Dance Instructors


Our instructors are available for private and semi-private lessons



photo Mayra Fernandez

Mayra Fernandez is the owner and artistic director of River City Fine Arts Academy, home of F13rce Dance Theatre. Ms. Fernandez graduated from Jacksonville University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Her  teaching credits include Kaluby's Ballroom Dance Studio, LaVilla School of the Arts, where she taught modern, ballet, and dance physicality classes, head coach of International Rhythmic Gymnastics and River City Rhythmic and Dance, a competitive training program that prepared amateur rhythmic gymnasts, 2005 Region VI Chair for USA Gymnastics, and coach of USA Rhythmic Gymnastics team gymnast. She has attended the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and Lake Placid for competitions and camps. She is an Artistic Associate for the First Coast Nutcracker with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Rachel Cliff

After viewing her first performance of the Nutcracker Ballet at age three, Rachel was inspired to begin ballet training. She is honored to have performed as Clara in the First Coast Nutcracker and as the Sugarplum Fairy in the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert. After graduating from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Rachel receive a scholarship to Jacksonville University's Dance Program. At JU, Rachel's contemporary ballet piece was selected for the American College Dance Festival. She has worked with Guest Choreographers Ricky Ruiz, Andre Tyson, and Stephanie Martinez. Rachel has attended JU's Study Abroad Program for Choreography in France and the Joffrey Ballet's Intensive in Italy. As a member of Douglas Anderson's Dance Theatre, Rachel was awarded as "Oustanding Ballet Dancer" and "Model Dancer," and had the opportunity to work with Rhonda Stampalia and other Guest Artists including Adam Sage, Andrew Carroll, and Jerry Opdenaker. Teaching dance gives Rachel the opportunity to share her love of dance, choreography, and performance with her students.

photo Michelle Diskin-Cichra

Michelle began her serious dance training at the age of 9 under the direction of the late Lori Miller, in Jacksonville, FL. With a strong focus on classical Ballet, Michelle studied with local artists such as Yvonne Williams and Christina Teague-Mann. Michelle is a graduate of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, and was a member of Dance Theatre under the direction of Dr. Phyllis Penney and Rhonda Stampalia. Michelle was the recipient of the Bravo Award her Freshmen, Sophomore and Senior year, and the Outstanding Ballet Award her Senior year. She has performed leading roles in Ballets choreographed by Rhonda Stampalia, Eddy Toussiant, Yanis Pikieris and Laurie Byrd. As a student, Michelle traveled to take classes with David Howard, Francesca Corkle, Finis Jhung, Marie Hale and Kathy Thibedeaux. Upon graduating high school, Michelle danced professionally with The Floria Ballet as well as guest performances with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2005, Michelle assisted Christina Teague-Mann with a summer workshop through Jacksonville University to Pont Le Voy, France, and worked with ballet master Tonu Veiler, and contemporary artist Ana Sanchez-Colberg. The program offered to 21 students from Jacksonville University, 8 weeks of focused work on contemporary dance and micro-movement studies. Michelle has had the privilege of performing leading roles in The Nutcracker, Giselle, Romeo & Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Don Quixote, Swan Lake and many contemporary ballet works. Michelle has worked closely with Artistic Director and Choreographer of the First Coast Nutcracker, Rhonda Stampalia for more than 15 years. “Having a mentor like Rhonda Stampalia is truly a gift. She’s helped me navigate a career in dance that’s been both fulfilling and long.” Michelle and her husband Rob have an Independent Insurance Agency in Saint Augustine, FL and they have two sons: Tripp and Decker. They reside in Saint Augustine. Michelle is excited to be teaching again and working with young artists who have a passion for Ballet.