SDL Alums, we need to hear from you!!
Calling all Summer Dance Alumni! We want to keep up with you. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org giving us the low-down on where you are and what's goin' on in your life now. Please include:
- Your name - present AND maiden, if you're now married
- Your current email address
- The years you participated in SDL
- What you're doing now - both dance-wise AND other-wise
- Any reminisences you want to share with us about your year's at SDL
Once we start hearing from all of you, we'll create a list of alums and their email addresses on this page so that you can stay in contact with each other too.
We can't wait to hear your stories!!
Nicole (Ammerman) Moscou - '98, '99, '01
I opened a ballet studio in my hometown of Prosser, WA., in 2003 and it is going strong! Two of my students attended SDL in 2008 and one of them returned in 2009. They both learned a lot there. I even went to classes with her one day this past summer. Mr. Passafiume is still awesomely frightening as ever! I loved it.
I was married in 2006 and had two children one right after the other. We live in a sweet little house just a couple blocks from my studio. I am just now starting to feel like myself as a dancer again...babies are hard on the body, but muscles do have memory.
My studio is home to nearly 80 ballet dancers of all ages. We put on an annual recital, Nutcracker Productions, and last year started producing musicals in the summer months. I love performing, I love directing, and most of all I love sharing the joy of dance with others.
Memories of SDL...cartwheels on the front lawn, dancing in the rain at the amphitheatre, late night discussions with roommates, and all the quirky teachers. I remember one of my favorites always came to class wearing several layers of clothing, and as class progressed, he would use the pieces of clothing to demonstrate technique. I remember one girl having to hold his shoe between her hands to keep tension in her arms during chainee turns, and I remember him tying a shirt around my thighs during a dagagee combination so I would keep it tight. I remember the southern instructor who was known to say things like "Y'all suck!" after a combination. I remember sweating A LOT. I remember finding my performance character in musical theater. I remember every correction I was ever given by a teacher, and that is what makes me a good ballet teacher myself. :)
Renee Adams - SDL '98, '99, '00
What a treat to have found the alumni page! I was at SDL 98, 99, & 2000.
Coming from a very small town with parents who had no connections to the performing arts world, Summer Dance Lab was a divine gift. It was a place were my passion could align with like minds, and where my body could begin to catch up on all the technique it had been missing along the way. I will never forget the first day I arrived in Walla Walla, stunned by the fact that there were so many other dancers like me, and so many dancers to aspire to.
After dancing for Spectrum Dance Theater (Seattle, WA) with artistic director Donald Byrd for 3 years I have moved to Portland, OR, where my teaching career has exploded. Newly to Portland, I danced with BodyVox, local contemporary modern company as well as developed a studio dance program for children ages 14mo-5 years. More recently in the past couple of years, I have been performing with Bouand Dance Company and teaching in public schools. What's on the horizon next I can't say, but I hear it calling my name!
Without the benefit of SDL, the amazing teaching staff, and the incredibly supportive and engaging class environment, I am sure that I would never have been able to make dancing into a career. Thank you.
Alicia Gallagher - SDL '03
Summer Dance Lab was my first Dance Intensive. The instructors were inspiring and disciplining. Miss Dabrowski is a very positive person and has been an influence on my life. She was realistic, yet had encourageing words for me. The staff was friendly as were the other dancers. I'd like to return someday to help! After SDL I kept up my study at Carla Olson's Academy of Dance and then attended the summer program at The Kirov Ballet Academy in Washington D.C. I spent the summer after that at The Jillana School in Taos, NM. I have been dancing steadily for thirteen years now and I'm majoring in dance at Western Washington University. I hope to one day own a dance school and pass on my knowledge to others. SDL is a great place for young dancers and I encourage anyone who wants the best training to go!
Mikki Stewart-Masar - SDL '92, '93
I was Michelle (Mikki) Stewart during my summers at Whitman. I participated in SDL during the summers of 1992 and 1993. Since my SDL days I have become a mother to four children, 12, 10, and 4 year old twins. I still teach dance. I owned a studio for 7 years before I went to public school systems to teach enrichment sessions for children who do not have the funds for a private studio.
