Avant Chamber Ballet brings exceptional live dance and chamber music together for audiences in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  We present our performances exclusively with live music, as well as regularly commission new works of choreography and score.

Artistic Staff

Katie Cooper


Katie is the founder of Avant Chamber Ballet and serves as its Artistic Director and primary choreographer. She started ballet with Wichita Falls Ballet Theater and moved to Fort Worth at age 13 to continue her training on scholarship through Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet. She spent her summers at Boston Ballet or training privately with Paul Mejia and Maria Terezia Balogh before joining Metropolitan Classical Ballet. For the next six years at MCB, she danced in classics such as Raymonda, La Bayadere, Paquita, Don Quixote and Spartacus as well as a dozen Balanchine ballets including Agon, Four Temperaments and Bugaku. In 2007, she moved to Athens, Greece and studied ballet and contemporary dance at D.A.N.C.C.E. With David Cooper, she founded Avant Chamber Ballet in 2012 and has developed it into a professional company known for exciting new commissions and live music. As a choreographer, she has made more than a dozen one-act ballets for Avant Chamber Ballet as well as a full-length productions of Alice in Wonderland and A Ballet Christmas Carol.

David Cooper


Born into a musical family, David is a third generation French horn player. He began playing with Michigan State University ensembles when only fifteen and was in the top MSU ensemble at age sixteen. After studying at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, he was awarded a Tanglewood Fellowship. David served as acting and associate principal with several orchestras, including the Victoria Symphony in British Columbia, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Fort Worth Symphony before becoming principal horn with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2013. He was a member of the international YouTube Symphony that played at the Sydney Opera House in Australia in March, 2011. In 2013 and 2014, David spent his summers at the exclusive Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. In April 2012 David released a solo CD, "Harmonious Collaboration" with pianist Cary Chow. Recently he has been guested as principal horn with the London Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra. He currently holds the position of solo horn with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Charlton Gavitt


Charlton Gavitt is a teacher at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Among his many duties, he is the resident Light Designer and light design teacher. He has designed lights at Booker T. Washington, the Winspear Opera House, and the Meyerson Symphony Center. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University he has performed with Karamu Theater, Beck Center, Forth Worth Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Dallas, Dallas Children's Theatre and Stage West to name a few. Charlton is also a Fight Choreographer and stage combat teacher. He has attained Advanced Actor Combatant status with the Society of American Fight Directors.

Michele Gifford


Michele grew up in Dallas, Texas. At the age of sixteen, she moved to New York City to attend the School of American Ballet. Two years later, she became a member of the New York City Ballet. In her twelve year career at NYCB, Michele had the opportunity to perform many soloist and principal roles including: Balanchine’s Apollo, Rubies, Agon, Symphony in Three Movements, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Stars and Stripes to name a few. Michele also originated many roles including Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, Peter Martins’ Echo, Christopher Wheeldon's Slavonic Dances, and David Parsons’ Touch. She is currently a Repetiteur for Christopher Wheeldon and the Balanchine Trust. Since 1999, Michele has been a certified GYROTONIC instructor and owns her own studio, Studio G, in Fort Worth, TX.

Board of Directors

Joanne Bober

Loree Conrad

Katie Cooper

Sean McAloon

Christy Trang

Advisory Board

Michele Gifford

Jenny Johnson

Alex Kerr

Demarre McGill