Florida Twirling Institute is a premier twirling group located in St. Petersburg, Florida. DMA Senior Majorette Queen 2013 Tiffany Jockers is one of many National and Regional winners from this organization.

  • FTI has twirlers in all age catergories and each level of difficulty in DMA individual competition and teams.
  • We have a group for any age and skill level along with individual coaching for twirlers who want to compete for titles.
  • We have classes located in Pinellas Park and at area recreation centers.
  • Our coaches have many years of experience teaching all levels of twirling.

So if you want to learn to twirl, be a part of one of our teams, or practice privately: Florida Twirling Institute is right for you!

I am Melodee Michalares-Owens and the director of FTI (Florida Twirling Institute) I was born in Indiana where my parents both taught baton twirling and owned the Indiana Twirling Institute. My father Nick Michalares was one of the original founders of USTA (United States Twirling Association), and from the age of ten I assisted with teaching and twirled individually as well. I have competed in teams and corps winning many championships along the way. I taught classes for Indiana Twirling Institute from the age of 16 and when I moved to Florida began to teach in what eventually became the Florida Twirling Institute. I have been in the baton world my whole life and have over forty years of teaching experience.

Nicole Owens-Vega ~ My daughter, Nicole was twirling in the advanced levels by age 6. She won her first championship at five and twirled competitively in individuals and teams for many years. She also was a member of the Dixie Hollins High and Boca Ciega High Color guard, the world class winter guard “Shaktai” and marched drum corps with Suncoast Sound. She is a DMA Gold Seal judge.

  • We compete in Drum Majorettes of America (DMA) contests.
  • We compete in USTA contests when schedules permit as well as the Florida State Fair.
  • We march in the Pinellas Park Christmas Parade each year.
  • We also have at least two recitals a year for parents, grandparents, and friends to watch their twirlers perform. This gives each twirler the chance to show what they have learned.

We hold baton clinics several times a year for that extra edge it can give a twirler. Private instruction is also available for any twirler that would like to compete in the individual title events at the DMA contests or to just improve their skills.

This past season FTI had two outstanding teams at the 2012 DMA Nationals. Orient (our show corp) and The Ladder (a show twirl team) both won this honor along with Outstanding Corp Leader for our Holly Herron.

Many of our parents are committed to our organization and help with props, competitions that we host, and fundraisers, which support our team competitions. Parents play an important role in our group and we are proud of the baton parents we have. Parent support is important to any team activity and baton twirling is no different.


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