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Guest Artist and Choreographer Bios

Nathan Balser is from Springville, UT, recently graduated from the University of Utah with a MFA in Modern Dance Performance.  He has danced professionally in New York City with Melissa Fenleyand in San Diego with John Malashock and Company.  He participated in the International Dance and Technology Conference '99 at Arizona State University as a performer in Ellen Bromberg and Douglas Rosenberg's work, "Falling to Earth".  Before joining RDT, he also worked with the company as a guest artist in 100 Years of Modern Dance and in the Utah Opera Company's production of Orpheus and Eurydice.  Nathan taught at the University of Utah as a graduate assistant and is currently on faculty at the Virginia Tanner Children's Dance Program.

Deborah Birrane has had a varied and notable career as a performer, choreographer, teacher, and director.  Her work has been passionately embraced by audiences here in the states and abroad.  Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ms. Birrane began her career "late" at the age of 20 in P.E. class at Penn State University.  Graduating with a B.A. in Social Work and a minor in Interdisciplinary Dance, she ultimately chose the road to dance receiving her M.F.A. form the University of Arizona.  Ms. Birrane has traveled to Israel, Yugoslavia, and Russia in the capacity of performing and/or teaching.  She currently resides in Seattle, WA where she and her company, Deborah Birrane- Dance!, is based.

Billbob Brown is currently the Associate Professor of Dance at Umass Amherst.  Brown received his B.F.A. from Arizona State University and Master of Arts (in Dance History and Culture) form the University of New Mexico.  Billbob has created and directed shows at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and choreographed and performed in T.V. works and commercials for the Chicago Cubs, Molson Canadian Beer, Disney Studios, and ABC-TV.  He has toured nationally with the Bill Evans Dance Company and  was a co-founder and artistic director of the Desert Dance Theatre in Phoenix.  He has taught and performed in Japan, England, Switzerland, Mexico, and throughout the United States.  Billbob founded Chaos Theory Dance in May of 1999.

Emily Bunning graduated from Stephens College and is a Wyoming native. As a co-founder of Treehouse Shakers, she has choreographed, created and produced several dance-plays for children and adults. Her work has most recently been presented at Children’s Museum in Manhattan, DeBaun Auditorium in New Jersey, HERE Arts Center, BAX, Broome Corner Studio and Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Emily currently dances with Aviva Geismar/Drastic Action with whom she has performed in Toronto, Canada and at WAX, Joyce Soho, and Symphony Space in New York City as well as attending Djerassi Artists Residency program in California. She received a scholarship to attend the Trisha Brown Repertory Workshop in 2001. Emily has also performed with Gotham Group Dance, Dura Mater and Valerie Green/Dance Entropy, which included a tour of Serbia in 2001. She was invited back to Serbia in February 2003 to teach, choreograph, and perform with the ERGstatus Dance Theatre in their new piece, Blue Guest.

Her teaching experience includes two semesters as a guest artist at Western Wyoming Community College, as well as teaching dance to girls living at the Euphrasian Residency in New York City. Emily’s approach to dance is based on finding the most effortless ways of moving. Her goal is to make movement continuous and fulfilling by moving in unpredictable patterns.

CatherineMarie Davalos is currently the director of dance in the performing arts department at St. Mary's College of California in Moraga.  She teaches dance courses ranging from technique to dance history.  Now owning her own dance company, she previously taught part-time at California State, Long Beach, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in philosophy and dance and her Master of Fine Arts Degree in dance.  She later taught dance at a high school for ten years.  Currently she lives in San Francisco and is married to the artist David Gaylord. 

Emily Elder has been dancing modern dance and ballet at WWCC for the past six years. This past fall, her final project from Choreography class, Not Quite So, was chosen to be presented on the Desert Dance Theatre concert. Emily's experience with dance performance came in 2004 when she and her sister performed Rushed in Grand Junction, CO in conjunction with the Rock Mountain Theatre Association's Collaborative Dance Concert and with Desert Dance Theatre's Spring concert.

