studio21 which travels to most of the County’s private schools and preschools. After creating a name, brand, and reputation for herself (and listening to parents beg her) Tonya decided she needed more space for all these children to call a 2nd home….which has led us to Academy Baseball Cheer Dance!
Maria Hernandez was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. She began dancing at a young age, training in Ballet, Colombian Folk, and more. She has always preferred Folk-Afro Caribbean, and Street Dance styles such as Mapale, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton, Dancehall, African, Krumping, Voguing, Waacking, House, Hip-Hop, and Funk styles including Breakdancing, Popping and Locking which, she has trained on and serve as inspiration in all her choreographed pieces. She began her professional Hip-Hop dance training at the age of sixteen in West Palm Beach, Florida at Sean’s Dance Factory, under the direction of Sean Green. In 2012 she became a Hip-Hop Dance instructor and choreographer. Her training and dance experience led her to come up with a distinctive style of Choreography and was asked to showcase one of her pieces in Miami, at Black n’ White’s Choreographer’s Showcase, under the ownership of celebrity choreographer, Ekandem Essiet. She was a dancer, choreographer, and assistant director, of Sean’s Dance Factory’s competition team from 2013 – 2015, and the studio’s co-director. She won 1st place at World of Dance, New York with Sean’s Dance Factory, and was chosen M.V.P. She choreographed and performed for productions at the Broward Performing Arts Center, the Kravis Center, the Choreographer’s Showcase in Miami, and Lake Worth Playhouse, and created dance pieces performed in art shows and galleries such as C&I Studios, The Box Gallery, and the Norton Museum. She is a choreographer for Loud Live Productions, and artistic director of her non-profit Dance-Art company: Introducing Myself, seeking to help individuals achieve their dreams as movement artists. Maria believes in spreading her love for dance, helping dancers of all ages grow and develop their skills with strong self-confidence and passion. She describes dance as an art form of expression and her lifestyle.
Kristen Whitaker is a qualified instructor and member of Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, and Dance Educators of America. She has 23 years experience teaching dance in ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, pom, lyrical, modern, and musical theater. She grew up in Atlanta studying at the Georgia Ballet under the direction of Ms. Iris Hensley and then moved to Florida where she worked in the entertainment departments of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. She spent 9 years in Milwaukee, WI coaching All-Star dancers in the UDA circuit winning back-to-back National title holders for Contemporary, Jazz, and Pom in the mini division along with multiple title holders in solo, duet, and small group divisions. In 2012 she was awarded Best Choreographer by the Chicago Jazz Connection. Kristen was voted 2018 top 5 coaches in the Nation by DX Dance Extreme events in Minneapolis, MN. Moving back to Florida 3 years ago, she continues her true passion for teaching and sharing her love of the arts with the next generation around Palm Beach County and throughout South Florida
Carlos de Barros
Carlos de Barros received his (BFA in Dance), with honors, from the University of Florida/New World School of the Arts (NWSA) collaborative dance program. He supplemented his training after college by attending annual workshops and classes around the country such as The Pulse, The Jazz Dance World Congress and at NY City's Broadway Dance Center. Since 2012, he has completed fitness certifications in Zumba and Piyo (Pilates/yoga fusion), two children's yoga certification courses, two supplemental anatomy courses, his 200 hour yoga teacher training, his CPR certification and he is currently working on becoming a certified personal trainer and 500 hour yoga teacher certification. He is now a free-lance dance and yoga teacher, dance conditioning coach, choreographer, model, and dance competition adjudicator. He’s excited to be a part of the ABCD family this year!
Colleen has a rich history with cheer and dance. Colleen trained in Ballet, Tap, Gymnastics, Jazz, and Musical Theater beginning at the age of 3, and shined bright with the University of Montana Cheer & Dance Team from 1999-2001 leading to following her passion to becoming an NFL Cheerleader. She was an NFL Cheerleader for the Seattle Seahawks "Sea Gals" from 2001-2007, NFL Superbowl XL Cheerleader "Seahawks vs. Steelers" in 2005, and an NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleader in 2007. As Sea Gal Team Captain from 2004-2007, she went on to be awarded Sea Gal of the Year in 2005. Following her run with Seattle Seahawks, Colleen has continued teaching young dancers and following in the footsteps of her mother, a Radio City Rockette star.
Melissa Uftring brings over two decades of coaching experience to Academy BCD, including teaching across multiple disciplines in the arts and athletics. Melissa grew up dancing with a competitive studio in Broward County, and subsequently attended college on a dance and musical theater scholarship in North Carolina. Post-college, she choreographed, performed in, and directed theater and dance productions all over the country. Her master’s degree is in Kinesiology with a Sports Performance concentration, and she is certified as a Child and Adult Yoga Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator. She has worked as a full-time strength and conditioning coach for the fire service, as well as collegiate and professional sports. Melissa is a PhD scholar in Health and Human Performance and holds the prestigious CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) coaching certification. Coach Uftring's current research focus is human performance and nutrition optimization, as well as disease and injury risk reduction strategies for dancers, athletes, tactical populations and first responders.