Florida Tap Dance Ambassadors
The Tap Girl of Florida
Kayla Cowart is a qualified dancer and passionate tapper whose dream is to become the heart of Florida’s tap dance industry. A professional in creative industry, she is a 21st Century entertainer, dancer and choreographer who is quickly emerging as a leader in Tampa Bay’s performing arts community. In 2015, Kayla adopted the stage name “Tap Girl of Florida”, and created the Florida Tap Dance Project, an initiative to create a vibrant and sustainable tap dance community in the Tampa Bay Region. She is the sponsor of the Rhythm Dolphin Tap Dance Trail and the pioneer of the Tap Dance Ambassadors of Florida a community forum for Florida’s tap dancers to partner, perform, collaborate, and connect.
Locally Kayla has performed in several community theatre projects that includes Ruth Eckerd Hall’s, Marcia P. Hoffman Institute’s Chocolate Nutcracker and the Mahaffey Theater’s production of The Family Heritage and Chocolate with a Twist.
Driven by sheer passion, Kayla is extremely motivated by rhythm as she strives to serve as a catalyst for the emergence of Florida’s tap on the national tap dance circuit and the resurgence of tap dance in the performing arts community. At the age of 18, Kayla headed to the “Big Apple” for an open-call audition with “Stomp.” She currently plays two different characters in the New York Cast of this phenomenal musical production.
When she is not performing in the cast of “STOMP” at the historic Orpheum Theatre in New York City, or on tour with “STOMP” at venues across the country, the Tap Girl of Florida is putting the St. Petersburg-Clearwater region on the national dance map as founder of The Florida Tap Dance Project, The Tap Dance Ambassadors of Florida and The Annual Dunedin Tap Dance Festival.
Tapped In Incorporated
Mrs. Storrison founded Tapped In, Inc., a youth/young adult tap performance ensemble, and currently serves as the President and Artistic Director. Since its inception in September 2008, Tapped In, Inc. has grown to over 10 active members and performs original works throughout Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Ms. Storrison has been on the staff of Patricia Ann Dance Studios for the last 10 years as an Intermediate/Advance Tap instructor as well as choreographing for the competitive team. In 2005, Morgan’s tap piece "Chair Dance" won the Best Execution for InterFlorida Dance Challenge.
This piece was also chosen as one of eleven dances featured in the 2005 IDC Florida promotional video. In 2008, at Dance America Florida her tap duet "All In" was chosen to perform in Disney World’s Tomorrowland. Most recently her piece “Buckjump” was chosen to perform at Hollywood Studios in connection with Dance America Florida in 2012. Ms. Storrison also serves as the Tampa representative for the InterFlorida Tap Association.
The Truth Tap Company
Ruth Mendoza is a 22 year old tap dancer from Seminole, Florida. She has been dancing since the age of three and has been tap dancing for over 18 years. As a choreographer, she has been teaching at Jeanne Lynn Dance Studio is Saint Petersburg, Florida since 2012. Ruth started Truth Tap Company in 2014 right before she moved to NYC. In New York she joined Chloe Arnold’s Apartment 33 tap company, and Anthony LoCascio’s Taplife company and trained with them for about a year before moving back to grow her company. With everyone she’s trained with throughout conventions and workshops such as Tap Kids, Tap into the network, Syncopate, Slide, Tampa Bay Tap Fest and many more, she’s learned a lot about the ever-changing art of tap. She plans on choreographing and dancing and eventually opening up a studio of her own one day.
Tampa Bay Taps
Ashlyn Bolton is the new Director and Owner of Tampa Bay Taps - Center for Tap Dance and it’s performance company, The Rhythm and Sole Tap Ensemble. Instructor, Choreographer, Dancer: Ashlyn teaches Ballet, Tap, Hip-hop, Modern, and Jazz across the Tampa area. She was named Best Local Dancer in Creative Loafing’s 2017 Best of the Bay; has trained with the Radio City Rockettes through their invited intensive program; has performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade multiple times; had a role in "Contest: The Movie;" was the first place winner of the Dare to Dream Scholarship awarded by the Marcia P. Hoffman Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall; and is an intern for Chloe and Maud Arnold during their D.C. Tap Fest.
Ashlyn started training with the Patel Conservatory at the age of 7 and grew up in Patel’s Dance, Music, and Theater programs. Along with taking Tap and Jazz classes at Ruth Eckerd Hall through High School. Ashlyn has been accepted into numerous dance training programs; such as American Ballet Theater’s Summer Intensive, Tap Kids, The Intensive, and Tap City. Throughout this season of Ashlyn’s first year of directing, the Ensemble has performed at Disney Springs, Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios, Dancing For Diabetes in Orlando, the Florida Strawberry Festival, and numerous other local shows. Ashlyn plans to continue to grow the knowledge of tap dance in the Tampa area and to keep wowing audiences around the world with the Ensemble’s love of the dance and quick feet!
Jenne Vermes has been dancing for 31 years. She received training at conservatory and competitive levels in Florida and New York, and she spent several years as a teaching assistant to Anthony LoCascio, Artistic Director of the #Taplife dance company and formerly of Tap Dogs. She studied music theory for her B.A. and earned two Master's degrees in education at Florida State University.
Jenne currently teaches at several schools and studios in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas and choreographs for the Saint Augustine Ballet Company. She is also the Professor of Tap Dance at Florida School of the Arts and at the University of Florida as well as a music teacher for Duval Public Schools.
From 2010-2012 she toured as a dancer/singer for the internationally acclaimed band, The Crüxshadows, which traveled across Europe, the Caribbean and North America. These days she spends most of her time as the Artistic Director of two professional tap dance companies: Noise Complaint - Tap Dance Theatre and Rhythm Theory Tap Ensemble, currently performing across the US.
Cathy Scavelli began her dance training at a very young age in Connecticut and trained in ballet, tap and jazz. Her instructor, Lorraine Judd-White, was mentored by Henry LeTang and Leon Collins. She feels very fortunate to have had exceptional tap training throughout her childhood/young adult life. She continues to train by attending various tap dance festivals throughout the United States.
Cathy has taught all tap levels from beginner to pre-professional and is currently the tap director at Dance Extreme Academy in Trinity, FL. She is also the Founder and Creative Director of “Tap Sensation” – Pasco County’s premier Tap Dance Troupe. She has mentored many students who have gone on to become tap instructors in Florida and elsewhere. Cathy teaches tap technique and tap rudiments regularly in class and believes a good foundation in technique is essential for all who are serious about their development as a tap dancer. She also loves to teach historical choreography from the great tap masters to help educate her students about tap history.
In 2017, her choreography, “Can’t Touch This” performed by Emma Meyers, was one of three solo pieces to be chosen from the United States to compete at the IDO World Tap Dance Championships in Riesa, Germany. Her choreography has also won top awards at local and national dance competitions. Cathy is also the choreographer for the Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Marching Band’s dance group which has performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City (and also will be heading back in 2019), the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, DC, and numerous other national and international events.