Meet Our Instructors

 

 

 

Jay Martin

Jay Martin

Dance Instructor

Jay began his training as a gymnast and segued into dance at the age of twelve. He hasn’t stopped dancing since then and has won numerous national and regional titles and 1st Overall awards. He was one of the first boys to be accepted into, and attend The New Jersey Governor’s School of the Arts on a full scholarship, and also received full scholarships to The Washington School of Ballet and School of American Ballet’s summer intensive programs. Jay was offered the lead role in the National Tour of Cats as Mr. Mistoffelees, and dazzled audiences throughout the world as a dancer, acrobat, and aerial artist for several Royal Caribbean Cruise ships. He starred in Disney’s High School Musical LIVE on stage at the Theatre of the Stars in Georgia. He has performed at such venues as Madison Square Garden, the Prudential Center, The Grove & the Dolby Theatre in California, where he performed with Miley Cyrus. Jay has been offered leading roles to perform for Tokyo Disney, Disneyland, and Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas. His professional credits also include performing for Walt Disney’s Toy Story 3 at the Kodak Theatre, a Reebok Industrial, and starring in an ABC promo commercial. He can be seen in the pilot episode of the WB’s Gossip Girl as well as the feature film Gracie starring Elizabeth Shue. Jay has had the privilege of working with prominent choreographers Marguerite Dereks, Travis Payne, and Jimmy Locust to name a few and had the honor of assisting classes taught by legendary Frank Hatchett. Jay has also performed as a backup dancer for Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, Liz Phair and Kristine W. Currently Jay is teaching acrobatics and dance, to kids of all ages, at a competitive level at studios around New Jersey. His choreography has won numerous regional and national Overall, Entertainment, and Choreography awards.

Nick Lundquist

Nick Lundquist

Dance Instructor

Nick started his dance training at an early age in California and was awarded a full scholarship to Pacific Northwest Ballet. As a member of a competition dance team, he received numerous awards regionally and nationally in solos and group routines. Nick has performed as a dancer and acrobat on many cruises for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and has entertained audiences around the world with his energetic dance style. His professional accomplishments also include dancing in the Rose Parade, performing for Sketchers Industrial, and the National Tour of Moving Out choreographed by Twyla Tharp. Nick has been offered leading roles to perform for Tokyo Disney, Disneyland, and Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas. He has trained with choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, and Terri Best to name a few. He now teaches dance and acrobatics at various studios all over New Jersey. His students and choreography have won numerous overall awards on the regional and national level. He is excited to bring his love for dance to the next generation. 

Ashlyn Knudsen

Ashlyn Knudsen

Dance Instructor

Ashlyn Knudsen has been a lifelong resident of Cape May County. A Lower Cape May Regional alumni, she graduated in 2008.

Ashlyn began her dance career at the age of two-years-old. She continued to dance throughout her childhood and teens, winning many Regional and National awards with the Art of Gymnastics and Cheer studio. She also had the chance to perform with the New Jersey Ballet, dancing in their production of The Nutcracker. In 2013 Ashlyn made the switch from a competitor to an instructor and is currently a teacher here at our studio.
Ashlyn’s two daughters have followed in her footsteps, both dancing and now competing with the Art of Gymnastic and Cheer dance team.

Ashlyn’s mother, Pamela Proud, was an active member in the dance community before she passed away. To honor her memory, Ashlyn and her family sponsor the Pamela Proud Scholarship every year, a contortion scholarship awarded to one AOGAC student who works hard in contortion throughout the year, and exemplifies the dance spirit.

Gia Gallone

Gia Gallone

Dance Instructor

 Gia began her dance training at Chez Dance Studio in Turnersville at the age of five, where she later became a member of the Chez Dance Company. As a part of the company, she studied tap, Jazz, ballet, pointe, modern, lyrical, contemporary and hip-hop, and had the opportunity to perform at numerous venues and competitions.

