Here at Leslie's Dance Studio we strive to provide our students with the best possible training in dance in a safe, fun, family atmosphere. To introduce and explore the art of dance in an environment that is both nurturing and positive. It is our goal that each one of our students will enter a class eager and optimistic about what they will learn and leave each class feeling good about what they have accomplished. Whether our students have aspirations to dance for years to come or dance for the pure benefit of exercise and pleasure, we hope all will be inspired and educated by our expert and enthusiastic staff.
Leslie Bakaric has had an exciting and rewarding professional career in the entertainment industry. Working as a professional dancer, she has traveled across the United Sates starring with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Wayne Newton, George Burns, Walter Matthau, Ann Margaret, Ben Vereen, Kenny Rogers, Donald Trump, Gregory Peck, Alan King, Liza Minelli, and Liz Taylor, to name a few. Leslie became a Radio City Music Hall "Rockette" and worked with them for seven years in New York City appearing annually in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, on Good Morning America, and in many TV specials and commercials. The Rockettes also performed at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe. She left New York to join "the biggest show in the world", "Hello Hollywood Hello", at the MGM Grand in Reno, Nevada for two years. Returning home to South Jersey, she worked at Trump's Castle in "Glitter" and in numerous other casino production revues. Miss Leslie incorporates her immensely varied background of theater, dance, and music in her teaching techniques. Her love of children combined with her love of dance have contributed greatly to her success as a dance instructor.
Sarah Jane Acampora is a graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with an Associates of Science Degree in TV and Broadcasting where she won "Best Portfolio." Professionally, she has danced in several major productions around the U.S. in cities like Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Orlando, San Diego, Syracuse, NYC, and Atlantic City. Sarah has choreographed for numerous charity events, Northfield Community School's productions, and has choreographed more than 20 productions for The Margate Players. Recently she hit the stage again at the new Hard Rock Casino Resort in a Motown Tribute show called, "Motor City Live" which continued to go on tour. She was then cast in the Hard Rock's "Disco Live" show which ran in Atlantic City and Washington D.C. and she can now be seen in it's latest production of "The Rat Pack : Back in Town". Sarah also won in the locally famous "Dancing Under the Atlantic City Stars". She has been teaching and choreographing in her mother's footsteps for 18 years and has loved every moment of it and finds it rewarding to pass on her enthusiasm and love to her students.
Melanie Vigue Brough graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Brigham Young University. Throughout college she taught tap at the university level, as well as performed with modern company, hip hop, and tap groups. Melanie choreographed the Ms Senior New Jersey pageant for over 10 years. Currently, she choreographs musical theater at Belhaven Middle School, Tighe School, and Holy Spirit High School. Community theater has always held a special place in her heart. She began her choreography career with Showmaker's Theatre Guild at 18. She now works as choreographer with Margate Players 2, leads Storytime at Margate Library, and helps run Performing Arts Camp each summer at the Margate Tighe School. As a former student of Miss Leslie's, she is thrilled to be a part of the studio. Melanie is grateful to share her passion for dance with our amazing community and hopes others find the joy that movement can bring.
Nicole Stephens is a native of South Jersey where she has studied a range of dance forms including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, hip hop, and acro-gymnastics for over 25 years. She graduated high school from the Southern New Jersey Academy of Performing Arts, where she majored in dance. She furthered her education at Morgan State University, majoring in Psychology while performing on the marching band’s dance line. She continued her education at Stockton University where she was a member of the All Star dance team, then graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.
Nicole has filled her resume with various performance credits including: the Atlantic City Card Sharks, Philadelphia KiXX, and Philadelphia 76ers dance teams. She has also added performances and training from the Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Theatre, Cygnus Performing Arts Academy, and The Performing Arts Theatre of Hammonton. Continuing her career locally, she choreographed many projects in the South Jersey area including the Miss Atlantic City Pageant. In Atlantic City, Nicole performed in the Las Vegas show “Voices” at the Tropicana Casino, and in Maxine Nightengale’s “Disco Lady” at the Resorts Casino. Nicole is a reoccurring dancer in the production “Elvis-The King in Concert” at Casino Rama in Canada. She is also a dancer in “The Burlesque Show” at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, and has been part of the cast since 2012. Nicole has most recently performed in the Motown production hit, “Motor City Live” at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City and the MGM Casino in National Harbor. Nicole continues to perform and choreograph in the South Jersey area, including joining the Atlantic City Blackjacks AFL team, signing on as the head coach and choreographer of the Diamonds Dance Team.
Throughout he 38 year career, Gwen has taught Ballet, Pointe, Acro, Jazz, PreSchool Creative Movement, coached competitive Compulsory Gymnastics Levels 2-5 as well as Pre-K tumbling and Pre-Team Gymnastics. She has given weekly classes on Rhythm and body mechanics through isolated Ballet (gymnastic based) technique. Other miscellaneous classes include Ballet Barre and Floor Barre (Pilates). Currently Gwen teaches Yoga in Ventnor and Acro at multiple studios. She is strength and conditioning certified and has a Level 4/5 Judges Certification for Women's USA Gymnastics.
Gwen has performed as a dancer/choreographer and Strolling Performer in 7 of Atlantic City's largest casinos on stage and screen. She teaches with energy, integrity and investment while creating an environment that promotes discovery.