Olasebikan Freeman is a dancer/choreographer recently relocated to Philadelphia. A partial list of the companies he has worked with include: Jane Comfort & Co., Creach/Dance and Marlies Yearby's Movin' Spirits Theatre, and Headlong Dance Theatre. Heavily influenced by his late friends and mentors, Cynthia Novack and Richard Bull, he continues their spirit investigation and commitment employing spirals, rhythm and breath. Olase's choreographic work has been performed in such diverse venues as the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Movement Research at Judson Church, Link's Hall (Chicago) as well as the Philadelphia Fringe Festival (2002). As a teacher Olase has taught workshops and classes nationally and internationally.

Jenny Harrod is a 19 year old student at WWCC, She has been dancing for 15 years. She started off her career in her hometown of Gillette, Wyoming at Yvette Sparks Dance Center. She is currently double majoring in dance and business administration at WWCC with hopes of one day becoming a dance instructor and owing her own studio.

Ann Jantz has been teaching dance and choreographing for more than 15 years.  A native of Wyoming, she earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Fine Arts in dance and choreography from the Texas Woman's University in Denton.  While working on her graduate degree, she danced and choreographed for Radke Dance Gallery in Dallas.  After completing her graduate studies, she returned to Rock Springs to teach part-time at Western Wyoming Community College.  She is currently on the Artists Roster for the Wyoming Arts Council. She was recently awarded first place in the feature photo category by the National Newspaper Association in the National Better Newspaper Contest. She continues to teach and lecture in dance and choreography.

Melanie Kloetzel, an Assistant Professor at Idaho State University, holds and M.F.A. in Dance from the University of California at Riverside in addition to a B.A. and an M.A. in History from Swarthmore College and the University of Montana, respectively. During her years in New York, Kloetzel founded a modern dance company, kloetzel&co./ for which she has acted as the artistic director for eight years. kloetzekl&co. has performed in New York as such venues as Danspace at St. Mark's Church, Judson Church, and the Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center, as well as nationally at Swarthmore College, the painted Bride Art Center, and the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, CA, among others. Kloetzel also enjoyed touring with Lisa Race from David Dorfman Dane  for five years as well as with Ann Carlson, Leah Stein, and Kim David Arrow. Kloetzel has taught at Swaarthmore College, the University of Montana, UC Riverside, and at Dance Space, Inc. in New York as a guest artist. At ISU, Kloetzel teachers modern technique, dance history and theory, composition, and improvisation; she is also the founder and co ~ artistic director of the Idaho Moving Project (I ~Move).

Kit Kofoed holds a Graduate Certification in Laban / Bartenieff Movement Analysis from the University of Utah and is a Licensed Massage Therapist working in Green River & Rock Springs. She is a native of Wyoming with a BS in Zoology / Premed and a minor in Theatre & Dance from the University of Wyoming. Kit is excited to be in an academic environment where she can inspire students to grow as individuals through learning, and enhance that process through movement. Currently, Kit is an intern with the Developmental Movement & Education Center in Seattle, Washington and, upon completion of her training, plans to use her skills as a Developmental Movement Therapist to make learning joyous, transformational, fun and possible - for individuals with neurological impairments.

Marin Leggat received a B.A. in Dance Education and Sociology from Brigham Young University and and M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Utah. At BYU, she performed with the Young Ambassadors, touring to Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland. At the University of Utah, she danced in works of Trisha Brown, Steve Koester, Doug Elkins, Abby Fiat, Pamela Geber and Eric Handman as a member of Performing Dance Company. Marin taught Performing Arts at the Asian International School in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and recently returned to teach dance in villages devastated by the the tsunami. At BYU, Marin taught technique, composition and improvisation and served as Assistant Director of the Dancers' Company, touring with them to Thailand, Cambodia and Taiwan last spring. She recently moved to New York City, where she hopes to continue choreographing in genres of both modern dance and musical theater.

James Kline Larsen in an Alumni of WWCC from 2004 and was the first and only to graduate that year with an Associate of Fine Arts in Technical Theatre. he then went on to Utah State University where he received his BFA in Lighting Designing. He is now an Associate Instructor / Technical Director / Lighting Designer for the Modern dance and Ballet Dept. at the University of Utah as well as the Lighting Designer / Production Manager / Stage Manager for Repertory Dance Theatre in SLC. RDT has him touring 6 weeks out of the year to many of the western states as well as to the Dakotas, Princeton and Rutgers New Jersey. He is also seen all over the Salt Lake Valley as a freelance Lighting Designer for theatre and dance. He is excited to be back at WWCC and to be working with the Lovely Deirdre MacDonald.

