Michelle Davis (Artistic Director, Instructor)
Michelle is entering her 14th 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.
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!
Rose Sunila (Modern and Yoga)
Rose Sunila is a dance educator, choreographer, and a Yoga Alliance registered RYT500 yoga teacher.
Born and educated in Finland, Rose received her BA and MA from the Dance Department of the Theater Academy of Finland.
“My journey in life has taken me to living on three continents, and I have been collecting my craft of dance and movement from these corners of the world. Whether teaching dance in the rural school system in Northern France, studying under Katie Duck in Amsterdam, experiencing Flying Low-technique with David Zambrano, or trying to grasp the cultural richness of Capoeira Angola in Brazil; all these experiences have formed me to be the mover and teacher I am today.”
Rose Sunila is excited to start her first year of teaching modern technique and yoga at MVBT, and to share her cross-cultural, interdisciplinary approach to dance with her students.
Lydia Davis (ballet, modern, choreography)
Lydia Davis has danced for eighteen years and is happy to now be teaching for MVBT. She participated in the Blue Lake Dance Ensemble, won the Virginia Budge Award for the arts, and was presented with the Maggie Patton scholarship in 2018 through the Ohio Dance festival. She also was invited to showcase her choreography at the Ohio Dance Festival, and performed in the Area Choreographer's Festival. Lydia is a 2022 graduate of NKU with a degree in Integrated studies. Lydia enjoys spending time working on visual art and other creative endeavors, being outdoors and hiking. Lydia is happy to be returning to teach ballet, modern, and choreography.
Niarra Gooden-Clarke (jazz)
Niarra Gooden-Clarke was born in Toronto, Ontario, and raised in Kent, Ohio where she began her training at competition based studios in her area. Niarra continued her training at Kent State University where she spent two years on Kent State Dance Team and two years in the Kent State Dance Ensemble, serving as Student Artistic Director for the ensemble in her junior year. She has had opportunities to perform in pieces by esteemed choreographers such as Ray Mercer, Yoshito Sakuraba, Tiffany Rae-Fischer, and Gary Abbott, and has learned from many acclaimed artists including Kayla Farrish, Juel D. Lane, and Baye&Asa. Niarra has attended summer intensives with Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Emerge125, and attended the BODYTRAFFIC summer program with a full scholarship. While completing her undergraduate degrees, Niarra taught dance classes at nearby studios in various styles to students ages 3-18 and was an assistant cheerleading coach at Roosevelt High School.
Niarra Simultaneously completed her senior year of university and danced with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company as a Jeraldyne Blunden Fellow. In spring of 2022, Niarra graduated with a B. A. in Dance and a B. A. in Sociology and was hired as a full company member with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, where she also teaches for Jeraldyne Blunden School of Dance.
Niarra is interested in the retelling and retention of African American history through movement and the utilization of the dancing body to express the black experience. Niarra finds joy in viewing and being invited to experience the expression of other artists through physical movement and is extremely excited to continue her professional career as a movement artist, teacher, and choreographer.
Rodney Veal (modern, ballet)
Rodney Veal, an independent choreographer and interdisciplinary artist who serves as adjunct faculty for Sinclair Community College. In addition, he currently serves as Career Community Coordinator for Sinclair Community College. He is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a B.S in Political Science and Visual Arts. He received his M.F.A in Choreography from The Ohio State University. Rodney currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Ohio Dance as President and also on the boards of Levitt Pavilions Dayton, HomeFull, WYSO, and Dayton Live!
In addition, he can currently be seen as the Host of the Emmy© Award winningTelevision series THE ART SHOW on Think TV & CETCONNECT.
Danita Scoggins has been teaching for more than 30 years. In between teaching jobs she was a featured dancer on Asuka, Japan & Holland America Cruise Lines and spent 3 years performing in Branson, MO. Other credits include: Kings Island, La Comedia Dinner Theatre, Sorg Opera, and Middletown Symphony, in addition to extensive choreographing experience. She was children’s rehearsal assistant to Mrs. DeWeese with the Moscow Ballet Co. Danita has a BFA in dance from Wright State U. and taught there for 7 years. She has also studied at the National Ballet School, Toronto. Childhood training was with DeWeese & Lubbers.
Teresa VanDened Sorge
Teresa VanDened Sorge, EdM is new to Cincinnati and currently teaches dance and dance education at Northern Kentucky University. She moved here from Philadelphia where she was the developer and founding Director of Koresh Kids Dance-an in school dance program which serves nearly 500 Philadelphia children each week. She was full-time lecturer of Dance and Dance Education at Muhlenberg College in Allentown PA for nearly a decade.. Her most recent danceworks include artistic collaborations with text, props, sculpture and video. Her work has been shown at multiple showcases in Philadelphia and Allentown, Northern Kentucky University, and most recently in St.Louis at the Big Muddy Festival. She has presented at the National Guild for Community Arts Education, ACDA conference, Jubilee Conference, Arts and Literacy Conference at UPenn, Teaching Artist Symposium, and the Temple Alumni Showcase. Teresa completed Anne Green Gilbert’s Summer Dance Institute for Teachers, as well as the Annual Institute for Arts and Transformation with Buildabridge International, where she has also served as teaching faculty and an Artist on Call. Teresa holds a BA in Dance Education and Dance Performance/Choreography from Hope College in Holland, Michigan and a Masters of Education in Dance degree from Temple University. Currently she is finishing her MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. She is very excited to join the MVBT family!
Abigail S. Trittschuh
Mrs. Abigail S. Trittschuh, "Abbie," is a professional artist with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Financial Services, graduating Cum Laude from Wright State University. Abbie danced professionally as a guest artist with Dayton Ballet as well as the pre-professional companies of Dayton Ballet II (DBII), Chautauqua Festival Dancers, and Ballet de Jeunesse (now Gem City Ballet). She has taught professionally for Dayton Ballet, Dayton Ballet School, Pontecorvo Ballet Studios, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Miami Valley Dance Center, Centerville Coeds, and privately. Additionally, she served as the Director of DBII Senior, DBII Junior, and Ballet Mistress of Ballet de Jeunesse. Abbie has choreographed works for DBII Senior and Junior, Dayton Ballet School, Dayton Opera, and the West Carrollton High School Show Choir most recently choreographing the musical "Addams Family" for the West Carrollton High School.
Cassie Wilson (Yoga)
Cassie Wilson is a yogi, dancer, and exercise physiologist who lives locally in Hamilton, OH. She began studying yoga during graduate school in Boston, MA in 2002, started teaching yoga classes in Houston, TX in 2006 while working at NASA, and most recently taught yoga classes at Miami University and Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park. Cassie completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training program in 2016 and is currently completing an additional 300 hour training. Her classes are welcoming to all levels and infuses a variety of yoga types including hatha, vinyasa, and kundalini.