Dance Teacher, and Choreographer
Owner & Artistic Director
Born and raised on Long Island, Jacqueline is the owner and Artistic Director of Prestige Performing Arts, conveniently located in the hamlet of East Northport. After completing 16 years of dance training both in Manhattan and on Long Island, she continued to train and teach the art of dance in three different studios while completing her Bachelor's degree in Accounting/Business. After weighing her options and career goals she was able to quickly achieve her childhood dream of opening a dance studio enabling her to share her love of dance with kids of all ages.
Beginning her own training at age 3, Jackie began to compete in the dance world by age 6, performing in many senior numbers and senior choreography at a young age. She trained in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, musical theater, contemporary and hip hop. At 8 she already made the cut to dance professionally as a NY Knick’s City Kid, and as a Lil’ Torch for the NY Liberty. Jackie trained in Manhattan under the direction of Heather VanArdsdel, and performed at Madison Square Garden for 3 years. During those years she also performed on various programs such as WB11, Good Day NY, Fox and Friends, PIX Morning News, and the MSG Network. She performed live at the nationally broadcast NBA All Star Game in Houston Texas in 2006. In 2007 she danced in a music video shoot with 50 Cent for "I Get Money," and later danced in The Bee Movie music video that same year. Jacqueline also performed on the Island as a background dancer for Al Calderon, (X-Factor finalist in 2013). In 2017 Jacqueline had the opportunity to tour China as captain of a professional USA Dance Team for China Hoops.
Continuing to take various workshops and master classes throughout the years in Hip Hop, this genre has become Jacqueline’s passion. She had years of training from Long Island's Jordan Viscomi (of Ian Eastwood’s Young Lions on The World of Dance 2017 ), Megz Alfonso, (2015 So you Think You Can Dance finalist), and California’s Chris Jones, (You Got Served). She has also performed the choreography of Chicago’s Gil Mata, and California’s Nick Zborowski, (Adrenaline). During her years choreographing for various competition teams on the Island, Jacqueline has been the recipient of outstanding choreography awards. She was quickly sought out to teach in 5 different studios before the age of 20 after LI directors got to know her.
Currently, Jackie’s goal is to share in the same amazing journey that she had growing up in the dance world. She has learned many life lessons that have continued to be an inspiration to her own success over the years. Hard work, perseverance, time management, diligence, dedication and loyalty has helped her through many of life’s challenges and will be lessons needed for any child in today’s society. Dance allowed her to experience the importance of being a part of something larger than herself. Most rewarding, performing allowed Jackie to experience the energy and excitement of being center stage while becoming one with her body and the music. It has always been her dream to share this feeling with her students. Over the years her dance teams have fostered lifelong bonds through mentors, teammates, “dance moms” and students. Jackie has always said that keeping dance in her life was the best part of life. She is continually inspired and is in constant pursuit to share these same possibilities with the next generation of performers.
Joseph was born and raised on Long Island, New York. He first stepped foot into the dance world at the age of four, training in all styles of dance from Ballet to Hip Hop. Joe’s first professional gig was at age 10 as a Knicks City Kid and ‘lil Torch performing at Madison Square Garden during New York Knicks and Liberty games for three years. He performed with the KCK on the Today Show, and had the opportunity to dance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade for Sesame Street. His music videos were performances for Kidz Bop #16, “Fire Burnin" and Drew Jacobs, “Got Me Like Whoa." He was also a background dancer for Mariah Carey and Eddie Money performances. Joe recently danced in the 2019 Jonas Brother's "Only Human" music video and was in a Macy’s Web Commercial for Alfani Suits. Additionally he was involved in the print Catalog for Nike’s NFL ’47 Brand clothes line.
Having received his Master’s in Dance Education Joe is now entering his 3rd year teaching children K-12. He began with Special Needs HS students in Queens, followed by K-5 in the Bronx. He is currently teaching HS students here on the Island and can’t wait to see what Dance Education does to enhance their lives. He is more than ready for the road ahead having received his Bachelors in Commercial Dance from Pace University. Pace gave Joe the opportunity to work with well known choreographers, such as Rhonda Miller, Scott Jovovitch, Jess Hendricks, Dee Caspery, Mandy Moore, Martha Nichols, Paul McGill, and Luam. He had the opportunity to train with the best of the best during an LA Intensive program learning to perform and choreograph for film. Joe also earned his certification in Stage Combat, under the training of Fight Master Michael Chin and is currently signed with the well known Bloc Talent Agency.