Fred C.L. Mann III (Director / Choreographer) has directed and choreographed for theatre, television, commercials, industrials, opera companies and convert dance both national and international. He just finished directing / choreographing CELEBRATION: A Musical Review for Alvin Ailey American Dance (July), directing Subtley at the Algonquin One Act Festival, and directing / choreographing, Dutch Courage at Wings Theatre. Also directed The Luckiest Girl in the World, a new one act play, which received national honors for best new play. As Producing Director of Westside Repertory Theatre for three years. he also directed and produced Machiavelli's La Mandragola, Moliere's, Sganarelle and Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro, which received the 1998 OOBR "OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION" Award at WRT. Mr. Mann is proud to be a part of Western Wyoming College's spring concert.

Krisen Martin works as an independent artist which has allowed her to present dance throughout the United States. Since moving to Massachusetts, she has received funding for projects in collaboration with Harriett Jastremski, Chivas Sandage, Jodi Falk, and Katrina Hawley. She has also taught at Jacob’s Pillow, choreographed for the Catalyst Dance Company at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter High School, and has taught and choreographed at Deerfield Academy. Currently, she is guest dance faculty at Mt. Holyoke College, teaching Labanotation at the University of Hartford, performing with Chaos Theory directed by Billbob Brown, and is co-directing HawleyMartin Dance in its third season. She teaches community dance classes at APE in Thornes Market and lives part time in New York City where she is training and collaborating with various artists for upcoming projects. Krisen earned a B.S. in Dance from Texas Woman’s University in 1996.

Regan Marynowski lives in Riverton Wyoming with her husband George and son Braden. Regan was a student at Western and went on to become a dance teacher. She has taught dance in Casper for five years and has owned her own studio for three years in Riverton. Regan is grateful for the opportunity to work with the students in the department and looks forward to any other opportunities in the future.

Amber Danielle McNew was born in Houston Texas and later moved to Utah where she began her training in Theatre and Dance. To further her education she moved to Wyoming where she has embraced dance to its fullest. She has choreographed dance pieces in Hip-Hop, Tap, and Ballroom. She is excited to debut her tap choreography in the "Tap Medley."

Rebecca Mehan is an independent artist constantly exploring movement that entertains, enlightens, and communicates with clarity. Investigating an efficient and individualistic approach to technique, performance, and creation is important to her practice as well as her teaching. Reba is presently dancing with SYREN, Katie Workum, Christopher Williams, Will Rawls, and presenting her own work. Miss Mehan teachers at The Professional Performing Arts High School in Midtown, the Hartford Academy of the Arts in CT, and travels nationally teaching modern dance, acrobatics, and staging her own repertory. She has worked with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, 6 Flags New England, Holland American Cruise Lines, American Cabaret Theater, The Bridge Dance Theater, Monica Bill Barnes, Jennifer Nugent, Jane Comfort, Noemie Lafrance, Risa Jaroslow, and Dance Anonymous.

Lisa Niedermeyer grew up wild on the edge of the Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho. She earned her BA in Dance from Texas Woman's University, and her Associate of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Western Wyoming Community College under the direction of Billy Smith, Colleen Altaffer-Smith and Deirdre MacDonald. Lisa has been performing and choreographing in New York City since 2002, working with Bessie-Award winning modern dance giants such as Jane Comfort and Company (3 original evening length works and all touring repertory), Doug Elkins and Friends (Faulein Maria), and Daniel Ezralow (Across the Universe). Special thanks to her fellow WWCC Alum Zach Schrotter (KNONNICHIWA) for such a satisfying slam poetry collaboration. Lisa holds fond and fierce memories of her transformative years at Western (96-99) and offers a deep heartfelt reverence to her Deirdre.

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Kyle Olsen is a sophomore at WWCC, majoring in musical theatre. This past fall, his final project from Choreography class, The Food Critic, was chosen to be presented on the Desert Dance Theatre concert.

