Missy is the founder and director of North Florida Ballet Theatre. A Mississippi native & graduate of Mississippi University for Women, Missy has been teaching & directing children’s ballet & dance programs for over 35 years. She began teaching in 1979 and has taught in studios, academic schools and in university and college programs throughout Mississippi, New Jersey & Florida. Ms. High began her training at the Alpha School of Dance, under director Mary Alpha Johnson, and pursued further training under the tutelage of Ruth Hart and Jozia Mieszkowski. Ms. High has had the opportunity to continue her training and education through master classes and workshops with such notable artists as Edie Barnes, Melissa Hayden, Fernando Bujones, Patricia McBride, Jen-Pierre Bonnefoux, as well as other professional dance educators and artists. Her performance repertoire includes corps and lead roles in Pas de Quatre, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Gaîté Parisienne, Graduation Ball and a broad range of contemporary and modern choreography. She continues to study the arts and business through masters classes, workshops, seminars and other educational and business resources. Ms. High strives to offer ballet programs that provide a solid technical foundation, foster student confidence, inspiration and the opportunity for individual growth, offering her students a wealth knowledge and experience.
Marisa is a native of New Jersey and began her dance training at the age of three at ‘In The Spotlight Dance Studio’ under the direction of Tom and Jane Karaty located in Waldwick, New Jersey. After re-locating to Tampa she continued her training at All American Dance Factory under the tutelage of Terri Howell. She has studied under many notable teachers. Marisa has a strong foundation in classical ballet, as well as training in acrobatics, tap and jazz. Marisa began teaching in 2001 at ‘All American Dance Factory’, where she had the opportunity to instruct children of all ages. Growing up in the dance world, with a ballet mother, Marisa spent much of her childhood in dance studios. She has been with North Florida Ballet Theatre since it’s conception in 2012. In addition to being the homeschool mother of four daughters, Marisa continues to teach and inspire her students, focusing on safe and correct technique in all areas of movement.
Ihaiah, formerly Carlos, Miller graduated from the Joffrey/ New School University with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet and Choreographic Studies. In his training, Ihaiah has studied at tops school and conservatories including the Florida Ballet, Florida Dance Festival, the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, the Shirley Rock School, and various intensive studies at American Ballet Theater, all as a full scholarship student. Professionally, Ihaiah has performed with the
Eugene Ballet/ Ballet Idaho, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Coastal
Arts Project, the Florida Ballet, & the Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, performing in over 60 countries on 6 continents. Ihaiah was a recipient of an Art Ventures' Independent Artists Grant from the Community Foundation of Jacksonville. Choreographically, Ihaiah’s work has been showcased throughout North America on stage & screen. In 2005 he founded the Diesel | Fusion Dance Theatre & acting as the company’s Artistic Director until 2016. Ihaiah has taught at the acclaimed Studio Maestro & Sandra Cameron Dance Center in New York, the Episcopal High School of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Center for the Arts, La Villa School of the Arts, Jacksonville Christian Arts Center, Arts Edge School of Dance and Theatre, the Florida Ballet Training center, and has been a faculty member with North Florida Ballet Theatre’s pre-professional division since 2014. Mr. Miller also maintains talents in design, writing, and photography, and in his spare time acts as a counselor to young artists and adviser to local artists and companies in Jacksonville.
Michelle Peters graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, an Elementary Education Teaching Certification, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Michelle began teaching at North Florida Ballet Theatre in 2015. She shares her expertise in. Many areas of dance and is currently teaching conditioning, flexibility, tap, acrobatics, and musical theater classes. Michelle also works as an academic tutor and is a homeschool parent of five.
Originally from New York, Heather trained at the New Paltz School of Ballet under former New York City Ballet dancers Peter and Lisa Naumann. Heather graduated from Mercyhurst University in 2011, Magna Cum Laude, with a BA in Dance and a concentration in Choreography. She was a member of the Nu Delta Alpha dance honors society and the Liturgical Dance Ensemble. Heather has performed professionally with Avant Chamber Ballet, Tampa Ballet Theatre, Nashville Dance Initiative, Dance Theatre of Tennessee, and Lake Erie Ballet, as well as a guest appearance with the Nilas Martins Dance Company. She currently performs as a guest artist with The Florida Ballet. In 2017 Heather joined North Florida Ballet Theatre as faculty member for the Pre-Professional division. Heather has a passion for teaching ballet and pointe to dancers of all ages, sharing her knowledge and experience with the next generation of dancers.
