MEET OUR STAFF

MARIA MERCEDES BARBELLA

Executive Director and Producer

Environmental designer graduated from the Centro Artístico Villasmil de León, Maria Mercedes has over 15 years of independent experience developing housing, office and commercial space projects. She worked for 29 years as assistant accountant and deputy director in TAECA (Todo Acerca Edificaciones, C.A.) a construction and earthworks company in Venezuela. In 2009, along with her partner, Candy Machado, she founded el Centro Integral Candy Jazz in Caracas (Venezuela) and since has served as executive director and producer of the academic year closing shows. In this role, she has supported the artistic growth of over 900 students. She is currently CEO of Candy Jazz Academy in Davie, Florida (United States), which held its first show "Expressions in Motion" in 2016.

CANDY MACHADO

Artistic Director - Jazz, Tap and Ballet Instructor

She began her studies of ballet and jazz in Venezuela from an early age being taught by instructors like María Teresa Carrizo, Vicente Abad, Maruja Leiva, Caridad Espinoza, Laura Prieto and Mario Ignisi. She furthered her education in the United States having attended "Fusion Dance Company" in Miami, and in New York, “Morelli Ballet" with Lynn Simonson, "Steps on Broadway" with Fred Benjamin, Michael Owen and Ann Reinking, "Douglas Wassel School of Ballet and Theater Dance" with Michelle Assaf and Rick Atwell, "American Dance Machine" with Lee Theodore and "Broadway Dance Center" with Cecilia Marta and Frank Hatchett. She also danced with Joe Tremaine in Los Angeles and Cathie Roe in Santa Fe. She also studied percussion and piano in the "Pablo Castellanos" music school.

Candy Machado launched as a jazz dancer both in theater and on television with the Ballet Jazz de Caracas and RCTV (Radio Caracas Televisión), respectively.

In 1980, Candy, along with Clemencia Machado[VQB1] , founded Candy Jazz in Los Corales, Vargas state (Venezuela) and since dedicated over 35 years to teaching jazz, tap and ballet. She also partnered in 2009 with Maria Mercedes Barbella to found Centro Integral Candy Jazz in Caracas (Venezuela). [VQB2] During this time, she has worked as artistic director for more than 30 Candy Jazz presentations produced in Vargas, Caracas and Davie, Florida (United States).

Candy has also served as dance and jazz advisor for Siudy Garrido while preparing, year after year, hundreds of students as dancers for academic year closing performances in Caracas and Davie.

CLEMEN MACHADO

Assistant Director and Choreographer – Jazz Instructor

She began her tenure in the world of at classic ballet when she was 5 years old with Belkis Gonzalez and Teresa Chacón in Vargas state (Venezuela). She furthered her artistic upbringing with teachers as María Teresa Carrizo, Vicente Abad, Maruja Leiva, Caridad Espinoza and Laura Prieto in Caracas (Venezuela). She then entered the jazz world with María Luisa Bigott, in the "Escuela Jazzy" school with instructors from New York’s "JoJo’s Dance Factory" and in the "Cynthia Jazz Center" school; all in Caracas. She furthered her dancing formation in the United States having attended "Fusion Dance Company" in Miami, and in New York she enrolled in “Morelli Ballet" with Lynn Simonson, "Steps on Broadway" with Fred Benjamin, Michael Owen and Ann Reinking, "Douglas Wassel School of Ballet and Theater Dance" with Michelle Assaf and Rick Atwell and "Broadway Dance Center" with Cecilia Marta and Frank Hatchett.

Clemen performed with the RCTV ballet (Radio Caracas Televisión) under the direction of Cynthia Penn and, alongside Anita Vivas, she trained and prepared young artists starting in show business.  

Clemen developed her skills as an artist working with Mireya Power with her award winning oil painting in Puerto Rico: “A Orillas del Rio Amazonas”. Her artistry made her successfully develop large scale scenography in Vargas theaters. She co-founded Candy Jazz in 1980 in Los Corales, Vargas state (Venezuela) and since has dedicated more than 35  years to teaching jazz and preparing hundreds of students as dancers. She has also participated in numerous presentations showcasing her skills as a choreographer and artist in Venezuela, Tenerife (Spain) and Davie, Florida (United States).