I still reflect, with great fondness, on my summer nights and days at SDL. I made good friendships while I was there and kept one with me after I left. Erica Bicknell and I showed up the same year, our first year. To this day, I use Ms. Remington's examples in some of my upper ballet classes. I have googled John Passifiume and his career since SDL. He was by far my favorite and I kick myself for not taking his invite to NYC.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to getting back in touch with some lost friends.
Marta (Hazekamp) Stovin - SDL '94, '95, '98, '99
I now own and direct my own performing arts school named American Academy of Performing Arts Co. (AAPAC) in Silverton, OR. We have a staff of 5, including myself. We just celebrated our 3 year anniversary! In those three years we have grown from 12 students in a church basement to 125 students in a 3,000 sq.ft. studio. I am married to a professional musician and am living in Salem, OR.
SDL literally changed my life! I made so many friends and memories there; it's a great place to network with students and the staff. The teachers have made a lasting impact on me as a dancer, teacher and human being. I still quote the teachers to this day, and I'm sure my students will remember those quotes too. SDL offers a diverse and well balanced curriculum that, as I've gone on to become a dancer and teacher, has proven to be invaluable training. I have such fond memories of Paul Sanasardo, John Passafiume, Frank Bays, Ed Kresley, and Noel Mason, to name a few, as teachers who really cared about their students as people, not just dancers. It is due to SDL staff that I was inspired to move to NYC when I was 21 to pursue my dreams of a Broadway career. I highly recommed SDL to all dancers!
Cari (Rittenhouse)Wilton - SDL '96, '97, '98
I first participated in dance lab when I was 15 in 1996 and have been there nearly every year since, though lately it's been only to drop in and say, Hi. Now I own a photography business in Walla Walla with my husband, Travis. We shoot weddings and portraits among other things. I also choreograph, act, and dance in local productions on both stage and screen. Dance Lab was always the one place all year that I could eat and breathe dance. It fed my passion like nothing else. While I continue to adore ballet, I have also discovered and fallen in love with musical theatre and modern dance. I will never forget those five-week summers. My thanks to John and Denise for carrying on the dance lab tradition so brilliantly. I know the students' artistic futures are safe in their hands.
Tina Nathalia-Gonzalez - SDL '92, '93, '94, '95
Tina (Nathalia) Gonzalez has studied dance for over twenty-three years and has taught dance at the regional and national level. Originally from Los Angeles, she studied in L.A. and Portland, Oregon. Tina graduated with honors from Clackamas Community College and finished college at Portland State University with a B.S. in Project/Production Management & Business Administration.
She has studied extensively with dance masters such as Joe Tremaine, Tony Cappola and Arthur Duncan not to mention the many instructors at SDL through the years. Her most recent work includes being a Sin City Doll; dance & production management for Dick Foster Productions; and numerous performances for music videos and industrials. Tina is a dance agent for DDO Artists Agency and Production Stage Manager for LOL with The Scintas based in Las Vegas. She continues casting, performing, judging and guest choreography for production companies, schools, pageants, and theaters throughout Las Vegas and the Western U.S.
Tina met her "Forever Friend" at SDL. "We both danced in Portland, OR., but at different studios. Through SDL we became close friends. She was my maid of honor a few summers ago. Even though I live in Las Vegas now, we are still the closest of friends."
The experience I gained at SDL - from the auditions when you first arrive to the final performance is insurmountable. "I am grateful that my parents encouraged me to attend camp and that the instructors saw potential in me and pushed me to my furthest limits."
Trista Kite Federspiel - SDL '99, '01
Currently working as a dancer/choreographer and teaching. Recently completed training to become an ABT®Certified Teacher. I'm also certified in and teach Pilates and Piyo. This summer ('08) one of my students attended SDL. I was so excited for her to experience it. SDL was such a great experience for me, and now I'm so glad I have the chance to send my students there. I feel confident sending them knowing they will get excellent training in a fun, caring and inspiring environment. I made a lot of friends at SDL and learned so much. It was one of the best summer programs I ever attended.