Meet the Staff

Debra Baile Becerra began dancing at the age of 3 at DTOJ. She started dancing competitively at the age of 6 years old. She studied under Desiree LeFebvre, Bridget Stone, Larry Payne and, of course, Debbie T. Baile, her mother and owner of Dance Theatre of Jacksonville.

She started assisting dance teachers at the age of 13 and started her dance teaching career at the age of 18. Under her direction, students have won regional and national honors at various competitions.

As a dance teacher, she has won choreography awards, top score awards, technical awards. DTOJ students and staff won the “Super Sport” award for good sportsmanship four times and the “Class Act” award at NYCDA for the most age appropriate choreography.

Debra has a deep passion for innovative and fresh choreography and instilling new concepts into her choreography. Debra also choreographs and directs the DTOJ Musical Theatre productions. For the past three years, she was hired as the choreographer / co-director of Broadway Junior Musical at DeLalio Elementary School in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Debra continues to educate herself on dance styles and improve her dance skills by attending conventions, workshops and master classes.

Sonia Flores was born in Oceanside, California. She began her dance training at the age of six with Nancy Caldwell (Abbate), where she studied tap, ballet and jazz. Four years later, she continued her training at the Oceanside Dance Academy and added acrobatics, hip-hop and lyrical to her studies. The following year, Sonia joined the O.D.A."Jewels" competition team under the direction of Joceyln K. Wilson where she competed throughout California, and performed at the University of Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase.

At thirteen years old, Sonia began student teaching at O.D.A, while continuing her dance training and performing with Vista High School’s Panther Dancers. By sixteen, she started teaching her own ballet and tap classes at John Landes Community Center. While teaching for the City of Oceanside, Sonia continued performing. She performed at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, The Jeep Aloha Bowl in Hawaii, and the Down Under Bowl in Australia. She also performed in the pregame and halftime shows for Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXVII held in San Diego, California.

Sonia returned to Oceanside Dance Academy in 2000 as an instructor and taught Ballet/Tap, Ballet/Jazz, Hip Hop/Tumble, Tap, Jazz and Zumba. Even though teaching was Sonia's passion she missed performing and in 2004 enrolled in a Salsa dance class.  In that first Salsa class she met her husband and they were married in January 2005. They both continued taking group salsa classes and Sonia joined Majesty in Motion’s ladies performance team and began performing Salsa in venues around San Diego, the San Diego Salsa Congress, Los Angeles Salsa Congress and the San Francisco Salsa Congress.

In 2010, Sonia and her husband relocated to Okinawa, Japan and that same year they had their son Rudy. While on island Sonia taught Salsa dance and choreographed three musicals for the Pacific Okinawa Players: Alice In Wonderland Jr, A Midsummer's Night Dream and Godspell.

Sonia moved to Jacksonville with her husband, who is a United States Marine and her super hero son. Sonia is excited to bring her blend of traditional dance steps and Latin influence to Dance Theatre. Sonia would like to thank God for the gift of dance and the opportunity to share it.

Roshaunta Williams has been dancing since the age of 7. Her mother was director of the Praise dance ministry at New Salem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. Roshaunta was born in Gary, IN but she was raised in North Minneapolis where she began the journey of learning and teaching dance.

Roshaunta is trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, salsa, African, modern,lyrical, and contemporary. Roshaunta was trained throughout high school and at The University of Minnesota as a dance major/ African American Studies. She received her degree May 2009 with a BA in Liberal Arts.

Throughout the years Roshaunta participated, taught, and performed in many professional and local productions, pageants, dance studios,and community events. Her biggest success was having the pleasure of singing with artist such as Stevie Wonder, Jordan Sparks,Paris Bennett,The Steeles, and was a member in the Grammy Award winning group “The Sounds of Blackness” at the Image Awards in Los Angeles.