Joseph has an amazingly outgoing personality that has shined on stage in lead roles of HS plays such as “The Producers” and “Hairspray.” He has worked with children of all ages as a head counselor for Longwood Summer Camp for over 8 years, as well as a history of teaching at several dance studios on Long Island and a class at Hunter College. Joe’s gift is working with children and performers by always making hard work fun and inspiring. He is more than ready to continue to make his mark with choreography and instruction at Prestige.
Nancy is the former Owner, Artistic Director & Dance Teacher of Spotlight Dance Academy in Stony Brook, NY (2001-2015). She previously owned Dance Ten Unlimited, Inc. Astoria, NY (1985-1992).
In 1995 Nancy joined the professional teaching staff with the Joan Marie Stroud School of Dance also of Stony Brook. In addition to teaching she held the position as Company Manager for the Joan Marie Stroud Dance Company (1998-2001). In June of 2001 she purchased the Joan Marie Stroud School of Dance & in June of 2004 she renamed the school Spotlight Dance Academy.
Throughout 1995-2000, Nancy had worked for Frank Ohman School of Ballet (tap/jazz program); Northeast Dance Academy & North Shore Studio of Dance; She was the choreographer for Rocky Point High School’s 1998’s “My Fair Lady,” 1999’s “Guys & Dolls,” & 2000’s “Carousel.”
She started dancing at age 3 & she continued throughout her years in Tap & Jazz. Starting at age 7 she was with The Jack School of Dance in Valley Stream, NY. She became a “Jack Young Girl” at the age of 10, the youngest to perform at various community & special events on Long Island. She started teaching at age 19 for the Downs School of Music & Dance in Valley Stream, NY in Tap & Jazz. She trained professionally at the Downs School of Music & Dance in Ballet under the direction of Miss Darrell Coates & Miss Sandra Arlia and in Manhattan under the direction of David Howard/Ballet; Luigi at Luigi’s Jazz Centre & Joseph Pugliese/Jazz.
Known by her former students as “Miss Nancy” she looks forward to sharing her passion & knowledge of dance. Her goals for the next generation of dancers is for them to be enriched, enlightened & to have their spirits lifted through dance!
With 35+ years of teaching experience Nancy is thrilled to be returning to dance at Prestige Performing Arts under the Ownership & Artistic Direction of Jacqueline.
Marco Cruz is a choreographer, dancer, artistic director, master class instructor and a leader in athletic training and functional fitness arenas. His training and attention to detail have been described as motivating, inspirational and eye opening. His passion for dance and fitness is what has made him one of todayʼs most sought after trainers and a true original in his field. His professional pursuits have no end. He has performed in, choreographed and directed music videos, commercials and award shows for recording artist such as Rihanna, Naturi Naughton, Olivia Newton John, Kenny Loggins and production companies including Paramount Pictures, ABC, Nickelodeon, Disney, Power of Youth, Variety Magazine and Nigel Lythgoe’s Dizzy Feet Foundation.
Cruz is no stranger to the world of competitive dance. His works have placed first against some of today’s most elite dance studios. He has earned several National Championship Titles at some of the most prestigious competitions. Dance education and instilling a respect of the art of dance is of primary focus for Cruz. Several of his students have chosen to pursue dance education at the collegiate level. Likewise, many of Marco’s students have excelled in dance and the entertainment industry and have moved on to dance professionally for artists such as Beyonce, Jason Derulo, Justin Bieber, Usher, not to mention, professional dance companies such as Joffrey, Ballet Hispanico, San Francisco Lines Ballet and Santa Barbra’s State Street Ballet.
It is through the extent of Cruz’s career that he saw the need for a unique program that would enhance dance training by applying principles of bio-mechanics and functional science, which include structural symmetry, transformation of momentum, cultivation of energy and quality of movement. Marco created the bridge between functional science and dance. His company is called True Dance Potential.
