Linda Schugel – Director - has 30 year’s experience in dance and choreography and keeps her dance education up to date.
Beginning her training at Frabelle’s School of Dance in Union, N. J., she continued her dance education in NYC, studying with Phil Black, Charles Kelly, and Joe Tramaine. Steps and master classes at Broadway Dance Center to name a few. Mrs Schugel performed on the Dick Clark and Zachary Television Shows for over 6 years and then on the Steel Pier, as well. Performing with such artists as the Critters, Chubby Checker, The Turtles and Shirley Ellis to name a few. After moving from Union N.J. to the area she started teaching at Horizons in Dance in NYC. and at Dance by Verna in Manahawkin for over 16 years. Mrs Schugel went on to choreography in Atlantic City and at the same time opening Encore Academy in Northfield. Linda co-choreographed The Nutcracker Suite at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City for several years and has won numerous technical merit award along with high score awards. Mrs. Schugel along with the co-director Aimee Sprague and Jennifer McMillian, the schools Ballet Coordinator, where awarded with the Educator Award from Company Dance National Dance Competition for their continued technical teaching and nurturing love for children.
Mrs Schugel’s unique productions and innovative styles have been shown throughout the East Coast and her love of arts is showcased through her teaching and choreography. Mrs Schugel owned and operated two schools of dance – Encore Academy of Performing Arts in Atlantic County and now Ovations Performing Arts Academy, Inc. in Ocean County. She guest teaches for some of the finest dance companies on the East Coast. Her students have performed at the NJ PNC Arts Center, Disney World, Disney Tokyo, Radio City Music Hall Music Christmas Spectacular and on various Cruise Lines. Her students have also performed in Las Vegas, Miss Saigon, and Atlantic City. Linda’s students have been accepted to schools such as ABT, Juilliard, Joffrey, Broadway Dance Centers Company, NJ’s Governor School, The Rock School, University of the Arts in Philadelphia along with the North Carolina School of The Arts. She supplies her students with the best performance opportunities such as TV commercials, runway modeling, print work and special showcases.
Aimee Schugel-Sprague - Assistant Director – Classical Ballet, Pointe, Hip-Hop Jazz, Modern, Tap, Acrobatic, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, and Voice. Aimee has over 26 years of dance training and has been teaching for several years. She has also been a guest teacher for numerous companies including the National Ballet of NJ. Aimee began her training with the NJ Coastal Ballet Company, Encore Academy of Performing Arts, and Broadway Dance Company Child Company NYC. She received scholarships to the Philadelphia Academy of Theatrical Arts and Alvin Alley’s Dance Company, NYC. Aimee has performed in places such as the Taj Mahal, The Broadway Dance Center Company in NYC and was a soloist twice at the NJ Garden State Arts Center. Choreographing is one of her many talents. She has choreographed for the Mrs. New Jersey Pageant, Mrs. Pennsylvania Pageant, Disney World, the National Ballet of NJ, and many various companies. Aimee is welled trai ned in all aspects of dance as well as performing arts and stage production. Aimee continues to study with choreographers such as Frank Hatchet NYC, Chris Judd, Keith Diorio, Gus Giordano, Eddie Garcia, Sheila Barker, and more. She also has won many awards for best choreography, highest score and best overall performance and is now judging for National Dance Competitions.
Jennifer McIntosh began her training under the direction of Pamela Clark, Linda Schugel, and Donna Daniels. At the age of 12 she became a featured dancer with the Shore Ballet Company dancing Clara in the Nutcracker for two years, followed by company roles in Cinderella, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, and Pas de Quatre amongst many others.
Jennifer also enjoyed dancing at the PNC Bank Arts Center, being chosen over every other ballet soloist in New Jersey to dance in the Arts Showcase. At the age of 13, Jennifer started her training at the Rock School, the official school of the Pennsylvania Ballet. While at the Rock School, she trained under the tutelage of Bo and Stephanie Spassoff, Gloria Govrin, Yvonne Patterson, Olga Kostrinsky, and David Gallagher. She was also chosen to perform in Pennsylvania Ballet’s annual performance of the Nutcracker. As a Freshman in High School, Jennifer was accepted to the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts. While studying and performing under the direction of Melissa Hayden, Frank Smith, Fanchon Cordell, Gina Vidal and Susan McCullough, Jennifer was one of 20 students asked to spend a summer at the Hungarian National Ballet in Budapest. Upon graduation, from North Carolina School of the Arts,
Jennifer began her run with “Legends in Concert,” followed by a run at Lilly Lang tree theater in the production of “Viva Las Vegas,” and Atlantic City in “The Magic of Alan Valentine.” Jennifer also worked at Encore Academy of Performing Arts as a Ballet instructor. At the ripe old age of 21, Jennifer began her work at Ovations Performing Arts Academy as the Ballet Director and Chief Ballet Choreographer. It is at Ovations that Jennifer has found her true role as instructor in the arts. Jennifer and her students have received Choreography Awards, Overall High Scores, as well as winning the “educator” award from CO. Dance. Her students have been accepted to summer programs including American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, American Academy of Ballet, The Rock School, University of the Arts, and Julliard amongst others.
