Mary Knestrick

Owner / Creative Director

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. During her college education, she was the Dance Director for O2B Kids here in Gainesville, FL in which many of her students have gone on to win state and national titles.

In May of 2009, Mary graduated with her Masters Degree in Education from the University of Florida with concentrations in Special Education & Children's Literacy. In August of 2009, IndepenDANCE Studio was born with the help of her business partners: Tim & Joli Day as well as countless other supporters who helped her paint, build, prep, and make her childhood dream a rather quick reality!

During her now 5+ year career as a business owner, Mary has become heavily involved in the Gainesville Community. She loves participating as a Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Diplomat, and in 2011 she received a very special award from the Chamber: Business of the Year: Women in Leadership. Throughout the community, she has had the opportunity for her choreography to be performed at the University of Florida, the Half-Time Show of the Harlem Globetrotters, and community events & fundraisers are just to name a few. During the summers, she enjoys traveling to set choreography work around the country for other competitive dance companies and studios. In this short period of time, she is proud to see her students graduate and continue their arts education in big ways! This is her favorite part of her job- the success, growth, and happiness of her students.

During her career, Mary has had the opportunity to dance under choreographers such as: Tyce Diorio, Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Shane Sparks, Dave Scott, Gregg Russell, 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 awards and recognition for choreography, performance, student technique, as well as overall high score awards at various competitions in the Southeast United States.

Mary believes that all students should have the opportunity to "Find Their Light". This is something one of her favorite dance instructors Ms. Anna always told her and her classmates when she was young- and well, it stuck. Girls, boys, women, men, young, in-between, and older- everyone is welcome and encouraged to find their niche' at her studio. "Find Your Light"- Ms. Anna & Ms. Mary :)


Ms Mary


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