Michele Hulsart is living her dream and currently in her 30th season as director and owner of Standing Ovation School of Dance. Michele been dancing ever since she was 3-years-old. After attending Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and achieving a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts she went on to perform world-wide. However, her real love for dance was in teaching so she has dedicated her life to teaching her students the art of dance and encouraging them to reach for their dreams. Michele has over 30 years of teaching experience and continues training to further her knowledge of dance by taking classes at dance conventions and attending business seminars. Michele's studio was proudly featured in Dance Spirit Magazine in 2007 as being one of the top 50 upcoming studios in the country. Michele was honored at Tremaine Dance Convention in New York City for all of the fundraising work the studio has done for Dancers Responding for AIDS. She also won the Co. Dance Educator award in NYC in 2011 and then her entire staff won it again in NYC in 2013. She is also the proud mother of five wonderful children who have all been a part of the dancing family through the years.
Allye Amorino has invested a lifetime studying the art of dance. Beginning at the young age of 3 years old, Allye grew up training in all the art forms but now primarily focuses on Jazz, Contemporary and Musical Theater. She believes in a continued education and enjoys spending her weekends at conventions and teacher workshops while striving to take classes at local studios, as well as in New York City, as often as possible. Allye's accolades include dancing alongside the Somerset Bears, performing in numerous musicals as well as performing on the TLC network's hit show "Four Weddings". Allye is no stranger to the dance community having modeled for dance catalogs, performing in character at private events and assisting choreographers at both regional and national conventions all while continuing to compete at various festivals. Always eager to foster her love of the arts, she has recently become certified in both Yoga and Barre and is excited to continue her education to add additional certifications. Allye is very proud of her unique approach to teaching as she is very passionate about instilling the love, art and commitment of dance in her students and she looks forward to watching her students grow each and every day.
Felicia Catney-Martin hails from Rider University and graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors in May 2016. During her time at school she earned her BA in dance performance with a minor in music studies. Through the dance program at Rider University she was able to study ballet and many other styles at the Princeton Ballet School. Felicia was given the opportunity to audition for many dance showcases and productions during her time at Rider, this allowed her to perform, choreograph and grow as a young artist. She was also an active member of Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honors Fraternity and served as a fine arts mentor and seminar leader for three years. In the summer of 2018 she was accepted into Broadway Dance Center’s Summer Intensive Program where she worked heavily with world-class teachers and choreographers. Felicia has choreographed and performed in festivals and showcases such as, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Biomorphic Dance Festival NYC, Dance NJ’s Show Up and Dance, as well as two different Broadway Dance Center showcases. She has also been asked to perform in gala performances at Grounds For Sculpture and the Princeton Golf Club. Felicia has built herself up as a well-known teacher and choreographer in the NJ area since she graduated. She was also given the opportunity to choreograph for Ocean County Performing Arts High School’s dance department as a guest artist. As a young adult Felicia enjoyed playing dance and lead rolls in many school and community theater productions. She also plays guitar and sings! She enjoys pushing her students to their fullest potential and will meet every dancer where they are at to help them grow. Felicia is very excited to share her love of dance, performing, choreographing and teaching with the students at Standing Ovation!
Annette Lutz originally hails from Pittsburgh,PA where she grew up dancing at Foxtrot Dance Studio from age 3 to 18 years old. She got her start student teaching at Foxtrot when she was 15 years old and has loved teaching ever since.Annette went on to receive her Bachelor's in Journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she was the chosen student speaker for her department's graduation ceremony. During her time at IUP, Annette was part of their student-run dance team, IUP Dance Explosion and was voted to be a council member for the team for both her junior and senior years. She also spent her college years teaching dance at a local studio, The Dance Academy. Following her college years, Annette became a staff member at a Pittsburgh-based, all hip hop studio: Pittsburgh Heat.In 2012, Annette began working with Groove National Dance Competition and, in 2013, she moved to New Jersey to work full-time for Groove. She has been with the company for the past 8 years and is now the VP of Client Relations with Groove.Annette joined the teaching staff of Standing Ovation in 2015 as a hip hop instructor and is so grateful for her studio family!
Kristen Barnes started dancing at the age of 2. She studied tap, ballet, jazz and acro at a local studio in North Carolina. At the age of 9, Kristen was accepted to The North Carolina School of the Arts pre-professional program. She became a full time student in the 8th grade and continued ballet/modern education there throughout high school, all the while studying tap, jazz musical theater and lyrical at the local studio on weekends. Directly after graduation, she was hired by Celebrity Cruises for their inaugural run of the MV Mercury. After her contract, Kristen was hired by Jean Ann Ryan Productions to perform on the Japan Cruise Line, Pacific Venus. Her dreams then came true when she became a Radio City Rockette in the Detroit, MI cast for 2 seasons. When Kristen returned to New York, she performed on several episodes of Saturday Night Live, MTV Video Awards (featuring Kristen’s choreography) and A Night of Too Many Stars with Jon Stewart. She also appeared in national and international commercials for Coca-Cola, TV Land and Papa John’s Pizza, as well as industrials for companies including Bloomingdales, CMT, Paul Mitchell and Sam and Libby. Kristen has taught many master classes in ballet, musical theater, jazz, precision line, audition prep, creative movement and body conditioning in local studios and regional and national dance competitions. She is now beyond proud to be sharing her knowledge with today’s up and coming entertainers! Remember, dance is a journey, not a destination!
