Cathleen Becker is the Owner and Director of Starz Choice Dance Academy. She is also an instructor at the Academy and a choreographer for the Competition Team. In addition to teaching dance, Cathleen has taught pre-school and worked for the Sarasota County School Board for 12 years. She was the Dance Instructor and Choreographer at the Venice Theatre Summer Camp for 10 years.
Cathleen has taken classes from many well-known choreographers including Frank Hatchett, Sheila Barker, Rhonda Miller, Greg Russell, Keith Clifton, Carol Connors, Dave Carter, Christian Vincent, Jackie Sleight and Scott Fowler. Cathleen continues her training by attending Dance Conventions and taking online teacher courses. She also travels to New York every year to take classes at the Broadway Dance Center.
Cathleen has choreographed and performed for the Venice Theatre, the Miss Sun Fiesta Pageant, the Venice Concert Band, the Sarasota County Arts Festival and the Sarasota Players where she performed in a special celebration of Tap and Swing with the 42nd Street Band. She has choreographed musicals including Charlie Brown, My Son Pinocchio and Mamma Mia. Cathleen also performed in the Mardi Gras Party for the Sarasota French Film Festival, Marston Recording Company's New Artist CD Release Party and Music Video, and the National Dance Video for Oxy Chem Corporation in Dallas, Texas.
Shonda Potts started dancing at Starz Choice Dance Academy at the young age of three. With her grandmother as the studio owner she grew up in a dance environment. She also grew up competing with their Competition Team where she would travel all over the state for regional and national competitions. With the company she achieved many top overall awards. Shonda also traveled to many conventions and has taken classes in both New York and LA at famous dance studios like Broadway Dance Center and Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio.
After graduating from high school Shonda decided to continue her passion for dance and attended Florida School of the Arts to major in Dance. There she performed in many shows where she was chosen for special solos and additional performances outside the dance program. She also traveled and assisted with the instructors at other schools. After completing Florida School of the Arts she landed a full time job as a dancer at Walt Disney World. There she performed in High School Musical 3, Block Party Bash, Move It Shake It Celebrate it, Celebrate a Dream Come True, Sprectromagic, Electrical Light Parade and the Muppets Honorary Volunteer Cavalcade. Shonda has performed aboard a Carnival Cruise Ship and in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers halftime Show. In 2014 Shonda performed at the Van Wezel in “Voices of the Holocaust”.
Shonda has always enjoyed teaching. At a young age she started assisting classes at Starz Choice and by her senior year had a class of her own. While attending college and working at Walt Disney World, Shonda also taught at local dance studios. In 2011 she returned to Starz Choice where she started teaching for them once again. She has taught all styles, levels and ages at the Academy. Her choreography with their company continues to win top overall, choreography awards and technique awards. Since 2013 she has also taught dance at Grace Preschool. Shonda continues her dance education by attending conventions, workshops and online training programs. Shonda is now the Artistic Director at Starz Choice Dance Academy and is happy to share her knowledge and passion for dance with all her students.
Shaeleen Guido started dancing at the age of 3 and studied at Starz Choice Dance Academy for 15 years. She trained in all styles of dance and Acrobatics. She also attended dance classes at Booker High School during her sophomore year. Shaeleen was a member of the Competition Team at Starz Choice for 13 years winning many awards and top honors. She also attended several conventions and has taken classes from many professional dancers. Shaeleen has studied dance in New York at the Broadway Dance Center. She also took classes from the cast of Hairspray and Mary Poppins on Broadway. Shaeleen performed on the Carnival Cruise Ship Imagination and in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers half time show.
Shaeleen started assisting dance classes at the age of 15. She was also an assistant teacher at the Venice Theatre for their summer program. Shaeleen began teaching her own dance classes at Starz Choice at the age of 16. She has taught all styles and levels. She is also a choreographer for the Competition Team.
