Marshall Ellis – Owner and Director of School
Marshall Ellis began dancing at age six in Killen, Alabama. His early years he trained in jazz, hip-hop, tap, and lyrical. Until the age of thirteen he competed in many national dance competitions. While competing he was awarded many regional and national titles. Marshall began his ballet training at the age of fifteen under the direction of Therese Laeger at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Upon graduation, he was awarded the The Prix dʼ Excellence de Dance, the highest award given from ASFA. He then joined Ballet Austin II. After one season, he was asked to dance under full scholarship with “Images of Dance Company” with London Studio Centre in London, England. During his time in London he was awarded the David Rymer Trust Prize. Marshall then joined Orlando Ballet, under the direction of Fernando Bujones, performing everything from corp de ballet to principle roles. He also served as Orlando Ballet company representative for several seasons. Marshall has traveled around the world performing soloist and principle roles in England, Japan, USVI, and the United States. After six years with Orlando Ballet he moved on to perform as a principle equity performer with Walt Disney World. Marshall was the principle ballet dancer in Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba which was the company’s premier ballet role. While performing Marshall Ellis has choreographed and taught for many years. He has been a teacher/ choreographer for Alabama School of Fine Arts, Orlando Ballet School, STEPS Program (Scholarship Training for the Enrichment of Primary Students is targeted to reach at-risk children), Dance Masters of America, and guest teacher for several other national institutions. Choreographic works were created for students and companies. Such works have been performed and awarded in Youth American Grand Prix. Other professional work has been performed for Alabama School of Fine Arts, Cirque du Soleil, Orlando Ballet and ME Dance. In 2011 he founded ME Dance, Inc. (Marshall Ellis Dance Company a 501c3 organization) a professional dance company located in Orlando Florida. The growth of ME Dance extended in 2014 when he opened two other businesses to help stimulate the arts in Orlando. ME Theatre(2014) a performing arts venue and ME Dance School which has a mission to provide students with an environment in which to cultivate their talent and artistry to its fullest potential. Along with performing Marshall has a passion for media design. He founded a media production company called WME Design(2008). He has been lead designer for several large organizations. Services offered range from design, video, photography, and music editing. His love for the arts is apparent and he hopes that his dream will continue to come true.
Darlene Chudzinski began dancing at a very young age in Walled Lake, Michigan at her hometown studio, Dance Dynamics. While at this studio, she received advanced training in various dance related skills including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Pointe, Partnering and Lyrical. As her training progressed, Darlene would eventually join Dance Dynamics pre-professional program, Dynamic Dancers Performing Company. This specific program accelerated her dancing development and equipped her with the necessary skills to become a professional dancer. As a member of this company, Darlene was given the opportunity to train with an amazing staff at Dance Dynamics and furthermore, the privilege of being able to travel across the nation and partake in classes at prominent studios including The Performing Arts Center, EDGE and ABT Summer Ballet Intensive. In addition, Darlene has attended numerous competitions both regionally and nationally where she competed in group, as well as, solo numbers. Her professional dancing career before before graduating high school through opportunities with Ballet Internationale and Moscow Ballet. Upon her graduation from high school, Darlene began teaching at Dance Dynamics then later took a dancer contract with Celebrity Cruise Lines. After completing her responsibilities with Celebrity Cruise Lines, Darlene relocated to Orlando, Florida to chase her dreams. Once she was in Orlando, Darlene became a Principle Equity performer at Walt Disney World performing roles in the Festival of the Lion King, Dream Along with Mickey, Celebrate the Seasons, and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Fair. While working for Disney, Darlene was presented with various additional unique performing opportunities such as appearing in the ABC Christmas Parade as a back up dancer for Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. Along with performing with the Walt Disney Company Darlene has with Sea World, Universal Studios Orlando and Capones Dinner and Show. Darlene is currently a company member with Dance Theatre of Orlando. Darlene continues to strive for excellence in her field and that is one of the prime factors she is so excited to become apart of the staff for Marshall Ellis Dance School. She has been incredibly fortunate to achieve her ultimate dreams as a professional dancer and while she is in constant pursuit of even bigger dreams of her own, one of those dreams is to share in the pursuit of someone else’s hopes and dreams too. Darlene aspires to share her incredibly unique and successful years of experience and passion for dance to inspire others to succeed in a career she has loved and held so dear.
