Elissa Lyons,

Teacher/Team Choreographer

Miss Jenny has been dancing since age 7 at Miami Valley Dance Center.  She was a member of the competition team for 10 years and won many regional and national titles. She has studied many types of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Contemporary. She was given the opportunity to participate in the NCAA Kick-Off Classic Halftime Show at Giants Stadium as well as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  Miss Jenny graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2010 with a B.S. Supply Chain Management. After spending a few years working out of state, Miss Jenny is excited to have returned home to MVDC.  She is excited for another year of sharing her joy of dance with her students!

Barb Hager,


Miss Elissa has been dancing with MVDC since the age of 5 and will be entering her 27th season with the studio.  This will be her 19th year on the teaching staff. She is certified through Dance Masters of America and Ohio Dance Masters. In addition to performing and teaching dance, Elissa uses her artistic talent for studio graphics, program design and prop creation.  She is also an alumnus of the MVDC competition team.  In her 10 years of competing, she has won numerous high point and overall awards and titles.  Elissa continues to be involved with the Dance Force team as a choreographer.  In 2008, she graduated from Wittenberg University with a B.A. in studio art and a concentration in computer imaging.  She has performed with Wittenberg’s student dance company at the American College Dance Festivals (ACDF) in Athens OH and Mason, WN. Her other highlights include being a featured dancer in the Inventing Flight Opening Ceremony, dancing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Meadowlands Kickoff Classic and the Ohio Performing Art Institute's (OPAI) The Nutcracker. She currently resides in Medway with her husband, Doug, and their daughter, Piper. Their older daughter, Justyne, who is also an alumni of the Dance Force team, is entering her 3rd year of college. 

Tammie Shaffer,


Chelle Cartee, Teacher and Choreographer
Originally from Portsmouth, Ohio, Chelle began dancing with River Cities Dance Company in Greenup, Kentucky. After dancing with River Cities Dance Company for 15 years, Chelle was accepted into Wright State University’s Dance in Fine Arts Program in Dayton, Ohio. With the Wright State University Dance Ensemble, she performed eleven shows, in which she choreographed five different works. During her college career she also had the opportunity to serve as dance caption in Wright State’s musical Hairspray and perform with Dayton Ballet II in Dayton Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. After graduating from Wright State University with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts Dance and a minor in Business Management, Chelle began dancing with Fueled & Alflame Dance Company in Springfield, OH. Chelle is glad to be part of the Miami Valley Dance Center staff again this year.

Ivan Braatz,

Technique Instructor

Amy Jones,

Technique Instructor/ Team Choreographer

Tawna Richard has been at MVDC for 5 years, but has enjoyed dancing for over 30 years.  She has taken and taught dance on and off since the late 1980's and is very excited to get Irish Dance on the MVDC curriculum.  During high school, she was a member of the dance and drill teams for Orem High School in Orem, Utah.  She then attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and earned her BS in Exercise and Sport Science.  During college, she received dance scholarships for her school's performing dance company where she studied and taught:  Irish, tap, jazz, lyrical and ballet.  During her senior year of college, she worked with her college dance director and was able to start and run her own high school team at Notre Dame Academy High School in Park Hills, KY.  Tawna also taught Health and Physical Education at NDA.  During her teaching career, she also choreographed two school musicals, Peter Pan and Anything Goes.  Tawna left her high school teaching job after 5 years to start her family.  While being a stay at home mom, she received her MS in Human Nutrition and was able to still take Irish Dance Lessons for an additional 5 years as well as coming to MVDC with her daughter.  Though her family has moved around quite a bit, she is hoping to be able to stay in the area and have her children, Raeanne and Branhan, be a part of the MVDC family for many years to come.

Barb graduated from WSU in 1975 with a degree in Medical Technology (now called Clinical Laboratory Science). She worked at MVH and Children’s Medical Center and is currently employed by CompuNet Clinical Laboratory at MVH South. Barb has worked all three shifts and in most of the lab departments. She has a Specialty Certification in Hematology and Flow Cytometry thru the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). She voluntarily completes continuing education in all laboratory disciplines to maintain her certifications.  Barb has been married to her husband, Lon, for nearly 45 yrs.
Barb has been with MVDC (and formerly Noreen’s Dance and Fitness Academy) since 1984 when her daughter, Andi, began in Predance.  Andi’s younger sister, Valerie, started 5 years later. Both girls danced, joined the dance team, became teaching assistants and eventually graduated, went to college and moved away. Then, they came back.  Neither daughter could find a dance studio like MVDC. Ever. That is because of Miss Kelly and her teaching staff. The students at MVDC learn discipline, self-expression, and confidence. They learn hard lessons in what it means to be tenacious, to succeed, to fail, to endure and to shine. Somehow, Miss Kelly and her staff help students learn these vitally important life skills every year and keep the learning fun.
After her daughters left the studio Barb was fortunate enough to become one of the secretaries at MVDC (her favorite job by the way). She has enjoyed her secretarial duties at the studio since  she began working here in 2005. She was delighted to be given the opportunity. She has watched pre-dancers grow into talented, confident, creative young men and women.  Many of these former students have returned  bringing with them the next generation of young dancers (That would include her granddaughter, Madison, who visits in July  and takes summer classes) . This speaks to what the experience with Miss Kelly and her staff at MVDC provides.
Barb is pleased to still be a part of this amazing MVDC family and hopes to continue here for many years.