Shaeleen always had an interest in working with children. In High School she was in Child Development for 3 years and received her Ready to Work certification. During that time she was a Teacher’s Aid at Venice Elementary. She continued her education taking two years of Child Development courses in college. Shaeleen’s work experience with children includes Kid’s Club at Lifestyles Family Fitness, teaching Preschool at the Academy of Creative Learning for 3 years and teaching Ballet at Grace United Methodist Preschool. Shaeleen continues working with children of all ages in her dance classes at Starz Choice. She also continues her dance training by attending conventions and workshops.
MaryElizabeth Mock received her first twelve years of training in Ballet, Modern, and Jazz at Florida Ballet Arts in Sarasota. By age 12, she began auditioning and receiving invitations to attend prestigious summer intensive programs at Boston Ballet, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Princeton Ballet, Washington Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Nutmeg Ballet, and intensive workshops with Azari Plissetski of Bejart Ballet in Switzerland, Alex Ursuliak of Stuttgart Ballet in Germany, and Galina Shlyapina of the
Moscow Classical Ballet. At the age of 16, she decided to leave Sarasota for Connecticut to further her training at Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, where she endured a rigorous 60 hour per week training curriculum in addition to her academic schedule. By age 17, MaryElizabeth embarked upon her professional career.
As a professional ballet dancer, MaryElizabeth performed for the Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Classical Ballet Theatre in the Washington DC Metro Area, guest performances with Miami City Ballet, Southern Ballet Theatre, Ballet South, and as a contemporary dancer in performances with Starpointe Productions. In 1997, Frank Hatchett, “Master of Jazz”, spotted MaryElizabeth’s talent and invited her to serve as his choreographer demonstrator during his Southwest FL Master Classes that year. As President and Artistic/Executive Director of her own studio and company, Florida Ballet Arts Academy (FBA) and the Florida Ballet Arts Ensemble, MaryElizabeth earned great trust and respect from the Sarasota community and greater dance community through her unwavering commitment to excellence and sharp attention to detail, producing the area’s top level dancers and consistently turning company visions into reality, while dazzling Sarasota audiences with cutting edge choreography and professional seasonal performances at the Sarasota Opera House and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for more than a decade.
Throughout her career, she has served as a Ballet Master in highly respected schools and companies across the nation including West Florida Ballet, San Diego Ballet, School of Russian Ballet, and Unity Dance Ensemble / Unity LA, a Los Angeles based contemporary company founded by Emmy Award winning choreographer, Tessandra Chavez. She has served as an Audition Conductor and Audition Site Liaison for Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, selecting students coast-to-coast for their summer intensive and year-round residency programs, an Audition Conductor for the Carreno Dance Festival directed by world renowned principal dancer, Jose Manuel Carreno, and is the Founding Director of Imaginique Contemporary Ballet. MaryElizabeth measures her success by that of her students, who after training in FBA and under her direction, have gone on to dance professionally for Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen, Boston Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Ballet West II, Texas Ballet Theater, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance in Denver, the Royal Ballet in
London, and in the original 2001 Broadway cast of “Mama Mia”. With such a structured and disciplined training regimen, it is of no surprise that students under her direction who have pursued academia have been equally successful, going onto study at Emory, Cal Tech, NYU, Fordham, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Columbia, Vassar, Embry-Riddle, UNC Chapel Hill, UF, New College, WVU, and Ringling College of Art + Design, just to name a few, and are now contributing to society in the fields of Medicine, Law, Engineering, Science, Math, Aviation, Journalism, Culinary Arts, Dance, Film, and Design. MaryElizabeth’s highly effective teaching styles and extensive training in the Vaganova Syllabus, combined with her mindset focused coaching and passion for artistry in dance, make her one of today’s highly sought-after ballet masters, private coaches, and choreographers; all while continuing to feed her love of contract negotiations and business as a Licensed Realtorâ in the state of Florida.
Melissa Mosser started dancing at the age of 5. She started competing with Starz Choice Dance Academy at the age of 9.
She has traveled to regional and national competitions all over the state of Florida. She received various awards and titles from Dance Masters of America, New York City Dance Alliance, Hall of Fame Dance Challenge and West Coast Dance Explosion to name a few. Melissa has traveled to numerous conventions and taken classes in New York City at famous dance studio such as Broadway Dance Center.
