Peter de Grasse

Senior Lecturer of Dance

Peter de Grasse is a dancer and choreographer whose practice embodies both studio and street cultures. He first experienced liquid and wave styles during raves and warehouse parties of the late 90s and early 2000s. After closing his professional concert career, he built on these formative experiences with intensive one-on-one study of popping and animation with masters such as Slick Dogg, Megaman, and Robin Rojas, as well as in sessions with Walla Walla’s own Alberto “Cookie” Zavala. With a style focused on hitting, waving, and principles of animation, Peter carries the battle moniker "Sandman," and represents 404 Crew, whose members hail from L.A., The Bay, Montreal, and Singapore. His current work focuses on the Mellon-funded 5th Element Project, which includes both educational and event components, and connects Walla Walla Music Organization, Soul Felons, 206 Zulu, and Whitman College.
With respect to studio culture, Peter’s career began with training at San Francisco Ballet School and Juilliard, and continued with professional engagements at American Repertory Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and Spectrum Dance Theater, where he became a principal artist under artistic director Donald Byrd. Accumulating a variety of freelance credits in musical theater and contemporary dance along the way, Peter later joined Tanztheater Des Staatstheater Darmstadt in Germany, where he capped his career with a four-year term as a soloist. With a choreographic practice informed by German Tanztheater, spiritual esoterica, and film, Peter has performed and presented a variety of works at various festivals and events in Europe, Asia, and North America. Peter is a Senior Lecturer of Dance at Whitman College. He holds a BFA in Dance from Juilliard and an MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University.