A ballet student holds a pose while training at Eagle Performing Arts Center.

ABOUT

As a performing arts center, our goal is to instill a respect for the art of dance, while providing the highest quality training possible. Our professional faculty has a refreshingly humanistic approach to training and preparing the student for a meaningful and long lasting relationship with the arts. Eagle Performing Arts Center was founded in 2004 and has been at the forefront of promoting dance in Idaho. Students at EPAC receive excellent dance training while developing a love for the art of dance. Through performances through out the greater Treasure Valley, our dancers share their passion for dance with the larger community.

The school is a wonderful place to study and mature as a young artist. Many students have gone on to dance professionally and study at colleges and universities, while others have pursued academic interests while maintaining a meaningful relationship with dance through adult classes and patronage of the performing arts.

DIRECTOR

Headshot of Liz Keller - School Director of Eagle Performing Arts Center.

LIZ KELLER

School Director

Elizabeth was born in Dubai, UAE and started her ballet training at the Royal Academy of Dance in London. After moving back to the United States, she continued her training at Ballet Center of Houston under the direction of Victoria Vittum and Gilbert Rome. At 15, she was invited to train at The Rock School of The Pennsylvania Ballet on full merit scholarship. She danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet for two seasons and was coached extensively by “Prima Ballerina Assoluta”, Violette Verdy. She then joined Miami City Ballet under the director of Edward Villella for ten seasons. While with MCB,  Elizabeth danced corps de ballet, solos and principal roles in works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, John Cranko, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Anthony Tudor, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Trey McIntyre, Marius Petips, and August Bournonville among others. She also danced with Miami Contemporary Dance Company and taught on the faculty at Miami City Ballet School. She was appointed Children’s Ballet Mistress for Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” from 2009-2012. During the summers, Elizabeth taught at MCBS, Ballet Center of Houston and helped run and was on the faculty at the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSA) in Saratoga Springs, NY under the direction of Damian Woetzel, Jennifer Ringer and Daniel Ulbricht. Ms. Keller has been very fortunate to have had many mentors throughout her professional ballet and teaching career. Violette Verdy, Edward Villella, Nancy Raffa, Olga Kostritzky, Victoria Vittum, Ray Sullivan, Patrick Corbin, Marianna Alvarez, Rosario Suarez, Truman Finney, Carter Alexander, Roma Sosenko and Geta Constantinescu have all influenced her as a dancer, artist and teacher.

Elizabeth moved to Boise to dance with Trey McIntyre Project and toured the country with TMP. She then joined Ballet Idaho as a principal dancer for three seasons. She has been trained in the “Dance for PD” method and has taught Dance for Parkinson’s classes all over the US and Canada. Elizabeth started the very first Dance for Parkinson’s classes in Idaho in 2014. Dance for Parkinson’s Idaho now has two classes every Monday in both Boise and Eagle, five teachers trained in the “Dance for PD” method and two musicians.

Liz has been teaching classical ballet throughout the U.S. for the past 17 years. As the Director of Eagle Performing Arts Center and Artistic Director of Idaho Regional Ballet, Liz is excited to inspire the next generation of dancers, artists, ballet goers and performing arts supporters.

FOUNDING CO-DIRECTORS

Headshot for Cathy Giese - Founding Director at Eagle Performing Arts Center.

CATHY GIESE

Founding Director

Cathy received her early ballet training in San Francisco, CA with Leona Norman and Richard Gibson. At the age of 17 she joined the Stuttgart Ballet under the late John Cranko. She rose to the rank of soloist while touring throughout the world.

She also danced with the Ballet de Caracas under the artistic directorship of Vicente Nebrada and the Zurich Ballet. She worked with choreographers George Balanchine, John Cranko, Kenneth MacMillan, Jiri Kylian, Margo Sappington and Vicente Nebrada while appearing in theatres throughout the world including New York’s Lincoln Center, the Paris Opera, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Covent Garden in London and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater.

She met her husband, Jeff Giese while both were dancing in Zurich, Switzerland. Cathy has been teaching ballet for the past 25 years in both private and public institutions.

Headshot for Jeff Giese - Founding Director at Eagle Performing Arts Center.

