Marita Cardinal, Professor
Jessi Fouts, Professor
Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Instructor
Deborah Jones, Professor
Carl Massey, Instructor
Sharon Oberst, Professor
Amy Rance McDonnell, Instructor
Darryl Thomas, Professor & Department Head
Les Watanabe, Instructor
Office: NPE 218
JESSI FOUTS began dancing when she was three years old. She grew up in Ozark, Missouri, and moved to Kansas City to attend the Conservatory of Music and Dance at University of Missouri Kansas City. In 2008, she received her BFA in Dance Performance. She became an adjunct faculty member for the dance department at UMKC. During this time, she also worked with Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company. In 2009, she began dancing with a local Kansas City company called Quixotic. An opportunity arose for her to perform an aerial dance on the side of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Since the overwhelming success of “Surfaces,” she continued performing aerial acts with Quixotic in multiple venues. Wanting to branch out of the Midwest to find other opportunities, she moved to the west coast in 2010. After working with San Diego Dance Theatre, Fouts moved to Salem in 2011 and has performed and choreographed for PeopleDance and PeopleDance: Body Politic at Willamette University. Fouts began teaching dance technique at Willamette in the fall of 2013 and will be teaching ballet technique at WOU 2014-2015.
Office: OPE 210CYNTHIA GUTIERREZ-GARNER received her B.F.A. in dance at the University of Minnesota and her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Her work, which focuses research on contemporary modern dance and American concert jazz dance, has been produced in Minneapolis, MN, Phoenix, AZ, New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. From 1998- 2001, she served as the Choreographer in Residence for the Minnesota Dance Theater, under the direction of Lise Houlton. She is a four- time winner of the Arizona Choreography Competition’s Professional Division. Gutierrez-Garner’s works have been commissioned by Macalaster College, Arizona State University, Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota State University, the St. Paul Conservatory for the Arts, the University of Minnesota, Lane Community College, University of Oregon, Kent State University, Middle Tennessee University, Dulce Dance Company and the Zenon Dance Company. Gutierrez-Garner’s work has seen support from organizations such as the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Walker Art Center, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She has taught on the dance faculties of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and Gustavus Adolphus College among others, as well as the prestigious Bates College Dance Festival. She is currently on faculty at University of Oregon, Lane Community College and Western Oregon University.
Office: OPE 208
DEBORAH JONES dancer, choreographer and teacher holds an M.F.A. degree in Dance from Mills College and a B.A. degree from U.C. Berkeley in Dramatic Art-Dance. She has performed and choreographed for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area with such companies as The Assortment, The Dance Exchange and Six Thumbs Dance Theatre and with the Oregon based contemporary music ensemble SoundMoves, as well as for other independently commissioned projects. A tenured Full Professor at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ms. Jones has taught for the Theatre/Dance Department since 1991. Ms. Jones has been a guest artist at various colleges and universities including University of California at Davis and San Francisco City College. Other faculty positions include San Jose City College, CA and Linfield College, OR. Ms. Jones’ area of research has been within the field of creativity. Her research led to her creation of an academic course, "Creativity", dealing with both the nature and development of personal creativity and the understanding of the creative process. Her innovative curriculum assists students in understanding this process and developing their own creative self, within their art expression as well as within their life as a whole. The course has been widely praised for the contribution it has made to the Western Oregon University Liberal Arts experience and is now included as a regular offering within the WOU Honors Program. Her work in the area of creativity has attracted the attention of health and counseling professionals, resulting in referrals for her private classes. In addition, she has been asked to teach workshops for organizations such as the Hawaii Wellness Institute on Oahu, upper management training for local corporations, and participate as an organizing board member and teacher for an annual international gathering held in Yachats, Oregon that focuses on creativity as understood by many indigenous cultures, as conscious use of energy. Deborah continues to offer ongoing workshops in the Salem area.
Office: OPE 210
CARL MASSEY has been a principal tap dancer with the Hot Shot Tap Dancers of Salem, Oregon since the age of eight, performing in this dynamic quartet throughout Oregon and Washington. In 2010, the Hot Shots were featured on America’s Got Talent, one of only 12 acts to reach the semi-final round. Also fluent in modern and ballet, Carl has performed with the Olympic Ballet Theatre, the Seattle Opera, and in the work of New York choreographer Donald Byrd. He joined Rainbow Dance Theatre in 2007, and since that time has collaborated with the directors on four world premieres, toured throughout the northwestern and southeastern United States and performed with RDT in Shanghai, China. Carl received his BFA in Dance from the Cornish Institute of the Arts in Seattle, WA.
