Professional Staff

Gina Montalto, Head Choreographer

Gina Montalto is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher based out of New York City but with New Jersey roots. She began her technical training at New Jersey School of Ballet and the American Academy of Ballet, auditioning for and participating in the Intensive Program as well as annual productions of NJB’s The Nutcracker at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. She attended Livingston High School and grew as a performer in their Theater Program as a dance soloist and captain.

      At Rutgers University Gina was an active member of the Rutgers Performing Dance Company where she widened her vocabulary to other styles including hip hop, jazz and contemporary, while also taking ballet and modern classes at Mason Gross School of the Arts. She earned her BA and MAT in Italian Language and Literature, and she decided to continue her education in dance at County College of Morris where she completed her Associates in Fine Arts. At CCM her student work was selected to be performed and adjudicated at the American College Dance Festival in upstate New York. While working towards her degree, Gina also auditioned for and participated in Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester Program where she was cast in musical theater and latin jazz pieces under the direction of Ashle Dawson and Ricky Hinds. During this training program Gina also had the opportunity to work The Pulse Dance Convention NYC.

       Gina has danced for several dance companies including a season with Artsy-e, a modern company based out of New York City, Introspective Movement Project- a contemporary jazz company based out of Philadelphia, and most currently with Impact Movement Collective where she is in her second season and has performed in many festivals in New York. Gina is also a freelance choreographer in New York City and her work has been shown at many dance festivals including: Chen Dance Center’s NewSteps New Series, Artists in Flight, The Moving Beauty Series, Sans Limites Fall and Spring Festivals, Kodafe in NYC, Translate (Voices of Dance) by the JChen Project, Dancers Unlimited Legacy Showcases and many more. Gina has also choreographed musicals at Livingston High School and Millburn High School for the past 6 years and has guest taught at several dance studios around New Jersey.

      Gina is a certified ballet instructor and active member of the Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey, and she attends their teacher training workshops and conventions annually. This will be Gina’s fifth season with StarStruck as an instructor and choreographer for the Elite Dance Company. She hopes to continue to instill technical excellence, artistry and a passion for dance in each and every one of her students!
Carolyn Ferraro, Dance Educator & Choreographer

Growing up in rural Hunterdon County a young Carolyn Marie embraced the country life, but also yearned to perform for thousands underneath the bright stage lights. She studied at some of the best and most sought after dance schools on the east coast such as New Jersey School of Ballet and Ballet Forte. In summer 2009 at 16 years old, she was selected as one of 32 students worldwide to participate in the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Summer Musical Theatre Program at CAP 21, a fully accredited college program. Carolyn later auditioned for and was accepted into the New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble where she performed at the Joyce Theater (NYC), Summer Stage in Central Park (NYC), Ailey Citigroup Theater (NYC), and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Newark) just to name a few. She also performed in New Jersey Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker at the Paper Mill Playhouse.

Carolyn auditioned for and was accepted into Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University for dance. While in college her ballet teacher invited her to audition for New Jersey Youth Theater/NJPAC where she performed in tours of Kiss Me, Kate at NJPAC (Newark) and Smokey Joes Cafe. Carolyn was then inspired to continue singing and started to write her own music. Her unstoppable enthusiasm and exacting nature led her to seek out and work with top industry professionals such as multiplatinum and Grammy award winning producer, Earl Cohen, and EMI/Sony ATV producer, Synematik.  

When Carolyn wasn't in the studio writing or recording she was attending Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University full time, juggling her full-fledged music career with the rigorous demands of the dance conservatory program where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University in May of 2014. She was nominated for "Outstanding New Band/Soloist of 2014" in the Lehigh Valley Music Awards (LMVAs), was a finalist in RAWards for "Musician of the Year" representing New York City and her song," Surrender", from her debut EP Backstage Pass was awarded finalist in the prestigious US Songwriting Competition. Another song from her debut, "Take Back The Power", Carolyn's collaboration with inspirational icon Eric LeGrand , attracted major media outlets across the New York metropolitan area like Fox 5 o'clock news, NBC10 Philadelphia, NJ.com, Magic 98.3, and many more creating major buzz and anticipation for this powerful and motivational anthem. Signing with Swedish record label, Substream Music Group, is this rock stars latest triumph. Carolyn Marie is determined to turn her childhood dream into an empire, one performance at a time.
Scott Mahoney, Strength and Conditioning Coordinator

Scott began his athletic career at a young age, focusing on soccer. He played for US PARMA, a select northeastern division of an Italian soccer team, playing in championship games across the country.