JEFF GIESE

Founding Director

Jeff was born in Gooding, Idaho and received his early training in Fort Worth, Texas at the Texas Christian University Preparatory Ballet School. At 15 he received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to study at School of American Ballet in New York City. Jeff joined Houston Ballet at the age of 19 touring throughout the U.S. and Europe.

He also danced with the Zurich Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Dallas Ballet and was a founding member of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio. Jeff has taught throughout the U.S for the past 25 years including Southern Methodist University, Texas Women’s University and Dallas Arts Magnet.

RESIDENT CHOREOGRAPHER

Headshot of Lisa Moon - Resident Choreographer at Eagle Performing Arts Center.

LISA MOON

Lisa was born in Birmingham, Alabama, where she received her first training from Stevan and Melanie Grebel. Lisa was a Harkness trainee with David Howard before joining Stars of American Ballet and the Bavarian National Ballet in Munich.

During her career as a dancer in Europe and the United States, she worked with renowned artists such as Frederic Franklin, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Lynn Seymour, John Neumeier, and Edward Caton. Lisa has devoted the past twenty years of her teaching career to students and professionals in the Northwest.

FACULTY

Headshot for Laura Edson - Eagle Performing Arts Center faculty member.

LAUREN EDSON

Originally from Boise, Idaho, Edson received her training at Idaho Dance Theatre, The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School, under the direction of the late Benjamin Harkarvy. She danced with Trey McIntyre Project for several years and was featured in many of his critically acclaimed works. Throughout her career she's had the honor of performing the works of Pina Bausch, Maguy Marin, Angelin Preljocaj, Robert Battle, Johannes Wieland, and Alex Ketley, among others.

She is the Artistic Director of LED, a multidisciplinary arts company founded in 2015 and based in Boise, Idaho.  The company was recently recognized by Dance Magazine as "25 to watch" for 2020 and weaves signature contemporary choreography, original musical compositions, and elements of film into thought-provoking narratives and inspiring stories that are redefining the boundaries of performing arts.

As a choreographer, she has received many fellowships and awards for her creations.  She was awarded the prestigious 2019 Washington Award for excellence in choreography and is the recipient of the ICA Performing Arts Fellowship.  Described by the Seattle Times as a “choreographer of the first rank,” she is the winner of Northwest Dance Project’s The Pretty Creative’s International Choreography Competition, the recipient of the Audience Favorite Award at Milwaukee Ballet’s International Choreography Competition, Winner of the Grand Prize and Paid Engagement Award at the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Competition, a ‘Level Up’ Choreographer for the Dance Gallery Festival and winner of Western Michigan University’s Great Works Dance Project.

Her choreography has appeared at Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out Series, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Winspear Opera House and the Kennedy Center. Her past choreographic commissions include: Whim W’Him, Northwest Dance Project, Houston MET Dance, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Idaho, Freeman Company, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Pensacola Ballet and SALT Contemporary Dance, to name a few.

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CHRIS MACKENTHUN

Photo and bio coming soon.

ANDREW NEMR

Andrew Nemr is considered one of the most diverse tap dance artists today. An international performer, choreographer, educator and speaker, Andrew has played with Grammy Award winning musicians across multiple genres, founded the tap dance company Cats Paying Dues, directs the Tap Dance Freedom education platform, and co-founded the Tap Legacy™ Foundation, Inc., along with his mentor Gregory Hines.

“A masterly tapper” (New York Times), Nemr’s work has been recognized with a TED Fellowship, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces: Dance Initiative and the CUNY Dance Initiative, a FloBert Award for Tap Dance Excellence, and residencies with Quarterly Arts Soiree at Webster Hall, BRICLab, More Art’s Engaging Artists program, Surel’s Place, and TED Conferences. Nemr is recorded on the Grammy nominated recording Itsbynne Reel by Dave Eggar, the DVD Documentary and companion album Tuesdays at Mona’s by Mona’s Hot Four, and narrates the DanceTime Publications DVD, Tap Dance History: From Vaudeville to Film.

The artists Nemr has shared the stage with is a venerable list of whose who, including Jazz greats Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Hank Jones, James Carter, and John Faddis, Harry Connick Jr., the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, and the legendary Les Paul. Ongoing collaborations and associations include the Nat Adderley, Jr. Trio, hammered dulcimer virtuoso Max ZT and House of Waters, cellist Dave Eggar, percussionist Susie Ibarra, the eclectic roots band HollerJack, and visual artist Mako Fujimura.