Erin is originally from Hardyston, New Jersey and has been dancing since she was two years old. She graduated from Stockton University in May of 2018 with a bachelors degree in Dance Pre-Movement Sciences. During her time at Stockton, Erin worked with professional companies and artists such as Andrea Miller/Gallim Dance, Beau Hancock, and Rain Ross Dance. Erin has attended and performed in the American College Dance Association festival which supports dance in the higher education through regional conferences, the adjudication process, and national festivals. Erin will be continuing her education with Temple University in a Masters program for Recreational Therapy. Erin hopes to use her knowledge and experience in dance to help as an emotional and physical outlet for children of all abilities!
Alea began dancing when she was 5 years old. She joined her studio's competition team at 11 years old and competed at numerous competitions until she graduated high school. She then furthered her dance career at Rider University where she graduated in 2021 with a double major in Elementary Education and Dance with a minor in Special Education. She was also part of the Rider dance team for all 4 years of college and began choreographing for the team as a freshman. Alea was elected President for the dance team 2 years in a row. While at Rider, Alea trained at Princeton Ballet School where she was offered a job to be a hip hop teacher at a nearby studio. Alea has been a teacher at that studio since 2018. Alea creates an exciting and fun atmosphere in all her classes to enhance her students confidence and ensure they are comfortable performing in the studio and on stage.
Rob Gold has been coaching men's and women's gymnastics for the past 20 years. He entered the world of gymnastics from the age of 5 and hasn't ever left, competing until the age of 18 as a level ten competitor, coaching most competitive programs throughout his career, from boys classes, to highly competitive women's team programs. Currently, Rob coaches gymnastics for Toms River High School South, as well as assisting Excel team programs in various gymnastics academies. He brings his techniques and coaching mentality to our studio in order to help our dancers gain strength, confidence, and enjoyment in their acro to enhance their dance routines. He greatly enjoys watching our dancers getting stronger and more confident in their skills every session.
Dani has lived her whole life in Monmouth and Ocean county and graduated from Brick Memorial High School. She attended Ocean County College and Georgian Court University. She majored in math and education, and was a part of various clubs and organizations on campus. But, being a part of the Dance Theater Club was her favorite! During her time at GCU, Dani taught multiple different classes for the Dance Theater Club including jazz, contemporary/lyrical and ballet. She really enjoyed being able to share her love of dance with her peers, and introduce dance to those who had never taken class before.Dani started dancing at Standing Ovation School of Dance when she was 9 years old. During her time as a student at S.O., she took class in all styles of dance but contemporary and modern styles were always her favorite. Dani has also participated in dance competitions and conventions alongside the Standing Ovation Competition Team, taking master classes and competing solo and duet performances.After college, Dani worked for a local, well known, dance competition for 6 years where she was an Event Director at their competition events all over the country as well as being the Production Manager behind the scenes. Now, you can catch Miss Dani behind the desk at the studio, or hanging out in the classroom catching a glimpse of all the super talented dancers here at S.O.! She is beyond excited and so thankful to be able to share her love of dance with her students. She can't wait to see the sparkles in their eyes when they get up on the stage!!
Anastasia Konopada is 16 and has been dancing at Standing Ovation for 14 years. She is a sophomore at OCVTS Performing Arts Academy. She participates in Holiday Dance Club, Dance Ensemble and Dance Club. She has also performed in her High School's production of The Nutcracker. She has studied Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Pointe, and Hip Hop. Anastasia has been on the competitive edge team for 12 Years. She participated in many competitions and conventions including, Tremaine dance convention, Ash dance convention, Alpha dance convention, Throwdown and Dancers Inc. Anastasia has also traveled to Disney World with her team where she performed in the Dance the World event in Hollywood studios. She has participated in Lake Riviera Middle School’s play of Cinderella as a dancer, and Mary Poppins Junior as a dancer as well. At PAA she was also a dancer in Bring It On the musical. This is her third year as a student teacher. She is excited to share her passion with younger dancers at Standing Ovation and looks forward to the years ahead.
Madison Verdura has been dancing since the age of three and is going into her 12th year of dance at Standing Ovation. She has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Lyrical. She was on Standing Ovation’s Competitive Edge Team for 7 years and has also performed in her middle school’s productions of Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, and Mary Poppins Jr. Madison has traveled with her team to Walt Disney World to dance in the Hollywood Studios parade for the Dance the World event. Madison is currently a freshman at Brick Township High School in the STEM Academy. This is her first year student teaching and she is excited to use this opportunity to inspire the younger dancers of Standing Ovation School of Dance.
Amber Gardner is 15 years old and has been dancing since she was 3 years old. This is her 13th year of dancing. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and pointe. She was on Standing Ovation’s Competitive Edge Team for 8 years. She participated in many competitions and conventions including, Tremaine, Ash, Throwdown, Groove, and Dancers Inc. Amber also traveled with her team to Walt Disney World to dance in the Hollywood Studios parade for the Dance the World event. Amber is a sophomore at Brick Township High School where she is involved in a plethora of clubs and on the school dance team. This is her first year of student teaching and she is excited to use this opportunity to inspire the younger dancers of Standing Ovation School of Dance.
Kaylah Engelhardt is 12 years old and is in 7th grade at Lake Riviera Middle School. This is her 10th year dancing at Standing Ovation. Kaylah has been on the competition team for 6 years now. She has studied tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical and hip hop. She has participated in many competitions and conventions including Tremaine, Alpha, Throwdown and Dancer's Inc. where she has won numerous Dance-off challenges. She loves to dance because she can express her emotions through it. Kaylah's favorite styles of dance are contemporary and jazz! This is her second year assisting classes. She loves scary movies, and sushi is her favorite thing to eat. Kaylah is very excited to inspire the young dancers of Standing Ovation School of Dance!