About the Director:
Idalee began her dance training at age 12 in Boise, Idaho after being inspired by a performance of The Green Table by the Joffrey Ballet. Two years later, she received her first of two summer scholarships to study with the Joffrey Ballet in Tacoma, Washington. She advanced to the San Francisco Ballet School, Ballet West at Aspen, and spent four summers with Charles Bennett’s Summer Dance Lab. To pursue her ballet career, Idalee graduated high school at sixteen and attended one year at the University of Utah as a ballet major and one year at the Juilliard School, eventually leaving her formal education behind to become an apprentice with First Chamber Dance Company. In 1976, Idalee was brought to Walla Walla by Charles Bennett, director of First Chamber Dance Company, to be dance captain and lead dancer in Trails West. In 1978, Idalee began teaching ballet at Whitman College where she taught ballet, pointe, craft of choreography and dance production. From 1982-84, Idalee moved to Phoenix, Arizona and was a soloist with the Arizona Metropolitan Ballet. In 1986 she opened her private business, The Dance Center and is soon to celebrate 30 years in business. From 2001-2011, Idalee taught ballet at The Umbra Institute, an American study abroad school in Perugia, Italy. She has taught at Arizona State University and The University of Idaho. She has been pouring out choreography for 30 years through directing at least three major dance productions per year as well has countless musical productions for local theaters, Whitman College, Walla Walla University and Walla Walla Community College. Idalee has founded and directed her company of studio dancers called The Performing Company since 1988. This year Idalee has co-founded a non-profit Danza Classica Ballet Foundation in order to grow the art of ballet in the Walla Walla valley. Idalee has taken The Performing Company with parent chaperones on a two week performance tour of Spain and Italy in 2008, 2011,2014 and 2016 where they compete in an international dance competition, Dance Grand Prix Europe, with dancers and choreographers from all over the world, and then continued on a two week performance tour of Italy. Each time they brought home overall high pointe awards in ballet, modern and theater dance. Idalee is also pleased to announce that DCBF is currently seeking membership in the prestigious Regional Dance America Pacific. The former Performing Company name has been officially changed to match their non-profit foundation and is now Danza Classica Ballet Company.
Ashley Christine Akacich
Miss Akacich grew up in Richland, Washington, where she trained with Debra Rogo at the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and later joined Mid-Columbia Ballet. While with MCB, she performed in works including: Les Sylphides, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Balanchine’s Tarantella pas de deux and Valse Fantaisie. She also attended summer programs at Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
After graduating high school, Miss Akacich joined California Ballet Company in San Diego, California. Her roles there included: Dew Drop and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peasant pas de deux in Giselle, and corps de ballet in Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Romeo & Juliet.
Miss Akacich also holds a B.A. in communications and public relations from Walla Walla University and is currently a project manager with Coffey Communications as well as a dance instructor at The Dance Center in Walla Walla.Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti: Teacher, dancer, choreographer
Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti
Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti 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 form 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 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 at Charleston Ballet Theatre, Eugene Ballet and Ballet Idaho. Her most noted classical roles include Giselle, Cinderella, Carmen, Juliet, Kitri, Odette, Alice, Scheherazade, Aurora, Sugar Plum as well as principal roles in Balanchine’s Serenade, Tarantella, Who Cares? and Allegro Brilliante Her contemporary works include a collaboration with Eugene Ballet and “Pink Martini”, “That’s Life” in Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs and created the role of “Arcane” in Company C Contemporary Ballet’s world premiere of Arcane: A Halloween Ballet. She has served as Assistant Ballet Mistress and Apprentice Director for Ballet Idaho, Ballet Mistress for Company C Contemporary Ballet and Anchorage Ballet and Co-Artistic Director of Boise Dance Co-op. She has worked side by side as Ballet Mistress with Paul Boos of the Balanchine Trust, John Selya of Tywla Tharp’s “Moving Out”, Charles Anderson of New York City Ballet and Jeffrey Scott Bailey from the Broadway production of “Tom Thumb”. During the summers Phyllis has taught at summer intensives in Utah, Idaho, Washington, Alaska and Pennsylvania.
Brooke Perkins: Teacher
Brooke Perkins is a recent graduate from Walla Walla High School and currently attending Walla Walla Community College in their nursing program. I danced under Idalee Hutson-Fish for 14 years, beginning at the age of four while being in the Danza Classica Ballet Company for several years following with Europe tour in 2014 and Regional Dance American guest in 2016. I have attended summer ballet intensives including Oregon Ballet Theatre and Summer Dance Lab. I started assistant teaching ballet 7 years ago and began teaching full time for the children’s classes in 2017.
Katie Janis: Assistant Teacher
Katie first started her dance journey at age 7 as a tap dancer then transitioned to ballet at age 11 at the Dance Center where she has trained since. She attended Summer Dance Lab in 2017 where she was part of the apprentice program and has gone on 3 Europe Tours with the Danza Classica Ballet Company of which she is a senior member. Katie has helped teach summer ballet camps as well as school year sessions since 2015 and enjoys sharing her love of performing with budding artists.