Merced Academy of Dance

Follow us on Facebook--Merced Academy of Dance


The pursuit of excellence…through the joy of dance.

Welcome to Merced Academy of Dance

Classes for boys and girls ages 3-Adult • Beginner to Advanced
and Dance for Parkinsons

Confidence, strength, poise and the joy of dance. Come and experience all that dance has to offer.




All Photography By: Eric Foss

Jane Vann-Bryan- (Director)
Member of The Royal Academy of Dancing, London, England and an affiliate of the American Academy of Ballet. Jane, the founding director of Merced Academy of Dance since its inception in 1986, is also the artistic director of Merced Civic Ballet Company. Jane trained locally with Children’s Dance Theater, San Francisco Ballet School, and Carmel Ballet Academy. Jane also studied at the Royal Academy of Dancing in London, England and Joffrey Ballet School and Harkness House for Ballet Arts in New York City. In 1974 Jane joined the company, Ballet Classique, and in 1976 joined their teaching staff. Jane was thrilled to fulfill her dream of moving home and opened the studio in 1986. Recently Jane completed a workshop with David Leventhal of the Dance for PD Association and is excited about our classes for those in our community with Parkinson ’s disease. Jane is married to local neurologist, Dr. Thomas Bryan and has seven children.

David Arce
David is the Artistic Director of the Juline Regional Youth Ballet in Modesto.  He teaches the advanced Pre Professional and men’s classes. David is a former principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet.  He danced with the San Francisco Ballet for 12 years. David is originally from San Diego and began his dance career with Ballet Yuma, an honor company of Regional Dance America/Pacific. 

Jennifer Hobbs- (Assistant Director) 
Jen received her jazz and ballet training at Arabesque Dance Studio and Marin Ballet, under the direction of Dee Dee Arnone. She continued dancing at California State University, Fresno, and danced as a member of their Portable Dance Troupe. Jen received her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Nutritional Sciences from California State University, Fresno. She is a registered Dietitian and teaches at Merced College and owns her own nutrition counseling business, Nutrition Solutions. Jen and her husband, Steve, live in Merced and have three children.

Brianna Macias- (Assistant Director) 
We are thrilled to have Brianna back at our studio this year! Brianna graduated from Grand Canyon University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Dance Education. She has now been a part of the Merced Academy of Dance family for 17 years. During her time at Merced Academy of Dance she was a principal member of Merced Civic Ballet and taught ballet classes. Brianna also taught dance instruct at the University of the Nations, YWAM Kona. Brianna is driven by her passion to teach and serve others through the arts in any way, shape or form and continually looks for ways on how to effectively communicate real life issues that are going on within our world today. By working with both intercultural communications and dance, Brianna hopes to eventually work with varying 501(c)(3) (nonprofit) organizations to help others work together to reach a common goal. Brianna Macias will be in the studio office, located across from the 3rd floor elevator on Mondays (5-6pm), Tuesdays, and Wednesdays (4-6pm).

Alex Perez- 
Alex has been studying dance at Merced Academy of Dance for over 20 years. He is a principal member of Merced Civic Ballet where he has performed numerous leading roles including the Rat King and the lead Spanish dancer in last year’s production of “The Nutcracker.”  Alex has been teaching dance for over 20 years and is thrilled to join the staff of Merced Academy of Dance this year.

Amity Beardsley-
Amity is a principal member of Merced Civic Ballet, recently performing the role of The Snow queen in the "Nutcracker." Amity has attended the summer intensives at Central California Dance Conservatory for three years where she studied with David Arce, Karen Burns, and Laura Alonso. Amity attended the American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive this year in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Amity is looking forward to sharing her love for dance with all of her students, especially those in the Rhythm & Movement for Seniors class.

Lea Anderson-
Lea is a former principal dancer of Merced Civic Ballet. She has been dancing for 21 years and 16 years with the Merced studio. Within her journey of dance, Lea has attended the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive program in New York City where she expanded her knowledge and passion for dance. Lea graduated from California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. While in college Lea was mentored by Lorin Johnson, a former dancer with American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. Since graduating Lea has continued to dance and instruct. She has a passion to teach others her love for dance and looks forward to returning to her home studio to share the knowledge that she has learned. Other than dance, she enjoys being outdoors, volunteering at animal shelters and has her eyes set on gaining new life experiences.

Gabriella Padilla-
Gabriella is a dancer with the Merced Civic Ballet and has danced with Merced Academy of Dance for eleven years. She has attended the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive and has danced throughout California and Oregon with a touring dance company. Gabriella has assisted teaching many levels of ballet in years prior, and cannot wait to impart her knowledge and passion for dance upon future generations of dancers.

Colby Hanning
Colby is a company dancer at Merced Civic Ballet Company and has been dancing with the studio since she was 4. Colby has recently performed the roles of Clara, Chinese Lead, and The Rat King in "The Nutcracker." She attended the All Star Dancers summer intensive in New York where she studied with the Rockettes and multiple Broadway performers. Colby is a senior in high school and plans on pursuing a career in dance after she graduates. Colby is ecstatic to share her passion for dance with all of her students.