About i.dance


We are located at 7050-10 Archer Road in Gainesville, Florida. Our studio opened in 2009 and has created quite a buzz in the Gainesville area. In our first year we have welcomed hundreds of students of all ages through our doors. First dance or theater class? Are you a veteran to the arts? Want to get active in a great a fun way with Zumba classes? Do you have a child with special needs? We cover it all at indepenDance, and we are excited to see what 2013 has in store for us! Come check us out, we strive to uphold our open studio policy. Class observations and studio tours are welcome any day of the week, and as ALWAYS, your first class is always FREE!!! Come see what all the 'i.dance' buzz is all about. IndepenDance Studio, where kids AND their parents can "Find their Light".

At the age of 3 years old, Mary began her dance career in Chantilly, VA.  Since then she has danced for various dance studios and companies in Manassas, VA, Daytona Beach, FL, and Gainesville, FL.  Mary has been the director of a competitive dance program for the past 4 years, and many of her students have gone on to win state and national titles.

During her career, Mary has had the opportunity to dance under choreographers such as: Mandy Moore, Shane Sparks, Savion Glover, Frank Hachett, Nick Lazzarini, Adam Parsons, and many more.  She has participated in classes and workshops at the Broadway Dance Center and the Alvin Ailey School of Dance in New York City, NY.  Mary has been honored with numerous arts awards including her most recent “Choreography Excellence” from StarQuest Dance International.

Mary Knestrick

“Ms. Mary”


Tim is not a dancer but has been around dance all his life. His mother Zari was the owner/teacher at Del Dante Dance Company in Adelaide Australia for 40+ years. She also taught dance at Henley High School in Adelaide, a magnet school for dance which prepped high school students for a career in the performing arts.

Tim is an Australian trained physical therapist who came to the USA in 1993 to be the Physical Therapist/Strength and Conditioning coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system. During those years he developed preventative injury programs which greatly reduced the injury rate in baseball athletes. After that he worked at the UF&Shands Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute and was instrumental in developing the PreHab (preventative conditioning) programs for the UF Gator sports team.

He now uses that experience to teach dance specific conditioning classes for the competitive teams at IDance. The goal is to help keep our young dancers on the floor and out of the rehab clinics.

Tim Day

"Mr. Tim"


Shannon was introduced to dance at the age of 3. She became a student at the Orlando Ballet, formerly the Southern Ballet Theatre, where she performed in numerous productions including The Nutcracker and Cinderella. She later joined the senior student company at the Ballet Academy of Central Florida, and competed in various jazz and ballet competitions. She won "Top 12 in the region" at the Youth America Grande Prix semi-finals, and "Dancer of the Year" at the American Dance Awards competition in 2004.

Eventually, Shannon joined the Central Florida Ballet company under the instruction of Vasile Petrutiu and Vladimir Bykov. She performed in Swan Lake, Toy Shop,The Nutcracker, and Carnival to Save the Animals. She left to attend the University of Florida where she danced in Danza Dance Company for six semesters. She taught beginner, intermediate, and advanced ballet at the Starke Academy of Dance, and she choreographed several award-winning competition pieces.

Shannon Wilson

“Ms. Shannon”


Danny Zwilling has been teaching drama to children for eleven years.  He has considerable experience teaching improv, musical theatre, and basic acting techniques.  He has also successfully written and directed plays for children that have been performed in the Gainesville community.

Danny is certified by the state of Florida to teach drama in the public schools, and he currently teaches third grade at Alachua Elementary School.  He has performance experience as an actor in several plays, commercials, independent movies, and one television pilot.  Danny is extremely passionate about enhancing his student’s imagination, creativity, and self-confidence through acting classes and performances.

Danny Zwilling

“Mr. Danny”


Marla, a wife and proud mother of 3 boys, is currently an Office Billing Manager for Innovative Back Solutions. Originally from Ocala Florida, she began her dance education at the age of 2 at Mary Ellen School of Dance under the direction of Mary Ellen Vowinkel. Throughout her teens she attended and competed at Conventions and Competitions studying many different genres of dance, including Acro. At a young age she started a Competition Team where her students won numerous Platinums , scholarship awards and went on to work in the industry as Professional Dancers. For the past 15+ years she has choreographed for dance teams, surrounding studios including Ocala Dance Force Company receiving Special and Choreography awards. Her most proud achievement has been training her sister Maycee Stromwall for the past 17 years, whom now has gone on to achieve her own choreography awards and dance professionally. When the two team up they are known as the "Stromsters"! At IndepenDance her specialty will be to prepare the students technically and teach the art of performing. "I am excited to have the opportunity to share my passion with dancers of all ages and look forward to providing the tools needed to build a strong foundation in dance!" says Marla.

Marla Ruano

"Mrs. Marla"

Richelle is a senior at the University of Florida studying biology with plans to attend Pharmacy school upon graduation. She enjoyed dancing during her childhood, and danced competitively with the Riverside Theater in Vero Beach, Florida. Richelle enjoys staying active by teaching at IndepenDANCE Studio and working out at Anytime Fitness- our neighbors next door! She enjoys the beach and spending time with her close family and friends. IndepenDANCE Studio is proud to welcome Richelle to our faculty!

