I began dancing at the age of 9, and began teaching when I was 19 years old. I have studied, ballet, pointe, jazz, and tap, but tap is my real love and that is what I mainly teach. I also teach the small dancers beginning at age 2 ½ years. I teach beginning and advanced and toddlers to adults. I have studied with such tap masters as Brenda Bufalino, LaVaughn Robinson, Dianne Walker, and James “Buster” Brown. I appeared in the local PBS television station and taught a tap “Hoofing” instructional segment. I have owned and operated Klamath Dance & Exercise since its conception in 1988. I have established a history of dance programs for a local grade school. I have traveled in the summer to Northeastern Oregon town (Condon, Oregon) and instructed dance to the local children and teens. I have choreographed children’s dance groups that have performed in our local theater’s presentation of “The Nutcracker” and choreographed for dance groups.
I have been dancing from a very young age. Started training with San Diego Park and recreation from Elementary through High School. When I started college I started teaching for San Diego Park and Recreation. I taught for two years and took time to raise a family. I was in several productions with the Starlight Opera in the late 1960’s. I started teaching again when we moved to Klamath Falls in 1985, through Klamath Falls Park and recreations. I began teaching at Klamath Dance & Exercise 14 years ago when my youngest daughter started taking. My specialty is tap but I also teach ballet and Jazz. I really enjoy teaching especially younger dancers. I have danced in programs given by Klamath Dance and I enjoy performing.
Suzan Phipps moved to Klamath Falls in 2011, from Jacksonville Florida, where she taught dance for 22 years. After graduating from the University of New Haven, in Connecticut, with a B.A. Degree in English, she trained and became certified as a teacher with “Dance Educators of America” and owned her own dance studio for 11 years. Suzan was very active in several theatre and community groups, as well as a coach with Special Olympics. Suzan furthered her studies in the “Cecchetti Ballet Method” and became certified by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, Cecchetti Branch, London, England and is an affiliate of Cecchetti USA. She also teaches a movement program, called “Body Recall” at the Senior Center and at Crystal Terrace in Klamath Falls.
Samantha started teaching dance at age 15 as a hula dancer with a professional Tahitian dance company, the Pacific Islanders, on the island of Guam. Dancing took a renewed focus when her daughters started taking classes. Samantha started studying ballet, jazz and hip-hop. She even competed in dance competitions alongside her girls and danced numerous times in the Eugene Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. She has been focused for the past 11 years on teaching and choreography. Her choreography credits include Mulan, The Sound of Music, and most recently, It’s a Wonderful Life. Dancing is her passion and she loves to share that with her students. She says the most enjoyable time is when her students are able to take what is in her head and make it come to life on stage.
Erin is a senior at Mazama High School. She is involved in student government and excels in art, sculpture and design. She has been dancing since she was 3, and has been a student as Klamath Dance and Exercise since she was 6 years old. She currently takes Ballet, Pointe Ballet and Jazz. She has also enjoyed Tap and Hip Hop when time has allowed. Erin looks forward to working with young dancers who love learning as much as she does.
Christine Thomas began ballet at her request at the age of 4. From that introduction began a deep love for dance arts of all forms. During childhood and into teenage years, Christine studied ballet, jazz, and modern dance. She also was heavily involved with local and school theatre, beginning at the age of 10. The combination of love for dance and theatre led naturally to a passion for theatrical jazz. After high school graduation, Christine moved to Portland and studied modern dance at various studios and at Portland State University. Christine then attended Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Nursing at Oregon Tech’s campus, and subsequently began work as an RN in labor and delivery at Sky Lakes Medical Center. Christine’s dance icons, among many, are Graham, Horton, Ailey, and Fosse. She is married to Andrew Thomas and the couple has a 2 year old daughter (who also loves to dance).
Eric was classically trained in a hybrid of Cecchetti and Vaganova styles of ballet through the Bremerton dance center in Washington State. He was a principal dancer at the Peninsula dance theatre under the direction of Lawan Morrison. Eric performed in many lead roles for over 6 years with Peninsula dance theatre and has worked with a wide variety of choreographers in both classical and modern. He went on to become a performing member of regional dance America (west) where he was a gala performing member. In 1999, he performed at the Sydney opera house in Australia. Eric is well-versed in performance and partnering, and has also taught advanced ballet classes.
I started technically training in dance and gymnastics at the age of 8. Dance was my first true love (and still is)… and then I found the circus. In 2004, I was introduced to Aerial Circus Arts in college. By 2010 I auditioned for NECCA, A Professional Circus Training Program on the East Coast, founded and run by 2 former Cirque Du Soleil artists. I was accepted and began my professional training. I studied Aerial Fabric, Lyra, Trapeze, and Partner Acrobatics as well as Modern Dance in Martha Graham’s discipline. I participated in Fabric and Lyra Teacher Training in the method created by E’Cole Nationale de Cirque of Montreal. I taught Fabric and Lyra at Smirkus Camp for the Circus Smirkus International Youth Circus. I wrote and directed C’est La Vie; A Vintage Circus Tour through Hollywood and also wrote Aliqua; A Students’s Quest for Education, both for KCC’S Foundation Scholarship Event. I am so happy to be teaching again and so grateful for the opportunity to weave my love of dance and circus together into one beautiful package.
● AERIAL DANCE EXPERIENCE
– Started in 2007 at the age of 22 at Least Cirque Centre in Ashland, Or.
My main aerial apparatus is silks but I have some background in trapeze, lyra and corde lisse.
– Became a member of The Curtain Climbers Aerial Dance Company in 2007 – Volunteered in teaching aerial silks at Catalyst Aerial Arts and Dance in 2010 for two years – Teaching aerial silks at Klamath Dance and Exercise since 2012
● AERIAL PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE
– Several student shows at Least Cirque Centre – First Friday Art shows at the The Black Sheep Pub and Restaurant from 2008 to present with the rest of the members of The Curtain Climbers Aerial Dance Company – Performed (top ten finalist) in the Southern Oregon’s Got Talent contest as a contestant for the Curtain Climbers Aerial Dance Company in 2010 – Performed in the Green show for Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2011 (Curtain Climbers Aerial Dance Company) – Circus productions called Aliqua for a KCC scholarship fundraiser (2014) and C’est La Vie (2015) both shows with April Wietlisbach.
I have been dancing since I was 3 years old. I started out with tap, jazz and ballet and then picked up hip-hop classes at the age of 8. Hip-hop lit a new fire within my soul and I found myself consumed by it. At age 13 I had the opportunity to teach my own hip-hop class, and my love for it only grew stronger. It became my sole focus. Dance gives me the freedom to express myself in ways I did not know were possible. I was a member of the “Dedication to Dance” team and competed in many competitions. After dancing at Klamath Dance for many years, I returned to teach hip-hop last year. Other accomplishments include: participation in the Nutcracker with the Eugene Ballet, “Hello Dolly” and “Oklahoma” at the Ross Ragland Theater. I have also studied at the Boogie Zone in Irvine, California. I am excited to share my passion with others!