Lynn D. Raley

Lynn D. Raley

Owner and Artistic Director
Lynn D. Raley is Owner and Artistic Director of South East Dance Academy. Lynn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Performance from East Carolina University and is a Certified Dance Educator through Dance Masters of America. Lynn has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Carolina Dance Masters since 1999 as well as the National Board of Directors of Dance Masters of America since 2000. Lynn was elected President of Carolina Dance Masters Chapter 15 in 2007 for a term of 4 years. Lynn’s dance education began as a young child under the direction of Margaret Rose Damkee and Linda Kalnen. In 1980, Lynn opened Beulaville Dance Academy in Beulaville, NC and founded A Step of Class in Goldsboro, NC in 1987. She operated both schools until moving to Texas in 1993. Lynn joined the staff of School of Dance and Performing Arts in 1996 that became South East Dance Academy in 1998, where she teaches Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Acrobatics, Musical Theatre, Kinderdance, and Lyrical. While teaching children is her primary passion, performing is a close 2nd. Lynn can be seen in film, television, and live theatrical performances. She has been the Dance Captain and performer with Opera House Theatre Company for such productions as “Chicago”, “Victor/Victoria”, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, “Singing in the Rain,” “42nd Street”, ” A Chorus Line”, “Anything Goes”, “Will Rogers Follies” and “George M!”. Lynn continues her dance education by attending numerous Seminars, Master Classes, and Dance Conventions thus allowing her to stay on top of the changes to this living art form. Lynn has studied with Masters such as Gregory Hines and Debbie Dee for Tap; Gus Giordano and Luigi for Jazz; Douglas Waddell and Karen Hebert for Ballet; Keith Clifton and Tracy Stanfield for Musical Theatre.
Mira Fox-Lamendola

Mira Fox-Lamendola

Instructor
Mira is a graduate of UNC Greensboro with a BFA in Dance and has more than 25 years of teaching and choreographic experience. Mira traveled with the Hoctor Dance Caravan throughout the US and Canada for 10 years and worked with such greats as Tommy Tune, Danny Hoctor, Barry Lather and Henry LeTang. Choreographing for South Pacific at Thalian Hall, being on set of Dawson’s Creek and working with the Hoggard Voyagers are among some of Mira’s other achievements. She worked as the assistant choreographer for the Miss NC Pageant, High Steppin’ Country, The Pro Bowl half time show, as well as the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii. She also appeared as a principle dancer in the major motion picture, “Super Mario Brothers.” Mira owned and operated Danceworks for 18 years and is beginning her 21st season as the director of her performance company, Fox Troupe Dancers! She has directed and choreographed many award winning numbers, receiving national recognition for excellence in technique and artistry. Her training has placed a multitude of dancers into the dance profession. You will find her former Fox Troupers on Broadway, Television, Movies, Commercials, Theme Parks, Cruise Ships, Theaters, Award Shows, International Touring Companies, National Ballet Companies and the Radio City Rockettes. Mira is very excited to be joining the SEDA family, meeting new dancers and she is looking forward to continuing her teaching and training. Mira resides in Wilmington with her husband, Ed Lamendola, their two sons, Coleman and Nicholas and their 2 year old mini goldendoodle, Kirby.
James DeVita

James DeVita

Instructor
James DeVita is originally from Owego, NY where he began his training in ballet, tap, and jazz at age 3 at Kathy Hansen’s School of Dance. At age 12, he continued his technical training at Ballet Arts Theatre in Endicott, NY under the direction of Tina Christina-Price. Throughout his time at both studios,James competed at numerous regional and national competitions, and performed in several regional performances of The Nutcracker and other originally choreographed works. He also attended Joffrey Ballet’s summer sessions in New York City. James continued his training while attending Colgate University where he also taught ballet, jazz, and technique classes at the United Academy of Dance in Oneida, NY. Since completing his undergraduate degree, he has performed with and taught for several regional companies in the Northeast, including New England Ballet Company, Ithaca Ballet, and Hangar Theater Company. While working on his graduate degrees at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, James performed with, and taught and choreographed for the UT Dance Company. In 2010-2011 he was the primary ballet instructor with Charlee’s Elite School of Dance in Waukee, IA. James also works as an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
Kristi Stevens

Kristi Stevens

Instructor
Kristi Stevens took her first dance steps at age 8 and found her way to Dance Dimensions (Brookfield, CT) under found Beverly Legge, and current director Dody Flynn. Realizing her passion for dance she began her journey with Dance Masters of America starting Teacher Training School as a high school senior studying with renowned educators Tom Ralabate, Larraine Susa, Bill Thomas, PJ Catalono, Jill Chase and Lynne Kurdziel Formato to name a few. Over the next four years, Kristi continued her TTS program in the summers while attending East Carolina University and earned her BFA in Dance Education in 2004. While at ECU she had the privilege of studying under Pat Pertalion, Dr. Dawn Weeks, Tommi Galaska, Clarine Powell and Patti Weeks. Kristi is a TTS post-graduate having successfully passed certification exams in ballet, jazz, modern and tap and later an official member of DMA. In addition to her TTS credentials, she has also studied lyrical, hip hop and modern. Returning home to CT, Kristi studied massage therapy at the Connecticut Center of Massage Therapy, graduating from the clinical massage program in July 2006. As a dance instructor, Kristi loves to educate students on how to properly care for and use their bodies to be the best dancer and person possible. She has been teaching at South East Dance Academy since 2007 and is a proud member of Carolina Dance Masters since 2006. She lives in Wilmington with her husband Seth and son Russell.
LaVonda Howard

