Heather Adams – Ballet
Heather began her professional career in Phoenix in High School. She later attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and moved to New York shortly after graduating. After a few years of dance there, she found the Rocky Mountains of Montana.
Heather founded the DDC almost 10 years ago. She serves as ED and teaches ballet, modern, jazz, swing, salsa, kids, Flamenco, private lessons, and musical theatre classes. She continues to be involved in the community, teaching and performing at various Missoula events, festivals, parties and volunteering her time to local non-profits. She was on staff at the University of Montana School of Theater and Dance for 5 years as the Jazz Adjunct Instructor and has worked with the Missoula Children’s Theater for 14 years as a performer and choreographer for community shows and summer camps.
Heather has choreographed and performed in many shows including, Noises Off, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Forbidden Broadway, Fiddler on the Roof, Evita, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Chicago, West Side Story, HAIR, Footloose, Music Man, 9 to 5, and The Nutcracker.
Audrey Elias – Tap
Audrey began dancing tap, jazz, and ballet at the age of four. While ballet and jazz fell by the wayside following high school, tap dancing remained a staple in staying sane through college and two bouts of grad school—stamping out and shaking off stress and frustration! Audrey was the director of Steppin’ Out, a performing tap group at Dartmouth College, and taught adult tap classes following her move to Missoula in 2003. She has been heavily influenced by workshops with Dianne Walker, Jimmy Slyde, Brenda Bufalino, Jay Fagan, and Acia Gray. Audrey’s deep interest in human movement is expressed in her professional life as a physical therapist and researcher in biomechanics at the University of Montana. She is thrilled to contribute to the rhythmic and percussive dance community in Missoula, where she has made her home with her husband and son.
Bruno Augusto – Movement Practice
Bruno is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Arts & Above. As an art maker, performer, and educator, his body of work consists primarily of dance, music, poetry, and film. Bruno’s works have been presented in the Washington DC metro area, New York City, and the bay area of San Francisco. Internationally his works have been presented in Cuba, Portugal, Germany,Angola, and Algeria. He has been a professional dancer for 21 years; performing in Cuba, Angola, and throughout the United States, while touring Africa and Europe. His formal training includes classical Ballet, modern dance, and contemporary movement techniques as well as acting and music composition. Mr. Augusto holds a diploma from the National School of the Arts in Havana, Cuba, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Towson University in dance performance, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in dance performance and choreography.
Jennifer Meyer-Vaughan – Jazz
Jennifer Meyer-Vaughan was raised in Missoula, MT and grew up dancing in local studios. Throughout her dancing career, Mrs. Meyer-Vaughan learned a variety of disciplines from a variety of qualified instructors, starting at the age of 4 and continuing through her graduation from the University of Montana, including: tap, ballet, jazz, pointe and most recently modern. Jennifer’s love of dance has propelled her through life, garnering her scholarships to summer dance camps through MDAA, teaching positions at various locations in Missoula, and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from UM. Her most recent inspiration is bringing and re-invigorating the love-of-dance to members of the Missoula and Arlee communities through the Downtown Dance Collective and raising her four children with her husband Jason Vaughan.
Tricia Opstad – Dance Church and Contact Improv Jam
Tricia enjoys the study of improvisation through dance, Contact Improv, and life. Tricia’s work embraces humanity, individuality and invites curiosity. Performance and Play material is generated and inspired by The Viewpoints of Shape, Space, Time, Emotion, Movement and Story. She teaches and studies improvisation through different forms and she believes that we are all natural born improvisors. Tricia has studied and trained with Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis, Minnesota (2001-2002) and with The Seattle Festival of Dance and Improvisation (SFDI) in Seattle, Washington (2007-2010, 2012-13). She holds a M.A. in Int. Arts Ed. and an M.S. in Speech Language Therapy from The University of Montana. Tricia has been facilitating and co-facilitating Contact Improv Jams since September of 2010 in Missoula, Montana.
Sarah Pace – Hip Hop
Sarah started getting involved with the arts in 1999 when she found Virginia Worth’s Dance Studio. She then started training as a triple threat at On Center Performing Arts in 2002. Sarah was a part of a three year instructor training program to further her education in the performing arts. After graduating the program she became a certified instructor at On Center before moving to Bellingham, WA. While living there, Sarah stumbled across Brittany Setter’s Dance Studio and was an instructor for three years. Now moved back to her home state, her recent show experiences mainly include choreography. You will find Sarah teaching some Hip Hop at the collective, come dance it out and say hello!