Grace Mims graduated from Jacksonville University Magna CumLaude with a BFA in Dance. Following graduating college, she worked in Philippines with Ballet Center Cebu as a company dancer and teacher under premiere danseur Nicolas Pacafia and choreographer Gregory Aaron. Grace has performed in the opera The Vampyr, the musical The Wiz, & in many ballets such as Paquita, Romeo and Juliet, & The Nutcracker. Through dance, Grace has had the opportunity to travel four countries, with Kenya & Scotland being her favorites. Currently, Grace is a company member with Selah Dance Ministries. Grace teaches &choreographs for North Florida Ballet Theatre, Dance for Joy, and Faithbridge Fine Arts, & is the dance instructor at Harvest Community School where she has choreographed the musicals Willy Wonka, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, & Beauty and the Beast. She has attended teacher workshops with Ballet Magnificat! & earned certifications with the Progressing Ballet Technique. Grace joined the North Florida Ballet Theatre faculty as a ballet instructor in 2017.
Bio coming soon!
Goldie Mims, has been dancing since the age of three. She attended several studios in the Jacksonville area before finding North Florida Ballet Theatre in 2016 and has loved being a student here ever since. Her performance repertoire includes “The Spanish Doll” in Fairy Doll , “The Evil Stepsister” in Cinderella , and “Belle” in Beauty and the Beast. Goldie has also performed original ballet, contemporary and modern choreography. Additionally, Goldie has attended the Ballet Magnificat! Summer Dance Intensive located in Jackson, Mississippi in 2017 and 2019. Goldie participated in the Community Nutcracker of Jacksonville productions from 2014-2019. She has been an assistant teacher for four years and is currently an instructor for pre-school and primary level ballet students at North Florida Ballet Theatre.
Alexa Lucente is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There she trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet studying under Margarita DeSaá and John White (Cuban National Ballet). Alexa furthered her training and education at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania under the direction of Department Chair Tauna Hunter (Ballet West). Alexa graduated with honors in 2015 earning a B.A in Dance with a concentration in Pedagogy. Upon graduation, Alexa danced professionally for four seasons at Florida Dance Theatre in Lakeland, Florida under founding director Carol Krajacic Erkes (Cincinnati Ballet). Alexa was also an FDT faculty member for the training academy affiliated with the company. In 2019 Alexa joined The Florida Ballet as a Studio Apprentice and Faculty member. Alexa is a seasonal performer at Universal Studios Orlando and dances the role of a Beauxbaton at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Alexa has performed featured roles in productions such as The Nutcracker (Snow Queen, Dew Drop Fairy), Paquita (Soloist), Peter Pan (Mermaid Queen), Sleeping Beauty (Princess Fluorine), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Soloist) and numerous contemporary works. In addition to classical ballet, Alexa is qualified in modern, contemporary, jazz, and tap. Alexa is a faculty member at North Florida Ballet Theatre in Jacksonville, Fl. Her mission as a dancer and educator is to be a catalyst in exposing the transcendence of the arts to the world.
Julian Rachal was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida and has been dancing for over 15 years. Coming from the world of sports and wanting to increase his athletic ability, Julian began dancing at Lavilla, the middle school of the arts. After one year at Lavilla, Julian’s love for dance grew at which time, he then began training with Laurie Picinch-Byrd, Artistic director of the Florida Ballet Training Center. It was there that Julian had the opportunity to participate each year in Youth America Grand Prix as well as receive training under the ABT certified curriculum. Throughout the six years with Florida Ballet, Julian had the opportunity to train under many great mentors and artists from their affiliate school, The Orlando Ballet School as well as The Joffery Concert Group and the Broadway Dance Center. While training at the Florida Ballet, Julian’s dance career flourished up until his graduation from Douglas Anderson School of The Arts. At the age of sixteen, Julian became an apprentice dancer with the Florida Ballet Professional Company, making him the youngest member in the company’s history. At eighteen, Julian then became a member of the company Diesel Fusion Dance Theatre under the direction of Ihaia Miller. Julian attended Jacksonville University on a full dance scholarship and achieved his Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. Throughout his career, Julian has performed many roles in shows that include “The Nutcracker”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Swan Lake”, “Giselle”, "Don Quixote”, “Le Corsaire”, “Raymonda”, and “A Midsummer Nights Dream”. Julian as showcased his dance abilities in the outdoor theatre drama “Unto These Hills” on the Cherokee Reservation, as well as on the Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos while contracted by Creativiva casting. Julian has recently returned after being aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliances of the Seas, he is happy to be back to spread his knowledge and inspiration to his students again.