Bringing the Arts to the People and the People to the Arts since 1972

     Festival Dance

Festival Dance & Performing Arts Association

Our Staff

Deanna Bren 

Executive Director

Deanna has a strong background in both Public Relations and Education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Eastern Washington University. Prior to joining Festival Dance nearly two years ago, she was a founding member and the Director of Cornerstone Educational Cooperative, a large, one-day a week, dynamic, alternative learning environment based in Moscow, Idaho. Deanna has been involved in teaching art classes, participating in music and theater productions, and promoting the arts for several years. She has shared her love for the arts with her four children who have all pursued interests in music, theater, and dance. Prior to moving to this area, Deanna worked in promotions for The Spokesman-Review and as the Communications Director for The Salvation Army   in Spokane, WA.

Colleen L. Bialas 

Dance Director

Colleen is originally from Muskegon, Michigan and graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy. She attended San Francisco State University (BS) for her undergraduate studies and holds an MFA in Dance from the University of California Irvine.  Colleen has performed with Ballet Santa Barbara, State Street Ballet, and the Richmond Ballet. During her professional career, she performed in works by George Balanchine, Brian Carey Chung, Carrie Diamond, Benjamin Harkarvy, Melinda Horwitz, 

and Robert Sund among others.  

Colleen has considerable experience teaching, choreographing, and restaging works.  She attended the University of California Irvine, from 2013-2015, on full scholarship with a MFA Fellowship.  There she choreographed two works Three Movements in Blue and (432) Miles Apart for graduate showcases and was the graduate rehearsal assistant in the restaging of Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid.  Her MFA thesis work focused on creating a written history of ballet companies in Los Angeles. 

During the 2016-2017 school year she taught at the University of Idaho and as Lead Instructor for Festival Dance and Performing Arts.  She presented her work Awe + Wonder at the 2016 University of Idaho Faculty Show, Defining Balance.  At Festival Dance and Performing Arts she was in charge of teaching dance courses at the academy and also served as the ballet mistress for Eugene Ballet’s touring production of The Nutcracker.  

She has additionally taught at the Performing Arts Academy of Marin (Mill Valley, CA), Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Twin Lake, MI) and Calliope Dance Studio (San Francisco, CA).  She is thrilled to be back in Moscow with her daughter!


Saskia Zijlstra



Saskia moved to Pullman in August 2018 where she resides with her husband and 2 boys. Saskia began working for Festival Dance in November 2019.

Before moving to Pullman she lived in Augusta GA and worked tin a similar job helping to run a tennis academy. Saskia has a great love for the arts and her family. Saskia enjoys spending time outdoors whether working in her beautiful flower beds or going on adventurous hikes with her boys. She is also a creative person and designs theater costumes and sews in her spare time. 

Jean Milheim

Outreach & Development Coordinator

The Outreach & Development Coordinator works with area schools, principals, and teachers to arrange outreach programming, develops Youthreach study guides with dance companies, and collects evaluation data. 

Jean Millheim holds a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology/Dance from the University of California at Davis, and a Master’s in Education from Concordia University. Jean Millheim began her dance career in corps and character roles for the Sacramento Ballet. Character roles in Giselle, Nutcracker, and Cinderella allowed her to perform with principal dancers from the San Francisco and Joffrey Ballets. She studied modern dance under Althea Short (formerly of Jose Limon Dance Company), and Bill Evans (Bill Evans Dance). She operated a dance school in the rural town of Potlatch ID (population 900) from 2010-2018. She is involved in the local arts community; currently choreographing for APOD Theatre Productions.

She began her position as Outreach & Development Coordinator at Festival Dance in September 2019.

Our Dance Instructors

Brooke Ciocca 

Jazz, Hip Hop,


Bachelor of Science 

in Dance candidate, 

University of Idaho
Associate of Arts in Dance, College of Southern Idaho
Certificates in: Yoga Renew Teacher 

Certified,  BASI "Pilates" candidate

Brooke Ciocca has been dancing her whole life. She danced at her mother's locally owned dance studio Uptown Dance Studio in Wendell, Id. She began assisting her mother in teaching classes at the age of 9 years old. Ever since then Brooke knew that becoming a dance teacher is what she wanted to do. She has earned her Associates of Art in Dance from the College of Southern Idaho in May 2018. During her time at CSI, she was a member of the CSI Golden Girls Dance Team and as a company member of the modern dance company,  Inspirata Dance Project. 

Brooke is currently studying at the University of Idaho where she will earn her Bachelor of Science in Dance degree. She has achieved her dance teacher certification through Dance Teacher Web and the University of Las Vegas dance program. She has a passion for dance and teaching dance! 

