WSYB provides the highest caliber of training for young dancers in order to prepare them for a career in the performing arts as well as providing classes to dancers of all ages and levels in this community and beyond.
Creating the healthy dancers of today and the confident generation of tomorrow.
Dear Students and Parents/Guardians,
Welcome to the 2021 school year at Washington State Youth Ballet. I am so proud of the dedication and growth of all our dancers in the Walla Walla Valley. WSYB will continue to aspire to high artistic standards. I will constantly work to provide rich and challenging educational opportunities for all students of WSYB.
Times have been very difficult for all of us. WSYB strives to create a safe and healthy environment for each student. All our teachers are vaccinated and we require masks and as much social distancing as possible in a dance class.
WYSB's goal is to prepare dancers to reach their maximum potential. Whether they are wanting to have a career in the arts or dance just for the sheer love of feeling the music, a dance education requires consistency in training and artistic philosophy. Whether it be in ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom, modern or commercial, our continuing goal is to expand WSYB to be a point of inspiration for dancers of all ages, abilities, and goals.
I have been so fortunate to have had a beautiful career that spanned from coast to coast. There have been many teachers and directors that gave so much of themselves every day to make me the person that I am. One of the things that tied them all together was the fact that they all had successful professional careers in companies throughout the world. This created the foundation of my 25-year career in dance from a very early age. Being able to give back to Walla Walla in the skillful way that I have experienced in my life is a gift that I am truly blessed to be able to give. Whether they want to grace the stages of the world, become a doctor, or perhaps continue the legacy of teaching the next generation of dancers, every dancer will be trained in the same caring manner. Dance is an art form passed down from teacher to pupil. Although my moments on stage are behind me, the future of the youth that I teach will always be in front of me.
Cheers to a continued bright future for the dancer in all of us.
Director of Washington State Youth Ballet
Creating the healthy dancers of today and the confident generation of tomorrow.
P.C. Greg Mauger
17 years ago, Phyllis came to the Walla Walla Valley as a guest performer for the Whitman Summer Dance Lab. The magic of the rolling hills, charming people, and beautiful sunsets always stayed with her. Throughout her career, she found herself coming back to Walla Walla. She re-experienced the beauty and artistic verve the community has 5 years ago as a principal guest artist for Danza Classica Ballet Company. Since that fateful performance, Phyllis has come back to become an instructor at Whitman Summer Dance Lab as well as continuing to teach master classes with The Dance Center of Walla Walla and DCBC. In 2018 she choreographed a ballet for DCBC’s trip to Italy which was received with praise and awards. After her retirement from a 25-year career as a professional dancer, an opportunity to become an assistant director to The Dance Center of Walla Walla became a reality filled with a purpose to help train the next generation of dancers. Phyllis jumped at the chance to become a part of this vibrant community.
Now she continues her dream by creating her own studio focusing on how her life experience within the ballet world can help mold and build confidence in her students in however their dreams guide them in life.
Phyllis Rothwell began her training at Chapel Hill Ballet School in North Carolina and continued at the Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet under the direction of Hortensia Fonseca and Michelle Lees. As one of 20 dancers picked from across the country she spent three summers at the Chautauqua Institute studying with Jean Piere Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, and Violette Verdy. At 17, Phyllis was accepted on a full scholarship to the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and performed with Pennsylvania Ballet in company roles.
She has danced for Southern Ballet Theatre and as a principal dancer with Charleston Ballet Theatre, Eugene Ballet, Company C Contemporary Ballet, and Ballet Idaho. Her most noted classical roles include Giselle, Cinderella, Carmen, Juliet, Kitri, Odette, Aurora, Esmerelda, Titania, Alice, and Sugar Plum. Her contemporary works include a collaboration with Eugene Ballet and “Pink Martini”, “That’s Life” in Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, David Parson's "The Envelope" and principal roles in Balanchine’s Serenade, Tarantella, Who Cares?, and Allegro Brilliante. Some of her favorite roles were Lucy in Jill Bahr's Dracula and The Mother in Kiesha Lalama's "The Bench" with Titus Bergess and Tobin Del Cuore.
While dancing for Ballet Idaho, Phyllis became Assistant Ballet Mistress and Apprentice Director for Ballet Idaho. She has also been Ballet Mistress of Company C Contemporary Ballet in San Fransisco, Ballet Mistress for Anchorage Ballet, and Co-Artistic Director/Founder of Boise Dance Co-op. She has worked side by side setting and rehearsing ballets with some of the most noted repertoire including: Ballet Mistress with Paul Boos of the Balanchine Trust, John Selya of Twyla Tharp’s “Moving Out", Danny Pelzig from Boston Ballet , Charles Anderson from NYCB, and Jeffrey Scott Bailey from Broadway and film. Phyllis has been part of the Spotlight competition family judging both regionals and nationals in Seaside, OR. She has been a guest artist with Oklahoma City Ballet for their "Stars of America" Gala Wichita Ballet, Sun Valley Ballet, LED, Project Flux, Anchorage Ballet, Tampa Bay Ballet, Artistic Ballet Theatre, and Danza Classica among others.