Alexandra Schudde is a true Florida girl born in the panhandle but raised in Orlando, she started her dance training at the age of 3. Starting at a young age she was taking voice lessons as well as jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical, modern, hip hop, and musical theater. Most of her training came from her family owned studio growing up called “Starlight Dance Studio” which was located in Orlando at the Dr. Phillips Marketplace. At the age of 12 her family moved back to the panhandle where she continued her studies at Northwest Florida Ballet. Every summer for 5 years Alexandra would travel back down to Tampa to be involved with Broadway Theatre Project. As an apprentice and also an assistant to the Program Director. It was here that she was able to study under the direction of some of Broadways greatest performers like Ann Reinking, Debra McWaters, Ben Vereen, Dave Clemmons, and so many more. After Graduating from high school Alexandra began to dance as a company dancer for Northwest FL Ballet under the direction of Todd Eric Allen and Dorothy Daniels Lister. As well as being a company dancer she was a teachers assistant for there Academy School. After dancing two seasons with NWFB she moved back to Orlando. From there Alexandra joined the Actors Equity Association and began performing for Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. In 2010 Alexandra also performed at the Winter Park Playhouse in “Let’s Face the Music — A Tribute to Fred Astaire”. She played Fred’s 5 leading ladies (Ginger Rogers, Adele Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell, and Marjorie Reynolds). Another thing that was going on at that time was being featured as a motion capture dancer for Hannah Montana: The Movie (video game). Alexandra has been performing at Disney since 2007. Currently she is performing in Finding Nemo the Musical, Beauty and the Beast, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Fair, and A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas. At Universal Studios during Halloween Horror Nights in 2008 and 2009, she performed in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure and Rocky Horror Picture Show: a Tribute. She has also spent time at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, performing in Grinchmas, and in the original cast at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as a girl from the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. Along with performing Alexandra serves on the board of directors for ME Dance, Inc. and Dance Theatre of Orlando.
Rachael Riley – ETP Director
Rachael Riley is originally from Orlando, Florida, where she began her ballet studies. She continued her training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, in Manitoba Canada, where she graduated with honors in 2005. She was invited to join Luna Negra Dance Theater in 2006 as a guest artist and the following year she was offered a soloist position with Omaha Theater Ballet. In 2009, she joined the Grand Rapids Ballet Company (GRBallet) where she danced featured and principal roles for several seasons. Some of her favorites ballets have been, Red Angels, Light Rain, Ramonda, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, Flower Festival in Genzano, Moor’s Pavane, Nine Sinatra Songs, Company B, Amazed in Burning Dreams, The Envelope, and George Balanchine’s Serenade, Who Cares, and Four Temperaments. She worked with Slovakian choreographer Mario Radacovsky in the creation of the role Juliet in his interpretation of the Romeo and Juliet story and the role of black swan in his version of Swan Lake “White Swan, Black Swan”. Rachael also worked with Patricia Barker, Michael Auer, Peter Boal, Charthel Arthur, Sarah Stackhouse, Wes Chapman, Yuan Yuan Tan, Shelly Washington, Julie Tice, Preston Miller, Kirk Peterson, and others preparing for classical roles and new works. During her time with GRBallet Rachael appeared nationally and internationally as a principal guest artist and was also a resident choreographer for GRBallet; creating several works, some in partnership with the Grand Rapids Symphony. Rachael has taught at multiple ballet academies and has been a guest teacher at Ballet Summer Intensives throughout the United States. She enjoys passing down the wisdom she has gained throughout her professional career to the dancers of the future.