Alison grew up on Long Island and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Initially trained in classical ballet under the tutelage of Madame Valia Seiskaya, Alison has been a part of the dance world for over 40 years. As a performer, she danced in the European tours of West Side Story, Chicago and Cabaret. As a teacher and choreographer, she was an Adjunct Professor of dance at Stony Brook University and Dowling College where she taught undergraduate courses in ballet, modern, and jazz dance technique, history, composition and performance. Throughout her career, she has taught at over a dozen dance schools, and owned and operated her own studio in Eastern Long Island.
In 2014, Alison became a Teaching Artist with Dancing Classrooms Long Island. Trained in the Dulaine Method which uses ballroom dance to teach life skills to elementary and middle school
students, Alison was inspired to continue her own studies. She returned to Stony Brook University in 2020 and graduated in 2022 with her Masters in Social Work. Currently, she works at a children’s mental health clinic and hopes to further develop effective ways to utilize dance to promote social and emotional well being.
Alison has one daughter, and lives in Northport. She is delighted to be a part of the dance family at Prestige!
Mandi Kovalevich was born and raised in Islip Terrace N.Y. She started dancing at the age of 3 and hasn't stopped since! She attended BOCES for the Performing Arts in high school, as well as being captain of the East Islip Kickline team. Training and teaching most of her life at David Sanders Dance Dynamics, Mandi came to understand the significance in each style of dance. She has experience training and teaching in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, acrobatics, theater, musical theater, kickline, and pre-school classes. While Mandi has been doing each style of dance, she found her passion when her tap shoes hit the floor!
Mandi has also dedicated herself to teaching children with special needs. As a special needs instructor for over 10 years, Mandi believes, and has proven, that disabilities are actually unique abilities! Each child can and will shine!
Mandi’s goal is to help each student find their own passion and bring it to the stage. As an award-winning tap teacher, Mandi proves that she brings her love, experience, and passion for the art of dance into every class.
Raquelle grew up on Long Island and began dancing at the age of 5 quickly discovering she had found her passion! Training in Contemporary, Jazz, Musical Theater, Ballet, and Hip Hop, she competed from a young age and attended dozens of Regional and National competitions for 11 years. She fell in love with the HH genre and began to grow a passion for its history and movement excelling in Hip Hop solos at many competitions. Always being the more focused and mature student, she was asked to become an assistant teacher at age 11. Raquelle had the opportunity to work alongside seasoned dance instructors who she assisted for many years. This mentorship and guidance led to her love for teaching, specializing in both the technical aspects of dance, along with current modern-day movements and choreography.
Although years apart, Raquelle had trained at the same dance studio with Prestige’s owner Miss Jackie. Both growing up at Michele Ferraro’s Dance USA, in Coram NY, Raquelle remembers looking up to Jackie as a role model, admiring her talent & abilities, and being inspired by her sharply precise Hip Hop moves and choreography. Now, having the opportunity to teach at Prestige as one of Jackie’s instructors and working with the Competition Team, it gives Raquelle the ability to share that same inspiration with the next generation of dancers. She has quickly become another role model for hard work, dedication, and excellence for the students.
Alexa Gambaro grew up as a competition dancer on Long Island. She has competed Regionally, Nationally and even at Worlds. She has won numerous first place and title trophies throughout her competition career. After leaving the competition world Alexa went on to continue her dance studies at The American Musical and Dramatics Academy in New York City. Not only studying dance but musical theater / acting as well. Alexa has gone on to perform at Six Flags Great Adventure, The Ansonia NYC, and Good Morning America. Alexa has trained under some of the most well known choreographers / teachers in the industry - Chrissy Whitehead, Teddy Tedholm, Casey Colgan, Nic Thompson, Jordan Viscomi and more. After leaving AMDA she decided to start her teaching career! Alexa has gone on to win Special awards and "Worlds" Tickets for her choreography. Alexa is so excited to be a part of Prestige Performing Arts!
Rachel is from Long Island, NY and is thrilled to be part of the family at Prestige. At a young age, she discovered her passion for singing, acting, and dancing through musical theater. Rachel has appeared in various performances, including “Bye Bye Birdie” (Rosie Alvarez), “The Little Mermaid” (Ariel & Sebastian), “Chicago” (June) and “High School Musical” (Kelsi). She recently made her debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below with the Engeman Select Players. She was most recently seen in “Frozen Jr.” at the John W. Engeman Theater, where she played the role of Anna.