During high school, Gia was a part of the varsity cheerleading squad for all four years. Her senior year, she served as a captain and often assisted with choreographing routines. After graduating from Glassboro High School, Gia attended Rowan University with a major in public relations and minors in advertising and dance. Gia was a member of Rowan’s dance team for all four years of her college career and served as captain and president her senior year. As captain and president, she led team practices and choreographed routines. During college, she also began teaching at Chez Dance Studio.

Gia graduated from Rowan in May 2015 and now works at the Cape May County Herald. She is very excited to continue her career as a dance teacher at AOGAC!

Desteny Cruz

Desteny Cruz

Dance Instructor

Art of Gymnastics & Cheer would like to personally welcome Miss Desteny C to our staff. Desteny comes to AOGAC with years of training in all forms of dance, acrobatics, Hand Balancing, cheerleading tumbling and contortion! Miss Desteny has quite an extensive list of certifications and qualifications including:

NJ Child Care Health and Safety, Identifying Child Neglect, Child Development, First Aid & CPR, Asthma Awareness & Response, Bloodborne Pathogens, and Bullying Prevention Certification. Miss Desteny is also currently earning her Gymnastics Safety Certification. Miss Desteny instructed a month trial teaching period and has had INCREDIBLE reviews from the parents and students! We are happy to have her on board now as a full time instructor!

 Welcome to the AOGAC family, Miss Desteny

Yahira Kelly

Yahira Kelly

Gymnastics Coach

Raised in Cape May County, Yahaira is a Lower Cape May Regional alumni, having graduated in 2001. From there she attended Stockton, graduating with a BA in Human Services. She currently works as a social worker with Healthy Families in Cape May County.

Throughout high school, Yahaira showed an interest in sports, participating in cheer, basketball and soccer. This led to a passion for fitness, a love of exercise and the discipline that goes with it. She is also part of AOGAC’s Director Jeff’s Isagenix Team.

When Yahaira’s oldest daughter was two-years-old she joined the Art of Gymnastic and Cheer studio. This would eventually lead to Yahaira working the front desk at the studio, and then later to her interest in teaching. She’s since undergone training, becoming an instructor at our studio, and has received USAIGC certification. Along with dance and gymnastic classes, Yahaira coaches the mini-equipment gymnastic team.

We are proud to say that Yahaira’s oldest daughter is still an active part of the studio, competing with our dance team. Her youngest daughter, too, has joined our dance studio and dance team… making AOGAC a family affair!

Alicia Rowlands

Alicia Rowlands

Gymnastics Coach

Alicia grew up in Pennsylvania and has been involved in dance, gymnastics, and cheerleading in the Lehigh Valley area since she was 5 years old. In high school, she became very involved with competitive cheerleading and competed at national level competitions all over the country. After high school, she continued her passion by being on the Pennsylvania ValleyDawgs semi-pro dance team for 3 years.

She has a passion for teaching children to have a lifelong love of fitness, which has led to her becoming a highly trained preschool fitness trainer. She’s spent the past 15 years coaching cheerleading and tumbling for all ages and levels. Later, she took an interest in and learned to teach aerial arts, which she is an instructor of at our studio.


Alicia is a certified USAIGC instructor. With her background and love of encouraging students, she’s been a natural fit as a gymnastics instructor. Recently she’s taken over as the head coach of AOGAC’s competitive gymnastics team, of which her daughter, Haylie, competes with.

Jessica Walls

Jessica Walls

Gymnastics Coach

Miss Jessica is so excited to join the Art of Gymnastics and Cheer instructors and we are THRILLED to have her!

AOGAC was where her gymnastics and acrobatic training all started when she was 6 years old. She comes to us with over 8 years of instructor experience, specializing in Acrobatics & Contortion.

Miss Jess is USAG certified as well as first aid & CPR certified. Safety first is her motto!

Miss Jess is also proficient in equipment gymnastics training and is already coaching our little mini pre-team students. She is a wonderful birthday party instructor also!!

Miss Jessica is the perfect mix of discipline and fun when it comes to her coaching style.

She is passionate about ensuring that each child develops and is eager to teach the students to be their personal best!

We are blessed that Miss Jess is back with us