About Us

Ballerina on pointe

Laura East’s Ferndale Dance Academy was founded in 2003 to provide our community with a creative learning center for dance. What began with 35 students taking classes at the Ferndale Gym has blossomed into a comprehensive program in a well-equipped dance studio with annual winter and spring performances.
The study of dance is highly beneficial for the physical, intellectual, and emotional development of children and teens. Students develop muscle strength and coordination, flexibility, agility, and balance. Intellectually, they are called upon to focus and concentrate and to remember combinations of movement. Emotionally, students benefit from the opportunity to express themselves creatively and to explore who they are in a safe and supportive environment. Working together in classes and performances also fosters friendships and builds self-esteem.

The Ferndale Dance Academy currently offers classes for children and teens from the ages of 3 years old and up. All classes are held at our spacious dance studio upstairs at the Danish Hall, 430 Ocean Avenue. Please see the Classes page for more information and a schedule of the classes.

The Ferndale Dance Academy provides more than just instruction. Students benefit from these special features, as well:

  • Annual winter and spring performances.
  • Scholarship Program
  • Assistant Instructor Apprenticeship Program
  • Biannual Trips to Dance Conventions and Competitions
  • Home of Humboldt Dance Force, FDA’s student performance troupe
  • Student Choreography Showcase

Our Instructors

Laura East

Laura East

Laura took her first ballet class at the age of four with Miss Pam. During her most formative years, she studied with Miss Anna at the Allan Hancock College Youth Department. During high school, she spent each summer on the East Coast training with the Joffrey Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. Upon graduating, she was awarded a scholarship and a position as a trainee with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. While there, she also danced with the Westchester Ballet. Later, Laura studied dance and musical theater at the University of Arizona before returning to New York City where she apprenticed as a ballet instructor at Ballet Academy East, created her own cabaret show, danced, acted, and sang in numerous productions, and recorded an album of children’s lullabies. She has completed a workshop for dance instructors taught by Jillana, former Principle with the New York City Ballet, and attends annual dance conventions to stay current in the field of dance. Laura founded the Ferndale Dance Academy in 2003 and to this day, still loves her job.

Hannah Jones

Hannah Jones

Hannah grew up in Humboldt County and began performing at the age of 4. She spent 18 years studying vocal performance, dance, and musical theater with Humboldt Light Opera Company and Ferndale Repertory Theater and has performed leading roles including Peter in Peter Pan, Hellen Keller in The Miracle Worker, and Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical. Hannah took her first Tap class while attending Humboldt State University in 2006. She quickly fell in love with the rhythm, musicality, and art of Tap and hasn’t looked back. Since taking that first class, she has studied intensively with Melissa Hinz and has attended Miller & Ben’s Big Apple Tap Festivals in San Francisco. Hannah began choreographing and teaching Tap to students of all ages in 2013 for HLOC’s KidCo and continues to provide choreography and instruction for the students of Allstar Theater Arts in Eureka.

Kyleigh P. Carlson

Kyleigh Carlson

Kyleigh P. Carlson, originally from Sacramento, California, began dancing at the age of four. She has trained extensively in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Pointe, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Musical Theater. She received a BFA in dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her time at the University she was awarded the Dance Education Laboratory Scholarship, which extended her education and training in New York (2013), the Patricia Sparrow Scholarship to further her dance studies in New York (2014), a scholarship to the Joe Goode Workshop in San Francisco (2014), and the Emerging Choreographer Award (2015) presented by Professor Mira Kingsley. Kyleigh also worked as an intern for Dr. Carol Press, History of Dance Professor at the University. Upon completion of graduation, Kyleigh was the director of two youth companies in Southern California. She also served as a mentor for underprivileged youth dancers through the Arts Mentorship Program. She would like to thank her family, friends, and students for supporting her and inspiring her; she knows she would not be here dancing without them.

Stephanie Carter


Stephanie is originally from Rockford, IL. She began her dance training at the age of four under the direction of Kathy Nelson, a former NYC Rockette. She attended a performance arts school from 4th through twelfth grade where she had dance, theatre, and music classes every day, and performed with The Rockford Dance Company. She studied Modern Dance at Columbia College Chicago and has continued her training since moving to Humboldt in 2006. She has taught at several dance studios in the area and currently performs with The Ink People’s Sundance Ballet Company. She produces the annual choreography showcase Free The Beasts every spring since 2013, and in 2015 she established her own performance troupe, 555 Contemporary Dance Company, a DreamMaker Program of The Ink People. Among her current dance studies is the annual Dance Teachers Summit held in Southern California, and online group and one-on-one mentorship with Emmy-Award winning choreographer Mia Michaels. Stephanie is dedicated to honing her craft and relaying her passion and dance philosophy to the students at FDA.