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Festival Dance & Performing Arts 

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

Because we believe in the power of the arts to enrich lives, enliven communities and inspire our youth, Festival Dance & Performing Arts bring the arts to the people and the people to the arts with dynamic performances, exciting dance education, and powerful outreach programs for all ages in communities of all sizes.

Our Core Values: Diversity, Accessibility, Nurturing of local talent, Community service, and artistic Excellence  

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.

Rachel Winchester

Academy Director & Community Engagement

Rachel Winchester is a choreographer, educator, and filmmaker with a passion for innovative storytelling. She holds both a Bachelor's and a Master's of Fine Arts in Dance. She has had the privilege to teach hundreds of dancers of all ages, including students at the University of Idaho, the University of Oregon, and Pacific Lutheran University. Rachel's choreography has been recognized and presented through the American College Dance Association and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the San Diego & Tijuana Mexico International Fringe Festival, Movement Research and Williamsburg Arts Nexus in New York City, and Seattle’s 12 Min Max at Base Experimental Arts. Her films have been featured in 40 North International Film Festival, Idaho Screendance Festival, and ACDA Northwest conferences. Her choreographic research was presented at the 2019 National Dance Education Conference in Miami. Rachel loves working with talented young people. She has been a children’s dance instructor for Festival Dance Academy in Moscow, Idaho and for the American Dance Institute in Seattle, WA. She recently worked as a physical education teacher in Tacoma Public Schools and was a 2022 guest artist for Seattle’s Kaleidoscope youth dance company. Rachel is excited to be back living and working in the Moscow/Pullman area, and to bring her education and experience to the role of Academy Director & Community Engagement for Festival Dance Performing Arts Association.

Taylor Luck

Outreach Coordinator

Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in Dance, and serves as a member of the Americorp. She 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 Dance this year and can't wait to share her love for ballet and tap with her students.


Saskia Zijlstra



Saskia moved to Pullman in August 2018 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 in a similar job helping to run a tennis academy.

She and her family moved to Wisconsin, but she still helps remotely. 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.

Melia Gold

Administrative Assistant

Melia is from Wenatchee, Washington and she just moved to Moscow this year, 2022. This is her first year with Festival Dance, and she is very excited to be on with us. Melia previously worked as an Accounts Payable Coordinator in her hometown while she was finishing her Bachelor's degree at WSU-Global, and decided she wanted to go back to school for her accounting degree this winter. Melia has always had a great appreciation for the arts. She danced as a child and took choir classes growing up. She was also self-taught on the piano and the ukulele. In her free time, Melia loves to go to the gym, sing, play her ukulele, and draw portraits. 

Our Dance Instructors

Colleen has considerable experience teaching, choreographing, and restaging works. Her MFA thesis work focused on creating a written history of ballet companies in Los Angeles. She 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!

Colleen L. Bialas

Senior Level Instructor

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.

Sophia Raasch

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.

Julia Jitkov

Bachelor of Science

Physics & Mathematics

Washington State University

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.

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

Jillian Naylor

Pre-Veterinary Science Major

University of Idaho

Jillian is an undergraduate student at the University of Idaho studying Pre-Veterinary Science. She grew up dancing competitively as well as recreationally at a studio in California, and has experience in Contemporary, Hip-hop, Ballet, 

Pointe, Jazz, Musical Theatre, and Acro. In high school, she was a member of her school's varsity dance, sideline cheer, and competitive cheer teams, and spent innumerable hours in her school’s theatre participating in several shows and earning the rank of Honor Thespian. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old and hopes to keep dancing for as long as she can. Jillian is absolutely ecstatic to begin teaching with Festival Dance and can’t wait to work with the next generation of dancers!

​Hannah Turner

Hannah is an undergraduate transfer student to UIdaho, studying Physical Therapy with a minor in Dance. Growing up at the same dance studio her mother grew up at, dance is in her blood and an inherent part of who she is. She has trained in many styles of dance, with her focuses being tap, ballet, jazz, contemporary, and modern. Hannah chose to transfer to UIdaho for their dance program, and is so excited to be part of the team with the adjoining studio that reaches the next generation of dancers.

Judy Drown

Senior Level Instructor

Bachelor of Science in Dance

University of Idaho

Judy Drown (JD) is a long time Moscow community member curious about healthy human movement. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Dance from the University of Idaho, became a licensed massage therapist after studying at the Idaho School of Massage Therapy.

Judy has completed her Body Arts Science International (BASI) comprehensive Pilates teacher certificate.  For a number of years, she taught for the University of Idaho Dance Program as an Adjunct Instructor, taught for Festival Dance, and run her own massage practice. She has recently returned from Denver, CO, where she honed her ability to bring a diverse and holistic perspective to students. Her goal is to not only emphasize the tasks in class but also to connect how they relate to every day activities and health.

Bella Roberts

Bella Roberts is from Ketchikan, Alaska and has been in love with dance since the age of four. She trained at Ketchikan Theater Ballet for 14 years in ballet, jazz, modern, and tap. During her time there she was also a member of their Senior Company for 5 years which led to her having opportunities to travel to New York City several times to take classes at Broadway Dance Center, Peridance, and Steps on Broadway. She is currently studying at The University of Idaho for her Bachelor of Science in Dance. She was also awarded A Dance Promise Scholarship Spring 2021 for growing potential in coursework, studio practice, and academic achievement. She has performed in University of Idaho's Fall Faculty pre-professional performance for two fall semesters. As a student she has been able to create dance works and hopes to establish a career in choreography

Festival Dance Board of Directors

Sharon Stoll                                    Chair

Jennifer Beller

Joann Muneta                                Treasurer

Trish Gardner                                  Secretary

Advisors & Honorary Board

David Phelan                   Michelle Hovey

Janis Hall                          Susan & Bill Weed

Dawn Melton                  Molly Pannkuk