    Miss Renae has been dancing since age 4 at Miami Valley Dance Center.  She was a member of the competition team for 10 years and won many regional and national titles, including StarQuest Top Scoring Adult Soloist in 2009.  Renae is a graduate of the MVDC teacher in training program and is certified to teach through Dance Masters of America and Dance Masters of Ohio.  She has studied many types of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Pointe, Hip Hop, Swing and Contemporary.  She was given the opportunity to participate in the NCAA Kick-Off Classic Halftime Show at Giants Stadium as well as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  Renae graduated from Wright State University in 2008 with a B.S. in Marketing/Management and recently recieved her Masters in Human Resource Management.  While attending WSU, she was a member of the Emerald Jazz Dance Team and competed nationally with other Universities. re.

Miss Tammie works for Tecumseh Local Schools and is also a Licensed Medical Massage Therapist.  She has been married to her husband Andy for 22 years.(Who wouldn't miss the Man Dance for anything!)  They have two wonderful sons together, Joel and Grant.  Miss Tammie has been at MVDC since 2005 when her son Grant started dancing at the age of 4 years old in predance.  He fell in love with it and in 2010 he joined the competition teams. The choreographers and teachers are the best mentors a parent could ask for.  Miss Tammie says that even though Grant only has a couple of years left before he goes off to college, she hopes to stay at MVDC for many years yet to come!  "Once you're a part of the MVDC family, you never want to leave."

This is Amy's ninth year with the Miami Valley Dance Center. She truly enjoys working with the talented staff and students at MVDC. She is very excited for the upcoming season and can't wait to see how much the students grow. In addition to her commitment to MVDC Amy is also a Full time faculty member at the University of Dayton where she serves as the DCDC Artist in Residence and the Artistic Director of the University of Dayton's Dance Ensemble. She spent eight years dancing professionally with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) and continues to perform as a guest with the company. Amy is originally from Huntington, WV and received her training from the River Cities Dance Company. Ms. Jones graduated Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Dance. Amy served as Director of DCDC2 during its 2014-2015 season.  In addition to her commitment to MVDC and DCDC, Amy is also an instructor and choreographer for Dance Expressions Dance Studio in Vandalia, OH. Amy has worked for the West Virginia Governor’s School of the Arts and has also served as an adjudicator for many dance competitions across the U.S. She has created choreography for the Ohio Northern University's Dance Department, Wright State University's Faculty Concert, DCDC, UD, and DCDC2. 

Karen Simpson,

Teachers In Training Instructor

Celebrating 40 Years of Dance!

Miami Valley



Tawna Richard,

Irish Instructor,

Gem City Dancewear

Miss Karen has been teaching at the Miami Valley Dance Center for over 30 years. After dancing as a child, she studied Modern Dance for 2 years at Indiana University before switching majors to Spanish and Physical Education. She continued to take classes throughout her college career and beyond. After moving to Ohio in 1981, she began taking classes, and then teaching a few years later with Noreen Poppell at Noreen’s Dance and Fitness Academy (later known as the Miami Valley Dance Center). It was during her time with Noreen that Karen initially developed and began implementing the Teacher-in-Training class which continues today.  Karen is thankful to Miss Kelly for keeping her on as a teacher upon acquiring the studio and for continually working to make the Miami Valley Dance Center a studio of the highest quality and values. Karen is employed by the Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities as a PLAY Project Consultant, working with young children with autism and their families. In her spare time she is a coach for the Clark County Special Olympics. Karen has been married for 40 years to a wonderful, supportive husband. They have 3 grown children all of whom have had the exciting experience of dancing at Miami Valley Dance Center. 

Chelle Cartee, Teacher/Choreographer

Miss Jen has been dancing since the age of three and will be in her 28th year of dance this year!  She began under her mother's direction at Van Wert Academy of Dance in Van Wert, Ohio.  In 1998, her family moved to Enon, which is when she joined the Miami Valley Dance Center family! She has experience in ballet, jazz, hip hop, clogging, tap, contemporary and lyrical as well as cheerleading and theatre.  She was a featured dancer in Dayton's Inventing Flight Ceremony and also a member of the MVDC competition teams during her high school years.  Throughout her college career at Eastern Kentucky University, she independently assisted individuals and teams in preparation for various competitions throughout the state of Kentucky.  Miss Jen received her B. S. in Psychology form Eastern Kentucky University in 2008 where she was also a member of the nationally ranked EKU Dance Team.  Following her career at EKU, she continued her education at Wright State University to obtain her M. Ed. in School Counseling in 2010.  She is in her 7th year as a Middle School Counselor.  Her drive in life is sharing her true passion of dance with children of all ages.  She is proud to be able to teach with the person that gave her the gift of dance, her mom, Mrs. Jeanine Howell, and share her passion with her daughter, Jaycee, as she is entering her third year dancing.  "It is truly an honor and a dream come true to work with such an incredible team of choreographers, dancers and families!!"  Miss Jen considers her dance students 'her own' and enjoys getting to know them and their families on a personal & professional level. She resides in New Carlisle with her husband, John and daughters, Jaycee & Jentry and baby boy John.    

