Making a difference in the lives of children in Tampa Bay for Over 40 years!
Under the artistic direction of Mary Jo Scanio, MJPAA has been making a difference in the lives of children in Tampa Bay for 40 years! Mary Jo Scanio is a native of Tampa and is the owner and Director of MJPAA. She is a proud alumnus of the University of South Florida, and her performing credits include local, regional and national company productions, performing with artists such as Ben Vereen and Ann Reinking. She was an NCAA dancer (Sundoll) for USF as well as an NFL Cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mary Jo has been awarded numerous honors over the years for dance, teaching and her choreography. She has choreographed for commercials, halftime shows and NFL Pregame shows. She has been featured in Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine and Dance Teacher Now. For years, her Academy has been noted as one of the top fifty schools in the United States. MJPAA is the home of Universal Movement Performing Arts Company, a company she founded in 1984 to provide performance and competitive opportunities for her students, as well as create a troupe that would provide entertainment for the Bay area. To date, this company has been featured as the entertainment for local as well as national events and productions.
Mary Jo has always believed the impact the performing arts has on children far surpasses any other endeavor. Studying the performing arts promotes confidence, instills discipline and provides the tools necessary to navigate through today’s world. Her goal has always been to reach as many children as possible in our community and allow them to experience these benefits! In 2002, she created the nonprofit Tampa Bay Triple Threat Theatre (TBTTT), a 501(c)(3) company dedicated to serve as a vehicle to provide need-based scholarships for training in the performing arts. In addition, TBTTT provides outreach ticket subsidy programs that allow Title One Schools, special needs students, and senior groups to attend field trip opportunities to the many shows produced by TBTTT.
MJPAA continues to be a prominent educational institution in the Tampa Bay area specializing in Dance, Acting, Voice, Music and Musical Theater. Students not only receive an education of excellence, but also develop friendships and a lifetime appreciation of the arts. Many of Mary Jo’s students have gone on to pursue professions in dance and the performing arts, including dancing on Broadway, at theme parks, on cruise ships, with Cirque, as Rockettes, on television and in commercials. Several are professional choreographers, teachers and directors in the industry.
There are currently over 700 families at the Academy, but the extended family is much larger, and includes many second-generation families. Numerous Alumni now bring their children to study the performing arts at the Academy, and thousands of students have had the opportunity to be exposed to dance and discover their creative talents.
“It’s so much more than dance” is a phrase often used to describe the Academy, and it is true that it encompasses all the performing arts. However, just as important, it provides a vehicle for children to find their inner voice and learn life lessons that help mold them into our leaders of tomorrow.
Please call 813-969-0240 for more information.