A Bit of History

Whidbey Island Dance Theatre (WIDT) was founded in 1993 with a love for dance. Back then it was known as Whidbey Dance Theatre, and it began with the idea of creating a new and exciting opportunity for young people in its community; young creatives of all ages, who also loved dance, could find their place on stage with their peers.

Hard work paid off. As the company moved forward and found its legs, it provided real, pre-professional dance experience to outstanding young dancers. Its participation in the wider world of dance followed. The juried, national association of ballet companies, “Regional Dance America,” chose WIDT as an RDA performing company from 2001-2012.

Since 2000, WIDT has performed throughout Washington, as well as in Arizona, California, Utah, Oregon, at the National Dance Festival in Pittsburgh, PA, and in Montreal, Canada. Through the years, both professional and community choreographers have expressed their appreciation for the generations of talented dancers they’ve worked with at WIDT.

Each year, WIDT graces the stage with two major productions, “The Nutcracker” and “A Celebration of Dance,” its springtime choreography showcase. Both highlight the diverse talents of its broadly trained dancers and feature the works of both resident and guest choreographers.

These productions are a gift, 28 years of WIDT making the creative, athletic, joyful and fun-to-watch magic that is dance! 

Whidbey Island is about an hour drive north of Seattle, with a 20-minute ferry ride from Mukilteo to Clinton on the south end. The island is 55 miles long and between 1 and 10 miles wide. The largest population center is at the north end at Oak Harbor, which is accessible also by the Deception Pass Bridge. WIDT is located at the south end in Langley. The company's main performance venues are South Whidbey High School Auditorium, a 400-seat theater, and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, which holds 250 seats.

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FOUNDER

Char Brown

Charlene Brown is also the co-owner of Island Dance in Langley, WA. Charlene brings nearly 45 years of dance experience to her studios and to WIDT. Charlene has studied with nationally known teachers, and was a member of the Tacoma Performing Dance Company under the direction of Jo Emery. Her choreography has been seen in numerous Northwest area musical and dance productions.

Charlene Brown began her dance studio, Island Dance, on Whidbey Island in 1987.  She is committed to offering the highest possible level of dance education and professional instructors to her students. Through many years of perseverance, Charlene has provided the opportunity for thousands of dancers to further their education.  Many of her students have gone on to college and received degrees in dance, while many more of her students have won individual titles and honors in dance.

In 1993, extending her commitment to the art of choreography, Charlene's dream of a pre-professional dance company became a reality in Whidbey Island Dance Theatre. As co-artistic director and production manager, she has overseen 24 productions of The Nutcracker, The Snow Queen and all annual WIDT spring concerts. Charlene also choreographs for The Nutcracker and is advisor to the WIDT Board of Directors.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Brittany Falso

Brittany Falso was born and raised on Whidbey Island. She danced at Island Dance from age three through her senior year in high school. She graduated in 2008 from Bayview High School. After high school she studied dance at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Currently, Brittany dances with DASSdance, a company in Seattle, under director Daniel Wilkins. She is a mother to son, Leo, who inspires her every day to live and dance with a full, loving, and open heart.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Elliauna McLean

Elli has been a passionate lover of dance since she was three years old when she began training at Island Dance. After training here until graduating in 2013 she continued her training at Western Washington University. While there she trained extensively in both Ballet and Contemporary and earned her BFA in dance. Elli currently dances with Bellingham Repertory Dance a local contemporary dance company.

Throughout her dance career Elli has worked with many outstanding choreographers, such as: Kim Lusk, Laura Ann Smyth, Eva Stone, Marlo Ariz-Martin, Aaron Cash, and Lara Littlefield. She has also performed works by, Doug Varone, Liz Gerring and Joachim Schloemer.

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Board of Directors & Advisors

Tonya Henny

President

Connie Lippo

Vice President

Rachel Enter-Guzman

Treasurer

Dierdre Sherman

Secretary

Patricia Duff

General Board Member

Kristin Hummel

General Board Member

Jennifer Thrasher

General Board Member

Daunne Zinger

General Board Member

Char Brown

General Board Member

Paul Guzman

Advisory Council

Clyde Monma

Advisory Council

Jodie Philp

Advisory Council

Leah Marshall

Bookkeeper/Advisor

Barbara Jones

Office Manager

Sigi Johnson

Wellness Team Lead

Mark Thrapp

Graphic Designer/Webmaster

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Whidbey Island Dance Theatre and Island Dance?


WIDT is an independant non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing aspiring dancers with pre-professional performance experience, as well as provide the community with high quality dance productions, like The Nutcracker (and other classical ballets) and live contemporary concert dance. Island Dance is a for-profit dance school. Although these two local organizations have a common origin, they operate completely separately -- different finances, different administration, different services, different missions. Many WIDT dancers train at Island Dance, but that's by reason of island logistics; not by any requirement. Dancers can train at any studio.




How can I become a WIDT Company Dancer?


Every August WIDT holds auditions for trained dancers with extensive classical ballet training among other styles. Auditions will be posted on this website as the time approaches.




How can I perform in The Nutcracker?


Every September WIDT holds open auditions for the public to try out for parts in The Nutcracker. It is open to all ages from 6 to 96. Some dance or theater experience is helpful, but not required. WIDT announces these auditions at the start of the school year.