Richelle Henf

“Ms. Rochelle”


Originally from Jacksonville Beach, Harley O'Neill has been dancing in Gainesville since the age of eight. Although first only trained in jazz and hiphop she soon became very versatile under none other than Ms. Mary Knestrick herself! Harley continues to perform as many styles as she can get her hands on and believes that versatility helps her grow both mentally and physically.

Her experience includes, but is not limited to, participating in competitions and conventions around the country in styles such as contemporary, tap, ballet, musical theater, salsa, modern, and swing. Harley has received distinguished scholarships and awards from companies like Co. Dance, Nexstar, Showstopper, World Dance, StarQuest, Nuvo, and others. She has also been fortunate enough to travel internationally and experience the styles of contemporary, hip hop, jazz, and tap in Sweden, Australia, and China.

Harley will be majoring in International Studies and hopes to keep making connections worldwide. With her passion for God, arts, and culture guiding her she wishes to eventually make her living in California in either the entertainment or media industry.

Harley Taylor O'Neall

“Ms. Harley”


Lindsey Neumann, born and raised in the Midwest, has been singing all her life. She performed her first solo at the age of 8 and began formal training at the age of 15. Her passion for vocal music led her to obtain a Bachelor of Music (Gordon College, MA) and Master of Music degree (Temple University). While in school, Lindsey performed the roles of Martine (The Doctor in Spite of Himself, Gounod) and Franzl (The Cunning Little Vixen, Janacek). Lindsey was also an Apprentice Artist with Center City Opera Theater for the 2009-2010 season, where she performed the role of Third Spirit (TheMagic Flute, Mozart), and participated in several opera ensembles. She maintains an active performance schedule in Gainesville.

Upon relocating to Florida in 2011, Lindsey opened her own voice and piano studio, and in 2012, she joined the IndepenDance team. It is her philosophy that anyone can learn to sing. She strives to communicate healthy singing technique and efficiency of breath, as well as to encourage students to be passionate about their art and to try new things without fear.

Lindsey Neumann

“Ms. Lindsey”


Nicole Bateman has been dancing since the age of three, including the styles of tap, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop. Tap remains her absolute passion. She has been competing nationally since the age of nine, winning awards such as Entertainment, Fabulous Feet, Outstanding Rhythm awards and many high score and judge's awards. Additionally, she received numerous scholarships at JUMP! Dance Convention, and was a finalist in the Tap Pups competition hosted by the Tap Dogs. She was an All-star for the Hall of Fame Dance Challenge Nationals, as well as a guest on the television show El Show de Fernando Hidalgo in Miami, Florida.

Nicole has trained with choreographers including The Shuffle Man himself, Mike Minery. She has also taken master workshops under the instruction of Diane Walker, Avi Miller, Ben Ofer, Doug Caldwell, Gene Medler, Germaine Salsberg, Gil Stroming, Heidi and Joe Melchiona, Jay Fagan, Nick Lazzarini, The Tap Dogs and Dan Karaty.

She has been a dance instructor since 2008 for all ages, and focuses on teaching her students proper technique, while also having a fun time! Nicole is majoring in Telecommunications at the University of Florida, where she is also a member of Stomp the Swamp, a rhythm and tap group that is focused on bringing light to the community through their passion for tap dancing.

Nicole Bateman

“Ms. Nicole”


Amanda Hanono was born and raised in South Florida where she began her singing and dancing career at the age of 4. She was trained at two different dance studios in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical and Musical Theater. She competed in dance competitions over many years where she was immediately recognized for her small stature and humungous personality. Her years of competitive dance earned her overall place standings, national competition invitations, and judge's awards. Her major areas of focus were Hip Hop, Tap, and Musical Theater. Throughout her years of dance she has also helped instruct Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip Hop classes at her local studio.

Amanda is currently a student at the University of Florida and is pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Psychology. Her love for children and helping people pushed her to do more so she participates in medical health certification classes outside of her college coursework. She has maintained her love and passion for dance and has continued dancing through various dance classes and University of Florida dance team experiences.

Amanda Hanono

“Ms. Amanda”


Mike Phan has been dancing Hip Hop since he arrived at the University of Florida in 2009. Although he began dancing at a late age, he has taken all the opportunities available to him such as classes from Brian Puspos, Bam Martin, Lyle Beniga, and many more renowned Hip Hop choreographers.

Mike is a part of an all male dance crew located at the University of Florida called Apocalypse Dance Crew. His love for the art of dance keeps him motivated and he hopes to instill this same principle in his students.

His recent achievements include 1st place at Soulfest 2013 and 2nd place at World of Dance: New Jersey.

Mike Phan

“Mr. Mike”


Born and raised in Miami, Michelle is a second year Accounting major at the University of Florida. She has been dancing since she was 4 years old and has always had a passion for both tap and ballet. She is co-Vice President of a tap group at UF, Stomp the Swamp. She later hopes to attend Law school.

Michelle Dominguez

“Ms. Michelle”



© 2013 Independance Studio. All rights reserved Site webmaster: Daddy"O" productions