LaVonda Howard

Instructor
LaVonda Howard is a graduate of East Carolina University where she received a BFA in dance and was the recipient of the Marie Wallace Dance Scholarship. While at ECU, she was a member of the “5678” Musical Theater performances. She also appeared in the musical “Gypsy” with Barbara Bosson of Hill Street Blues. LaVonda danced professionally and traveled throughout North and South America on various cruise lines such of Royal Caribbean, Costa, Holland America and Celebrity. Being a veteran of the stage, she also performed on stages in San Diego, CA at the Coronado Resort, Showboat and Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and the Newport Hotel and Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

LaVonda has appeared in local theater productions in the Wilmington area including “42nd Street”, “Guys and Dolls” and “A Chorus Line”. Film credits include “Track 29”, “Cats Eye”, “Firestarter” and most recently onset of the film “Adrenaline”. Industrial credits include Daisytek, Ross Stores and IBM.

For the past 17 years, she has taught dance to recreational and competitive students. LaVonda is a 6-year Breast Cancer Survivor. In her spare time she is very dedicated to volunteering for charity organizations such as Women of Hope, Susan G. Komen and Pretty in Pink Foundation. LaVonda is a single mom of two beautiful children Brooke (15) and Trevor (11) of whom she shares life’s treasurable moments! She is excited for the “new” chapter in her life and delighted to share her passion and love of dance to children of all ages!

Molly Gumbert

Molly Gumbert

Instructor
Molly Gumbert, hailing from Ashland Kentucky, started dancing at age 2. She found her spot on the stage with the Ashland Youth Ballet and The Ashland Regional Dance Theatre. Molly was honored to be able to dance with this company for 16 years, showcasing Ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, modern, and bringing home the Teen Miss Dance of the Bluegrass Title and competing on a national level. Growing up she danced with The Gainsville Ballet Company, Nashville Ballet, Moscow’s Great Russian Nutcracker, JADCO, and Jeslyn performing arts, under teachers such as Nathan Andary, Dawn Hillen, Kevin Martin, Tammy Westafer, and Chrissy Johnson. Molly has been involved in various dance and theatre productions landing her a scholarship in dance with Milligan College in Johnson City TN. She graduated with a B.S in Communications and Humanities minor. During her time at school she was able to teach in a local studio and be involved with Milligan’s theatre program. Her time at Milligan let her dance professionally with a local company, and still lead her dance team as captain. After graduation, she moved to Wilmington and immediately found SEDA. Molly is currently working in admissions at Cape Fear Academy and is the JV and Varsity Cheer Coach. She is excited to be a part of the South East Dance Academy family.
Austrin Garcia

Austrin Garcia

Instructor
Born Austrin Anthony Garcia in New York City, NY June 18th 1981. Austrin grew up dancing in the streets of New York. He had his first performance with National Dance Institute at the BAM Majestic in Brooklyn, NY called Ameri-musica 92. Austrin then got to perform in Madison Square Garden, the White House and a performing arts studio in Boston. He participated in the 25th Anniversary of Donahue, Sesame Street and the Penn and Teller show while performing with NDI. Austrin has had the opportunity to dance all over the world and be on several television shows, expressing his passion for dance. He has received technical training in several genres of dance to include Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Ballroom, Latin and HipHop. He has a passion to teach and loves watching people expand their love for music and dance. His primary instruction is Hip-Hop because of its versatility and the ability to add your own flava. There’s no right or wrong in Hip-Hop, just passion, hard work and 100% of your ability!
Audrey Brown

Audrey Brown

Instructor
Audrey Brown relocated to Wilmington, NC when she was ten years old and quickly found a home inside the walls of South East Dance Academy. She was a member of our SEDA Performing Team for five years. In that time, she studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical and Hip Hop. Audrey has also studied dance at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and was featured on the cover of the “Livin’ Out Loud” magazine. She is currently getting her Associates in Fine Arts from Cape Fear Community College and is excited to be a part of the wonderful SEDA Family.
Morgan Thomas

Morgan Thomas

Instructor
Born and raised in Leland, Morgan graduated from North Brunswick High School in 2013 where she was a member of the dance team all 4 years, and captain for 2 of those years. She was also the team hip hop choreographer. Morgan competed on the SEDA Performing Team at the elite level with Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Modern and Hip Hop. She is a soon to be graduate of East Carolina University where she was Vice President of the Club Dance Team for two years, and President her senior year. Morgan will graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health Studies upon completion of her internship at Verizon Corporate Wellness in December. She also completed the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando FL in 2016! Morgan is extremely excited to be back at here home, SEDA, sharing her passion with the students!
Lizzy Mongo

Lizzy Mongo

Instructor
Elizabeth Mongo began her dance education at Tamala Taylor’s Academy of Dance located in Wooster, Ohio at age 5. She then joined competitive team at age 6. In 2006 Elizabeth relocated to Wilmington, NC where she continued competing as a member of the South East Dance Academy Performing Team. Throughout her 12 years of competitions she won multiple overall awards as well as special judges awards and was selected by her instructors to compete for the Miss Dance of North Carolina pageant in 2011. Elizabeth enjoyed performing all genres of dance including ballet, lyrical, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, modern and acrobatics- Acrobatics being her favorite. Elizabeth has proceeded to extend her education at Cape Fear Community College where she will receive her Associates degree in Fine Arts. She has been working as an assistant at SEDA since she was 13 in our preschool and acrobatics lessons. She is also currently employed at Civil Works Contracting as an Administrative Assistant. Elizabeth plans to reside in Wilmington for a while and continue to help our students reach their goals, as well as her own.