Dance Teacher, and Choreographer
Owner & 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 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.
DeAnna began her dance journey competing for 16 years while training in all genres of dance. She excelled in Musical Theater/Acting, Contemporary & Jazz. Her training and education carved a path to becoming a full time Dance Teacher at PS1X, The Courtlandt Elementary School in New York City. She had received her initial certification in Music Education K-12 and dance/music 7-12, later receiving permanent certification with her Master’s in Dance Education K-12 from Hunter College. DeAnna has choreographed at the competitive level for over 10 years. She was nominated for an Industry Dance Award for her piece titled “You’ll Be Back.” She has also choreographed main stage productions and performed in various regional theatre shows here on Long Island. DeAnna loves nothing more than sharing her love for the arts with her students. She encourages them to explore and create in new ways through movement and their passion for dance.
Lisa is excited to join the Prestige staff this upcoming season!!! Dancing since the age of 3 and continuing to train and educate in all styles and facets of dance, Lisa grew up in a studio that gave her the opportunity to assist by age 12, eventually progressing to teaching. Beginning with recreational level she quickly progressed and has been teaching and choreographing for competitive dance teams for years. She has earned several choreography and entertainment awards from numerous Competitions at both the Regional and National levels. Lisa has choreographed pieces that have gone on to win National Championship Awards as well as World Championships in the intermediate and advanced levels across all age categories. Training in and teaching most genres, she gravitates towards and loves to teach Hip Hop! Lisa has a Masters in Psychology from St. Josephs College and was a former NYC Police Officer. Although having had a few career changes, dancing and teaching has always been a constant in her life. Lisa has recently gone back to school to complete training and is becoming certified as a personal trainer for dancers, as well as a flexibility coach and core strengthening specialist from the accredited NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). She prides herself with teaching students proper technique and injury prevention while targeting important goals such as fitness, intent, discipline, mental toughness, GRACE AND CONFIDENCE. Lisa teaches children to turn the "Impossible" to the "I'm possible". Her greatest achievement by far, is being a mom to her 3 incredible children. Michael, Matthew and Maxine inspire, encourage and challenge her to always be 1% better than the day before!
CPR/ AED: Adult, Children, Infant Certified- American CPR Care Assos.
BLS and Standard First Aid certified- American CPR Care Assos.
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 Hip Hop 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.
Keri DeMelfi has been teaching dance for 18 years as an instructor and award winning choreographer at various studios here on Long Island. Growing up she trained and competed in every genre, however, Tap and Jazz quickly emerged as her favorites and are her current specialty. Bringing her passion to the floor she teaches at both the recreational and advanced level. She has dedicated her focus on promoting students to a competitive level and has helped many win countless awards and National Championship Titles.
Her favorite part about teaching is connecting with the students, creating bonds that last for years, and watching the kids grow from tiny dancers to graduating seniors!