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Meet the Team


Hollie Stephens

Ms. Hollie started dancing at the age of three and had been teaching since she was sixteen.  She built dance programs for many private schools and has enjoyed many years of teaching children to dance. She opened her own studio, Hollie’s Dancin’ Dream the summer of 2004, which later evolved into First Coast Center for the Arts. After 26 years of dance leadership experience, her dream of opening her own studio became possible.

 Her other community roles have included delighting nursing home residents and creating enthusiasm in the Opening of the Beaches Parades.  This enthusiasm continued with many seasons of dedicated service to the Jaguars by dancing and choreographing for the Jacksonville Roar. 

Hollie’s most important goal is to encourage self-esteem and growth in her students!! 


Patty Popola

Patty is our Office Manager. She helps keep the studio running like a well oiled machine with her outstanding ability to be organized. She oversees such duties as answering the phones, responding and sorting through emails, organizing and handling studio paperwork, class scheduling, the scheduling of our free trial classes, payments, and the enrollment of students.  Her ability to be very organized is also helpful in preparing for our Annual Dance Recital,  Holiday Show, Silent Auction/Scholarship Fund Raiser, and our Dance Teams Performances/ Competitions.

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Meagan Thomas

Meagan Thomas began dancing at the age of 3 training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip hop, musical theater, and modern. She was on the competition team in her hometown of Tampa for 5 years and was dance captain her senior year of high school. Meagan graduated with a degree in Dance and Psychology at Jacksonville University. Over the years, Meagan has had the opportunity to learn and study under Kelly King, Rosero McCoy, Al Blackstone, Yorelis Apolinario, Teddy Forance, Martha Nichols, Brian and Scott Nicholson, Lana Heylock, and many more. Meagan teaches beginner and intermediate level classes. She is also the coach for the FCCA Dance Competition team. She loves watching her students grow and progress.


James Heeney

James Heeney is a ballet teacher, who recently moved to the area from Chicago. James made his professional debut in 2013 with the Winston-Salem Festival Ballet, before relocating to New York and performing with The American Swiss Ballet, Ballet Long Island, and Baltimore Ballet. Additionally, James freelanced for several companies in the Washington DC Metro area and the New York Tri-State area.
      James received his formal training with Ballet Chicago and Ballet Chicago Studio Company under the direction of Dan Duell and Patricia Blair. During his training, James was a recipient of the Philip and Marsha Dowd Merit Scholarship.
      At Ballet Chicago James got the opportunity to perform several Balanchine Ballets. Who Cares, Serenade, Stars and Stripes, and Agon were among the performances he took part in. It was the introduction to this style of ballet where he fell in love with the neo-classical ballets. James brings these Neo-Classical elements into the class to help the next generation of dancers achieve the expectations in today’s auditions and summer intensives


Megan Popola

Megan Popola has been dancing since she was 4. She is trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, contemporary, acro, and hip hop. Megan graduated High school with a Seal of Fine Arts and is now studying at UNF.  She is majoring in Kinesiology and minoring in Psychology. Megan was a member of the FCCA Dance Team and is now a coach. Megan has been assisting with classes at FCCA since she was 10 and teaching since 2017. Megan teaches beginner and intermediate level classes. Megan loves helping her students reach their dancing dreams. 

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Sandy Smith

Ms. Sandy has been dancing since she was 9 years old starting in a Jazz/HipHop class. She then branched out and found her love for dance in other styles such as and have been trained in Ballet, Tap, Contemporary, Modern, and Acrobatics. Ms. Sandy started assisting classes at here at FCCA 10 years old.

She graduated from Atlantic Coast High School in 2019 and was Dance Captain her Junior and Senior year. She has now graduated with her first degree in Surgical Technology, and is now working towards her Bachelors in Health Sciences on the Pre-Medical track.

Ms. Sandy teaches movement classes along with 4-5 year old ballet/tap combo classes.

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Sierra Ferrell

Sierra has been dancing since she was 4 years old and competing since she was 10. Sierra has trained in all styles of dance, favoring Ballet, Contemporary, and Jazz. She has received many high awards in dance and multiple scholarship opportunities. She has had the privilege of being taught by many renowned instructors such as Christopher Robins and Carlos Garland, along with many convention experiences. Sierra has performed at many events including the Harlem Globe Trotters, Jacksonville Icemen, and Disney World. She has a passion for performing and a love for teaching. Sierra is excited to continue her future with dance and further her experience as a teacher.


Ashlynd Roberts

Ashlynd Roberts has been dancing since she was 2 years old. She is trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, and Acro.

She has enjoyed competing and performing as a member of our FCCA Dance Team for 10 years.

Ashlynd shared her love for dance with the students at FCCA by assisting classes since she was 11.

She teaches Movement, Jazz/Acro combo classes and Ballet/Tap combo classes. 


Olivia Studer

Olivia Studer is a native of Jacksonville, FL and has been dancing since the age of 3. She has trained in all styles of Dance, with a love for Contemporary, Jazz and Hip Hop.

Olivia began competing at the age of 10 and has received many high awards in dance. She has had the opportunity to learn from many great instructors at Dance Conventions along with performance choreography from Carlos Garland and
Christopher Robbins.

Olivia has had the privilege of performing at many local events along with dancing
at the Harlem Globetrotters Pre Show and at Disney World.

Olivia is excited about the future of dance and hopes to continue her passion as a teacher at FCCA.


Florian Rouiller

Visiting Guest Teacher

Rouiller began his dance career with training at the prestigious John Cranko School in Stuttgart with a BFA, and performed with the Stuttgart Ballet in productions such as Sleeping Beauty and Giselle. Upon immigrating to the United States, he danced with Merce Cunningham Dance Company as an apprentice, Ohio Ballet, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Ballet International Eldar Aliev, Ballet Metropolitano de Caracas, and Ballet Contemporanea de Caracas in Venezuela, as well as Goteborg Ballet in Sweden, performing soloist and principal roles and working with choreographers such as Alonzo King, Jiri Kylian, Simon Dow, Robert North, Jorma Uotinen , Jean-Paul Comelin, Lynne Taylor Corbett, to name a few. He has also performed with many companies throughout the United States and taught extensively, including at the Kirov Academy in Washington DC, the Washington Ballet School, and City Dance Ensemble. In the DC area, he has performed with City Dance Ensemble, Dana Tai Soon Burgess, and Lucy Bowen McCauley, Karen Reedy.

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