Our Life Force

Instructors & Staff

Meet our Talented Team

Nicole Blaser

Executive Director

Nicole moved to Crested Butte in 1999 having no idea she would stay forever. In high school she performed in the theater and with a traveling dance company at Monique’s School of Dance.  She was on the high school varsity dance line competing at state and national competitions.  While studying Biochemistry and Environmental Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Nicole fit in dance classes and auditioned dance performances. Nicole spent her young adult years traveling the world mentoring youth on extended wilderness expeditions, instructing snowboarding, mountaineering, leadership and a myriad of other youth development and character-building skills. She also spent many years studying and instructing yoga and dance. Overall, she has enjoyed 25 years serving in leadership roles at several nonprofit organizations including National Outdoor Leadership School, Big City Mountaineers, and Southwest Conservation Corps as their Regional Director.  Personally experiencing the life-changing impact of dance, movement and stewardship programs, Nicole brings a passion and dedication to providing these transformational opportunities to others.  She is grateful to be offering her skill sets to support the School of Dance mission.

Eve Smith

Program Director

Eve Smith is a lifetime artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Art, University of Arkansas. While an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Rome, Italy falling in love with figurative work. After graduation, she was accepted as an artist in residence through the Arkansas Arts Council and taught multidisciplined art in seven elementary schools in NWA. She became the Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in 2010 where she curated multiple exhibitions working with major art museums such as Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Exhibits USA. She championed all mediums of art with site-specific programs in the area and administered one of the largest mid-central professional development programs in the south, Artist INC. Her programming career focused on social practice and inclusion in the city of Springdale, AR working with national award-winning organizations like Latin Arts Organization of Arkansas in their practice of Folkloric Ballet and the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese that is now working with major Art Museums. Eve is a master teacher with over 15 years of experience as a multidisciplined educator in organizations and the public & private education sector. She taught high school art in Richmond, VA from 2019 to 2021 with studies in visual arts, film and media, and even yoga and mindfulness practices. She is a practicing artist, whose mediums include oil, watercolor, and mixed media with an emphasis on the figure as a narrative form, having exhibited in mid-central and east coast regions. She now lives, works, and plays in Gunnison, Crested Butte area and continues to be an arts leader, artist, cultural producer, and activist.

Annie Tunkey

Administration Director
Shelly Clements dance instructor

Shelly Clements

Director of Productions & Instructor

Shelly Clements

Ashley Jackson

Programs Coordinator & Instructor

Ashley is a Dance Teacher, Certified Rolfer, Advanced Certified Yoga Teacher and Pilates Instructor serving Crested Butte and Gunnison, CO. She is formally trained in various dance disciplines, including jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, modern and hip hop and is dedicated to offering biomechanically safe and integrated movement education. Ashley obtained her BFA degree from Western Colorado University in 2007. She graduated from the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in Boulder, CO in 2015 and has over 1500 hours of training in yogic studies. Her goal as a dance teacher is to support, educate and empower her students through fun, light-hearted and challenging classes. Feel free to visit her personal website to learn more, www.ashleyjacksonyoga.com, or join her for an embodying dance class!

Alexandria Rodriguez

Programs Coordinator & Instructor

Originally from Texas, Alexandria has been dancing since she was 5 years old. She knew that being on stage was where she belonged and quickly fell in love with the competition background. Alex spent all 4 of her High School years as apart of the Central High School Drill Team in Keller Texas. While on the team she served as Vice President her sophomore year and Senior Lieutenant her senior year. She has received numerous awards for solo’s and choreography. After High School, Alexandria attended Tarrant County College where she was apart of the Movers Unlimited Dance Company for 2 years. After receiving her Associates she attended the University of North Texas where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance with an emphasis in choreography. Alex has taught and performed all around the DFW area along with other places in the U.S. Once she graduated, Alex found her love for aerial arts. Adding aerial to her resume opened up more artistic opportunities for her locally and nationally. She has taken part in Millennium Dance Complex Summer Intensives in California, trained with Rain Anya of Paper Doll Militia Aerial Company, performed for big events such as Bud Light Whatever USA, Lights All Night New Year’s Eve Festival, and the Dallas Mavericks Charity Ball. Along with dance and aerial, Alex is also a certified Barre teacher, Spin Instructor, and is Coach of the Western Colorado University Dance Team. When Alex isn’t dancing, she enjoys spending time with her “Wolfpack” and finding her place in this special Valley.

Hailey Bryant

Programs Coordinator & Instructor

Hailey has a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Dance Studies with an emphasis in performance and choreography from Humboldt State University in Northern California. Over the last 12 years, Hailey has been teaching dance. Her focus is to help each student become a stronger dancer and a thriving individual, which is built upon developing artistry and a strong technical foundation. Hailey’s expertise is in ballet and modern dance. Since she is also a personal trainer, she teaches conditioning and pilates based body work classes. After living in California, New Mexico, and Wyoming, Hailey and her husband are excited to call Gunnison Valley home.

Sophia Chudacoff

Programs Coordinator & Instructor

Sophia aims to create an investigatory learning environment to nurture curiosity and sensitivity to the mind-body connection. Her teaching is influenced by The Axis Syllabus, a repository of bio-mechanical and kinetic information. She has studied many different forms of dance and music from around the world, which continue to inform her knowledge of human movement and pedagogy. She teaches Pilates, Dance and Functional Movement to all ages.

