As a performing arts center, our goal is to instill a respect for the art of dance, while providing the highest quality training possible. Our professional faculty has a refreshingly humanistic approach to training and preparing the student for a meaningful and long lasting relationship with the arts. Eagle Performing Arts Center was founded in 2004 and has been at the forefront of promoting dance in Idaho. Students at EPAC receive excellent dance training while developing a love for the art of dance. Through performances through out the greater Treasure Valley, our dancers share their passion for dance with the larger community.
The school is a wonderful place to study and mature as a young artist. Many students have gone on to dance professionally and study at colleges and universities, while others have pursued academic interests while maintaining a meaningful relationship with dance through adult classes and patronage of the performing arts.
Cathy received her early ballet training in San Francisco, CA with Leona Norman and Richard Gibson. At the age of 17 she joined the Stuttgart Ballet under the late John Cranko. She rose to the rank of soloist while touring throughout the world.
She also danced with the Ballet de Caracas under the artistic directorship of Vicente Nebrada and the Zurich Ballet. She worked with choreographers George Balanchine, John Cranko, Kenneth MacMillan, Jiri Kylian, Margo Sappington and Vicente Nebrada while appearing in theatres throughout the world including New York’s Lincoln Center, the Paris Opera, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Covent Garden in London and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater.
She met her husband, Jeff Giese while both were dancing in Zurich, Switzerland. Cathy has been teaching ballet for the past 25 years in both private and public institutions.
Jeff was born in Gooding, Idaho and received his early training in Fort Worth, Texas at the Texas Christian University Preparatory Ballet School. At 15 he received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to study at School of American Ballet in New York City. Jeff joined Houston Ballet at the age of 19 touring throughout the U.S. and Europe.
He also danced with the Zurich Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Dallas Ballet and was a founding member of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio. Jeff has taught throughout the U.S for the past 25 years including Southern Methodist University, Texas Women’s University and Dallas Arts Magnet.
Lisa was born in Birmingham, Alabama, where she received her first training from Stevan and Melanie Grebel. Lisa was a Harkness trainee with David Howard before joining Stars of American Ballet and the Bavarian National Ballet in Munich.
During her career as a dancer in Europe and the United States, she worked with renowned artists such as Frederic Franklin, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Lynn Seymour, John Neumeier, and Edward Caton. Lisa has devoted the past twenty years of her teaching career to students and professionals in the Northwest.
Tori began her dance training in eastern Idaho at the age of five, with focus on ballet, tap, and baton twirling. She expanded her repertoire with clogging, jazz, and modern. While attending high school in New Mexico, she began incorporating various equipment into her dance and baton twirling.
Tori began teaching in 1996 as a high school color guard instructor in Tri-Cities Washington. While obtaining her degree in Business management, Tori taught preballet, jazz, and baton twirling at Dance Arts Academy in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She relocated to the Boise area where she began teaching for Jeff and Cathy Giese in 2003. She loves the principles and technique that Jeff and Cathy have infused in EPAC and feels honored to be a part of such a talented group of staff members. She is a proud mother of three children that often help out at the studio and at performances. Tori earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences in 2013 and currently oversees a program that addresses cognitive development and behavioral issues in children and adults.
She loves learning new information and skills that can be utilized in both of her professional careers. Tori has experience teaching a wide variety of formats to students of all ages and loves inspiring children to respect themselves and others while learning how to express themselves through movement.
Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Edson began her studies at Ballet Idaho, continued her formal training at North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School, under the direction of the late Benjamin Harkarvy. She then went onto dance with Trey McIntyre Project, BodyVox, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Idaho Dance Theatre, having the honor of performing the works of Trey McIntyre, Pina Bausch, Maguy Marin, Angelin Preljocaj, Robert Battle, Johannes Wieland, Alex Ketley and Kate Karpetowska, to name a few. As a choreographer, she has won several fellowships, awards and been commissioned by numerous companies and Universities throughout the nation. She was recently selected by Whim W’him in Seattle, WA to create work for the Choreographic Shindig. She is the recipient of the ICA Performing Arts Fellowship, the Dance Omi International Resident, a Level Up Artist of The Dance Gallery Festival and the University of Kansas’ 2015 Choreographic Fellow. She is the winner of Northwest Dance Projects’ The Pretty Creatives International Choreography Competition, the recipient of the Audience Favorite Award at Milwaukee Ballet’s International Choreography Competition, Winner of the Grand Prize at the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Competition, winner of Western Michigan Unversity’s Great Works Dance Project and resident Guest Artist at East Carolina University, Peck School of the Arts, Eastern Oregon University and Pacific University. This past year Lauren was recognized at Regional Dance America’s Festival in Phoenix for best choreography for the piece, Waiting Still, that she choreographed for Idaho Regional Ballet.
Eliza received her early dance training at Maddox Dance Studio where she studied ballet, tap and jazz. She then continued her training at The Rock School in Philadelphia, PA. After attending The Rock she joined Jeff and Cathy Giese as a trainee at Ballet Idaho Academy. Eliza then danced with Eugene Ballet in the Nutcracker, Giselle, and Midsummer's Night Dream as well as works by invited guest choreographers. Eliza has now turned her focus to teaching and is excited to be able to share her expertise and love of dance with our students.
