Oliver Arana, Director of Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet,
was born in Lima, Peru and began his career as a principal dancer with the Ballet Municipal De Lima. He went on to work with the Nacional Ballet De Caracas of Venezuela. He was invited to join Ballet Classico De Camara and was given the honor of alternating principal roles with Fernando Bujones and Carlos Acosta. He was invited to perform at the Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel; the Gala De La Juventud De America in Caracas, Venezuela, and has toured all of South America and parts of Europe. After coming to the United States in 1993, he joined The Bay Ballet Theatre as a principal and continued his career with the Cleveland San Jose Ballet. Mr. Arana has had a twenty-two year professional dancing career, where he not only danced, but also coached professional dancers to the world's top International Ballet Competitions. Students of Mr. Arana have been awarded scholarships at the Cincinnati Overture Awards and to ABT, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Arizona State University, The Bolshoi Academy, Chautaugua, and have been accepted to La Scalla de Milan Ballet School, Complexions, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. His students have been awarded medals at YAGP in Chicago and New York City; the World Ballet Competition, Orlando Florida; and IDO Showdance Reisa, Germany.
Justin Gibbs, WSU Assistant Professor of Dance,
has danced professionally for eighteen years with the Grand Rapids Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Chautauqua Ballet, Contrast Dance Company and Balletmet. He studied with great teachers such as; Charthel Arthur, Robert Estner, Paul Sutherland, Dermot Burke, Raymond Smith, Kathy Moriarty and countless others. Throughout his career he had the honor of performing at the Joyce Theatre, Battery Park, Symphony Space and at the International Gala of Ballet Stars. Judd has been privileged to perform works by choreographers Dwight Rhoden, James Kudelka, Martino Mueller, Adam Hougland, Lynne Taylor Corbett, Alvin Ailey, David Shimotakahara, and George Balanchine to name a few. As an accomplished choreographer, he has received a fellowship from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Judd has created works for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, collaborated with Gerard Charles for Balletmet's Alice and Aladdin, and was a part of Balletmet's 30x30 Project. He has created works for The Dance Compassion Project, Dayton Ballet II, Youthmet, Young People's Ballet Theatre, New American Youth Ballet, New Albany Ballet Company and for the Mid-States Regional Ballet Festival. He has been on faculty at School of Tulsa Ballet, Balletmet and New Albany Ballet School. His knowledge and energy have earned him many guest-teaching opportunities for Grand Rapids Ballet School, Dayton Ballet School, Young People's Ballet Theatre, New American Youth Ballet, Balletmet, and Evansville Dance Theatre, among others. Judd is also currently the Ballet Master for Seven Dance Company in Columbus, Ohio.
DeShona Pepper Robertson, Director of Stivers School for Arts,
began her dance training on scholarship in Chicago, Illinois at the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance. She went on to receive her BFA in Dance and BA in Marketing from (what is now) Barat College Conservatory of DePaul University. In 2011, Ms. DeShona received a Master's in Education from Antioch McGregor Midwest. DeShona, former principal dancer of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, was featured in the historical PBS Free To Dance Publication and was an ambassador in performing works choreographed by Bebe Miller, Diane McIntyre, Donald McKayle, Merce Cunningham, Bill T. Jones, Ronald K. Brown, Dwight Rhoden, Eleo Pomare, Talley Beatty and Ulysess Dove. She is the past recipient of several performance and choreographic fellowships as well as teacher awards. As director of Stivers School for the Arts, DeShona has implemented prestigious partnerships with the University of Dayton, The Ohio State University, Wright State University, and Cleveland School of the Arts. Her ensemble performs with festivals throughout their community and throughout the country for the past seven years. Master classes taught by well-renowned choreographers, such as Ronald K. Brown, Terence M. Greene and Kevin Iega Jeff are apart of her program's curriculum and training. DeShona was recently selected to serve on the Ohio Department of Education's state committee as a writer of the new model curriculum in Dance; and respectively uses her influence to innovate education and motivate young children.
Nikki Wetter (Chicago, IL)
graduated with her BFA in Dance from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio this past April. She was a member of Dayton Contemporary Dance Second Company for three years, where she premiered her concert choreography in the DCDC2 2012 Holiday Happenings Concert and has had the privilege to work with such choreographers as Robert Priore, William B. McClellan, Jr., Rodney Brown, Susie Payne, Amy Jones, Marlayna Locklear, and DCDC2's director, Shonna Hickman-Matlock. While a second company member, Nikki has also performed in DCDC's annual gospel concert, In the Spirit Of…, along with numerous lecture demonstration performances at schools in Dayton and the region of Southern Ohio. Nikki has also performed in and choreographed for many of the Wright State Dance Ensemble Fall Concerts and Emerging Choreographers Concerts; in the most recent student produced concert, Nikki's senior choreographic work was selected by the Wright State Dance Program faculty and guest adjudicator, Jeanne Mam-Luft , to be performed in the 2013 Wright State University Faculty Spring Concert. Nikki also choreographed the Dayton Encore Theater production of Spring Awakening in 2011, as well as musicals for local high schools. For her most recent choreographic achievement, she set the choreography for one of Wright State's main stage plays, 1913: The Great Dayton Flood, under the direction of Stuart McDowell, the Artistic Director and Chair of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Motion Picture.
Click here to review the complete bios of DDC's regular faculty members.