Stemming from her love of theater, Rachel began to explore her love of dance. She always loved teaching dance, and began assisting dance classes at the age of 12. She was a part of her kickline team in middle school, and grew to be the dance captain for the Northport Powdered Wigs for the productions of “Chicago” and “Into the Woods."
From babysitting, hosting kids’ birthday parties, and assisting classes, Rachel has always loved working with children. She hopes to help many of these young dancers and performers find their love of dance and theater!
Alex is from Long Island, NY and grew up in the dance world! She began her dance training at the age of one and soon became immersed into competitive dance. Although Alex has trained in various styles for 15+ years, her true passion lies in Musical Theatre. She attended the Long Island High School for the Arts as a Dance Major and then continued on to train in the prestigious Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester, majoring in Musical Theatre.
Her first professional job was as a Dancer for the Westchester Knicks, part of the Madison Square Garden Company. Soon after, she booked a contract as a Dancer/Vocalist in Grease with Royal Caribbean International. Alex’s dream is to be on Broadway and although her passion for theatre is still relevant today, her latest gigs are centered in the TV/commercial realm! Most recently, she was in a national commercial for KANE 11 socks as their principal dancer. You can also catch her dancing on your computer screen in an ad for GFuel, a popular energy drink.
Alex is thrilled to be joining the faculty team at Prestige Performing Arts! She hopes her passion for dance/theatre is translated through her teaching methods and choreography. Her goal is to help students find their own passion for dance and she is dedicated to providing an environment for such inspiration to be created!
Amanda was born and raised in Long Island, New York. Her love for dance started at the young age of 2. During her time as a student she enjoyed learning many forms of dance including Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Pointe, Hip Hop, and Acro. Amanda became a regional and national competitive dancer when she was 7, competing throughout the United States where she has won numerous 1st Place solo titles and special awards, including scholarships. She began student teaching at her studio at the age of 12 and soon after was given her own classes to teach during her senior year of high school. Since graduating high school she has taught various styles of dance and acro to students of all ages at studios across Long Island and Brooklyn. She has also had the opportunity to work with several regional and national competition teams where she has taught and choreographed numerous award winning numbers. She is very excited and honored to be working at Prestige Performing Arts where she will be sharing her passion for dance and gymnastics with each and every student that enters her classroom.
Ms. Jackie has been teaching dance for over 3 years at various studios across Long Island. Currently, she is studying to be a certified elementary teacher at Molloy University. She has studied various styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, modern, and lyrical. She is very excited to be a part of the Prestige family.
Amber grew up on Long Island and entered the dance world at age 2 beginning with Ballet, Hip Hop, and Jazz. Amber changed coarse years later as discovering her love of singing led her to pursue that gift. After several years of voice training she performed at Revolutions in Amityville and auditioned for America’s Got Talent in 2012. During this same time, Amber began to discover the sports world and found gymnastics and competitive cheer to be her passion, eventually excelling in both. She became a member of the elite all-star team at Gravity Cheer in Holbrook attaining countless Regional Team Championship Titles and 4 National Championships. At Half Hollow Hills West HS Amber received an MVP award and was offered a Cheerleading Scholarship to attend Missouri Valley College, where she quickly helped her team win a National Championship her freshman year. Throughout college her team went on to win 5 consecutive Regional Championships and 5 Conference Championship Titles, all while Amber pursued her Bachelor’s Degree. In an effort to find a more integrative and holistic approach to medicine and health, Amber participated with research in Movement Therapy, Brain Dance, Sports Psychology, and Dance Healing Therapy training in Ballet, Modern, Choreography, Dance Techniques, and more. Her work came to fruition obtaining a Bachelors in Biology-Pre-Med, Psychology & Dance Therapy. In her final year, Amber volunteered to help host an American College Dance Association Conference, where she attended a series of master classes in the areas of movement through perspective, foundations from Isadora Duncan, hip-hop, and contemporary jazz.
For the past 6 years Amber has been coaching gymnastics at a local Gold Medal Gymnastic Center here on the Island. She is also an active member of the Dix Hills Fire Department Rescue Squad as she pursues a Masters Degree in Holistic Medicine and Acupuncture.