A Bit of History
Whidbey Island Dance Theatre was founded in 1993 to promote dance as a significant cultural resource for Whidbey Island and the surrounding communities, and to provide pre-professional experience for outstanding young dancers. WIDT presents a broad range of dance styles including ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip-hop and ballroom. Strict standards of training and choreography provide dancers with opportunities for personal and artistic growth.
WIDT was a member of Regional Dance America from 2001-2012.
Each year WIDT presents two major productions. Our largest production, The Nutcracker, has enjoyed 25 highly successful seasons. In spring, our Choreography Showcase highlights the diverse talents of our broadly trained dancers and features the works of both resident and guest choreographers. Guest choreographers in recent years include Eva Stone, Aaron Cash, Danielle Wilkins, Laurentia Barbu, Andrea Binder, Leigh-Ann Cohen Hafford, Jenna Kantor, and Daniel Wilkins of DASS Dance. In 2004, Sharon Tyers, formerly of the Martha Graham Dance Company, set the first modern dance master work on WIDT: Martha Graham's Appalachian Spring.
Since 2000, WIDT has performed in Tucson, Salt Lake City, greater Los Angeles, and at the National Dance Festival in Pittsburgh, PA as well as a dozen cities in Washington. Local WIDT guest appearances include a featured evening at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in 2007 and 2004, a performance including Waltz of the Flowers and Appalachian Spring at the internationally acclaimed Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens' May Day festival, the Festival of Friends at the Northshore Performing Arts Center in Seattle, and the Ballet Bellevue Winter Gala at the Meydenbauer Center Theatre in Bellevue.
Artistic Director Charlene Brown began her dance studios, Island Dance, on Whidbey Island in 1987. The daughter of a dance educator, Char's whole life has been committed to offering the highest level of dance education and professional instructors to students. Extending this commitment to the art of choreography led to the formation of WIDT in 1993.
Whidbey Island is about one hour's drive and a 15-minute ferry ride north of Seattle. It is 70 miles long and between 1 and 5 miles wide. The largest population center is at the north end at Oak Harbor. WIDT is located at the south end near Langley, the Arts center of the island and county. The company's main performance venues are South Whidbey High School Theatre (the largest and best equipped performance venue in the county) and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. South end population is about 30,000. Combined, there are approximately 1000 students at South Whidbey High School and Junior High.
FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Charlene Brown is also the co-owner of Island Dance in Langley, WA. Charlene brings nearly 45 years of dance experience to her studios and to WIDT. Charlene has studied with nationally known teachers, and was a member of the Tacoma Performing Dance Company under the direction of Jo Emery. Her choreography has been seen in numerous Northwest area musical and dance productions.
Charlene Brown began her dance studio, Island Dance, on Whidbey Island in 1987. She is committed to offering the highest possible level of dance education and professional instructors to her students. Through many years of perseverance, Charlene has provided the opportunity for thousands of dancers to further their education. Many of her students have gone on to college and received degrees in dance, while many more of her students have won individual titles and honors in dance.
In 1993, extending her commitment to the art of choreography, Charlene's dream of a pre-professional dance company became a reality in Whidbey Island Dance Theatre. As co-artistic director and production manager, she has overseen 24 productions of The Nutcracker, The Snow Queen and all annual WIDT spring concerts. Charlene also choreographs for The Nutcracker and is advisor to the WIDT Board of Directors.
ASSISTANT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Brittany Falso was born and raised on Whidbey Island. She danced at Island Dance from age three through her senior year in high school. She graduated in 2008 from Bayview High School. After high school she studied dance at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Currently, Brittany dances with DASSdance, a company in Seattle, under director Daniel Wilkins. She is a mother to son, Leo, who inspires her every day to live and dance with a full, loving, and open heart.
ASSISTANT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Katelyn Lodell is a WIDT alum and graduate of the University of Arizona School of Dance. She is currently the Ballet Mistress at Island Dance and has returned to WIDT in past years as a guest artist and choreographer. This will be her first season as an Assistant Artistic Director.