Leo Manzari is a Lucille Lortel award nominated tap dancer originally hailing from Washington DC,. As part of a duo act called The Manzari Brothers, Leo has headlined in the touring and Off-Broadway productions of Maurice Hines is Tappin' Thru Life, featured Guest Artist on So You Think You Can Dance, The Mo'nique Show, The Kate TV, PBS News Hour, Jerry Lewis Telethon, and ABC's "The View." He has also featured as a solo tap dance feature in Hozier’s music video “Almost (Sweet Music).” Leo headlines alongside Byron Stripling and Grammy nominated Jazz vocalist, Carmen Bradford in a show called “Uptown Nights,” which has collaborated with multiple POPS orchestras across the world including The Winnipeg Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, and The Philly POPS. He’s appeared with The Harlem Globe Trotters in the conceptual video collaboration with The Philly POPS. Other credentials include a recurring role in Showtime's television show "Homeland," and lead writer and vocalist in his band, a genre he created called TAP RAP. His most recent album, CLOCKWORK, can be found on all major streaming platforms.
Marcie Cantillo has studied dance since the age of three. She has trained at Encore Academy under the direction of Linda Schugel and Aimee Sprague, Gene Medler, Director of North Carolina’s Tap Youth Ensemble and Dance by Verna. Marcie has performed in the Mrs. New Jersey and Mrs. Pennsylvania pageants and in Walt Disney World Florida’s student program, on the famous Epcot Stage. Marcie participated in numerous national dance competitions and continues her training at dance conventions and workshops throughout N.J and NYC. Marcie has been teaching tap and dance combo since 2001 and is trained in all forms of dance. Her students have won high score awards, and the over all best performance award for her age appreciate technical tap routines/choreography. In addition to teaching dance, Marcie holds a BA in English Education from Elon University, NC and is a high school English teacher.
Courtney Zahn is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA. At 10 years old, Courtney got the wonderful opportunity to appear on the nationally televised show, "Star Search." She then got to sing at the half time show for the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Courtney studied music at the Performing Arts Academy and played Eponine in Les Miserables. Courtney also just appeared on the last season of "American Idol" making it to Hollywood week. Courtney continues to study music, taking piano and guitar lessons, as well as taking dance classes at Broadway Dance Center. Studied dance at Ovations for 10 years + Studied at Broadway Dance Center for 5+ years. Been in 30+ musicals. Taken multiple workshops learning choreography from Broadway Shows. Studied Vocal with Don Lawrence who teaches Lady Gaga, Bono, Bon Jovi, and more. Studied Vocal with Sal Dupree for 15 years. Ovations welcome Courtney to its staff.
Jon Rua has an extensive background, which includes such Broadway Shows as Hands on a Hardbody and In the Heights. His dramatic choreography has been seen around the world. To learn more about his talents and experience, view his videos on You Tube. There is so much more to him that we could not fit it all on one page!
Libby Hager began dancing at the age of 7 in rural Pennsylvania. As a young girl she studied ballet, pointe, jazz, tap and modern dance. Her love of dance and the freedom of expression she experienced from performing was inspirational in the career choices that followed.
Libby continued to dance throughout her college years focusing on ballet, jazz and modern dance. She attended Alaska Methodist University and the University of Alaska in 1975-76, and Mansfield State College for the following 4 years. She graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, with an emphasis on Psychology, Social Work, Special Education, and Dance. Libby also obtained her Master's Degree in 1986 from Marywood College. The pursuit of her MSW with the integration of her dance experience led to her thesis which was titled " The Benefits of Dance on Mental Heath".
As a employee of a Community Mental Health System, where she worked as a psychotherapist, Libby specialized in children's issues. Around this time, she developed and implemented Dance Therapy programs in Nursing Homes, Drug and Alcohol Facilities and Day Treatment Programs in various Mental Health Systems. She also assisted in the development of dance programs in conjunction with Physical Education and Music Programs in elementary schools in South Jersey.
In addition, Libby has an extensive employment history in the helping field. She has worked as a Counselor for Drug and Alcohol Abuse, working primarily with teenagers. She has worked with the elderly in a Long Term Care facility as a social worker, later promoted to the Social Services Director. She then was hired as the Human Services Director of the same facility. She has worked with children with special needs in academic environments, as well as home care. And she has worked with patients in hospitals, dialysis centers and outpatient clinics. Service to others, especially children, has always been her focus.
Libby has taught dance, gymnastics, and song and dance classes at various dance studios for the past 16 years. Some of these include Today's Dance Center, Cherub Gymnastics and the Surflight Theater She has been at Ovations Performing Arts Academy since 2006 teaching ballet, tap, jazz and creative movement.
Erin McDonough studied many styles from the age of 4 including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Acro, Contemporary, Pointe, Musical Theatre, and Vocal. From age 14 she studied at Broadway Dance Center in NYC, NY. She also danced with the Giordano Dance Company in Chicago, IL on a summer scholarship program and performed in showcases and parades throughout the city.