Kelly Fuller, Studio Director

Dance Force Director

Jenny Bailey, Teacher/Choreographer

Jennifer Priest,

Teacher/Team Choreographer

Mrs. Howell is a long time member of the MVDC family.  She was born and raised in Westerville, Ohio.  She graduated from Otterbein College in 1977 with a B.S. in Education and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Supervision from Wright State University in 1980. She has danced since the age of 4, including 2 years with the Columbus Civic Ballet when she was 16.  She is certified to teach through Dance Masters of America and Ohio Dance Masters.  Mrs. Howell left education for 7 years to follow her dreams when she owned and operated the Van Wert Academy of Dance.  Her studio grew from 70 to 250 students where she taught ballet, tap, jazz, pointe and clogging.  After moving to Springfield, she was fortunate enough to find MVDC and teach for Miss Kelly where she enjoys sharing the gift of dance with her students. Mrs. Howell currently teaches at Urbana University in the College of Education.   Mrs. Howell was married to her husband Denny for over 34 years. They have three wonderful daughters and son-in-laws.  Jessica and her husband Guy, Jennifer and her dancing hubby, John, and Julianne and Ben.  The next generation of dancers has arrived, also.  Mrs. Howell has three granddaughters, Jaycee, Maeleigh, and Jentry and 2 grandsons.

Ivan Braatz was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began his ballet training at the San Francisco Ballet School, where he trained for 6 years. He then trained at Houston Ballet Academy for one year. Ivan has performed corps de ballet roles with both companies. Highlights of his career thus far include performing in Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, Stanton Welch’s Romeo and Juliet, and as Russian in Helgi Tomasson’s The Nutcracker. This is Ivan's second season with Dayton Ballet and first year at MVDC.

    Miss Kelly has been passionate about dance since she was 8 years old.  Her commitment to learning, performing, competing and teaching are evident in the success of today's Miami Valley Dance Center.  She is a 1994 graduate of Wright State University with a B.S. in Business.  Miss Kelly is certified in jazz, tap and ballet by Dance Masters of America (DMA) and Ohio Dance Masters.  Her post-graduate learning continues to keep the studio among the best in local, regional and national competitions.  In 2006 she completed the 3 year Masters in Dance Direction Program with DMA.  She was the first in her class to graduate with this honor.  She is a past board member with Ohio Dance Masters, Chapter 16.  Her career highlights include, study with the Dayton Ballet School, performing with Rhythm in Shoes in the "Celebrating America" concert, master class teacher for Miami Valley Dance Teachers Association, featured dancer in the "Inventing Flight" 100 year celebration at 5/3 Field as well as choreographing numerous award winning performances.  She is currently an adjudicator for Kids Artistic Revue and Rainbow Dance Competition and gets the opportunity to judge throughout the United States.   Her students continue to be stand outs at many regional and national competitions and hold many title honors.  She has studied with Stacey Tookey, Ray Leeper, Denise Wall and Anthony Morigerato as well as Dee Caspary, Wes Veldnick, Sascha Radetsky and Tokyo.  She had the amazing opportunity to work with Nakul Dev Mahajan, Bollywood Choreographer for "So You Think You Can Dance" in Los Angeles as well as taking classes at the Millennium Dance Complex.  In 2015, Miss Kelly was inducted into the Fairborn City School's Hall of Honor.

​Jeanine Howell, Teacher/Choreographer

Renae Avey, Teacher/Team Choreographer

Lauren Daidone, Teacher/Team Choreographer

Lauren Daidone, born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, graduated cum laude from Ohio University with a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography. While at Ohio University, she performed in pieces choreographed by Gladys Bailin, Travis D. Gatling, and Julie Fox as well as several students’ works. Ms. Daidone choreographed multiple pieces including solos, duets, trios, and group numbers. “Three to One” a trio collaboration was featured in the Inaside Dance Chicago Choreographic Sponsorship Event. In the summers, she teaches numerous genres of dance to students ages 5 to 18 through the competition circuit Showcase America Unlimited (SCAU) where she is also a judge. Lauren is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and Pilates Instructor through Power Pilates in beginner and intermediate mat. Ms. Daidone is pursuing a career in dance performance, choreography, teaching, yoga and pilates instruction. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Dayton teaching “Movement for Everyone,” Assistant Director of the University of Dayton Dance Ensemble, and Yoga Teacher at Day Yoga Studio.

330 N. Broad Street, Fairborn, OH