Her love for teaching has made her sought after for masterclasses and private coaching throughout the Northwest. She taught multiple levels in the Ballet Idaho Academy and quickly became a favorite of both the adult program and the academy. She helped stage the children’s division for Ballet Idaho’s Nutcracker and reprised many classical ballets for the student performances. Phyllis has had the privilege of watching her students become professional dancers with several companies and helped with achieving scholarships to colleges in dance and other majors. She has taught in summer intensives throughout the nation including Pennsylvania, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, and Washington. She has also been a company guest teacher for Paul Taylor and at the University of Georgia. Currently, she is an adjudicator for Whitman College’s Summer Dance Lab. She continues to teach privates to students so that they may understand their own personal growths and goals.
A budding choreographer, Phyllis has created many works for professional companies: Ballet Idaho, Idaho Dance Theatre’s "DanceFest", Boise Dance Co-op, Ballet Idaho Academy, Allegro Dance, The Dance Center of Walla Walla and Danza Classica Ballet Company. Recently, she was the director of the apprentice program for the Summer Dance Lab at Whitman College in Walla Walla and created an original work for the students.
Paula Vargas started her training at The Dance Center of Walla Walla as well as Walla Walla Dance Company. After experiencing all forms of dance, ballet became her focus and continued her training solely at The Dance Center of Walla Walla.
With her passion for dance, Paula hit the ground running and wasted no time in pursuing her goals. After dancing for just two years, she was invited to be a member of Danza Classica Ballet Company. In 2018 she and the members of DCBC performed in the Dance Grand Prix Italia, where they won multiple awards performing choreography from DCBC’s Artistic Director Idalee Hutson-Fish and WSYB’s Artistic Director Phyllis Rothwell.
In 2018 Paula was accepted into The Summer Dance Lab. One of the oldest continuous summer intensives in the country, she studied under Master Teachers and Principal Dancers from across the country. In 2019 Paula became an apprentice at the SDL program. She has danced with Eugene Ballet in their Nutcracker and Swan Lake. In 2020 Paula was given the opportunity to attend Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s Summer Intensive. Paula attended Oregon Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive in 2021 and was asked to join their Academy for the full year in the highest level.
Paula’s love of dance and dedication to helping children lead her to help teach the Pre-Ballet and lower levels at The Dance Center of Walla Walla. She now brings her vibrant energy and knowledge to WSYB. We are so thrilled to have her continue to teach at WSYB.
“I have had the privilege to watch Paula grow both as a dancer and as a person of fortitude. I was immediately impressed with her warmth and knowledge while teaching young children. I am beyond excited to have her be a role model for our very young dancers of WSYB.”
-Phyllis Rothwell - Artistic Director WSYB
Oriana Golden is a dancer, actor, and choreographer with a passion for musical theater. She started dancing in Walla Walla at a young age. Although she focused on ballet at the Dance Center of Walla Walla she also trained in Jazz, Modern, and American Theater, including studying at Broadway Dance Center in NYC.
Her love for musical theater led her to pursue it as her major and dance as a minor at Whitman College. Recently, Oriana completed a rigorous semester of study at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center/National Theater Institute in Connecticut . She studied with some of the most renowned master professionals of musical theater, including Deidre Goodwin, Aimee Steel, Susan Blackwell, Forrest McClendon, and Carmel Dean.
While at Whitman College, she has professionally graced the stage at Gesa Power House in Caberet and 9 to 5 under the direction of Tyson Kaup. In 2018 Oriana choreographed the musical Spamalot for the Little Theater of Walla Walla as well as being the assistant choreographer for Spring Awakening for Whitman College.
Oriana embodies all that WSYB stands for. Starting with a ballet background, she found her desired path for her future. She believes that the performing arts are for everyone, and strives to help young performers grow.
"I am always excited to watch so many young dancers grow into adults filled with passion and drive. I was blessed in my early guestings in Walla Walla to both teach and dance along side of Oriana . Watching her grace the stage of the Gesa Power House as a professional dancer was thrilling. I can't wait for her to share her knowledge with WSYB and help give strength and confidence to the students."
Phyllis Rothwell - Artistic Director of WSYB
After a very difficult but amazing inaugural year, WSYB is proud to continue offering classes to the youth of the Walla Walla Valley. Check out our fall schedule. We are always open for new students to join our family.