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Behind the Scenes: Dance directory offers exposure for Bellingham dance enthusiasts

Rachael Maddalena, a Bellingham dancer and Pilates instructor, called me in July to let me know about a project she had started, and we agreed to wait until college students were back in town to take advantage of what she’s up to.

Maddalena believes Bellingham has a lot of resources and classes for dancers and movement artists, but it’s sometimes hard to find out about who’s doing what - classes, workshops, performances and the like. So she created a directory of nearly all of the independent dance and movement arts classes in Bellingham and the surrounding area. The directory, which she will update frequently, is called Dance Scene Bellingham, and it includes a resource guide featuring spaces a dancer can rent for classes, rehearsals and performances.

Dance Scene Bellingham, Maddalena says, is set up using a Pinterest page. She says it’s easy to use even if you don’t currently use Pinterest. Dancers and artists can list their own classes easily and edit them. The page organizes classes by day of the week and by subject.

Other resources are listed, such as working choreographers, workshops, class and rehearsal space for rent, and even a production toolkit to help dancers write press releases and promote their events.

The listing also includes a section for circus arts, dance conditioning classes, and children’s classes. The listing is described as “a dance and movement arts listing,” to be inclusive of physical theater, experimental movement theater, circus and performance art.

Dance Scene Bellingham, she says, is about promoting the independent, “out of the spotlight” dance culture and studios in the area. The purpose is to drive more traffic to local classes with promotion to local residents and tourists, exposing the dance scene in Bellingham as a welcoming and easily accessible place for new and longtime residents.

Maddalena hopes the directory will promote and profile the local dance and movement artists that sometime seem to evade the spotlight.


Heather Dalberg, administrative services manager at Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, let me know about new (and returning) music faculty on campus this fall.

Gustavo Camacho complements Western’s brass instruction. He was formerly an instructor at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and was principal horn of the Phoenix Opera.

Percussionist Patrick Roulet returns to Bellingham after teaching a Southern Utah University and Towson University in Maryland. He taught at Western from 1994 to 2004, and has performed with Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera and was principal timpanist at the Bellingham Festival of Music.

WWU alum Ryan Dudenbostel, who most recently was a conductor at the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, will lead the Western Washington University Symphony Orchestra. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Western in 2004, he was music director for the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra was rehearsal and cover conductor at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

In addition to the new faculty members, Christopher “Kit” Spicer was hired in April as dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts. He has been serving as interim dean since August 2013, and was previously dean of the college of fine arts and communications at Towson University and was dean of the school of the arts at Pacific Lutheran University.