Sara received her early dance training in Doylestown PA, and was a member of the Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania for eight years. Sara also attended summer programs on scholarship, at Boston Ballet and at Princeton Ballet School. From 1997-1998 Sara continued her training at the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet.
Sara earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Brigham Young University in 2003. While there she was a member of the Theatre Ballet. She performed many principal rolls with the company and had the opportunity to tour throughout the Western United States and appear in various filming projects. In 2002 Sara performed in the opening ceremonies of the Salt Lake City Paralympics Winter Games and also danced at venues for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.
Sara has taught and choreographed at studios for 12 years and loves to teach students of all ages and levels.
Elizabeth was born in Dubai, UAE and started her ballet training at the Royal Academy of Dance in London. After moving back to the United States, she continued her training at Ballet Center of Houston under the direction of Victoria Vittum and Gilbert Rome. At 15, she was invited to train at The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet on full scholarship. She danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet for two seasons and was coached extensively by Violette Verdy, and then Miami City Ballet under the director of Edward Villella for ten seasons. With MCB Elizabeth danced works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, John Cranko, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Anthony Tudor, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Trey McIntyre, Marius Petips, and August Bournonville. She also danced with Miami Contemporary Dance Company and taught on the faculty at Miami City Ballet School. She was appointed Children’s Ballet Mistress for Balanchine’s The Nutcracker from 2009-2012. During the summers, Elizabeth taught at MCBS, Ballet Center of Houston and helped run and was on the faculty at the New York State Summer School of the Arts in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Elizabeth moved to Boise three years ago to dance with Trey McIntyre Project. She has been trained in the “Dance for PD” method and has taught Dance for Parkinson’s classes all over the country. EPAC is very happy to have Liz starting her third year on faculty.
Stephanie Orza started training at the age of 7 with the San Francisco Ballet School on full scholarship and continued there for 10 years. In her time there she performed with the school as well as the company in many productions. In 2002 Stephanie moved to Boise and danced with Ballet Idaho/Eugene Ballet company and school. In 2003, she moved to Basel, Switzerland, to dance with the Ballet Basel School and Company. Stephanie moved to the U.S. and joined Inland Pacific Ballet as a Principal dancer in 2005 and continued there for 7 seasons. Stephanie became a ballet mistress for the company from 2007-2011. In 2011, Stephanie moved to Portland, Oregon and taught ballet at the Center for Movement Arts, Polaris Dance Theater, Allegro Dance Studio, Westside Dance Academy, Bodyvox, and The Portland Ballet. Stephanie relocated to Boise, Idaho in July 2016 and has been teaching at the Eagle Performing Arts Center and also choreographed for the Dance Fest 2017 at BSU.
Carrie Shanafelt, a native of Boise, Idaho grew up taking ballet classes. She performed with Idaho Dance Theatre and DROP Dance Collective in Boise. Carrie also taught ballet and modern dance classes in Boise as well as at Boise State University. It was through dance that Carrie discovered Pilates.
She began her Pilates training in Seattle with Lori Coleman-Brown, Dorothee Vandewalle, and Lauren Stephan as well as Romana Kryzanowska. Carrie earned her certification in 1999 through the Pilates Guild. Soon after, she moved back to Boise and opened Boise’s first Pilates studio, Forte Pilates. After six and a half years Carrie sold the studio and briefly moved to Sacramento, California where she owned and operated a successful home studio, The Pilates House. Five years later she moved back to Boise and continued working from home until recently. Carrie is now co-owner of Grasshopper Pilates in Boise’s historic Hyde Park. She is also on staff at Eagle Performing Arts Center and Idaho Regional Ballet, a pre-professional ballet company.
In 2015 Carrie became a proud graduate of Vintage Pilates’ teachers’ program, The Work. In 2016, she was asked back to Vintage Pilates as a guest instructor. The Work gave her more clarity and deepened her faith in the classical Pilates method. She enjoys the challenge it presents through its simplicity and finds this concept fascinating: Pilates becomes more challenging the more you simplify the method. She strives to pass this on and continue learning since she finds the best teachers are perpetual students.
Mhari is a member of a famous dancing family. Third generation in theatre, she had the good fortune to grow up, tour and study with both the Robert Joffrey and Rebekah Harkness Ballet Companies. A professional dancer at 13, she also worked in eastern regional companies, as well as the demonstration model for the City Center Joffrey Ballet and for Paul Sutherland at Ramapo College. A 2x nominee for the Idaho Governor’s Arts Award, a Boise Channel 7’s Hero, founding member of the Aspen Dance Connection and Boise’s Alley Repertory Theater; Mhari has held teaching positions for Boise Parks and Recreation (1996-2012), Very Special Arts (1995-present) and Kid Moves (2001-2012) (93-96) and is very happy to be back on staff at EPAC. Mhari has three children, 15-29, all of whom are carrying on the family tradition as artists!
Colleen was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and raised in the family restaurant business where she learned the art of communication through her grandfather, Jimmy Hong. She studied business classes at University of Utah while working at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, before moving to Orange County, California. She worked for American Video Communications, Inc., Anaheim International Inn & Suites, and John Laing Homes. She moved to the Bay Area and went on hiatus to raise her daughters. In 2002, Colleen and her family moved to Eagle and she started work with EPAC soon after. Colleen is currently the Administrative Director for EPAC and Idaho Regional Ballet.