- February 3, 2010
LAKEWOOD RANCH — Michelle Teyke has no fear of the spotlight.
And, now, after a 22-year career in Europe, first as a professional ballerina and, then, as a musical-theater performer, she will bring her passion and experience for dance and theater to a new venue: a musical-theater school.
Teyke is opening Ovation School of Musical Theatre in Lakewood Ranch. The new school, which will offer classes in ballet, lyrical, tap and jazz, as well as in voice, acting and improv, among others, will hold an open house from noon to 4 p.m. June 8, at the school, 9122 Town Center Parkway. Attendees can register, meet faculty and see student performances at the event.
Teyke will offer summer camps at the location and then open for fall classes Aug. 26. A grand opening will be held Aug. 24.
Student at heart
Teyke danced herself into a professional ballet career at the age of 16. While visiting family in Germany with her mother, the aspiring ballerina made sure to attend ballet classes there.
During her three weeks of vacation, she had three job offers. Teyke, who graduated from high school a year early, jumped at the opportunity.
“To be a classical ballet dancer in the United States is not easy,” Teyke said. “It’s a very short season. In Germany, it was a year contract.”
She spent 11 years dancing classical ballet and, during that time, was invited to perform with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, where she danced the lead role in “Swan Lake,” among other accomplishments.
“I danced all over — Japan, Paris, Bulgaria, Belgium,” Teyke said. “At 28, I went into musical theater. When you are 27 years old, you are old in ballet. I wasn’t ready to stop performing.”
She began acting and singing classes and then switched careers, securing a job at the Theater des Westens, in Berlin.
“In those 11 years (in musical theater), I did six shows a week, some 30 productions,” Teyke said, noting she also made movies and appeared on television.
The musical-theater industry, which had begun its boom as Teyke began her career in it, began to change, however, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Theaters no longer received financial support from the government.
Ten years later, Teyke made the move back home to the United States.
“My daughter had been born,” she said. “I thought it was a good time to come home.”
In the United States, Teyke found a new niche and passion: teaching. She worked at the University of Cincinnati’s musical-theater department and also became the head of dance at the University of Kentucky.
“I started directing and choreographing, as well,” Teyke said.
She moved with her two daughters in 2006 to Lakewood Ranch and began working at the Sarasota Ballet and the Sarasota Players.
“I’ve been thinking about opening my own place since (living in) Ohio,” said Teyke. “Now seemed like the perfect time to do it.”
Teyke said her training in dance, voice and theater has given her a greater appreciation for proper technique, and that fact makes the technical side of musical theater a critical theme of the school.
“Our motto for the school is training triple threats,” Teyke said.
Teyke said the school will focus on the crafts of song, dance and acting — not just learning a routine for a performance.
“Everything’s going to be based on technique, so if someone is really serious, they will learn the tools they need to fulfill their goals,” she said. “If they want to do it for fun, they’ll learn to do it properly.”
Ovation will offer classes for adults, including non-impact aerobics, fitness dance, ballet, acting and more.
Teyke said she is excited about her faculty, which includes retired McNeal Elementary School teacher Helene Levin and East County residents Nikki Maak Schuster and Joyce Valentine, as well as assistant director and acting teacher Matt McCord and dance teacher Charlie Logan.
“I’m excited,” she said of opening the school. “It’s a new chapter.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
IF YOU GO
Ovation School of Musical Theatre Open House
When: Noon to 4 p.m. June 8
Where: 9122 Town Center Parkway, in the Courtyard of Market Square plaza
Info: Ovation-musicalschool.com or 400-4854