25 Homestead Rd N #29, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936239.369.4320footnotesdanceandmusic@gmail.com

Meet the Staff

Barbara McKenzie

Owner/Dance Director

Barbara strives to share the joy of movement with her students and train them to explore the artist inside and express it through dance. She believes that positive motivation is her best tool for helping students to maintain a positive self-esteem, educate, make fond memories, and become the best that they can be!

Barbara is a native of Lehigh Acres, graduated from Riverdale High School and furthered her education at Edison State College. She began her dance studies at the young age of 4 and now has over 30 years experience. Her dance education includes her studies under Joe Tremaine, Gus Giordano, Mia Michaels, Frank Hatchett, Tyce Diorio, Napoleon & Tabitha, Geo Hubela, Travis Wall, and so many more. She has been teaching professionally in and around southwest Florida for over 20 years. Her performance experience includes Walt Disney World as well as many local clubs in southwest Florida.

Barbara is the Director of the LA Stars competitive team which has won numerous awards and trophies at different dance competitions on the regional and national levels. She is a member of several national organizations such as: The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, The National Dance Association, The American Business Women's Association, and The American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation. Barbara is active and has a great interest in local and community activities. She has volunteered her time to different beauty and talent competitions and is working with the Lehigh Senior High School Center of the Arts by awarding bi-annual scholarships to students in need. She feels that it's important to give back to her own community in which she was raised. Along with co-owner Wayne Christiano and their combined family of 7 children, she continues to provide services to Lehigh Acres by offering a dance and music studio with a professional staff of highly trained instructors who will assist your child in developing their talents in all areas of the performing arts.

Wayne Christiano

Co-Owner/Music Director

Wayne is responsible for bringing music education into the already established 20 year dance program. He believes that helping to motivate students to reach their dreams as all around entertainers in the arts business through music, will give students a chance to learn, grow, and succeed in any avenue of the arts.

Wayne's early guitar training started by taking private lessons from a student of renowned classical guitarist Andres Segovia. Before the age of 18, Wayne was touring and recording worldwide with rock-n-roll and heavy metal acts. He then moved on to study audio recording in NYC at the Institute of Audio Research and furthered his education in FL by studying music education and music business. After schooling, Wayne performed on different cruise lines for many years also releasing several CDs as a musician and recording engineer. His most recent recording as musician landed him on a CD that hit #5 on the Billboard Charts in the contemporary jazz category. Wayne is still performing professionally on a weekly basis and is making the transition into full time instructor and studio owner by training the next generation of musicians to come. Along with Barbara and their combined family of 7 children, he brings his years of performance, touring, engineering, and teaching to Footnotes Dance & Music Studio.

Ivy Glasser

Dance Instructor

Ivy graduated from Lehigh Senior High School in 2023 and is now attending FGCU. She is majoring in entrepreneurship and hopes to open her own cupcake shop after graduation. Ivy has been dancing at Footnotes for 16 years and started competing at the age of 5. She has been a part of the Footnotes family since birth with several siblings also dancing and teaching at Footnotes.

Lauren Gomez

Dance Instructor

Lauren Gomez graduated from the University of South Florida with her B.F.A. in modern dance performance. She has studied with instructors such as Michael Foley, Jeanne Travers, John Parks, Lynne Wimmer, Mariah Moloney, Carolina Garcia and Gretchen Ward Warren. She has performed for various choreographers including Carolina Garcia, Janis Brenner and Dionne Sparkman Noble. She has also performed and participated at the American College Dance Festival Association.

Locally, Lauren graduated from Cypress Lake Center for the Arts with a focus in dance. She is also working with a collaborative group of dancers who have formed a dance company through the Alliance for the Arts in Lee County. She's a high school teacher and teaches dance for a fine arts program for Lehigh Senior High School.

Patty Jackson

Dance Instructor

Currently Patty teaches tap and musical theater at Footnotes. Patty moved to Lehigh Acres in 1986 and holds a Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Miami. Prior to moving to Lehigh, she and her husband Mike Jackson owned and operated two dance studios in Kansas City, Mo and Belton, Mo. Patty started dancing when she was 3 years old. She studied at the University of Miami, University of Missouri in Kansas City, as well with Dorothy Shepherd, Jo Tremaine, Gus Giordano, David Howard, Alvin Alley Dance Company, and Charles Kelly. Before opening her dance studio she danced professionally at many local clubs in the Kansas City area. She has choreographed many musicals performed at the local level, half-time shows for Olympic exhibitions, and MTV. She has coached students who have won several State and National Championships. She and her Dancing Divas qualified as members of the United States Tap Dance Team and won 2nd place in the World Tap Dance Championship in Berlin, Germany. She has judged numerous beauty pageants and talent contests in the Mid America area including the Miss Teen contest in Missouri, Miss Pre-Teen in Florida, and National Miss Pre-Teen Contest. Patty is a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine Science, Professional Dance Teachers Association, Dance Masters of America, Performing Arts Medicine Association, the National Baton Twirling Association, American Business Women's Association, National Baton Twirling Association, and Tri Beta Honor Society. Patty's projects are Dance Unlimited which is teaching children with disabilities to dance, and the Kinetic Rhythmic Dance Therapy.

