The Official School of the Appalachian Ballet Company


Kylie Morton


Miss Kylie Morton is from Maryville, Tennessee. She began her training at Van Metre School of Dance and Appalachian Ballet Company under the direction of her mother and director of the school, Amy Morton Vaughn. In 2007, she trained as an apprentice with North Carolina Dance Theatre. In 2008, Kylie joined North Carolina Dance Theatre II for two seasons. She toured with the main company and performed choreography by Alvin Ailey and Twyla Tharp. She danced a Demi-soloist role in Dwight Rhoden’s world premiere of Othello. Kylie has performed principal and soloist roles in Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s The Nutcracker and Cinderella, Mark Diamond’s City South and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Alvin Ailey’s Night Creature and Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs. Kylie has also performed works choreographed by George Balanchine, restaged by Patricia McBride, such as: The Four Temperaments, Raymonda, Who Cares?, Stars and Stripes and La Sonnambula. For the past two seasons, Kylie was Appalachian Ballet Company’s Sugarplum Fairy and has danced the leading roles in spring of 2011(Cinderella) and 2012 ( 40th anniversary performance). Kylie also debuted as a choreographer this past fall for ABC’s Bluejeans and Ballet. She is currently teaching ballet, pointe and jazz for Van Metre School of Dance. We are very thankful to have her!


Jan Valenti


JAN VALENTI began her history with ABC as a soloist and also danced with the Knoxville Ballet prior to 1984. From 1984, Jan Valenti has served as the Production Director for Appalachian Ballet Company. She has also worked as stage manager and technical director for the Southeast Regional Ballet Association Festivals. She has acted as stage manager for the UT Dance Company, Alabama Dance Theatre, Academy of Dance Arts and the Northeast Regional Ballet Festival and the Opening Gala and the Theater Festival at Clayton Center for the Arts. In 1999, she received her teaching certification from the Royal Academy of Dance. Ms. Valenti has taught jazz and ballet to children and adults for 35 years. Ms. Valenti teaches at Academy of Dance Arts and Van Metre. In 2011 she was voted into Local 197 Stage Hands Union. She is married to Robin Valenti and they have 2 sons, Zachary, a student at UT Knoxville and Max, a student and playing baseball at Roane State.


Courtney Vastine


Courtney has lived in Maryville, Tennessee for seven years, after relocating from Cincinnati, Ohio. Courtney graduated magna cum laude from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, with Bachelor’s Degrees in both Dance and English. At Otterbein, Courtney had the privilege of studying under George Boft, formerly with the Bolshoi Ballet, Stella Kane, former member of the American Dance Machine and founder of JazzMet, and other esteemed teachers. She is experienced in performing and teaching Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Tap, Lyrical, and Contemporary. Courtney strives to impress upon her dance students an appreciation of the artistry and history of all dance forms. She aims to infuse technique, creativity, style and musicality into her teaching and choreography. She stays abreast of the latest steps and teaching philosophies by attending workshops and committing her time to dance education. Currently, Courtney is pursuing her art by becoming a freelance choreographer and teacher around East Tennessee while also performing with Momentum Dance Lab. She has also enjoyed using her singing and acting skills by appearing in local stage and screen performances. Courtney has a son, Alexander, who is five. Currently Courtney is teaching jazz & tap for all ages here at Van Metre School of Dance.


Koura Wright


Koura Wright began her dance training at Van Metre School of Dance with Jan Valenti and Amy Moore Vaughn, and she also studied at Dancer’s Studio with Irena Lynn. In middle and high school, she danced with the Appalachian Ballet Company and the Austin-East Dance Company. She spent summers studying with Randy Duncan, the Ithaca Ballet, and at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. Koura went to the University of Vermont and danced with the UVM dance program, and the Vermont Dance Team. Recently she danced with the Ithaca Ballet, and attended The Ailey School summer intensive. Koura’s favorite performance experiences include dancing the role of “Lil’ Lil and the Swing Singin’ Sax”, dancing in a piece by Pedro Ruiz, and performing as a Jewel fairy in “The Sleeping Beauty.” Koura recently moved back to Knoxville, TN and is excited to be teaching modern dance at Van Metre this fall!


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