Erin has also assisted choreographers at conventions in Chicago, such as Brian Friedman, Barry Youngblood, Judy Rice, Sheila Barker, Nick Florez, TyceDiorio, and Gregg Russell.
Kevin Berdini is a professional musical theatre performer with experience in training Kindergarten through college age students. He is an alumnus of Syracuse University in New York, and holds a BFA, Magna cum Laude in Musical Theatre.
As an original cast member of Broadway’s The Tap Dance Kid (Tony Award winner for Best Choreography), Kevin portrayed Gene Kelly and played the role of Winslow. Also on “the great white way,” Kevin spent nine years with the company of Beauty and the Beast. Throughout the show’s many incarnations, he was honored to dance the featured Cheesegrater specialty, and play the notorious Monsieur D’Arque who sings of his vicious streak. The national tour and Broadway companies of Cats afforded Kevin the opportunity to delve into a vast array of characters and styles. For more than twenty years, Kevin’s diverse career has included numerous productions of book musicals, revues, and gala concerts on TV, film, and stage; he has worked with great celebrities, directors, and choreographers. Kevin has performed the original choreography of Gower Champion (42nd Street), Gillian Lynne (Cats), Jerome Robbins (West Side Story), and a host of others.
Kevin’s dance captain experience has enlightened the musical theatre dance seminars he has held at Elon University, North Carolina, as well as a variety of teaching engagements to help children and young adults understand and enjoy the art of dance. Kevin encourages his dancers to approach their work from an actors’ point of view. Dancers need to know what their character wants and why they are dancing. He requires his students to connect with the dance on a deeper, more personal level.
Jonathan Johnson - Classical Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Acrobatics, Partnering, Musical Theatre, Silks Work, and Contemporary. John’s dance education includes, Ovations Performing Arts Academy, South Jersey Ballet Alliance, and Encore Academy. Jonathan has received a Full Scholarship to Gus Giordano Dance Company in Chicago. He is know working in Walt Disney World Florida in Beauty and the Beast.
Jonathan’s resume includes:
Royal Caribbean Voyager of The Seas 2006 - Walt Disney World Mickey’s Twas The Night 2006-2008 - Walt Disney World Festival of The Lion King Principal Dancer 2008 Walt Disney World Mickey’s Twas The Night Dance Captain 2008 - ABC’s Walt Disney’s Christmas Day Parade 2006 - Walt Disney World Dream Along With Mickey 2008 -2010 - Amedisyst Convention 2009 - Dance for a Cure 2009 - Sea World Allure Call Of The Ocean 2010-2011 - Yow Dance Company 2010 - Walt Disney World Beauty and the Beast 2011 - Six Flags Great Adventure Commercials 1994-1995 - Burlington Coat Factory Commercial 2003 - Costume Gallery Costumes Print 2004-2001.
Lacy Shan has been dancing and doing gymnastics since the age of two. She was also a cheereleader all four years in high school and was captain her senior year. She currently attends Ocean County College on a full scholarship with the STARS program, majoring in Elementary and Special Education, and is also in the National Honor Society.
She has extensive training in Classical Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Hip-Hop, Acrobatics, and Gymnastics. In addition to teaching dance at Ovations Performing Arts Academy, Lacy is a Gymnastics Coach at Precision Gymnastics
Michelle Clerico - As a graduate and senior captain of both cheer and dance at Clifton High School, Michelle Clerico began her coaching career at her alma mater after graduation. She was the Assistant Varsity Gymnastics coach from 1997-1999, responsible for team choreography on the floor and beam events. She has danced in many performances including, The Daily Burn fitness show on MTV. From 1998-2000 she was one of the Head Coaches of the All-Star Cheerleading team at Gymnastics World, in Nutley, NJ.
After graduating Seton Hall University, where she choreographed many school-sponsored performances, she became both the Head Varsity Cheerleading and Head Varsity Dance Team coach at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, NJ. Here, her successful teams attended local, regional and National competitions, as well as being featured in American Cheerleader Magazine. After relocating her family, she spent one year at Spotswood High School as the assistant Varsity Cheerleading coach and choreographer for school events before coming to teach and coach at Barnegat High School. It was here that she was the assistant Varsity Cheerleading coach from 2005-2007 while starting the Barnegat Varsity Dance Team in 2005.
While she coached and choreographed from 2005-2016, her dance team has received numerous accolades including 1st in the State in Pom, Lyrical and Jazz divisions. While the head coach of the Barnegat Dance Team, she was the recipient of the 2001 New Jersey Cheer and Dance Coaches Association Coach’s Recognition Award, was certified as a Universal Dance Association coach, has judged multiple local cheer and dance competitions, and choreographed many shows including the spring musicals and Mr. Bengal pageant.
Michelle is currently the head coach of the Stockton University Dance Team and choreographs for all their local, regional and National competitions. She also continues to choreograph for other dance teams in NJ. She is versatile in the areas of jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, pom, acro and musical theatre.