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 Faculty



Michelle McCord 
 - Owner/ Director - Vocal Technique, Ballet, Lyrical, Musical Theatre Dance, Performance

Michelle was born Michelle Becker in Buffalo, NY where she studied ballet and was serious about a career on stage at the age of 5. Michelle studied at The Empire State Ballet Theatre in Buffalo and had scholarships during the summers at American Ballet Theatre School in NYC. She moved to Europe at an early age to follow her dreams of becoming a ballerina. Michelle’s career spans from being a ballerina where she performed with leading ballet companies all over Europe, (as well as being coached at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow), to being a musical theater star at Theater des Westens Berlin. Michelle starred in Tommy Tune’s “Grand Hotel” with Leslie Caron as Flaemmchen, where she was voted best actress of the year by the Berliner Zeitung.

Michelle starred in over 30 productions including, “Anything Goes”, “Damn Yankees”, “Cabaret”, “Sweet Charity” and “Follies” with Eartha Kitt to name a few.

Michelle’s credits also include starring in various TV productions in Berlin as well as starring in a featured romantic comedy, “Tafelspitz”. She performed at the Tribute for Marlene Dietrich upon her passing in Berlin at the Duetsches Theater, alongside the grand-daughter of Bertholdt Brecht, Johanna Schall. Billy Wilder and Gregory Peck were guests of honor at the performance. With Theater des Westens, Michelle performed at the Kennedy Center during the German theatre celebration.

Upon returning to the states, Michelle was head of the Dance Dept. at Northern Kentucky University and a faculty member at College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. As the director of the Dance Troup at NKU, she choreographed many productions. With great pride, many of Michelle’s students have gone on to professional careers in New York City, doing National Tours or performing on Cruise Ships. Aaron LaVigne, a former student at NKU, is now performing in “Spider Man” on Broadway.

Michelle most recently choreographed “Spring Awakening”: and “Music Man” at Venice Theater and “Sunset Boulevard” at the Sarasota Players. Michelle  directed and choreographed “Taffetas” ,“Nunsense” and "More Than a Feeling"and "Abba" at The Players Theatre. 

Michelle is passionate about passing on her knowledge on to the next generation. Michelle feels she has put together an incredible faculty of highly dedicated and qualified teachers to make Ovation- School of Musical Theatre “the” school to attend if one is serious about truly learning the craft of performing musical theatre.



Matt McCord
- Owner /Associate Director -Acting, Adult Movement for Actors, Adult Free Movement Class

Matt McCord is a teacher, actor and director with 30 years experience on, off and backstage of many of the area theaters. He has directed or performed in over 60 productions. Most importantly, Matt's experience includes: 14 years teaching beginning and intermediate acting classes; Administrator and showcase director of VLT's Theaterfest Summer Camp; Teacher, writer and director of VLT's Loveland Follies for developmentally challenged adults; Puppeteer for the F.A.C.E. educational program and he is a certified NIA dance fitness instructor. Matt uses a balance of Viola Spolin Improvisation Games and Meisner Method Technique to combine craft, spontaneity and FUN for all students. 



Charlie Logan - Jazz, Tap    
           Charles (Charlie) Logan, a rare native Floridian, began dancing at the age of 4 at Bradenton’s own Ellen Meade Studios. He continued his dance training through grade and middle school in Florida, high school in Virginia, and went on to pursue a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College as a Dance Major and Musical Theatre Minor.

He began working professionally when he was 16 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, moving onto perform at Dorney Park in Allentown, PA after high school, and then had the privilege to perform in the final cast of The Kids of the Kingdom’s show Disneymania, in front of the castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, FL to round out his theme park career. After college he worked a brief stint for Carnival Cruise Lines, during which he had the great pleasure to perform in the inaugural cast on the maiden voyage of their newest ship at the time, the Carnival Glory.

Charlie’s Musical Theatre career began at the age of 13 as a dancing waiter in Hello Dolly! at Venice Theater. Since then he has performed in theaters, community and professional, all over the country including: Sarasota Players, FL; Manatee Performing Arts Center, FL; Peninsula Theater, VA; Empire Stage, FL; Diversionary Theater, CA; Onyx Theater, NV; Show Palace, FL; Ars Nova, NYC; Kraine Theater, NYC; Gene Frankel Theater, NYC; Ace of Clubs, NYC; Wick Theater, FL; Benedum Center, PA; Orpheum Theater, MN; Rosemont Theater, IL; Wang Center, MA; Des Moines Civic Center, IA; Cadillac Palace Theater, IL; Boston Opera House, MA; Pantages Theater, CA; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, CA; Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK; Beacon Theater, NYC; Minskoff Theater, NYC; State Theater at Lincoln Center, NYC; and Radio City Music Hall, NYC.

Some of his favorite musical theater roles and shows are: Berger in Ben Vereen’s Hair, Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls, Smudge in Forever Plaid, Bobby in Crazy For You, Bobby in A Chorus Line, Chad in All Shook Up, Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Munkustrap in Cats, Cornelius Hackl in Hello Dolly!, Will Parker in Oklahoma!, Rober in The Drowsy Chaperone, Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, La Cage Aux Folles, Will Roger’s Follies, Bye Bye Birdie, The World Goes ‘Round, Kiss Me Kate, Godspell, Funny Girl, and Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage. He has also had the joy of choreographing two musical so far, Nunsense (Peninsula Theater, VA) and La Cage Aux Folles (Sarasota Players).
And finally, a few very special career highlights have been: working with Julie Taymor on her creation of the new opera Grendel, for Lincoln Center and LA Opera, dancing with All My Children’s Bobbi Eakes on The Rachel Ray Show and performing with Ben Stiller on Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars.
Charlie is still actively performing, teaching and choreographing all over the state of Florida, and the country, though he always tries to stay not too far of a drive away from his family here at Ovation.    



