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

Mrs. Bren began as Outreach & Development Coordinator and Grant Writer in December 2018 and was promoted to Executive Director in June 2019. Mrs. Bren holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Eastern Washington University. She has a strong background in both Public Relations and Education. Prior to joining Festival Dance, she was a founding member and Director of Cornerstone Educational Cooperative, a large, one-day a week, dynamic, alternative learning environment based in Moscow, Idaho. For a number of years, Ms. Bren has been a home educator of her four children, taught art, civics, and speech classes, and volunteered as a promotional coordinator for APOD Theater Productions. She has shared her love for the arts with her children who have participated extensively in theatre and dance. Prior to moving to this area, Ms. Bren worked as Communications Director for The Salvation Army in Spokane, WA and coordinated fund-raising endeavors for her local Historical society. 

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. Through her research she interviewed and compiled information from directors, teachers, dancers, and writers who have influenced the Los Angeles ballet community.

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, 

Administrative Assistant, Bookkeeper 

Saskia moved to Pullman in August 2018 and lives there with her husband and 2 boys. Saskia started working for Festival Dance in November 2019.

Before moving to Pullman she lived in Augusta GA and worked there in a similar job for a tennis academy. 
Besides working in the office Saskia loves to be outdoors and work in her yard or go hiking. 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 Faculty

Julia Ames, 

Ballet 3/4

Julia Ames studied ballet and jazz at Festival Dance of Moscow, Idaho on and off for several years under various instructors. She trained in the US, Canada  and The Bahamas under several significant teachers including, Dariuz Hochman (teacher at NY City Center Studios and Broadway Dance Center in New York), Francoise Martinet (former principle with Joffrey Ballet), Stellio Calligias (former principle with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal), Kevin Pugh (former soloist with the National Ballet of Canada), Hubert Farrington (former principle with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and director at Nassau Civic Ballet School) and Robert Bain director of Dance Bahamas School. In Ottawa Canada, she studied, performed and toured regions of Canada for nearly five years under the direction of Michelle Lynn Danesh (former soloist with Chicago City Ballet) with the Ballet Shayda Company.

Brooke Ciocca, Creative Dance, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop

Bachelor of Science in Dance candidate, University of Idaho
Associate of Arts in Dance, College of Southern Idaho
Certificates in: YogaRenew 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! 

Judy "JD" Drown,

Discover Dance Program Outreach, Pilates, Lyrical, Hip-Hop/Breaking

Bachelor of Science in Dance, University of Idaho

JD is a Moscow, Idaho, native who began dancing at Festival Dance and Performing Arts Academy when she was young. She was first captivated by Celtic dance, and as she grew, she expanded her dance knowledge to Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Ballet. Her passion for artistic movement deepened as she graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Dance from the University of Idaho Dance Program, where she was exposed to Modern, African, and Belly dance genres. Since graduating, JD has studied with Movement Theater Studio, Idaho School of Massage Therapy, and Body Arts and Science International (BASI) Pilates to further investigate her curiosity about human movement potential.

She currently performs, collaborates, and trains with the University of

Idaho’s World Beat Ensemble, Mystic Rhythms Tribal Belly Dance Troupe, and various local groups seeking to incorporate dance. In addition, Drown is an Adjunct Instructor for the University of Idaho Dance Program and as an Academy and Discover Dance Outreach Instructor for Festival Dance and Performing Arts Academy. Pedagogically, she prioritizes instructing through healthy practice while utilizing her diverse background to help bring movement and self-expression to her students as they grown their personal passion for dance in her classes.

Melissa Godfrey, Creative Dance, Ballet

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance, Utah State University

Melissa began her dancing and performance journey with Festival Dance 30 years ago! She is thrilled to be teaching again this year with the studio that encouraged her long ago. She has a love of dance and performance and a passion for nurturing that love in youth. 

Melissa graduated from Utah State University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Performance. She has since been involved in many theater opportunities, including Festival Dances summer workshop Imagination Arts for the last two years. She has worked with youth in many platforms, and dance is one of her favorites. She loves the confidence that it can build, and the way it teaches teamwork. Melissa specifically loves teaching the youngest classes, as she believes that it is important for children to feel loved and safe in a creative environment while building basic technique to ensure success in advancing classes. 
She is married with 4 crazy and amazing children and one dog. We love Melissa and you will too! 

Brianna Wilfert, 

Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop
Bachelor of Science in Dance, University of Idaho

22 years of passion for dance is what sets Bri Wilfert above the rest. She has a variety of experience in the field of dance, and experience performing in many different types of shows, from small stage outdoor charity concerts to pre-professional settings. Her time studying dance at the University of Idaho expanded her knowledge as a choreographer. 

She has taught many types of movement classes to students of all ages and levels. This drove her curiosity about movement theory, as well as her desire to study. Wilfert's focus in theory lead her to become a strong advocate for dance, particularly in a learning environment. Because of her profound enthusiasm for this art, she is always a helping hand with any aspect of a show.

Her ultimate goal is successful advocacy for dance in public education. She is interested in using her knowledge of movement theory to confront the issues facing our youth in 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. Our knowledge of how students learn has evolved in the last 50 years, yet our education system has not, and s is here to evoke this must needed change.

The Board of Directors

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

Christina Otto
Molly Pannkuk