Sasha Chudacoff Dance Instructor

Sasha Chudacoff

Aerial Rigger & Instructor

With a lifetime of training in dance disciplines – Modern, Jazz, Ballet, West African, Hip hop and Improvisational Dance, in combination with child development studies, Sasha brings a strong dance background into the classroom! Sasha is influenced by BrainDance- a philosophy in dance education that develops dance skills, brain/body connection, social/ emotional growth and creative expression. Her recent inspiration has been teaching physically integrated dance to children with and with out special needs. Her dance involvement includes teaching in the Berkeley Public School district, Luna Kids Dance, Hipline Dance Studio, AXIS Dance Company, Celebrate the Beat, Adaptive Sports and studying and performing butoh improvisational dance. Sasha is an M.A. candidate in Somatic Counseling Psychology/Dance Movement Therapy at Naropa University. She gives thanks to her butoh teachers for re-framing what dance is: Diego Pinon and Shinichi Iova-Koga. A transplant from from the bay area to the Gunnison Valley, she now enjoys teaching with this amazing dance community!

Amber St. Vincent

Instructor

Amber grew up in a small town in Upper Michigan and began dancing at the age of 3. She has studied a variety of styles over the years, including tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, contemporary, lyrical and aerial. She is continuously amazed by the dance community here in the Gunnison Valley and has loved having the opportunity to work with both the Crested Butte School of Dance and the Crested Butte Dance Collective. She is thrilled to be teaching and dancing here in our little mountain town and hopes to see you in class!

Moriah Ernst Dance Instructor

Moriah Ernst

Instructor

Moriah grew up in Bethlehem Pennsylvania and started dancing at the age of 3. She grew up dancing at Miss Jeanne’s School of Dance and the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Moriah grew up training in ballet, jazz, musical theater, lyrical and modern. Moriah began competition dance at the age of 10 and competed through high school. Moriah was involved in several competition teams. In 2006 Moriah had the unique opportunity to train at North Carolina School of the Arts during Summer Intensive with a concentration in modern. Once Moriah graduated high school, she decided to pursue her dream of collegiate skiing which brought her to Western State, but she continued to dance recreationally. In 2015 she graduated with a BA in psychology and a minor in sports psychology. Stemming from Moriah’s background in dance she concentrated her studies on eating disorders and injury in athletes. Moriah loves sharing her passion and knowledge of dance to the community of Crested Butte.

Stephanie Marziano dance instructor

Stephanie Marziano

Instructor

Stephanie began dancing at the age of two at a small studio in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Through the earliest years of her dance education, Stephanie studied ballet, tap, and jazz. At the age of 13, she enrolled at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania ballet. It was there that she refined her ballet technique while also furthering her understanding of classic jazz and a form of tap called “hoofing”. Between training with the Pennsylvania ballet, Stephanie took summer intensives to expand her dance repertoire. While in nursing school at Drexel University, Stephanie took a course called “Choreography Composition” where she learned the art of choreography and dance improvisation. She has performed and choreographed for Move the Butte and performed in several fall productions with the CB Dance Collective, has taught and subbed classes as well as performed for the CB School of Dance, and has taken as many classes as possible with both entities, including lyrical, contemporary, ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary ballet, and African. Stephanie believes in the power of movement and creative self-expression as a form of healing and is thrilled for the opportunity to share her passion for dance with her beautiful community!

Corinne McKeever

Instructor

Alice Jennison

Instructor

Alice Jennison…

Juliana Lodovico

Instructor

Juliana Lodovico….

Carie Mitchell Dance Instructor

Carie Mitchell

Instructor

After watching an aerial act at the Dance Collective’s fall show in 2013, Carie fell in love with the art of aerial dance. Shortly after this performance, she signed up for her first aerial dance class with the Dance Collective and started exploring movement in the air. Carie has studied lyra, aerial silks, aerial sling, trapeze, and rope, focusing on lyra and aerial silks.  She has attended the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder and trained under the Frequent Flyers, Ana Prada, and Tanya Burka. She has also attended many workshops by leaders in the aerial dance community. In the summer of 2017, Carie attended The Born to Fly teacher program and is working towards her certification in Fabric 1. She has performed at several Move the Buttes and a CB Dance Collective fall show. This year she choreographed her first performance for Move the Butte. She is excited to be a part of the CB Dance Collective and a teacher for the School of Dance.

Daniela Runge

Instructor

Daniela Runge…

Janae Pritchett Dance Instructor

Janae Pritchett

Instructor

At the encouragement of a friend, Janae participated in her first aerial class in 2015. It didn’t take long for her interest to turn into a great passion. Since then, she has loved getting to explore a whole new world of diverse movement. Janae has participated in silk, lyra, sling, trapeze, and rope trainings. She has performed aerial dance in multiple performances and recently choreographed her first aerial piece for Move the Butte. Aerial dance has brought her newfound gratitude for movement and a renewed sense of strength and coordination. A certified fitness instructor and coach, she loves sharing her passion for aerial dance with others.

Meghan Haver dance instructor

Meghan Haver

Instructor

Meghan has made CB her home since 2002 and is married with two amazing boys.  Meghan found a love for aerial dance and has been practicing the art since 2014. She has performed in many Move the Butte productions and other performances in Crested Butte. Meghan is currently teaching aerial conditioning and introductory aerial classes. In addition, Meghan is a licensed Massage Therapist and also practices Ortho-Bionomy.

While we live in a beautiful town and have wonderful facilities, its the people on our team that make us special.

Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

Martha Graham.

“The Dance is a poem of which each movement is a word”

Mata Hari.

“Why walk when you can dance?”

Ellen Van Dam.

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