Roshaunta has toured and choreographed with Project Dance (New York City), Gospel music workshop of American(GMWA praise dance division), The Steeles Christmas production, Donald Byrd “The Harlem Nutcracker”, as well as her own productions directed by her throughout college. She has coached, taught, instructed at many dance studios in Minnesota, Florida, and Texas also winning 1st place at national and regional dance competitions. She has been awarded best teacher 2005,2007,2009 at Star Systems dance competition as well as 1st place overall and Double Platinum at Showstoppers Dance competition 2014 and 2015

Roshaunta is married and has three children, she is currently teaching dance around the world due to the nature of her husbands service in the USMC. She continues to teach dance and support her husband whom is an Osprey Pilot. Roshaunta loves all her students past and present and she couldn’t see herself doing anything else

Julie Barnes started ballet at 5 years of age at Bucks County Dance Center in Bensalem, PA under the direction of Rex Henriques and Lorelei Leigh. Her dance education continued at the studio for 10 years where she trained in ballet, jazz and tap. During that time, Julie also trained at the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia for 2 years to enhance her technique and musicality. After her family moved to Florida, she found Boca Ballet Theater and trained primarily in the art of ballet under the direction of Dan Guin and Jane Tyree. While with Boca Ballet Theater she performed full-length ballets to include The Nutcracker, Giselle, and the first Act in Paquita, as well as showcase performances. When Julie started college she attended one year at Florida International University as a dance major and performed multiple showcases with them. Unfortunately, she had to stop her dance major due to injury, but continued with her education. Despite the set back in her degree Julie continued taking classes and later joined a local organization called Illusions Dance Company that comprised of individuals of varying ages performing different styles of dance at events and a yearly full show. In addition to her formal ballet training, Julie Barnes also performed as the lead dancer in the colorguard community in South Florida to include Alliance of Miami Winterguard and Magic of Orlando Drum and Bugle Corps.

Julie has recently moved to Jacksonville with her Marine husband and 2 children and is excited to teach the students at Dance Theatre of Jacksonville and share her knowledge of dance technique with all her students.

Mary Hayes Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Mary's dance training began at age 7. Most of her teachers were from Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, first with Natasha Krassovska, then George Skibine and Marjorie Tallchief. Mary joined their pre-professional ballet company at age 10. At age 12, she was given one of the first Ford Foundation Full Scholarships to New York City Ballet for 3 month summer training.  Every summer she spent on full scholarship from 1968-1974 with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Bolshoi, Harkness House, American Ballet Theatre II, and Joffrey Ballet II companies. At 17, Mary danced professionally with Maria Tallchief for the Lyric Opera Ballet of Chicago.

Upon graduating high school, Mary was invited to Paris, France to dance professionally first with Ballet Popular du Reims with Gustavo Mollajoli. She then remained in Europe for over 10 years training with the Paris Opera Ballet and dancing with various companies throughout Europe, touring with "Sleeping Beauty Ballet" for 6 months in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. She was invited to Corfu, Greece to dance leads in Scheherazade Ballet and Annabelle Lee Ballet. She has performed as corps de ballet, demi soloist and soloist in an abundance of ballets such as Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, in addition to many contemporary and Musical Theatre productions. While dancing in Kiel, Germany, she was invited aboard the ship Britannia and met the Queen of England as she was asked to be a Lieutenant of the Royal Navys Escort. She has danced for and dined with Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco. While dancing Scheherazade in Italy, she was asked to join the La Scala Ballet Theatre as the first American Ballerina, which her mentor turned down for various reasons.

     While summer vacationing in Texas, she met her Canadian husband to be, settled down in Houston, ran a sub-metering company with her husband and raised 3 great children, Alexandra, Sean and Stephen over 13 years before returning to do dance as a teacher. Having taught many syllabuses and age groups over 25 years. Having spent 17 years in Kingwood, Texas with Kingwood Dance Theatre a pre -professional company and Kingwood Jazz Theatre, her dancers have gone on to become Professionals Worldwide. Several having graduated Juilliard,  NYU,  Purchase Performing Arts College, University of Arizona, University of Oklahoma to name a few. She also loves to travel with the dancers in the Young Tanzsommer Group, having traveled to Europe twice with dancers to perform in the summertime for 2 weeks or longer. She takes dancers to auditions and Ballet Festivals such as Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP). Her choreography has won highest honors and national recognition at NYCDA twice, IBC, Hollywood Vibe and Jump. Mary then went on as Co-Director of Tyler Ballet,  Ballet Mistress of Litchfield Dance Arts, SC, Ballet Director Accent on Dance, Waukesha, WI. She desired to be closer to her family and the ocean, so she applied for several teaching jobs in NC, was accepted to all but chose DTOJ. She really loves Debra, all the staff and the dancers and felt like this was the place where her skills were needed most. She plans on living out her years here and sharing and giving as much as she can to the dancers and their audiences.