The History of Whidbey Island Dance Theatre

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

In addition to founding Whidbey Island Dance Theatre, Charlene Brown is also the co-owner of Island Dance in Langley, WA.

 

Charlene brings about 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.

Brown began her dance studio, Island Dance, on Whidbey Island in 1987.  She has always been 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 dance education.  Many of her students have gone on to college to receive dance degrees, while many more of her students have won individual titles and honors in the field.

In 1993, extending her commitment to the art of choreography, Charlene's dream of a pre-professional dance company became a reality with Whidbey Island Dance Theatre. As the longtime co-artistic director and production manager, she directed more than 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.

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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 graduation from high school in 2013 she continued her training at Western Washington University. At WWU 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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ASSISTANT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Megan Moore

Megan Margaret Moore is a choreographer, dance artist and entrepreneur based in the Pacific Northwest. Megan is honored to be a teacher to the inspiring students of Island Dance and Gymnastics. She also has become Assistant Artistic Director for Whidbey Island Dance Theater.

 

Megan began her dance training at Huntington Academy of Dance in Huntington Beach, Calif. where she trained extensively in Cecchetti Method. Megan advanced her knowledge of contemporary styles by continuing her dance training at Huntington Beach High School's magnet arts program, APA, graduating the program in 2015 with several awards including 2015 Dancer of the Year. Megan went on to study dance at Cornish College of the Arts, graduating honors and with her BFA in 2019.

 

Since graduating, Megan has developed a passion for uncovering the connections between trauma, neurodivergence and artistic expression, and uses her business, SALTSHAKE as a means to share dance forward art and education that speak to the disembodied dancer.

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

Annie Zeller Horton

General Board Member

Leah Marshall

Bookkeeper/Advisor

Sigi Johnson

Wellness Team Lead

Barbara Jones

Office Manager

Jodie Philp

Advisory Council

Mark Thrapp

Graphic Designer/Webmaster