In high school, Scott earned 12 Varsity letters, including 2 gold letters at Governor Livingston High School. He broke records in the 100m and 200m races as well as the 4x100m relay.

Scott made the switch to football in his senior year and was a starting receiver, cornerback, and kicker. He was first team all conference, first team all county, and was a division 1 AA recruit.

Scott holds a Bachelors Degree in Finance from The University of Kansas and is completing his MBA in Global Business and Real Estate at the Rutgers University School of Business. In addition to being our strength and conditioning coordinator, Scott works for the FX and emerging markets desk at an asset manager.

Scott recently attended the Rutgers Strength and Conditioning Clinic through the Rutgers Football Program and is eager to bring his knowledge to our Elite Dance Company. Coach Scott believes that competitive dance is both a sport and an art. He looks forward to training our team members and helping them gain the strength and confidence to reach their fullest potential as competitive athletes.
Stephanie Nunziato-Virga, Dance Educator & Choreographer

Stephanie Nunziato-Virga began her dance training at age six at The Ballet Barre School of Dance. At Ballet Barre, Stephanie trained and competed in ballet/pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, and modern until the age of 17. Stephanie trained through the Royal Academy of Dance curriculum and received the highest destination on her annual ballet examination. 

Stephanie had the opportunity to perform The Nutcracker with the Donetsk Ballet Company of Ukraine at age 8. Stephanie trained with the American Academy of Ballet Summer Intensive at Vassar College. Stephanie has also trained in ballroom, salsa, and Tahitian dance. 

Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor degree in Genetics. While at Rutgers, she was on the Rutgers Crew Team and danced with Rutgers Performing Dance Company. While completing her degree in genetics, Stephanie also took multiple credits in modern and ballet through Mason Gross. Stephanie received her masters degree in Genetic Counseling through the University of Pittsburgh. When Stephanie is not teaching at StarStruck, she is a full-time Oncology Genetic Counselor. 

We couldn't be happier to welcome Miss Stephanie to our StarStruck family. She will be working with our youngest dancers, providing them with a strong foundation and focusing on the technical excellence that StarStruck values. Stephanie is looking forward to passing on her love of dance to her students. 
Vanessa Pais, Dance Educator & Choreographer

Miss Vanessa has had a passion for dance since she put on her first pair of tap shoes. For nearly 20 years, she has spent countless hours in dance classes, including Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap and Hip-Hop.

She continued her love of dance throughout college, graduating with a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University. While at Montclair State, she had the privilege of performing in works choreographed by Jessica DiMauro, Jay T. Jenkins, Earl Mosley, Twyla Tharpe, Charles Weidman, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Urban Bush Women).

We are very pleased to have Vanessa on our staff of teaching artists.
Corrine Rotondo, Dance Educator & Choreographer 

We are excited to welcome Miss Corrine to the StarStruck family of teachers as our primary Ballet teacher working closely with our Elite Dance Company.

Corrine started her dance training at age 5 under the direction of Michelle Marigliano at Encore Center for Performing Arts formerly located in Dunellen, NJ. While at Encore, she trained in ballet, tap jazz, and acro.

She then went on to train with the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble once entering junior high, focusing primarily in ballet, modern and contemporary under the direction of Nancy Turano. With NJDTE, Corrine performed works and trained with artists such as Fabrice Lamego, Bradley Shelver, Elisa Clark and Andrea Miller, to name a few. She has learned and performed the choreography of choreographers such as Robert Battle and Twyla Tharp.

Miss Corrine also attended Somerset County Vocational Technical school part time, where she continued to study the art of dance. Corrine then went on to pursue her dance career by attending Marymount Manhattan College as a B.F.A. dance major. Corrine has performed at venues such as the Ailey Citigroup Theater, the Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, NJPAC and Carnegie Hall.

Corrine has earned a B.A. degree in psychology from Rutgers University and a Masters in Dance and Movement Therapy from Pratt Institute. She is delighted to be teaching at StarStruck and is eager to share her knowledge with her students while watching them learn and grow.
Sarina Taggart, Dance Educator, Choreographer & Performer

Sarina has been dancing since the young age of 3. She studied and competed in various types, such as rhythmic tap, soft shoe tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and musical theatre.

Sarina has trained at many prestigious programs and schools, such as Joffrey Ballet School, The Boston Conservatory and she is an alumni at the Rockette Summer Intensive. Sarina has received her A.F.A degree in the fine arts and is now a professional dancer in New York City. She is dance captain for Flying Metals Tap troupe and a company member in Aries in Flight. She also does free-lance work with other choreographers and appears in many shows throughout the year.