As a founding member and dance captain of Savion Glover’s TiDii, Andrew was featured in the critically acclaimed Improvography at The Joyce Theatre, NY, the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival 2001, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, the 2002 Winter Olympics Arts Festival, and the 2002 Nijinsky Awards in Monaco. Andrew was also toured with and choreographed for the dance collective World Soul with house dance artist Brian Green.

Nemr’s own tap dance company, Cats Paying Dues, has been presenting critically and popularly acclaimed work since it’s debut in All For Love (2005, Mainstage Theatre at Playwrights Horizons). More recent seasons include Where the Music Lives (2008, Julia Miles Theatre, NY), Echoes In Time (2009, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, NY; The Egg, NY; Landmark on Mainstreet, NY), and Three Suites (2017, Tribeca Performing Arts Center). Other appearances include The QAS at Webster Hall (NYC), Jamaica Performing Arts Center (NY), The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (NYC), the Wesleyan University Center for the Arts (CT), Williams College (MA), and Celebrate Brooklyn (NYC). Return performances include Norte Maar’s Fete De Danse (NY) the Tap Extravaganza (NY), DUMBO Dance Festival (NYC), and the Jerry Lewis Telethon (National Broadcast). The company has also been in residence at BRIClab (NYC) and the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (NYC).

Headshot for Brett Perry - Eagle Performing Arts Center faculty member.

BRETT PERRY

Brett Perry is a dancer, farmer and performing artist working around the globe and living in Boise, Idaho. He started dancing at the age of four at The Dance Company in Indianapolis, Indiana under the direction of Diane Gudat. After graduating from The Juilliard School in 2008, Brett started his professional career with Trey McIntyre Project in Boise where he spent 6 years with the company.

He is a recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award for Dance 2010. After finishing up a season at Ballet BC in 2015, Brett has embarked on a whirlwind adventure as a freelance dancer working with Aszure Barton and Artists, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, LED and Adam Weinert.

Headshot for Nathan Powell - Eagle Performing Arts Center faculty member.

NATHAN POWELL

Nathan is from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he received his early dance training. He started professional training at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and had the chance to tour with the school across Canada. He received a RBC Youth Excellence Scholarship in 2006 as a member of Festival Dance at the Banff Centre, and performed with Northern Plains Ballet before joining Festival Ballet Providence for three seasons under Mihailo Djuric. Nathan spent several summers with Ballet Montana and, before coming to Ballet Idaho, danced with Ballet San Antonio. While in Boise, Nathan has taught ballet, tap and partnering to many students across the valley. He also choreographs and has made works on Ballet Idaho, Anchorage Ballet, Ballet Montana, and the Boise Dance Co-op. Nathan is one the instructors for Dance for Parkinson's Idaho, a movement class designed for people living with Parkinson's. Nathan is delighted to be able to share his love of dance with the adult ballet students of EPAC.

Headshot for Christina Price - Eagle Performing Arts Center faculty member.

CHRISTINA PRICE

Christina began her dance training at Footlight Dance in Hailey, Idaho, focusing on jazz and modern dance and later ballet.  She also danced in college while working towards her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at Chapman University.  There she loved learning bellydance and performing in Chapman's bellydance troupe, Rakasaat.  After college, she expanded her dance repertoire and studied Dance Ministry at Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia. Being surrounded by a multitude of nationalities at Hillsong gave Christina the experience of seeing dance as a "global language" and as a powerful tool of communication.  After settling back in Hailey, Idaho, Christina picked up teaching at her former studio, Footlight Dance, under the direction of Hilarie Neely.  She enjoyed teaching ages 5-12 in Creative Dance, Ballet and Modern.  A new transplant to Boise, she looks forward to becoming a part of the EPAC family and helping cultivate the next generation of exceptional, well rounded dancers.