Lauren Sherwood – ETP Assistant to Director
Lauren Sherwood began her training at the Draper Center for Dance Education in Rochester, NY. She graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2009 under several scholarships. She went on to dance Corps de Ballet, Soloist, and Principal roles with Atlanta Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, Montgomery Ballet, and The Georgia Ballet. Her favorite roles included the Dewdrop Fairy in The Nutcracker, Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera, and the pas de deux from On the Nature of Daylight. Lauren was a principal faculty member at Montgomery Ballet School from 2012-2014, teaching ballet to all ages. She directed the Fairytale Ballet Program in 2013 and 2014 and coached dancers to compete at Youth America Grand Prix in 2014, where her students placed in the top three. She has also taught ballet at the Centre for Performing Arts in Prattville, AL and at the British Academy for the Performing Arts in Marietta, GA. Lauren is currently a Principal AEA performer at the Festival of the Lion King show at Walt Disney World, where she has performed in parades and shows since 2015. She is also a company dancer with Dance Theatre of Orlando and has performed soloist roles in Keys, as Gina in Change, and as Claire in The Nuthouse.
Born and raised in Deltona, FL, Daniel Ryan Hunalp began taking dance classes at the age of 6 at Mariam and Valerie’s School of Dance Arts in Sanford, FL. Studying all types of dance throughout his schooling he went off to many specialty schools through his training as a young dancer. On full scholarships to both Sarasota Ballet (he attended for three years) and Ann Reinkings Broadway Theatre project (attended twice) where he furthered his skills. As a performer Daniel has worked with the Tap Dogs and numerous dance companies in FL and in New York City. He has been the dance captain for shows in front of Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World in Orlando. Performing beside pop stars such as Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Hillary Duff and Debbie Ryan on ABC. Performing in Regional Theatre across the country in the musicals, West Side Story, Oklahoma and Guys and Dolls. Most recently Daniel was part of the original cast for Norwegian Cruise Line on The Pride of America in Hawaii to originate the role of Fred Astaire. As a teacher Daniel started teaching tap and jazz at his childhood studio to the younger boys at the age of 15. After moving to New York he was asked to be a sub tap teacher at the Broadway Dance Center. Now back in Orlando, FL Daniel teaches tap, jazz, and musical theatre at dance studios around the central Florida area. Having taught and judged on the faculty for Access Broadway with Ron DeVito and also on the faculty for MA Dance competition he always wants to pass on what was so well taught to him from his teachers and the people he looks up to. Dance is not what makes the person. Who that person is, is what makes the dance.
Chris Pederson – Teacher
Chris is very excited to be joining Marshall’s team and be teaching at ME Dance. Chris has been performing non-stop and working successfully for the past 18 yrs. Chris has worked all over the world and with many major companies such as; Nickelodeon, Holland America Line, Stiletto Entertainment, Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, Franco Dragone Productions, DWTS & New Line Cinema. Dance and Musical theater were his first draw into entertainment/performing back in high school and he has never looked back. Chris attended University of the Arts in Philadelphia for Musical Theater and quickly opened up a Hip Hop club. “I always had a connection with street/hip hop/breaking, whatever you wanna call it. I was just born with a lot of rhythm and prided myself in whatever someone showed me I was gonna learn how to do!” He took that and applied it throughout his career. Chris has performed in many musicals with favorite rolls including; Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, Lefty in Damn Yankees, Patrick Tobin in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. He has been a dance captain for Holland America Line, Disney and a stunt captain for Universal at the WWOHP. Chris also worked on numerous show productions with Stiletto Entertainment building, sketching, creating and installing these shows on cruiseships. His biggest credits came in just the past couple years when he was a featured dancer in the New Line Cinema film release of “Rock of Ages” where he got to work with world-renouned choreographer, Mia Michaels, and to follow performed on ABC’s DWTS featuring “Rock of Ages” with Julianne Hough & Mary J. Blige. Life got more exciting right after the filming when he took a Generalist/Acro roll in the #1 show in Las Vegas… Le Reve @ Wynn. There he ventured away from just dance and broadened my background by learning & training in aerial, acrobatics, sport acro, & stunts. Chris has decided to move away from the stage for the time being and move back into teaching and creating. He relocated his wife and family here to Orlando taking a staging position with Disney and is eager to get the teaching on a roll again. Chris now prides himself in being an all around performer… “no matter how much we know… we never stop learning.”