Highland School of Dance was opened in Lakeland in 1974 by Jane Coyle. The objectives and standards have always been to give the best dance education possible while instilling high moral standards to be used all through life and to enjoy the freedom that dance brings while learning the discipline that it demands. HSD's former students have gone on to dance in college and professionally. Students have attended, performed with, founded, and been employed by Disney World in Florida and Japan, Busch Gardens, New World School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Cincinnati Conservatory, Point Park University, University of South Florida, Chicago Lyric Opera, Southern Ballet Theater, Ballethnic, Martha Graham Foundation, Redwall Dance Theatre, Lines Ballet, Deeply Rooted Production, River North, Moving People Dance Theater, Butler University, Moving Current, and Demetrius Klein Dance Company as well as appearances in Broadway productions.
Highland School of Dance was founded by Jane Coyle. Jane received her early dance training in Pennsylvania and her B.S. in Education from West Chester University in 1964. In 1974 she opened Highland School of Dance and served as owner and director until 2008. She has also served on the faculty of Florida Southern College, teaching ballet. From 1983-1985, Jane was the co-director of Concert Ballet Theater, a non-profit ballet company, with Pirkko Lawlor of Winter Haven. She is an associate member of the Cecchetti Council of America, Florida Dance Masters and the Florida Dance Association.
In 2008 Hayley Amis-Stewart, a former student of HSD, became the owner and director of Highland School of Dance. She apprenticed with Southern Ballet Theater from 1995-1997. After graduating high school in 1997, she went on to study dance at New World School of the Arts on full scholarship. She has also danced with Hardrive Productions in Orlando, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Moving People Dance Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has taught throughout the United States. She returned as a faculty member at Highland School of Dance in 2002. She is currently a member of Florida Dance Masters and Cecchetti Council of America.
We currently offer ballet, pointe, partnering, jazz, tap, modern and hip-hop. We also offer Zumba.
Robbie Mundy has studied dance since she was a young child and has been affiliated with HSD as a student and teacher for many years. In 1992, Robbie left the teaching world to open Dance Closet. Robbie returned to HSD in 1995 to teach pre-ballet and beginning ballet. Robbie is a certified teacher through the Cecchetti Council of America. She takes great pleasure in showing her students the responsibilities as well as the joys of dance.
Erica Garcia Peek is a graduate of the University of South Florida and alumni of Harrison Center for the Performing Arts dance department. While at USF she studied with John Parks, Jeanne Travers, and Lynne Wimmer, focusing her modern training on the Horton and Limon techniques. She performed with Moving Current, and was a founding artist of the performance company Dance, Music, Design. Erica spent four years dancing as a company dancer with a performing company in Florida. She also danced with Vital Spark for three years and competed in Spain at the Dance Grand Pix. For the past six years she has been teaching for the Polk County School Board. She has been a guest choreographer at HSD for the past two years and is excited to take a more permanent position with the school as a faculty member.
Adrianne Patton is a former student of HSD. After graduating high school, she went on to study psychology at University of South Florida. She returned as a faculty member at Highland School of Dance in 2010. She is currently a performer for Walt Disney as a faculty member of World and the head dance coach for George Jenkins High School, Wind Dancers. She is continuing her dance education in working towards her Florida Dance Masters membership. Adrianne Patton is committed to teaching the disciplines and principles of dance to her dancers and is excited to return to Highland School of Dance as a faculty member.
April Ross is an eccentric, outgoing, and spontaneous young lady who is a dancer, model, and make-up artist. She has danced since the age of 2 and is formally trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, and hip-hop. She danced competitively for 12 years with two studios throughout Florida. Directly after graduating high school she was chosen as an NBA Orlando Magic Dancer. Not only did she kill it on the court floor with her dance moves but she has also performed for the Maxim Super Bowl Party, Fantashique, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, Nike, Goldwell Hair, Verizon, and the Outback Bowl Party just to name a few. April not only demands a stage but also a camera. She can be caught doing film work such as Papa Johns, Dillards, and Party City commercials. Print work as a model includes Capezio, Champion Sports Wear, Redbull, Nike, and Miami billboards for up and coming artist Renegage Foxx. Currently April is teaching in the Florida area, choreographing for central Florida sports dance teams, performing around the U.S. for special events, gigs, and shows as well as being a freelance make-up artist. Multi talented and driven for success she is!
Nova Jay is no ordinary dancer, at the age of 14 with no formal training he was chosen out of New York City to tour with Outcast. Soon after experiencing life on the road he then toured with Sean Paul and Nina Sky. Nova Jay has also worked around Florida in the theme parks Busch Gardens and Disney World. He has also been caught on television camera performing on MTV's TRL, Music Awards, Made, and the original season of America's Best Dance Crew with Enigma from Tampa. Not only had Nova Jay been a huge success in the dance industry but also trained and taught as a cheerleader for 5 years and trained in China as a 2nd degree black belt in martial arts. Currently he is working as a veterinarian assistant, teaching dance in the Florida area, choreographing for multiple teams and artists, as well as starting his own photography business!