Julia Jitkov

Ballet 1, 2 &  5

Bachelor of Science

Physics & Mathematics 

Julia Jitkov grew up in Pullman WA, where she began dancing at a young age and discovered her passion and love for ballet. She trained with Sears Dance Academy and Graham Ballet Theater, and Ballet Arts Academy (BAA) in Spokane WA. Julia was a Senior Company dancer at BAA and has performed several leading roles. She fulfilled an internship and began teaching ballet at Ballet Arts Academy in 2019.

Julia danced with The Russian Nutcracker with the Moscow (Russia) Ballet and participated in a Music-fest Northwest ballet competition. She had the honor of performing the Dying Swan variation from Swan Lake during the Spokane Bach Festival with live accompaniment by Grammy Award winner Zuill Bailey. She trained at multiple summer intensives around the US including Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet School.

Currently, Julia is a student at Washington State University where she is majoring in physics and mathematics. 

She is very excited to join the Festival of Dance and is thrilled to teach again.

Stephanie Glover


Bachelor of Science 

in Dance candidate

University of Idaho

Stephanie has always been a performer from the moment she could speak and move. She loved to put on an impromptu dance or music performances for her family and knew from the start, without a doubt, that dance is for her. She grew up in Idaho Falls, ID, where she trained primarily at Eagle Rock Dance Academy and participated in dance competitions and conventions all over the region.  She has experienced a wide range of dance styles, from tap and musical theater to various African dance styles. She specializes in modern, jazz, and hip-hop. She loves improvisation and performance and has a passion for teaching and choreographing.

Taylor Luck


Bachelor of Science 

in Dance candidate

University of Idaho

Taylor was born in Seattle, WA then moved to Spokane, WA and started dancing at a local studio shortly after. Taylor first started out with tap dance and has followed her passion for it in the past 15 years. Through middle school and high school, she danced competitively on her studio team as well as her high school dance team. Taylor is now a third-year student at the University of Idaho dance program planning on graduating with a dance major and business minor. She is so excited to be teaching at Festival this year and can't wait to share her love for tap with her students!


Heidi Payne

Musical Theater

Bachelor of Fine Arts 
in English, 
Theater Performance minor
University of Idaho

Heidi Payne grew up in a family of theater makers and has been involved in theater for most of her life. Over the years, she has appeared in numerous productions with RTOP Theatre, APOD Productions, and the University of Idaho Theatre Department. She has a particular love for musicals and enjoys recreating choreography from her favorite Broadway productions. Heidi graduated from the University of Idaho in May 2000 with a degree in English and a minor in Theater Performance.

Sophia Raasch

Beginning Youth Ballet

Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition & Pre-Physical Therapy Candidate, 

Minor in Dance, 

University of Idaho

Sophia has always had a love for the performing arts. Growing up in a musical household, she learned the art of singing, acting, and dancing. She has been dancing for 10 years and intends to keep dancing for as long as she can. Sophia trained at Festival Dance before entering Movement Sciences at the U.I. Sophie is excited to be returning to Festival to teach and share her love for dance and performance with others. She is currently enrolled at the U.I. and working towards a BS in Food & Nutrition as well as completing prerequisites for a Physical Therapy degree. Her goal is to one day have a practice where she can specialize in health and wellness for performing artists.

Simone Wulfhorst 


Adult Ballet & Conditioning

Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance,

Berklee Boston, MA

A talented Festival Dance alumni who left in 2014 to study dance as a high-schooler at the Walnut Hill School in Matick, MA and traveled extensively to attend intensives with a number of companies including the Bolshoi in Connecticut and the Kirov in Washington D.C. 

Simone has now graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Boston MA with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance is excited to be back in her home town to share her dance expertise and choreography. 


(Wilfert) Bogan


Bachelor of Science in Dance, University of Idaho

22 years of passion for dance is what sets Bri Wilfert above the rest.  She has taught many types of movement classes to students of all ages and levels. Her ultimate goal is successful advocacy for dance in public education. She believes that movement in the classroom will have a direct effect on students’ self-confidence, interpersonal relationships, outlook on society, stress levels, mental health, and even grades. Recently wed, Bri is looking forward to moving to Florida soon. In the meantime she embraces the opportunity to be an interim instructor for Festival Dance.

Festival Dance Board of Directors

        Sharon Stoll                                   President
        Carolyn Hicklin                              Vice President
        Joann Muneta                               Treasurer         
        Trish Gardner                                 Secretary

Advisors & Honorary Board
         David Phelan                  Michelle Hovey
         Janis Hall                         Susan & Bill Weed
         Dawn Melton                 Molly Pannkuk

Academy Staff photos credit of Jonathan S. Billings,
Archer Photography