Michelle Davis (Artistic Director, Instructor)
Michelle is entering her 11th year as the director of Miami Valley Ballet Theatre and is thrilled to be developing the community that is MVBT. Known for its ability to allow dancers to grow and push themselves to succeed in a safe and loving atmosphere, where expectations are high and where peer mentorship is a learned skill, Michelle encourages MVBT dancers to be not only great dancers, but great people.
Her passion for dance education, for all, has led to the development of the Without Limits dance program for adults and youth with disabilities as well as community partnerships with the Inside out Art Studio, the Fitton Center for Creative Arts and the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton.
Michelle has a BA in education and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Miami University. She meshes her understanding of child development and her lifetime love of dance and dance education into her classes as well as her management of students and programs at MVBT.
Kodee VanNort (ballet, pointe, modern instructor)
Kodee Van Nort is thrilled to begin her 11th season with Miami Valley Ballet Theater. Kodee began her dance experience on the plains of Western Nebraska with Vaudeville veteran, Iris Besaw. Ms. Besaw’s intense training formed Kodee’s interest in dance as a craft, art, discipline, and language.
She continued her dance journey at the University of Wyoming where she earned a BA in Theatre and Dance. She was the first undergraduate to teach non-major classes at the university. She performed for four years in the UW Dance Touring Company with favorite roles being; the original role of ‘White Buffalo Woman’ in the ballet Cattle Kate; classical roles such as ‘Pimpinella’ in Pulcinella; World Premier contemporary role of ‘Meander’ in The River; and character work in Le Bourgeois Gentihomme by Molière. Upon graduation, Kodee served as assistant choreographer and performed the lead role of the "Phoenix" in The Cherokee National Heritage Center’s “Trail of Tears”. Missing the classroom, Kodee created and implemented dance classes for the P.E. department at Western Nebraska Community College. It was this love of pedagogy that continued her educational journey at Sam Houston State University where she earned her MFA. While at SHSU she served as a graduate teaching assistant as well as performed and choreographed for the Spectrum Dance Company. Before relocating to Ohio, she shared her love of dance with students at Austin Dance Company, Western Oregon University, and Silverton Ballet and Performing Arts. She performed with Ad Hoc in Manchester England where she was able to explore performance and choreography through improv with the community. Locally, Kodee has taught at Contemporary Dance Theatre, AVO School of Ballet, Mason Dance Center, The Academy of Dance Arts, and Cincinnati Ballet. Kodee has worked with several local choreographers such as Judith Mikita, Diane Germaine, Jeri Gatch, and Susan Moser. Her latest work was presented by OhioDance in the Young Artist Dance Series. Kodee currently serves a dance educator at Miami Valley Ballet Theatre and St. Xavier High School. She serves on the executive committee of OhioDance and has recently completed foundation courses in the Language of Dance®. Kodee has two teenage boys and an unbelievably supportive husband.
Melissa Slater (Ballet Instructor)
Melissa began her dance training at the age of 4 with Janet Carleton. Throughout her childhood she studied with teachers under Janet, as well as teachers at CCM. Melissa attended summer study at the National Ballet School of Canada. Melissa taught for Janet Carleton, before pursuing a career in business and spending time with her husband. We are excited to have Melissa teaching our level 3 students for the second year with MVBT!
Mark Provart (slammers)
Mark comes to MVBT after 20 plus years in Los Angeles working in the world of entertainment. He has a BFA with an emphasis in Musical Theater Dance and has had an extensive career as a drummer, dancers singer, song writer and instructor. His credits include: Disney's Universal Studios Hollywood, Princess Cruises, NBC's The Voice, FOX Television's American Ido, ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Mark was a founding member of America's #1 "Stomp" style percussion troupe Rhythm Extreme performing around the world for over 15 years. He is thrilled to be here in Hamilton at MVBT!
Tracey Bonner (Adv. jazz and tap)
Tracey is the dance coordinator within the theatre and dance program at Northern Kentucky University. She is an active freelance choreographer, director, master teacher, and performer, in the greater Cincinnati region and beyond. During her three-year tenure at NKU, she has increased exposure and revenue for dance at NKU, facilitate an artistic residency with the Taylor 2 division of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and created and established a new performance program at NKU: The emerging Choreographers Showcase, an all student choreographed and produced showcase.
As a performer and member of Actors Equity Association, Tracey has performed in venues across the country including touring companies of A Chorus Line, Show Boat, and West Side Story. She has served as Choreographer and/or director for the Radio City Rockettes, Bank Street Theatre in NYC, Laguna Beach Dance Festival, The Arts Center of coastal Carolina, The Kentucky Conservatory Theatre, Woodford and the Human Race Theatre to name a few.
Tracey received her BFA from Shenandoah University, her MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and continues to pursue additional academic interests. She has received mulitple awards and recognitions for her artistic work, and most recently served as an Al Smith Artistic Fellow for the Kentucky Arts Council (2017) fpr jer wprl cp,bomomg dance and social justice.
Tracey maintains production of concert and theatrical work outside of NKU and continues to teach at multiple locations in dance and theatre where she seeks to empower young artists to greatness.
Matthew J. Keller
Matthew J. Keller is a movement artist, dancer, teacher, and choreographer. He began his movement journey at MVBT and later joined Butler Tech School of the Arts. This initial training opened a world of possibilities for dance and set him on a path to pursue dance as a career at Ohio University as part of the Honors Tutorial College. Here, Keller was awarded the Provost Undergraduate Research Fund to research for his Honors Thesis. At OU, Keller worked with Faculty such as Travis Gatling, Dr. Tresa Randall, Chengxin Wei, Ani Javian, Gladys Bailin Stern, and Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge. He also worked with a range of guest artists and performed Kyle Abraham's The Quiet Dance and Esum by Ghana Dance Ensemble-National Theatre's Nii-Tete Yarte among others. As a teacher, Keller strives to create an engaging, positive environment that to give students an enjoyable, yet challenging experience.
Jon Lawson is an independent dance artist from Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Performance and Choreography from Ohio University. At OhioU, Jon performed the work of Travis Gatling, Ani Javian, Lisa Moulton, Chengxin Wei, Nii Tete Yartey, and
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Jon was also a member of Azaguno, a traditional and contemporary African music and dance company, directed by Zelma Badu-Younge and Paschal Younge, which led him to be a guest artist with The National Dance Ensemble of Ghana. His choreographic work has been presented at Ohio University, Nuit Blanche Arts Festival in Athens, Ohio, The American College Dance Association, and the OhioDance Festival. Recently, Jon has performed and choreographed with The Movement Project in Cleveland, Ohio where he also presented work in the Cleveland Dance Festival and in “dotdotdot: An Evening at the Magalen”.