East Coast Ballet (ECB) was founded in 1997 with a mission to build skillful, well-rounded dancers, who develop great confidence and abilities that will last a lifetime. Our desire is for our dancers to develop their technique, but most importantly, to develop a relationship with their Creator, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, glorifying the Holy Spirit. We humbly worship and serve our God with the gifts and talents He has given to us.
ECB’s staff is committed to foster an appreciation in the arts for each student by providing high standard instruction and performance outreach opportunities that inspire and challenge our cast and audience.
RICK & Mindi Mende
Rick & Mindi Mende are the founding directors of East Coast Ballet School and Company. Mr. Mende holds a degree in Human Resources with an emphases in education, training, and development. Mrs. Mende is classically trained in ballet under acclaimed instructors Hilary Cartwright, Edward Villella, Conrad Ludlow, Kelly Brown, Wilhelm Burmann, David Holliday, and Olga Kostritsky. In addition she studied jazz, tap, and musical theatre. Mrs. Mende toured throughout the US, Asia, and South & Central America via secular and Christian platforms. Mrs. Mende has performed and choreographed for various venues: theatre, TV, video, industrials, and film productions. Rick and Mende hold dance patents to include: the Dance Sneaker and 3-hole dance tight. Their joy is in guiding, training, and mentoring students, along with directing performances that touch the heart of performers and audience To the glory of The Lord.
Monet Mende began dancing at East Coast Ballet at the age of three. She has trained at many well-known institutions for summer intensives, such as: American Ballet Theatre in NYC, Miami City Ballet, Joffrey in Chicago. She was accepted into the highest level at Next Generation Ballet in Tampa in 2013 and Ellison Ballet in NYC for their year-around-program in 2014. In 2014-15 Monet danced professionally with Oklahoma City Ballet. Her roles have included Clara, Snow Queen, Arabian, Sugar Plum, Mrs. Staulbaum in The Nutcracker; Clown, Princess, Evil Magician in Spellbound; and Genevieve in ECB’s version of Coppélia. Monet loves sharing the love of Jesus through teaching and performing.
Stephanie Doherty was trained under Boris Chepelev and Janna Kirova in Melbourne, Florida, Ballet Magnificat, and Storling Dance Theater’s Artist Development Program in Kansas. Her roles with ECB include: Chinese and Evil Magician in Spellbound; Mrs. Staulbaum, Mirliton, Snow Queen, Lead Arabian, Mouse King, Lead Mirliton, and Flowers in The Nutcracker; and Coppélia in Coppélia. Stephanie is known for her unique dance choreography, storytelling, and pageantry. Her passion is to mentor and use her talents to glorify the Lord.
Rachael Walker began dancing with ECB at the age of 13. She traveled daily from Brunswick, GA to train. Her summer intensives include ABT NYC and Joffrey Chicago. She toured with ECB to Oklahoma and Chicago. She has danced solo roles in Spellbound, Nutcracker, and various ECB repertoire throughout the years. She moved away for several years and has returned to Jacksonville. She will be teaching and dancing for ECB. She enjoys using her gifts in a positive way, bringing encouragement to students and audience.
Andrew Czerkawski coming soon!