Office: OPE 211
SHARON OBERST (Head of Theatre and Dance) has been a Professor of Dance at Western Oregon University since 1987 where she teaches ballet, pedagogy, dance history, dance production, dance and gender and dance in musical theatre courses. Sharon earned her bachelor’s degree in Dance and Theatre with a Secondary Education Teaching Certification from Lamar University (Texas) and master’s degree in Dance from the University of Oregon. She attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston and studied at the Houston Ballet. Professor Oberst studied with such masters as Ben Stevenson, Fred Strobel, Nathalie Krassovska, David Howard, Robert Joffrey, Gwen Verdon, James Clouser, Roni Mahler, Bill Evans, and Dame Merle Parks. Sharon has performed with the Houston Ballet, Houston Allegro Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Beaumont Ballet Theatre and Theatre Under the Stars. She has performed leading roles in such ballets as Swan Lake, Alice in Wonderland, Tarantella, and Cinderella. In addition to choreographing for the annual Spring Dance Concerts, Sharon has choreographed many WOU Theatre productions including No, No Nanette, 42nd Street, and Grease, and has directed and choreographed Winnie-The-Pooh, The Sound of Music, Something's Afoot, Kiss Me, Kate, Victor/Victoria, West Side Story and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Sharon is a member of CORPS de Ballet International (an organization of university ballet teachers) and has served on the board of directors and as treasurer, is the current secretary and was honored with the organization’s 2007 Award for Outstanding Service. Ms. Oberst is the 2006 recipient of the Mario and Alma Pastega Excellence in Teaching Award.
Office: OPE 207Amy Rance McDonnell has been teaching at Western Oregon University since 2007 where she teaches ballet, modern, dance history, composition, somatics, and Pilates courses. She also teaches and choreographs at Modern Dance Technique and Creative Movement in Corvallis, OR. Ms. McDonnell is originally from the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY where she studied dance with Garth Fagan and Elizabeth Clark. Prior to receiving her MFA in performance and choreography from SUNY Brockport, Amy obtained her BA from Goucher College in Interdisciplinary Studies combining dance, art, and anthropology. She has lived and performed in New York City with Lexington Dance Exchange and Collective Dance NY and has worked with artists such as Sean Curran, Sara Pearson and Patrick Widrig, Bill Evans, Gabe Masson, and Vincent Mantsoe. Amy’s work has been shown at the American Dance Festival’s International Dance for the Camera Festival, the Heidelberg New Music and Dance Festival, and at Western Oregon University. Ms. McDonnell is a certified Pilates Mat instructor through Balanced Body.
Office: Maple Hall
DARRYL THOMAS is a Professor of Dance at Western Oregon University where he teaches composition, jazz dance, contemporary partnering and modern technique. As Co-Artistic Director of Rainbow Dance Theatre, Darryl has performed and choreographed in Bermuda, England, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico and throughout the United States including Hawaii and Alaska. In 1993 he received the Hawaii State Dance Council Award for choreography. A former dancer and artistic collaborator in the world-renowned Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Darryl's performing credits include the 1996 Centennial Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and the PBS televised special for the 25th Anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC for which he received an EMMY. Most recently he performed at the 5th Annual Contemporary Dance Festival in Mexico City, D.F. In Summer 1999 Darryl taught contemporary partnering Kalani Honua in Hilo, Hawaii. In addition he received a commission to choreograph a new work for Nemian Contemporary Dance Company in Mexico City, D.F. In both the Summer 2000 & 2001 he was the artist in residence for the Santa Fe Dance Institute held in Gainesville, Florida. Darryl's teaching appointments include visiting professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida and Pusan National University in Pusan, South Korea and as guest instructor at the Centro Nacional des Bellas Artes of Mexico City, D.F. and Studio Dance Tanz in Osaka, Japan. Darryl received his Masters of Fine Arts in performance and choreography from the University of Hawaii. In February 2002 Darryl was honored with the Living Legend Award given by Willamette University for his artistic contributions within the Willamette Valley.
Les Watanabe received his B.F.A in dance from California Institute of the Arts and his M.F.A. from UC Irvine as a Chancellor's Fellow. His professional career spans 35 years. He has given master classes at dance festivals inGermany, Spain, the Netherlands, Paris and Vienna, Austria where he was also in residence at Theater An Der Wien. In the Northwest, Les has taught at the University of Oregon as a Artist-in-Residence, Vancouver, WA School District, June Taylor Ballet, NW Conservatory of Dance, Classical Ballet Academy, Portland Festival Ballet and Sultanov Russian Ballet Academy. Known as a superb dance educator, Mr. Watanabe's student's have gone on to attend schools such as Julliard, Cornish College of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, UC Irvine, NYU, University of Oklahoma, Cal Arts, Purchase Univ. Alvin Ailey Dance Center and Marylhurst University. In addition to his expansive career as a dance educator, Mr. Watanabe has had an illustrious career as a performer. He began with Eugene Loring’s Dance Players and subsequently was soloist for such companies as: Donald McKayle’s Inner City Repertory Company, Lar Lubovitch, Joyce Trisler’s Danscompany, Alvin Ailey II, Sachiyo Ito Japanese Dance Co., Burch Mann Folk Ballet, L.A Jazz Co., and Peter Goss Dance Company in Paris, France. Performances in theater and television include: Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim's Broadway production of Pacific Overtures, The Who's Tommy, Leonard Bernstein's Mass, Alvin Ailey Presents Duke Ellington CBS special , the Bill Cosby Shows, Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, French variety television and a national tour with Rita Moreno's The Act.
Department of Theatre and Dance 503 838-8461 | or e-mail: email@example.com
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