UCPA Faculty

j fave head shot bw 2012.jmbJodi McMahon-Bergman is the Owner of University Center for the Performing Arts as well as the Founder and Artistic Director of our resident contemporary dance company, ImpulsiK!  Jodi is a native Floridian and grew up studying every genre of dance imaginable but she received her advanced training in Los Angeles, California under well renowned choreographers such as Joe Tremaine and Doug Caldwell. Being a former “Tremaine” scholarship winner, she had the opportunity to work with many great choreographers in L.A. Her expertise lies in jazz, contemporary/lyrical and tap. Her students have received top awards in regional and national dance competitions including many cash awards, as well as scholarships to some of the country’s finest training facilities. Many of her students are now currently performing both on and off Broadway, members of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and members of various professional dance companies throughout the U.S. and abroad.  She has worked professionally as a dancer/choreographer in theaters, revues, night club acts, commercials, cruise ships and has served as a judge for various dance organizations. Jodi has an extensive background in the arts as well as business.  Having owned and operated her own dance school for many years prior to taking over at the University Center for the Performing Arts, she knows what it takes to operate a fine establishment such as the UCPA! Although she has had extensive experience as a performer, her true passion is teaching and choreographing the wonderful art of dance and passing on to others her knowledge and love of the arts!

Frank Bergman, Co-Owner and Director of UCPA is a  veteran of the theater. Frank has been involved in hundreds of productions all over North America. He played the roles of Mr. Kringlien and Mervyn Goldstone in the National Tour of “Gypsy” in addition to numerous other musicals both regionally and nationally. An avid musician as well, Frank was delighted to have the opportunity to pool his talents as a drummer, singer, and actor while playing the role of Jerry Alison in “The Buddy Holly Story” for The St. Lawrence Stage Co in Brockville, Canada.  Frank has done numerous commercials including Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, and Pepsi. After receiving his BFA degree in theater performance from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia, Frank moved back to South Florida where he met his wife, Jodi. After settling down and giving birth to their son, Joseph, the family continued in the performing arts and eventually became fully invested as owners here at UCPA!  Since taking over at UCPA, Frank has successfully turned the musical theater program here into first class full scale musicals! Frank is grateful for his family and the opportunity to pass on his knowledge and experience to his students here at UCPA!

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Faye Winterholler began dancing at the age of 9 years old in the United Kingdom where she was born and raised. Faye fell in love with dance straight away and went on to excel in competitions and examinations. Faye’s passion for dance earned her a place at the prestigious Laine Theatre Arts in London where she completed a three year intensive dance curriculum. During this time, Faye had the distinct privilege of working with renowned choreographers such as Barbara Evans, Phil Winston and Tudor Davies. Faye holds teacher diplomas and is a member of the Imperial Society of Dance, where she is fully qualified to teach tap, ballet, jazz and modern dance.  Throughout her professional career Faye has worked on top rated Welsh TV shows, performed in pantomimes at the Grand Theatre in Swansea, S. Wales, worked with singer/song writer Steve Evans, UK and danced throughout Europe including the largest Casino in the world Casinio Estoril. Faye has been a teacher for 18 years and says without a doubt teaching and choreographing is the pinnacle of her career. Faye is proud to say that she has been able to help students earn places at the Miami City Ballet, New World School of the Arts, and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Gilda Pianelli  has been involved in the entertainment industry since 1977. Ms. Pianelli is an internationally renowned acting coach and director of the University Center’s theater/film department. She has trained actors, both children and adults, at the Center since 1984. Along with her teaching Gilda-Pianelliaccomplishments, Ms. Pianelli maintains a high profile as a successful director of theatre/film (www.ambassadorpictures.com) as well as lighting designer for professional dance companies. Her lighting designs have been seen all over the world while touring with the highly acclaimed “Body and Soul Dance Theatre” (1982-1992). Currently she is the exclusive lighting designer for the distinguished flamenco company “Bailes Ferrer”. Ms. Pianelli’s acting students have, and continue, to grace the professional mediums of film, television and theater from Los Angeles to Broadway. Ms. Pianelli is a protégé of Mr. Eric Morris. (www.ericmorris.com).

Elaine Almonte was born in Dominican Republic where she began her theatrical training at the age of 9 at Centro de la Cultura in Santiago, Dominican Republic. She continued her education at Palacio de Bellas Artes de Santiago where she spent five years growing as a young actress. Elaine is a graduate of the Instituto de Cultura y Arte (ICA) in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where she received a BA degree in Dramatic Arts. Victor Checo, Iván Garcia, Claudio Rivera, and Verónica López are some of the master directors she had the opportunity to work with. After moving to the United States she found the University Center for the Performing Arts where she studied the Eric Morris technique with Gilda Pianelli, and she has been teaching acting technique to our student ages 3-17 ever since.  Elaine also serves as UCPA’s Camp Director for the last several years running our summer camps and directing camp musicals.

Pablo Malco is a choreographer, producer, public speaker and a dancer, first making his mark on the world as a street dancer from Brooklyn N.Y. But young and motivated, he began studying Jazz in high school and elaborated on his technique with education in Ballet, Acting and Movement Theory in college. Since high school, Pablo has been honing his performance skills; Malco’s professional career started in 1991 when he began to appear in several music videos, commercials, concerts and tours with products campaigns and artists such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Appleton Rum, Nescafe, Arsenio Hall, B.E.T., Paula Abdul, Skat Kat, College Boyz, Immature (IMX), Lil Wayne, Jason Derulo, Mims, , Ricky Martin, Will Smith, C&C Music Factory, Jean Michel Jarre , Sugar Hlll Gang, Jessica Simpson and many more. Since his performing days, Pablo has literally put dozens of hundreds of dancers to work both in live theatrical productions, industrials, and more. He has trained generations of dancers and is the founder and current director of The Developing Dreams Foundation. https://developingdreamsfoundation.org/

