Melanie Kirk-Stauffer, currently Artistic Director, is the principal trainer and choreographer for DANCE THEATRE NORTHWEST. She has a history of having produced and directed numerous successful shows for family audiences including SWAN LAKE, NUTCRACKER, LES SYLPHIDES, America, Let Freedom Ring, The Jewel Heart, The Snow Queen, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Red Shoes, and Back To Broadway and Beautiful Ballets. She has also choreographed and produced for television and video. Excerpts from several of her original productions have won Regional and National awards.Formerly a professional dancer with Ballet Repertory in New York under the artistic direction of Richard Englund, Melanie’s professional performing dance experience includes leading roles in the ballet classics Paquita, Pas De Quatre, La Bayadere (Kingdom of The Shades), Divertimento, Pas de Dix (Act III Raymonda), Grande Tarantelle, Crazy Quilt, Courtley Dances; contemporary, jazz, and musical theatre roles in H.M.S. Pinafore, a Gilbert and Sullivan musical, Oophytes, Resentiments, Akimbo, Tango, and a student role in Serenade. Melanie served as fitness expert on channel 11 TV's To Your Health for 6 years, choreographed for Orchesis Dance Groups at Western Washington University, with Donna Pallo, at the Evergreen State College, for local and regional dance festivals and competitions.
Under Melanie's direction, DANCE THEATRE NORTHWEST received the Margaret K. Williams Arts Award from The Pierce County Arts Commission in 1998; a Cultural Diversity Award from Access Broadway of New York in 1999; and has received two Awards of Excellence from the city of University Place. Melanie has been recognized internationally as a significant female choreographer; in the 2003 Celebration of Women photo essay exhibit by Ruthann Reim; and, in the Mt. Tahoma Alumni Hall of Fame.
She has studied many forms of dance extending her early training with Pat Cairns of England's Royal Academy of Dance, San Francisco and Joffrey Ballet and her dance career to include training and performance in ballet, jazz, tap, theatre, modern, character, contemporary, folk, and ballroom dance. She has numerous teaching certifications in dance, dance exercise, and dance science. The recipient of multiple dance awards and scholarships to prestigious schools including the Joffrey and San Francisco Ballet, she has also had opportunities to explore Horton, Luigi, Cunningham, and Graham dance techniques.
Melanie holds a bachelor of Science degree in Dance from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from Columbia Pacific University. She is a former adjunct faculty member of Western Washington University and former part-time faculty member of Tacoma Community College. Melanie lives in University Place with her husband, Larry Stauffer.
Vadne Domeika, currently Associate Artistic Director and DTN company member, joined the DTN faculty in 2006, and was promoted to Associate AD in 2010. Vadne studied dance for many years under the tutelage of Jan Collum, and was the recipient of numerous dance scholarships. Professionally, Vadne has also danced in television documentaries and in independent works created by PNB dancers and choreographers. However, it was while serving as a student assistant for a ballet class that Vadne discovered her love of teaching. Since then, Vadne has completed teacher training programs with master teacher Finis Jhung and with Mrs. Melanie at DTN, and has become certified with the American College on Exercise as a Fitness Instructor.
Vadne now teaches Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Stretch & Conditioning and Tap to all age groups while continuing to train and to perform. Vadne and her husband Stan (a DTN technical crew member and DTN guest performer) reside in Tacoma.
Katie Neumann, Ardythe Fleener, Katy Levesque, Deb Main, Dale Yeager, and Jennifer Wyman-Clemons M.D., have studied and performed with Dance Theatre Northwest. They have all earned teaching certificates and completed DTN’s Dance Captain, Instructor Training Courses & Certification.
Katie Neumann has studied and performed with DANCE THEATRE NORTHWEST for more than a decade. Ardythe Fleener danced professionally for over 20 years before joing DTN as a guest performer. Norbert Nirewicz is an internationally acclaimed performer and teacher. A native of Poland Norbert began his ballet studies at the National Ballet School in Gdansk. He was a finalist in Poland's national Ballet Competition in 1993 and obtained a silver medal in the same competition in 1995. Sylvia Bolton is a former dancer with the New York City Ballet. She directs, stages and teaches across the United States and currently resides in Oregon. Nancy Whyte, former Artistic director of the Mt. Baker Ballet, has taught and directed dance performances for over thirty years. She earned her BA in dance from the Evergreen State College.