ELIZABETH "TELLO" RONDON

Flamenco Instructor

Elizabeth Rodriguez Tello was born in Madrid-Spain and at a very young age moved to the city of Maracaibo in Venezuela. Her dancing formation began at an early age by her mother Lola and her aunt Oro, both professional dancers and founders of the Hermanas Tello School of Spanish Dances. This is how Elizabeth embarks on her journey in the world of dance, through which she has developed profound respect and affection. 

 

Her formal incursion in dance begins with the Bolera school, regional Spanish, flamenco, and ballet. Every year, Elizabeth and her mother visited Spain to receive classes prestigious schools in Madrid and Seville, her mother’s birthplace. In Spain she received classes from great flamenco dancers, among them, Pura Vargas, Maria, and Carmen Montiel, La China, Javier Marin, Alfonso Loza, Carmela Greco. She also received lessons in the United States from Omaira Amaya, Estrella Morena, Jose Junco, Ivan Heredia, Miguel Vargas, Nella Madarro among others.

 

From1980 to 1985 she began taking jazz and tap classes when she began implementing these disciplines at her mother's school. In 1988 she directed and participated in the Maracaibo Flamenca group. For 8 years, the Maracaibo Flamenca group was not only a prominent figure on Venezuela’s most renown stages and fairs but also internationally, performing in Aruba, Curacao, and St. Martin. 

 

After more than 38 years of teaching experience, Elizabeth declares: “everything around me is full art, my walk is music, art, and flamenco”.

DINORAH MORALES

Ballet Instructor

Dinorah Morales was born in Venezuela on September 15. She began professional ballet at the age of nine, in Gustavo Franklin Ballet School. At the age of 14, she entered  at the National Ballet of Caracas Teatro Teresa Carreño, under the artistic direction of Master and Choreographer, Vicente Nebrada. She danced numerous ballets as Double Corchea, Firebird, Pentimento, Romeo and Juliet, George Sand, Don Quixote, Our Waltzes, etc. Also in her repertoire are Swan Lake, Bayadere, Sulfides, Giselle, Serenade, Tarde en la  Siesta etc. Conducted numerous national and international presentations in different countries like Colombia, Peru, France, Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, and the United States. She Participated in the Autumn Festival of Spain, in the VIII International Dance Festival in Montpelier, Festival of Ballet in Cuba, and the Wolf Trap Festival in Washington DC. Her teachers were: Nina Novak, Julio Lamas, Jose Pares, Karemia Moreno, Graciela Diaz,  Lidija Franklin, Ninel Yultieva, Alberto Mendez, John Clifford, Karen Von Aroldinger among others. She danced  solos like: Mapanare (Fire Bird), Esperanza (Tarde en la Siesta), Ninfa (Pentimento), Pas de Deux Brown (Our Waltzes), among others ... She also worked as Stage Manager at the International Festival Ballet of Miami. After her retirement from the stage, she has devoted herself to train professional dancers with over 15 years of experience teaching in various schools of ballet, both in Venezuela and United States.

 

TATIANA TEJEDA

Hip Hop & Tap Instructor

Tatiana Alise Tejeda began dancing at the very young age of 2, starting off with simple classes of ballet, tap and jazz. As she grew older she started exploring more in contemporary, flamenco, musical theater, lyrical and hip-hop. Tatiana was apart of an award-winning dance team all throughout middle and high at an Arts Conservatory school. As she was a “Florida State Dance champion” she taught a team of elementary students all styles of dance as a volunteer service. Tatiana is now a teacher of all amazing styles of dance and aspires to be a background dancer for artists around the country while being a full-time college student!

 

VALERIE CABRERA

Ballet Instructor

Valerie Cabrera was born in Miami on November 29, 1998. She began ballet at the age of seven under the instruction of Rebeca Russo Columna, Tony Catenzarro, and Dinorah Morales. Valerie also has experience in tap, jazz, and flamenco under Chris Lee, Llimy Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Tello. She has performed in numerus shows including a few shows in Walt Disney World. Her classical repertoire includes excerpts from Don Quixote, Paquita, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty. She has been accepted to the ABT New York, Milwaukee Ballet, and Orlando Ballet summer programs. Valerie taught ballet, tap, jazz, and flamenco in Florida for three years. This year, Valerie will take over Creative Dance 1 and Creative Dance 2 under the guidance of Candy Machado.

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