Ms. Zehner began her studies with Edmund and Nina Novak and then continued with John White and Margarita De Saa. She also studied with Pennsylvania Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Violette Verdi, as well as in New York with Madame Darvash, David Howard, and Robert Denver. Ms. Zehner performed with San Antonio Ballet and Ballet Klos. During her 30-plus years of professional teaching experience, she studied pedagogy with Gilbert Mayer, Ruth Petronovic, and John White, and holds a teaching certification from American Ballet Theater and Progressing Ballet Technique. Ms. Zehner has taught at Westchester Ballet Theater, Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, and The Rock School. She served as owner and instructor at the Pennsylvania Centre for Ballet and as founder and artistic director of Delaware County Ballet. Ms. Zehner holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in arts administration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and was an Artist in Residence at A.W. Dreyfoos School for the Arts for four years. She sat on the board of the Florida Dance Association, and guest teaches nationally when time permits.
Ms. Fulks holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance (summa cum laude) from Butler University and a Master of Arts in arts administration from Columbia University. Ms. Fulks danced with Nashville Ballet’s second company, The Charleston Ballet (WV), and REACH Dance Company. Ms. Fulks worked with the company manager at Wicked, LLC during its first year on Broadway, the production stage manager at American Ballet Theatre, and as a production assistant at Columbia University’s Miller Theater before relocating to Florida. She subsequently worked in the administration at Florida Atlantic University for 13 years, most notably as Associate Dean of the Graduate College and Associate Dean of Students. Ms. Fulks served as the dance critic for the Palm Beach Daily News for a decade, and was contributing editor on Respect for Art. Ms. Fulks joined Dance Theater of Florida as Operations Director in August 2021.
Ms. Pagano took her first ballet class at the age of eight in Queens, New York, and continued to dance recreationally throughout high school. She then attended Nassau Community College where she pursued a degree in accounting. After relocating to Florida, Ms. Pagano worked as a substitute teacher for the Palm Beach County School District for nearly a decade. In the summer of 2014, she joined both Florida School for Dance Education and Dance Theater of Florida as their Administrative Assistant, where she continues to share her love of both dance and education. Marci considers the studio her second home, and the staff, students, and their families her extended family.
A Philadelphia native, Mr. Opdenaker holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of the Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University. During his 22-year performing career, he was a principal artist with Pennsylvania Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and Ballet Florida. Mr. Opdenaker launched Ballet Florida’s choreographic workshop (STEP Ahead), and was selected to participate in Ballet Builders 2003, New York City Ballet’s 2005 Choreographic Institute, and the 2007 National Choreographic Initiative. He has created works for Ballet Arkansas, Ballet Florida, Ballet Gamonet, Florida Dance Theatre, Island Moving Company, Milwaukee Ballet, McKnight Foundation, National Ballet del Peru, New York City Ballet, South Carolina Ballet, New Orleans Ballet Theatre, and Florida Grand Opera. Mr. Opdenaker served as adjunct professor of dance at Florida Southern College and as guest faculty member at University of Utah, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Ballet Concierto, and Cincinnati Ballet, and served as the National Discipline Coordinator of Dance for YoungArts for five years. He continues to work as a character artist and deck manager and is currently completing his Pilates certification.
Mrs. Pakri began her dance training at the David Taylor Dance Theatre in Littleton, Colorado. After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in ballet performance (with honors) at the University of Oklahoma, Mrs. Pakri danced with Oklahoma Festival Ballet, David Taylor Dance Theatre, and Colorado Ballet. Mrs. Pakri has been teaching for 20 years. She served as director for the youth ballet company at Spotlight Performing Arts Academy, school principal/principal teacher at the Academy of Colorado Ballet South, and was on the staff of Houston Ballet Academy. In 2006, Mrs. Pakri joined the staff at The Royal Ballet School in London, England, where she taught for seven years and directed their outreach program. While there, she graduated from The Royal Ballet School Professional Dancers Teachers Course, with distinction.
Ms. Justi has danced professionally with Hartford Ballet, Memphis Ballet, Bay Ballet Theater, Colorado Ballet, and Kim Robards Dance. During her time with Colorado Ballet, she performed soloist roles in classical ballets such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Giselle and in contemporary ballets by Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, Agnes de Mille, Septime Webre, and Stanton Welch. Ms. Justi was honored to be part of the historic staging of Martha Graham’s “Appalachian Spring” at Colorado Ballet, the first ballet company to perform a Graham ballet. Ms. Justi served as Colorado Ballet Academy’s south academy Director from 2006 to 2009. As a teacher and coach, she has taught for Colorado Ballet Academy, Denver Academy of Ballet, International Ballet School, University of Wyoming, Rocky Mountain School of Dance, and Atlantic Arts Academy. Ms. Justi joined the faculty of Florida School for Dance Education in 2015. With the FSDE team, she has coached students to top prizes at YAGP (Including YAGP’s coveted HOPE Award), UBC, and other regional competitions.
Ms. Turner’s professional dance training began at the New England Dance Conservatory in Massachusetts. She has performed with Pittsburgh Ballet, Albany Berkshire Ballet, and Hartford Ballet. After graduating from University of New Hampshire, she performed as a dancer and stilt performer with Walt Disney World Entertainment. While at Disney, she became a Staging Specialist and ESQ Specialist, which made her responsible for the “entertainment show quality” of live shows and events. She has collaborated with Broadway affiliates, ABC Productions, MTV Productions, and the Disneyland Entertainment team throughout her teaching career. Projects included the Walt Disney Christmas Parade Filming, Daytona 500 opening ceremony, Tarzan Rocks, Festival of the Lion King, Main Street Trolley Show, Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade, and the opening team of Finding Nemo the Musical. As an AFAA certified group fitness instructor, Lyndsay also teaches adult fitness classes, Zumba, Barre, and is a certified Pilates Instructor with Pilates Life. Lyndsay and her husband, Josh, have two daughters, Kherrington and Katherine, who are dancers with Dance Theater of Florida.
A native of New Jersey, Ms. Wilhelm has been dancing professionally at Radio City Music Hall for the past twenty years. In 2005, she assumed the role of Assistant Choreographer to Linda Haberman and Julie Branam. In this capacity, she works with both the Rockettes and Ensemble and also acts as a swing, dance captain, and oversees the production. In 2020, Ms. Wilhelm was promoted to Associate Choreographer, where she works alongside the director assisting in annual auditions, concept development, aesthetics, and production logistics. She has assisted with Radio City's Heart and Lights and has performed in the New York Spring Spectacular. Ms. Wilhelm had the privilege to be an assistant choreographer for the Rockettes and Pitbull for America's Got Talent. Before her career at Radio City, she worked for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as both a performer and rehearsal director. Ms. Wilhelm is currently based in South Florida. As a teacher and coach, she enjoys sharing her passion for dance and her professional experiences with the next generation of performers.