Mel Okeson

Dance Instructor

Hi my name is Mel Okeson. I have been a competitive choreographer for almost 20 years. I have won many choreography awards, choreographer of the year, platinum and diamond awards. My passion is hiphop, which includes all of the fundamentals of hiphop with expertise in body control and isolations. I have worked with many celebrities and have been involved in numerous music videos in my time. Teaching children has always been my passion to keep hiphop alive. I have taught more than 5,000 students and have taught many workshops, my sole purpose is to be here, create a safe learning place where children are taught to express themselves and enjoy their passions.

Sarah Patterson

Dance Instructor

Sarah grew up right here in Lehigh Acres, Florida, graduating from East Lee High School in 2012. She has been dancing since she was 5 years old. Her first dance teacher, Barbara McKenzie gave her a love for dance that has lasted to this day. Sarah has also been a competitive dancer, she was a Junior and Senior Petite Starlet at Patty's Dance Studio (of champions) and in 2015 she competed as an adult member of the LA Stars Dance company.

When Sarah isn't dancing you might find her at FSW studying Elementary Education or working as a tutor. Sarah loves teaching and playing with children of all ages and she believes you are never too old to be a kid at heart.

Bianca Russell

Dance Instructor

Bianca grew up here in Lehigh Acres, Florida. She currently resides in Delray Beach, Florida where she is very active in the arts community. Bianca has taught hip hop, musical theatre, contemporary, and jazz class here at Footnotes and other dance studios. She has also won choreography awards for many of her dances as well as individual dance awards over the years. She is currently dancing with Ovations Global Network. We are lucky to welcome her back to Footnotes Dance and Music Studio several times a year as a guest teacher and choreographer.

Josie Shelton

Dance Instructor

Josie Shelton is an artist, choreographer, and improviser from Lehigh Acres, FL. She has been dancing ever since a young age, dabbling in different styles throughout her dancing career, such as Contemporary, Ballet, Modern, Jazz, West African, Hip-Hop, and Improv. Shelton has her BFA degree in dance from the University of Florida. She loves collaborating with different elements to enhance the overall experience of her work. From being a student at Footnotes for over 15+ years she is excited to come back as a teacher, teaching the next generation.

Rhiannon Sieck

Dance Instructor

Rhiannon has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She has danced at studios in New York as well as right here, at Footnotes. Her two daughters, Anabelle and Emmaline, currently dance here too! Rhiannon is a 4th grade teacher and enjoys dancing Salsa and Zumba in her free time. She loves Justin Bieber and anything to do with vampires. Her favorite dance competition is Showstoppers!

Amy Szafran

Dance Instructor

Amy lives here in Leigh Acres, Florida, where she is a teacher at Lehigh Senior High School. She is a dedicated teacher that truly cares about all the students she teaches at Lehigh Senior and here at the studio. You will see her Jazzin it up here at Footnotes Dance & Music Studio.

Shelby Whidden

Dance Instructor

Shelby grew up in Immokalee, Florida, graduating from Immokalee High School in 2010. Shelby currently teaches English II and Dual Enrollment college courses at Labelle High School. She lives in Lehigh Acres with her husband, three dogs, two cats, and bearded dragon. Shelby has always loved making art, moving, and creating. In her spare time, she can be found sewing, writing, jogging in the rain, and dancing. Her love for dancing began as a small child when she attended Patty's Dance Studio in Lehigh Acres, and it has grown through the years. Shelby was a student of both Barbara Mackenzie and Patty Jackson, and she is excited to join the ranks of the dance teachers at Footnotes Dance and Music!

Sharon Yeargin

Dance Instructor

Sharon was born and raised in Florida. She grew up in the Port Richey area just north of Tampa Bay. She began her journey and love for dance at the age of 13 where she first took dance lessons at the local YMCA. It was there she first started teaching dance at 16. Next Sharon joined her local studio where she continued her training. After that she met her husband, got married, and moved to Ft. Myers where she joined the Footnotes dance and Music team teaching Tumbling for 12 years before tkaing a position at Babcock Neighborhood School teaching their competition teams through after school programs. After a successful competition year, Sharon has rejoined the Footnotes team with the purpose of using her skills for the betterment of her dancers.