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Creative Director / Teacher

Lisa Mattern-Billings’ love of dance began at WVDT at the age of 6 , under founder Pauline Geyer. She was hooked from her first plie’. Lisa studied ballet at Indiana University while earning her degree in dental hygiene. 

Following graduation she studied jazz dance in the Gus Giordano technique, and began tap training in the Al Gilbert technique. Lisa then studied dance in Tampa, Florida, Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Phoenix school of Ballet , and The Dance Refinery in Greenwood,IN. Lisa has taught ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop , and lyrical at WVDT since 1995. She wants to share her love and knowledge of dance with students of all ages. Lisa feels strongly that WVDT has always created a safe space for children to fulfill their desire to dance , and has provided strong ballet based technique for over 60 years , and wants to keep that tradition alive!



Madison began at Wabash Valley Dance Theater at the age of four and danced under Vickie Lambert in the Company for five years. After high school she continued to dance as part of her extracurricular life at Fort Wayne Dance Collective with a focus on 


ballet and tap. After receiving her degree in Dental Laboratory Technology at Indiana University, and upon her return to Wabash she currently owns and operates Die-Namic Ceramics dental lab. She is thrilled to be back in Wabash to be a part of the continuing legacy of dance that WVDT has to offer."

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Shannon Wilcox is from Wabash, Indiana and danced for 13 years during her childhood. She teaches Family & Consumer Sciences at Warsaw Area Career Center. She also teaches at WVDT, because she loves the ballet 

foundation the students receive, and she enjoys building relationships with the dancers and seeing them progress throughout the year. Over her years of teaching at WVDT, she has taught both boys and girls hip-hop as well as jazz. She loves to dance and work with youth, and she looks forward to many more years at WVDT! 

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Alexa began dancing when she was ten years old at Wabash Valley Dance Theater. After high school graduation, she attended IUPUI where she earned a minor in dance education. She has been teaching at WVDT since 2015, when she and

her husband moved back to Wabash. Alexa is grateful for the opportunity to teach at WVDT where she can share her passion for dance with her students.  

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Madison enjoyed 10 years of dance at Wabash Valley Dance Theater. Dancing was her favorite way of making friendships and WVDT always made her feel at home. During high school she was a part of dance team and helped choreograph jazz and hip

hop dances.


After receiving her degree in Intermedia Art at Ball State University, she works as a Video Editor for Go Social. She is excited to continue dancing and to positively influence students just like her past dance teachers.

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Carole’s love for dance began at a very young age under the instruction of WVDT founder, Pauline Geyer, and she was a member of the WVDT company. After college, Carole returned to Wabash in 

1981 and began to teach at the studio, where she has taught ever since. Her love for dance has allowed her to attend seminars in Chicago, Indianapolis, and New York City, and she has also choreographed for Wabash Area Community Theatre and Manchester University.

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Wabash Valley Dance Theater was Megan Long’s childhood from her early years with Ms. Carole in creative dance to dancing in the Company. Outside of WVDT, Megan participated in high 

school and college cheer and dance teams. She has taught dance for over 20 years, and she enjoys seeing the improvement in the dancers week after week, year after year. She loves teaching at WVDT because of its influence in our community and because of the strong ballet tradition.

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Kaitlyn grew up at Wabash

Valley Dance Theater and

graduated as part of the

Company. After high school, Kaitlyn went to college majoring in Music Education and minoring in Dance; as well as being in and choreographing for the Dance Ensemble.

Upon returning from college, Kaitlyn came home to the adult ballet class before she started teaching. She has taught at WVDT for seven years and loves to teach at Wabash Valley because of the strong community connection and tradition, emphasis on ballet technique,

and because it is home.

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Wabash Valley Dance Theater is where Jensen Zumbaugh’s love for dance began as a child. Throughout her 15 years of dancing at WVDT, she became increasingly passionate about dance and always had a wonderful experience 

with her fellow dancers and teachers. She was excited to return and teach at the studio that encourages and nurtures strong foundations of dance and friendships. She enjoys being able to share her passion for dance with her students and being able to see their continued growth and love for dance.

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Substitute Teacher

Kassidy’s love and passion for dance started at 4 years old. Wabash Valley Dance Theater has been her home for the last 10 years where she was involved in Our Company and assisting Miss Carole with our littles. Kassidy is currently a preschool teacher and

finds a great sense of joy by being able to play a crucial part in children’s lives. Dance and Wabash Valley is what shaped her into who she is today and she is excited to be able to repay that to our students now by being apart of our teaching staff. 

Our Teachers

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Our Guest Instructors

We are pleased to partner with Project Ballet, a ballet dance school located in Fort Wayne with a mission to provide superior ballet training for the region's youth. Laura Francis and Lydia Lund will be guest instructors for Wabash Valley Dance Theater during the 2023-2024 season in ballet and pointe.

Additionally, we partner with Celeste Sexton, co-owner of Fusion Yoga in Fort Wayne for Wednesday's yoga class and Matthew Smith, owner of Art of Dance Warsaw for Sunday ballroom classes. 

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Former professional ballet dancer, current teacher,

and choreographer for students and dance professionals, Laura

Francis seeks to nurture dancers in their growth to becoming a whole person by inspiring, motivating, and


encouraging positive life skills in and outside the studio.

Laura danced professionally as a Solo Artist with Ballet 5:8 in Chicago, touring the country and performing locally in the Midwest. She also served as the Studio Manager and Ensemble Director to the School of Ballet 5:8. Before that she danced as a Company Member with Chattanooga Ballet in addition to teaching and choreographing in their school. Throughout her career, Laura has enjoyed opportunities to dance and choreograph for musicals, operas, church events, and art outreach. 

Laura is currently a ballet faculty member at Project Ballet. She is excited to be working with the staff and students at Wabash Valley Dance Theater this year. Now let's get to work and dance! 




Yoga became a part of Celeste’s life in 2006 after moving to Fort Wayne with her now husband, Evan. Moving to a town where she knew no one, she used yoga as a way to build a community. Celeste loved the way the practice helped her

reconnect with a strength she once had as a gymnast, and the personal growth was a new challenge that made her feel more connected to the world around her. Celeste is the co-owner of Fusion Yoga in Fort Wayne and has been teaching yoga since 2008.  She appreciates the creativity and freedom yoga allows. Each of Celeste’s classes reflect a fusion of trainings she has received from all of her amazing teachers on her yoga journey. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

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Lydia grew up dancing at Project Ballet and trained there for over a decade. She also studied dance at various summer intensives including Sarasota Ballet. When she graduated, she moved to dancing professionally near Chicago with Ballet 5:8 as

well as teaching at their school. Now back in Fort Wayne, she looks forward to teaching at Project Ballet and Wabash Valley Dance Theater in addition to going to school for a business degree. 

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Matthew S. Smith is an accomplished entrepreneur, educator, and artist, with a deep passion for self-mastery and helping others achieve their full potential. As the full-time owner of a thriving Dojo and Dance

studio, he brings his extensive experience and knowledge to bear on empowering students to achieve their goals. 

With over two decades of experience in martial arts and dance, Matthew's dedication to his craft is evident in his numerous accolades and achievements. He began his journey in the martial arts at the young age of 7 and has been recognized with the Top Dojo and Teacher awards for the past 3 consecutive years by the prestigious Juko-Kai International organization. As an American Rhythm Professional and Pro/Am competitor in the Midwest region, Matthew landed in the top 10 numerous times of the Top-Teacher awards, competing in all 4 of the major styles of Ballroom dancing. 

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