LYDIA SAKOLSKY-BASQUILL

Artistic Director - Project Flux Dance

Studying dance both nationally and internationally from a young age, Lydia graduated with an AA in Dance Performance at New World School of the Arts (Miami, FL) training in R.A.D, Balanchine, Graham, Horton, and Limón techniques where she performed works by Micheal Utoff and Freddick Bratcher.  She went on to pursue her BFA at Arizona State University focusing on the works of José Limón, under the direction of Nina Watt, dancing soloist roles in Missa Brevis, Mazurkas, and Dances for Isadora. Furthering her studies, Lydia joined the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Summer Lee Rhatigan where she danced in the reconstructions of Robert Moses’ The Supplicant, Netherlands Dance Theatre’s Fallen Angels, along with contemporary works by Alex Ketley, Christian Burns, and former Batsheva Dancer Bobbi Jene Smith.  Since returning to Boise in 2011, Lydia founded Project Flux Dance, a nonprofit Boise-based dance company. She has choreographed over 30 professional works and collaborated with approximately 20 different organizations. Her choreography has received recognition and numerous awards nationwide. She continues to teach ballet, contemporary, jazz, and improvisation throughout the Treasure Valley.

Headshot for Carrie Shanafelt - Eagle Performing Arts Center faculty member.

CARRIE SHANAFELT

Carrie Shanafelt, a native of Boise, Idaho grew up taking ballet classes. She performed with Idaho Dance Theatre and DROP Dance Collective in Boise. Carrie also taught ballet and modern dance classes in Boise as well as at Boise State University. It was through dance that Carrie discovered Pilates.

She began her Pilates training in Seattle with Lori Coleman-Brown, Dorothee Vandewalle, and Lauren Stephan as well as Romana Kryzanowska. Carrie earned her certification in 1999 through the Pilates Guild. Soon after, she moved back to Boise and opened Boise’s first Pilates studio, Forte Pilates. After six and a half years Carrie sold the studio and briefly moved to Sacramento, California where she owned and operated a successful home studio, The Pilates House. Five years later she moved back to Boise and continued working from home until recently. Carrie is now co-owner of Grasshopper Pilates in Boise’s historic Hyde Park. She is also on staff at Eagle Performing Arts Center and Idaho Regional Ballet, a pre-professional ballet company.

In 2015 Carrie became a proud graduate of Vintage Pilates’ teachers’ program, The Work. In 2016, she was asked back to Vintage Pilates as a guest instructor. The Work gave her more clarity and deepened her faith in the classical Pilates method. She enjoys the challenge it presents through its simplicity and finds this concept fascinating: Pilates becomes more challenging the more you simplify the method. She strives to pass this on and continue learning since she finds the best teachers are perpetual students.

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SARA GODFREY

Sara received her early training under the direction of Marilyn Budzynski in Doylestown Pennsylvania.  She was a member of the Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania and performed soloist and principal rolls in many full-length ballets.  Sara also developed a love of character dance, training under the direction of members of the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in Philadelphia.  She had the opportunity to train on scholarship with Boston Ballet School and The Rock school of Pennsylvania Ballet and perform with the Pennsylvania Ballet.  Sara continued to dance and perform in college and holds bachelor’s degrees in both dance and communication disorders. After graduating, she turned her focus to teaching.  She has taught in the west for 15 years, 10 of which have been at Eagle Performing Arts Center.  She attended Marcia Dale Weary’s teacher training program at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and continues to seek opportunities to grow as a teacher.

KYLA JOHNSTON

Kyla is a EPAC and IRB alum and soon to be graduate of Grand Canyon University. She started her ballet training in the R.A.D. style in Colorado before moving to EPAC under the direction of Jeff and Cathy Giese. While dancing with IRB, Kyla worked with many familiar faces such as now director Liz Keller, Lauren Edson, and Lisa Moon.

While down at GCU, Kyla switched her focus from dancing to teaching when given the opportunity to teach in Phoenix. Excited to continue working with students at EPAC, Kyla is expecting to graduate April 2022 with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education with a minor in dance.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR

Headshot of Colleen Horiuchi - Eagle Performing Arts Center Administrative Director.

COLLEEN HORIUCHI

Colleen was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and raised in the family restaurant business where she learned the art of communication through her grandfather, Jimmy Hong. She studied business classes at University of Utah while working at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, before moving to Orange County, California. She worked for American Video Communications, Inc., Anaheim International Inn & Suites, and John Laing Homes. She moved to the Bay Area and went on hiatus to raise her daughters. In 2002, Colleen and her family moved to Eagle and she started work with EPAC soon after. Colleen is currently the Administrative Director for EPAC and Idaho Regional Ballet.