Mary Ellen Vowinkel- Owner of Mary Ellen School of Dance, was born in Buffalo, New York and danced and trained at her mother's dance studio with her three sisters. She moved to Ocala with her husband and family in 1977, and opened Mary Ellen School of Dance in 1979. Mary Ellen has trained and educated thousands of students in the Ocala and surrounding areas. She has received most of her training from New York, dance conventions and from many head choreographers and teachers all over the US. All classes are under the personal direction of Mary Ellen thereby assuring a quality method of teaching of the art of dance through a graded system with discipline and correction for each student by trained , dedicated, and committed dance instructors.
Lisa Whitaker - Lisa began dancing in Melbourne , Florida, at the Nancy Haram School of Dance and then became the head choreographer for her high school dance/drill team for three years, traveling throughout the State of Florida to many competitions. She continued dancing for two years at the University of Florida taking various classes. She came to Mary Ellen School Of Dance in 2002 starting as an assistant and then teaching her own classes: Lyrical, Jazz, Tap, Ballet. She is the Studio Director for Mary Ellen School of Dance.
Angela Stoddard Kelly Clemons
Lisa Whitaker (Studio Director)
Dara Summers (See Below)
Alison Swearingen - Alison received her dance training at Mary Ellen School of Dance. As she brought her daughters to the school of dance training, she redeveloped an interest in dance involvement for herself. She started as a class assistant and has been teaching Tiny Tots since 1999. She is co-director of the Performance Team and also teaches Jazz and Tap.
Dara Summers - Dara began her training at age 3 at Mary Ellen School of Dance. Dara has taught Hip-Hop, Jazz, Acro, and Lyrical. She is co-director of the Mary Ellen School of Dance Performance Team, and also one of our office managers.
Samantha Lewis - Samantha is a former student of the Mary Ellen School of Dance and a graduate of Florida School of the Arts at St. John's River College. Samantha has taught Tiny Tots, Bumblebees, and Jazz. She is co-director of Mary Ellen School of Dance Performance Team.
Maycee Dominguez- Maycee received her dance training at the Mary Ellen School of Dance. She has been a member of the Ocala Dance Force Company, where she received numerous awards at competitions. She started teaching at the Mary Ellen School of Dance as a student teacher and is now an associate teacher. Maycee is the director/choreographer for the Ocala Dance Force Company.
Leah Whitaker - Leah received her dance training at Mary Ellen School of Dance and has been a member of the Ocala Dance Force Company competition team. Leah was a part of the Central Florida Ballet academy for four years. While training at Central Florida Ballet, she performed in leading roles in their Nutcracker productions, which were nationally televised. She also received ballet training at Pofahl Studios, home of Dance Alive National Ballet Company. She currently teaches Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz Funk, and Silks/Hoops.
Jennifer Eggers - Jennifer's dance training began at the age of six in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Her foundation was built studying Luigi's jazz technique, as well as Cecchetti, an Italian graded method of ballet. Upon high school graduation, Jennifer studied dance at Point Park College (now Point Park University) with an emphasis on classical ballet. Within a year, Jennifer booked her first Broadway show, the Will Rogers Follies. Before she retired from the stage, she worked on two Broadway shows and three national tours. She even performed "eye high" kicks as a world famous Radio City Rockette in NYC.
Wendy Holland - Born in Ocala and attended Roberta Studio of Fine Arts where she received her training and taught all styles of dance. She was the owner of A Step Above dance studio for 22 years. Wendy started the Cala Kids clogging team which received many awards at competitions.
Vanessa Carnes - Vanessa grew up in Ocala sharing her skills within our local community. She began cheerleading at the age of 9 with MCYFL and continued through highscool at Vanguard. She spent a year displaying those skills through The College Of Central Florida Cheerleading Team. She has coached Elementary, Middle and High School Levels. Also growing up she attended Jeanne Benson Dance Academy. She is excited to now be sharing her skills with others.
Kassie Grace- Kassie began dancing as a little girl at a studio in South Florida. At about 10 years old her family moved to Ocala, Fl and shortly after enrolled in classes at A Step Above dance Studio. She has trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, tap, clogging and hip hop. She loves every minute of teaching young girls the art of dance.
Jessica Sorrells- Jessica received majority of her training in Jacksonville, FL. She has trained in all styles of dance at some point in her dance career. She attended Douglas Anderson School of The Arts for 3 years, was part of dance teams through middle and high school, attended many dance conventions throughout the US, attended many summer intensives at NYC, Florida State University, and Jacksonville University and had the opportunity to be part of The First Coast Nutcracker for 4 years. She started her education in teaching and choreographing at The World of Dance in Jacksonville and Mary Ellen School of Dance in Ocala while she attended college at CFCC. She then became the director and choreographer of Mary Ellen School of Dance Team for 4 years and then Ocala Dance Force Company (ODFC) was created and directed shortly after that. Both teams have won many regional and national placements, choreography recognition, team sportsmanship awards, as well as a handful of scholarships that students received at dance conventions. Having the opportunity to judge, teach and assist tryouts, competitions and classes for many teams and organizations has given her inspiration for continuing her art in many ways. Her greatest achievement has been instilling the passion of dance for children for almost 15 years! Jessica has recently moved back home to Jacksonville, Fl. and has joined the corporate world but still teaches and choreographs when the opportunity comes about. She is excited to have the opportunity to be back and teaching this year at Mary Ellen School of Dance. Proud to be MESD!
Hannah Robarge*- Hannah has been dancing for over 10 years and has been a on MESD Performance Team for 4 years. She enjoys assisting Tiny Tots and hopes to continue her passion after high school and pursue a degree in Elementary Education. Hannah Loves competing and performing with her team and enjoys being apart of the MESD family.
Jade Calton*- Jade is a student teacher and has been dancing since she was 11. She is currently a member of the MESD Performance Team. She has been dancing competitively for over 5 years now and has won many awards. She will be teaching ballet at Mary Ellen School of Dance this year. Jade enjoys sharing her love of dance with the children she teaches and is devoted to helping every student grow as a dancer.
Alyson Tomasetti*- Alyson has trained at Mary Ellens for 10 years and is apart of the Ocala Dance Force Company for the 8th year. She teaches/trains her fellow teamates in felxibility and technique classes to work their hardest to be the best dancers they can be. MESD is like a second home to her and hopes to stick around even after she finishes high school.
Lauren Manges- Lauren has danced since the age of 5 at Mary Ellens where she was a member of the competition team and ballet company for many years. She began teaching in 2011 and continues to choreograph for the Ocala Dance Force competition team. Currently a senior at the University of Florida, Lauren studies advertising with an outside concentration in dance taking ballet, pointe, jazz, and pilates classes to continue her dance training. She is also a member of the UF Danza Dance Company for the third consecutive semester.