After Graduating from Venice High School in 2009, Melissa attended Valencia College in Orlando receiving her Associate’s Degree in General Education. She continued to dance professionally in a contemporary dance company called Emotions that performed throughout the Orlando area. Melissa danced for two seasons as an Orlando Predator Dancer at the Amway Arena which the games were televised on the NFL network. Her choreography was featured in the games. Melissa was part of MTV’s Super Sweet 16 dancing with Bubba Sparxx. She also did a promotion for NYSNC’s Chris Kirkpatrick. Melissa moved back to Venice and finished obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Florida in Hospitality Management.
Melissa has taught all styles of dance and is currently the Hip Hop teacher at Starz Choice. She also subs other classes when needed and helps with the Company Dancers. Melissa works in the Finance Department for the City of Venice as her career. She has been teaching for Starz Choice since 2016 and loves all the students and staff. This is family to her and she is happy to be back in Venice doing what she is passionate about which is dance.
Mackenzie Mitchell started dancing when she was three years old in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. After moving to Venice in 2004 she started dancing at Starz Choice Dance Academy and joined their Competition Team. Mackenzie traveled across the state of Florida for many regional and national competitions and won several awards with the company. Mackenzie also traveled to numerous conventions, taking classes from professional dancers. She has also taken classes at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Mackenzie has performed throughout the community in many shows and events. Throughout her high school years, Mackenzie started assisting teachers at Starz Choice. She has assisted all styles of dance. After graduating in 2014, Mackenzie became an instructor at Starz Choice. Mackenzie still travels to competitions and conventions with the SCDA Staff and Company Dancers. Most recently, she received a certification of completion in a Pre-school and Recreational Program from LA Dance Magic. In 2017, Mackenzie was the Dance Instructor at the Venice Theater Summer Camp and choreographed Seussical the Musical for the TheatreFest performance.
Colleen Conner started dancing at a young age in Michigan. When her family moved to Florida she continued dancing at her mother’s studio “Beverly School of Dance” which later became Starz Choice Dance Academy. Colleen became an Instructor at SCDA in 2005. Her children grew up in the family owned studio and are also teachers at the Academy. She currently has 2 grandchildren taking classes at the Starz Choice.
Colleen continues her dance education by attending Conventions. She has taken classes with many professionals including Ayodele Casel and Scott Fowler. In 2018 she received a Certificate of Completion from LA Dance Magic for the Pre-school and Recreational Program.
Colleen has a background in Early Childhood Education. She has been teaching pre-school since 1981. Her certifications include the Florida Child Care Professional Credential and the Director Credential - VPK Endorsed. She is currently the Director at the Creative Early Learning Center. Colleen’s knowledge and experience with younger children make her a great asset to the children’s program at Starz Choice.
Celina started dancing at the age of seven and dancing competitively at the age of nine at many regional and national dance competitions receiving numerous awards. She has attended several dance intensives some of them being the Charleston Ballet Summer Intensive in Jacksonville, FL and the Regional Dance Festival in Norfolk, VA. She also attended a dance intensive at the Southern Strutt in Irmo, SC. Celina has taken classes from Susie Taylor, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, WildaBeast Adams, Misha Gabriel, Joe Lanteri, and JoJo Gomez just to name a few. She has performed in many events such as festival’s and parades some being local.
During middle school and high school, Celina has assisted and taught numerous dance classes ranging from the young age of three to the junior level. While her passion is in dance, she has continued to learn and grow not only as a dancer but in her life with Starz Choice Dance Academy. Celina has gained knowledge and more structure with her time at Starz Choice. She has considered the studio as her second home and truly appreciates the welcoming and guidance of the staff at Starz Choice.
Celina is currently attending State College of Florida pursuing her nursing degree. With nursing as her main focus, Celina still enjoys performing, assisting/teaching, and helping at the studio. She has been a part of the Starz Choice dance family for several years now. Celina is so happy to be part of the journey here at Starz.