A native of South Florida, Karen Ann began her dance training at the age of four, under the Artistic Direction of Joan Miller of the Palm Beach Ballet Center. By age 16, she was a principal in the company and spent her high school years studying and performing throughout the Palm Beaches and Dade County area. Other influential instructors included: Sonia Diaz of Ballet Concerto, Edward Villella of Miami City Ballet, Colleen Smith of Ballet Palm Beach, Victoria Leigh, Jim Franklin, and Ruth Petrunovich.
Karen Ann’s summers were spent in New York and Los Angeles to enhance her dance education. Favorite teachers included: Finis Jung, Ben Stephenson, Susan Jaffe and Susie Taylor (lyrical). At 19, Karen Ann received a full scholarships to the Royal Academy of Ballet’s teacher training summer intensive in London, England. That same year she was chosen by Alicia Alonzo, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Cuba, to demonstrate variations and technique for videos to be used for the Ballet School in Havana, Cuba.
At an early age Ms. Ugalde discovered a passion for teaching and choreography that has led to over 40 years of training young dancers, creating award winning dances and providing the foundation for future careers. She has been a long time resident teacher of ArtStage of the Performing Arts in Jupiter, working along side Artistic Director Linda White and her friend and mentor, Charles Russell of the Joffrey Ballet. She had a 15 year partnership with her friend and studio owner, Susan Lyle, where she created original story ballets. In 2002, a $50,000 grant was awarded to bring the entire cast of “The Rainforest” ballet to perform in the Dominican Republic.
Karen Ann is so very proud of all of her students and their accomplishments. Many are thriving in companies from California to the Netherlands. This is inspires her everyday to continue to teach the art of dance.