 

Kathryn Kulik
 -
Hip Hop, Gymnastics, Lyrical, Combo Dance
          Kathryn, a native from Pennsylvania has over 10 years in choreography and teaching all ages and levels in categories such as Creative Movement, Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, lyrical, Hip Hop Acro, Musical Theatre, modeling and Acting certified, bronze and silver Ballroom, Latin and Country. She was an instructor at Victory Dance center Emmaus, PA, Revelle Academy, sarasota, FL, Attitudes in Dance Venice, FL and has been and still is a judge for Performing Arts Alliance Competition King of Prussia, PA. She has trained with such teachers as Al Gilbert (Tap), Dina Rizzo (Hip Hop), Napolian and Tabitha Dumo (So You Think You Can Dance/ Hip Hop), the Rockettes and more.



 
John Baker
- Jazz, Tap
          John has been performing and teaching dance and theatre for over 30 years. He has taught master classes thru out 4 countries, numerous dance conventions including DMI, DEA, DMA, Dupree, Termaine, and Al Gilberts, and at major studios like Broadway Dance Centre, Steps, The Edge, and Dupree. John has also performed on stages around the world. Having performed on Broadway, Off Broadway, the West End, National Tours, work shops for new Broadway Shows, Regional theatre, and numerous dance companies. He’s so excited to be bringing his experience and knowledge to Ovation and the next generation of performers.


Rachel Mengden - Lyrical, Ballet
                  Rachel Mengden of Houston, Texas began dance training at the age of 2.  Following in her older sister’s footsteps; she studied styles such as musical theatre, jazz, tap, hip-hop, acrobatics, lyrical, contemporary, and ballet.  She has won many awards in ballet and contemporary, at various competitions and has also completed all of her Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams with distinctions.  At age 16, Rachel was awarded a full scholarship as a trainee from Ballet Austin for the 2013-2014 season after winning 1st in contemporary in the Senior Division at the American Ballet Competition in 2012. In 2013, Rachel also competed at the Genée International Ballet competition in Scotland, as 1 out of 4 Americans alongside 57 other candidates from 14 different countries. In the past three years, Rachel has been training in the pre-professional program at the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School on full scholarship alongside her younger sister and twin brother, Michael, who is now an apprentice with the Cincinnati Ballet. With 19 years of dancing, 5 years of teaching, and 2 years of choreographic work, Rachel is more than thrilled to be able to share her passion of dance and knowledge to the students at Ovation


Danielle Calabrese – Tap, Hip Hop, Ballet

Danielle Calabrese was born in Daytona Beach, Florida and has been studying dance since the age of three throughout Florida. Danielle is a 2015 graduate of Lakewood Ranch High School. She was a four year LRHS Silver Stars Dance Team member where she served as Co-Captain and Captain. Danielle was also active in the Lakewood Ranch High School Theatre Department. She has performed in the Orange Bowl halftime show and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. She has also performed in numerous ballets including The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, and Swan Lake. Danielle has participated in workshops with the Radio City Rockettes. Currently, she is a student at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee where she is majoring in Elementary Education. Danielle enjoys all things related to dance and musical theatre and is very excited to be a member of the Ovation Faculty.



Krista Benson – Vocal technique

Krista Benson began performing in musical  theater at the age of ten. She performed in numerous school and community theater productions growing up. Also an accomplished flutist, Krista chose to to persue a vocal degree in college. While at SUNY Geneseo Krista was trained as a classical singer but also participated in many acting and dance classes as well performing in musicals. Many of her favorite roles include "Once on this Island" (Timoune) "A Chorus Line" (Sheila), "Guys and Dolls" (Sarah), "The Apple Tree" (Barbara), "The Threepenny Opera" (Polly), "Oliver!" (Nancy) and "The Fairy Queen" (Titania) as well as roles in "Cabaret", "Sweet Charity", "Marat...Sade", and "Hair". 

She earned a BA in Music with a vocal option from SUNY Geneseo in 2000 and a Masters in Music in Musical Theater from The Boston Conservatory in 2002 where she met her future husband. After they were married they moved to NYC to pursue a theater career.  After too many cold winters spent in Boston and NY they decided to move to southeast Florida. Krista had a great run at Stage Door Theater in Ft Lauderdale performing in such shows as "My One and Only", "The Best  Little Whorehouse in Texas" (Angel) "No Way To Treat a Lady" (Sarah) and "Are We there Yet?"(Woman 1). 
Krista then took some time away from the spotlight to stay home and raise their two daughters after moving to Upstate NY. 
Upon encouragement from a mentor, Krista began teaching vocal lessons in 2008. Since that time Krista has been blessed with training approximately 45 students. Krista's training in both classical vocal technique AND musical theater has made her a unique resource for her students. During her tenure with her students many of them have gone on to BFA musical theater programs at top schools such as Rider University, SUNY Fredonia and Ithaca College. Krista's students have also performed with the Boston Pops, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and have won numerous vocal competitions. Her students have also performed in New York City at 54 Below and have performed numerous leading roles both in their high school, community and even professional productions. Krista has developed an especially effective audition training and even hosted workshops focused on auditions. Her passion for music, musical theater and teaching is evident in her enthusiasm!








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