Vindhya Khare is the Director of the Music Department of the University Center for the Performing Arts in Davie and is an adjunct Professor of Voice at Florida International University in Miami. As a soprano, the Miami Herald describes her voice as “rich, agile…[and] radiant.” She has been awarded the title roles in Agrippina (Handel), and Jackie O (Daugherty), Mrs. Grose in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, as well as Savitri by Gustav Holst. She has also sung with Palm Beach Opera, is a soprano soloist at Plymouth Congregational Church in Coral Gables and appears in concert events throughout South Florida. As an accomplished pianist and voice coach, Vindhya was Principal Pianist/Voice Coach and Associate Chorus Master at Palm Beach Opera under the baton of the late Maestro Anton Guadagno. She has worked as a pianist for the Sherrill Milnes Voice Studio in Savannah, GA and has performed as a singer in the Savannah Voice Festival. She is also the Music Director and pianist for the opera concert series at Opera Benvenuto in Boynton Beach. She is the past President of The Paul L. Rodensky Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit organization committed to promoting arts education and presenting concert events. Vindhya is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. She holds a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from Florida International University and her undergraduate degree in piano performance from California State University, Northridge.

 Barbara Sloan is a veteran of both the dance and acting stage.  After an extensive career in dance, Barbara turned her talents towards the theater stage. She is an award winning actor that has appeared in more than 30 plays and is a five time Carbonell Nominee for Best Actress in a Drama. You may also have seen her in various television commercials and in the docudrama “Adrift” on the Discovery Channel. Other recent projects include working with her partner, Richard Brookens, on two performance art pieces commissioned by the Miami Light Project and as a guest theater teacher in high schools throughout Miami.

 Seth Gordon is a professional entertainer who was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He is an active performer, a professional dancer, choreographer, and aspiring actor who specializes in all aspects of hip hop dance. Seth has danced for several recording artists such as T-Vice, Jenna Drey, Don Philip, The Alex Bradd’n Project, Ciara, and Sean Kingston to name a few. He also appeared in several local, regional and national commercials, PSA’s, and music videos. Some credits include, Toyota, Casino Rama, Nike, Throat Cooler, Burger King, Winn Dixie, Mountain Dew, Royal Caribbean, and more!

Bryant Caprirolo was born in Miami, Florida and grew up with the rich culture Miami is so well known for. Jazz, Contemporary and Hip Hop Dance is his passion and he loves teaching at UCPA as well as dancing with UCPA’s Resident Dance Company, Impulsik  under the artistic direction of Jodi McMahon. Bryant is a true technician and loves instilling his love for the technical process in his students. His signature contemporary, jazz and hip hop style and passion has given him unique recognition in the dance world. Bryant has danced all over and was previously featured at the Duncan Theater in a piece set by Body Traffic. Bryant has also trained with Gilda Pianelli and Barbara Sloan in acting and physical theater.  He is the happiest when he is dancing and/or acting and he is so thankful to live his life as an artist. Without it he would not be who he is today.

At a very young age Bryanna discovered percussion, and has since studied and performed with some of the greatest drummers in the world including; ‘Sultan of Swing’ Hossam Ramzy, Richie Flores, Bobby Ameen, Joe Zeytoonian and Myriam Eli, to name a few. Her love of music led her to also pursue dance. She has studied a variety of styles, under a myriad of instructors, but her focus lies on Middle Eastern and Flamenco. She is also a trained fire performer. Her professional career as a dancer and percussionist includes performances that have taken her to many exciting places such as New York, London, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In addition, Bryanna has been performing and teaching all over South Florida for over 15 years. She is the co-director of Fort Lauderdale based dance company, Masala Middle Eastern Dance Fusion. They perform every year at the Florida Renaissance Festival.  Bryanna, also goes by the name Kikakapu, or “Kika,” and is a senior member of the MeduSirena Aquaticat Pod, an aquatic performance group specializing in underwater mermaid and pearl dive shows. Making their home at The Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, the Aquaticats can be seen all over South Florida, as well as, as far across the globe as Macau.

Storm is a dancer, choreographer, and instructor with a huge passion for dance! At 4 years old after watching Michael Jackson in concert for the very 1st time on television, Storm knew right away that she wanted to perform. She’s had the opportunity to dance for artist such as Lil Wayne, Sean Kingston, T-Pain, Jake Miller and more. Storm is also a performance coach/choreographer for local up and coming artist, sharing with them her very strong love for the arts.

Cheryl Barth is a top notch quality piano instructor with a huge heart and infectious sense of humor! She is expanding her piano studio, and loves to share with her students her 40 + years of experience and knowledge!  She has been playing the piano for over 55 years, starting lessons as a child in her hometown of Danville, Illinois, and has nearly 40 years of experience as a private teacher and accompanist.  She studied with Linda Lamb Hirt, Tella DeBose and Julian Dawson at Illinois State University, and was fortunate enough to participate in a master class with John Wustman, who was the accompanist for the great Luciano Pavarotti. She is currently the assistant pianist at Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.  Everyone from age 7 and up and all experience levels are welcome – you’re never too old to start or to brush up on what you already know.  Let’s make some music!

Natassja Marin began her career as a singer-songwriter when she was fifteen years old, under the guidance of former UCPA instructor Rossella Lamendola. Since then, she has performed in choirs and participated in local competitions, such as Future Stars, and received various awards. Natassja is also actively involved in the local music scene, having created and led two rock bands in Davie and Miami. Her years of experience performing led her to study music at Broward College, where she received her Associates Degree. She is a vocal student of Doctor Vindhya Khare at Florida International University, where she will graduate from in 2021 with her Bachelors Degree in Music Education.