Fritha Pengelly received her B.A. in dance from Hampshire College and her M.F.A. in dance from the University of Washington in Seattle. She toured nationally and internationally as a member of the New York City - based Doug Elkins Dance Company from 1994-2001 and has also performed with David Neuman, Wire Monkey Dance, and the Chamber Dance Company. Her own work has been shown at several venues in New York City, Darien (CT), Seattle, The Five College Dance Department in Massachusetts, the University of Tennessee, and the Inside/Out Series at Jacob's Pillow. Firtha is the artistic Director of Pengelly: Projects which had its premier performance in Northampton, MA in July 2004. Fritha is a certified Pilates instructor and is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Washington.

Rebeca Peterson graduated form Brigham Young University with her Masters Degree in Music Composition (2003).  She has won many composition awards, grants, and commissions to write new music for modern dance as well as for acoustic ensembles.  Rebeca has performed with the New York University New Music Ensemble in Italy as well as with other groups and musicians from New York, Seattle, Utah, California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Canada.  In addition to her studies in music, she has also studied movement, contemporary improvisation in movement, and multi-media production in music and movement.  Rebeca currently resides in Seattle, Washington with her husband Neal and her cat Kassio. 

Artemis Preeshl teaches jazz, ballet, tap, movement for actors, including commedia dell'arte, and acting as the Movement Specialist in the Theatre Arts Department at Utah State University.  She holds a M.A. in Dance, M.F.A. in Drama, and Certification in Movement Analysis.  Having studied with Italian Maestro Antonio "Pulchinella" Fava, she presented commedia dell'arte workshops at the Kansas Dance Festival and the National Opera Association in 2004-2005.  Ms. Preeshl played Puck as Harlequin and coached commedia dell'arte movement with her company, Artemis & The Wild Things, in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Central Park. 

William Richardson is delighted to return to Desert Dance Theatre, where he performed as a dancer from 2004-06. After graduating from Western Wyoming, he completed his studies toward a B.A. in Musical Theatre from Weber State University. He has worked regionally as an actor with the Egyptian Theatre Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, and Pioneer Theatre Company. Other production credits include assisting in the choreography for Peter Pan and directing the final workshop production of the original farce The Door Swings Wide at Weber State, choreographing the sold-out smash The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (top 5 Semi-Professional Productions of 2009 - Desert Morning News) and directing A New Brain with Dark Horse Company Theatre (best Musical of 2009 - In Utah This Week Magazine). He would like to thank Deirdre MacDonald for this incredible opportunity, and for everything.

Jennifer Rouse, a former WWCC student, considers Western to be the roots of her passion and dedication to the performing arts.  The 1996 graduate holds a B.A. in theatre from NAU and will soon hold a M.F.A. in Modern Dance from the University of Utah.  Jennifer teaches dance at Westminster College and can regularly be found choreographing and co-directing in their Theatre Department.  She has taken great pride in working with the talented and personable students here at Western and commends them on their creative and honest reflections towards her piece.      

"Konnichiwa" Zach Schrotter (WWC Class of '98) hails from Lyman, WY and resides in the Dallas, TX area. In 2000, he graduated from Texas Woman's University with his BA in Drama. In '05, he earned the title of Dallas Poetry Slam Grand Champion and has since competed with 3 Dallas teams at the National Poetry Slam. K-Zach is honored to have commissioned this work for Lisa N, and dedicates his piece to the 3 strongest women he knows - - Kasi, Grace, & Jen. Special thanks to Billy, Colleen & Deirdre for all they've done for him, then & now.

Aaron Wood began his formal dance training at age 18. Since then he has received multiple degrees including an Associate of Arts in Dance Performance, a BFA in Theatre and Dance, and an MFA in Modern Dance. Currently, Aaron is in his third season dancing for Salt Lake City's Repertory Dance Theatre, where he has the pleasure of performing the works of some of the dance world's most renowned choreographers. Together, with fellow colleague and educator Sarah Donohue, he is continuing to further his choreographic and performance skills in their emerging dance company My Turkey Sandwich. When not on stage or in the studio, Aaron teaches for and serves as Director of the Repertory Dance Theatre's Community School.


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