Besides performing, Sarina, has been teaching since she was 16 years old. Sarina’s love, passion, and knowledge for the art of dance is passed on to her students, which makes her job even more enjoyable! We are thrilled to welcome Miss Sarina to the StarStruck family!
Courtney Connors, Acro/Tumbling Instructor

Courtney was born and raised in NJ and began her dance training at age 5 and her gymnastics training at age 7. By age 12 she joined a competitive independent colorguard and traveled all over the US earning many first place medals. 

After graduating from high school as a Junior, she spent her freshman year at Raritan Valley Community College where she was able to dance one semester with Randy James’ Company. Her sophomore year she was accepted into the University of the Arts, where she continued her studies as a Dance Major, and graduated with a BFA.

After completing college she kept up with her training at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC and began teaching full time in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and acro-jazz. Over the last 15 years she has never stopped teaching and has earned many choreographic achievements for her routines in tap, lyrical, and acro-jazz.  

Courtney is also a certified Personal Trainer and spent four years in Washington, DC where she created a successful gymnastics and sports program at one of the top gyms in the city. Her love of dance is everlasting and nothing fulfills her more than seeing her dancers grow and perform with confidence. We are thrilled to welcome Courtney to our professional teaching staff, specializing in acro/tumbling for our advanced students and competitive dance company. 

Matt Lopez, Guest Choreographer

Matt Lopez first started dancing at the age of 10, performing for a Filipino dance troupe in New Hampshire. He attended Northeastern University majoring in theatre. Matt later transferred to the University of Central Florida where he danced at Walt Disney World. There, Matt had the opportunity to perform with Hillary Duff in the Christmas Day Parade televised on ABC.

Upon graduating from Central Florida, he landed a job as the mascot for the New England Patriots. In the spring of 2010, Lopez was featured in the Go-Go Segment on "Live with Regis and Kelly." His other notable past stage/television performances include dancing for Sean Kingston and Wyclef Jean on a kids programming show on PBS, as well as for Demi Lovato on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Matt now lives in New York City where he is currently dancing and choreographing with his partner, Melissa Ramos-Lopez, who previously danced for the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. In April 2012, Lopez was the audition facilitator for a Nicki Minaj performance and chosen as a lead dancer in Times Square for the debut of her album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded." Matt recently choreographed for the 5-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots Cheerleaders, the pre-game performance at Madison Square Garden for the NY Knicks and for R&B/Pop artist, Sid Haywoode, whose song, "No Excuses" was #6 on Europe's dance hit chart. 

Lopez has taught hip hop/funk master classes across the USA and abroad in the Philippines, Japan, Colombia, Israel, Canada and the United Kingdom. In 2015, he was selected as one of the Top 12 Dance Convention Teachers in the USA by "Dance Informa Magazine." Lopez is currently teaching hip hop and street jazz at Steps on Broadway, Sarah Lawrence College, NY Film Academy and Wagner College located in New York.
Melissa Ramos, Guest Choreographer

Born and raised in New York City, Melissa began her dance training at the age of 15 at Ballet Hispanico where she trained extensively in ballet, jazz and modern dance on scholarship for over two years. In the summer of 2008, she joined the Young Dance Makers Company, based in NYC, where she was given the opportunity to choreograph and perform in different venues and landmarks around the city.

Wanting to further her training she went on to study at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. While exploring different styles of dance she developed a great passion for hip hop and commercial street styles and began working with teacher/choreographer Matt Lopez. Working together has expanded her performance opportunities, creating flash mobs around the city to create awareness for various issues in society, shooting how-to-videos for Howcast.com as well as being part of various NYC showcases including the Steps Faculty Show.

In 2012, Melissa became a company member of the Pointillism Jazz Consort based in Ohio where she performed ballet, jazz and hip hop in a modern version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." In 2015, Melissa joined NBA's finest dance team, the "Brooklynettes." While being on the team she had the opportunity to model for the team's calendar shoot in Barbados as well as represent the team for the "Watch Me Work Tour" in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile. During the tour she had the privilege to teach dance clinics and speak to teenagers along with other panelists to inspire them and share her knowledge of dance.

Melissa enjoys teaching and choreographing hip hop and jazz for teens at Center Stage Dance and Theatre School as well as Beyond Dance based in New Jersey. She has taught at Broadway Dance Centers' Children and Team Program, the American Musical Dramatic Academy and is also a regular substitute dance instructor for the musical theatre department at the New York Film Academy. With her partner, Matt Lopez she continues to co-teach and choreograph for competition teams in New Jersey and NYC as well as abroad in countries such as Colombia and England. This summer they are very excited to be choreographing for the New England Patriots Cheerleaders!

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