Meet the Team
Holly “Rock” Nellis
Serving recreational and professional dance students since 1989, Holly Nellis remains passionate and dedicated to the art of dance.
Holly, the Owner/Artistic Director of Dance by Holly Rock (formerly Holly “Rocks” Dance Factory) has been instructing dancers for 40 years right here in Cocoa, FL. Many of her students have attended prestigious dance colleges including Juilliard and Point Park University. For twenty-one years, Holly was also the Dance & Drama teacher for R. L. Stevenson Elementary School of the Arts, choreographing and directing their school productions. From 1997-2008 she worked as a choreographer for PGT Entertainment, Inc. Her shows were ranked among some of the highest productions seen on cruise ships world wide. Holly has served as a master teacher for numerous dance studios nationwide, also choreographing for regional theaters, as well as high school and university championship dance teams.
Ms. Sarah joined the DBHR family January 2022. She comes to us with a BFA Jazz Dance from Point Park University. She started teaching in Pittsburgh, PA in 2015. She also has experience judging dance competitions and Production Management. Ms. Sarah will be taking over the Twinkle Toes program and is excited to share her love of dance with our youngest dancers. Sarah also teaches Tap, Hip Hop, Jazz, Modern/Contemporary & Lyrical. Ms. Sarah brings an energy and passion to her classes that keeps her students excited to learn the art of dance.
LeeAnn started studying the Vaganova method at the age of 3, and while her family traveled across the country, she was able to dance with different studios and companies including the Las Vegas Ballet, Pinkerton Ballet, Boston Ballet, Broward Ballet and many more. During her High School years she lived in a small town there she danced and worked at her local competitive dance studio and drove to the Vero Beach Ballet to maintain her classical training. After high school she went to Stephens College, an all-women’s arts school in Columbia Missouri, to get her BFA in dance. At Stephens she studied under remarkable professors and world dance instructors; every semester a new professor was brought on staff to teach a new study of dance including Thai Chi, East African, Jump Rhythm Jazz and so many more. It was during this incredible time that she injured her Achilles. During her recovery she discovered her artistry in choreography. LeeAnn later moved to Birmingham, AL, which has a beautiful dance community, she spent many years dancing there and eventually went back to choreography. She choreographed for contemporary companies, showcases, and then started teaching at academies. A few years ago she moved back to Florida with her husband and 2 dogs to be closer to the beach and sunshine! In 2021 she had a son named Gabe and she is so excited to teach him the joy in music and movement. LeeAnn strives to provide her students with the technical precision and abilities to pursue a professional dance career, if they wish, but also life skills that can lead to success in whatever they pursue. She hopes that her students can find precision, artistry, and confidence through their exploration and education of classical ballet.
Previous teaching staff at Florida School of the Arts, The Osceola County School for the Arts, Dr. Phillips High School, Access Broadway, Dance Masters of America, Starz Dance, Dance Educators of America, Turning Pointe Longwood, East Coast Performing Arts, Preps Dance School and Company and The School of Dance Arts, Sanford.
Guest teacher for Cedar Lakes Dance Ensemble NYC, Studio Harmonique, Paris and The Conservatory, Prague.
Began training with full scholarships at Virginia Intermont College and graduating from the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Attended the Joffrey School of Dance, David Howard and Harkness Ballet schools in New York City and spent three summers at The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival In Becket Massachusetts. All on full scholarship.
Danced with ballet companies in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Canada.
Certified in Vedic Thai Body Work and Zumba level 1.
Choreographed, Co-choreographed and performed in TV Commercial, Television and Movies that include: Damiani Jewelry with Brad Pitt, The Drew Carey Show, The Closer, Home Improvement, Mystery Men, The Affair of the Necklace, the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical Rent and The Smurfs Movie.
Worked 25 plus years with over 10,000 live performances in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe performing “adagio” work, stunts, dancing and acting as well as teaching on professional and studio levels.
Ms. Whitney began dancing at the age of 2, before meeting and training under Holly at Holly “Rocks” Dance Factory. She continued her training with Holly until graduating High School, and then began her teaching career. During that time she started her own preschool dance business which she successfully ran for 4yrs. After falling in love with teaching she went back to her roots and began teaching for Holly running the recreational program. Whitney is currently the K-2 dance teacher at Robert Louis Stevenson School of the Arts. Whitney not only shares her passion for dance with her own 3 daughters, but inspires a whole new generation of dancers right here at Dance by Holly Rock.
Ms. Jackie met Ms. Holly in 2018 when she relocated her family from New Hampshire to FL. Growing up a dancer, and a studio owner herself for 10 years prior to moving to FL, it was a top priority to find the perfect studio for her daughter to continue her dance training which is why DBHR became their new “dance home”. Ms. Jackie joined the DBHR staff in August 2021 by helping out Ms. Holly with much of the behind the scenes business transactions, utilizing the BA in Business that she earned at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH as well as the knowledge she brought from her own studio ownership. Eventually she realized how much she missed teaching so she dusted off her tap shoes and can be found back in the classroom teaching Tap, including the popular Teen/Adult Tap Class! She is excited to teach students of all ages and help “bring tap back”.
Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from the University of South Florida and a Master’s Degree in Health Education from the University of Florida, this Ballet Mistress is also a certified Pilates instructor. Ms. Nina is every dance studio’s dream, her passion and experience in ballet is exemplified by her knowledge and education in health and fitness. Heading up the Ballet Department at DBHR, Ms. Nina keeps her ballet dancers in elite form through discipline and core strengthening.
Ms. Nina spent several years in NYC extensively training in ballet, modern and pointe under the direction of David Howard, Maggie Black and Merce Cunningham. She also trained with Richard Thompson, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and NARD-National Association of Regional Ballet. For a little over a decade, she wrote and proposed an accredited dance curriculum for the colleges Liberal Arts Program, which was accepted into their permanent education plan. SFCC now has a full two-year dance program.
Performing, choreographing and studying for sister organizations, the Gainsville CIvic Ballet School and Pofahl Dance Studio, Ms. Nina was an essential part of “Dance Alive!”. “Dance Alive!” was Florida’s first and only state funded professional Dance Company, featuring ballet and contemporary works by director Kim Tuttler. Ms. Nina spent all of her time teaching ballet classes and performing for both companies.
Relocating to central Florida, Ms. Nina has been teaching ballet, pointe, and modern workshops, classes and privates to local studios throughout Brevard County. Not just a Ballet Mistress, she is also a nutrition counselor, strength trainer and Pilates instructor. DBHR is proud to have the best in the business teaching our dancers her love and expertise of ballet, supported by the importance of good health and nutrition.